Author Topic: Which TKL keyboard to chose?  (Read 1872 times)

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Offline svetlio_vd

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Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« on: Sat, 26 August 2017, 15:16:51 »
I've been using a Coolermaster Novatouch TKL for some time now - first I added custom keycaps (a random mix of chinese PBT, and than a rainbow alphabet set). Then I disassembled it and added O-rings a.k.a "silenced" mod. I like it, but it  gets me bored to type on lately. So I am looking for something new! I already have experience with Coolermaster Quickfire XT Brown and Blue and I was kind of satisfied, except now I am looking for TKL keyboards  only, because I happen to carry them with my laptop in my bag.
Option 1 : CoolerMaster Masterkeys S PBT - seems like a very nice and high quality keyboard, with a fair price tag. Would love a Cherry MX Blue or Green variant.

Option 2 : Havit hv-kb390l low-profile Kaihl blue switches - like it better, because of the low-profile and the lower price than Option one. I wonder whether it will feel better for typing?

Option 3 : James Donkey with Gateron switches from Aliexpress - I like Gaterons, because I have a switch tester and I know they feel a little bit better then Cherry's. But I hate this yellow design...I just do not know if it's worth the compromise, just because it comes with Gaterons. Other TKL Gateron options ?

Option 4 : Some chinese low-cost TKL board with Outemu switches - I have no idea how they feel, but they sure are a lot cheaper ?

Do not get me wrong - I will keep the Topre board, and use it from time to time, I just want to try something new. Thanks in advance guys!

Offline AGscooby

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 26 August 2017, 19:08:51 »
For option 3, you may want to look at the Rantopad MXX line. Pretty straightforward, but there are more lighting options available if yellow/orange isn't your thing.

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Offline Zobeid Zuma

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 26 August 2017, 19:21:26 »
Option 4 : Some chinese low-cost TKL board with Outemu switches - I have no idea how they feel, but they sure are a lot cheaper ?

The ones I have feel great!  My CyberpowerPC keyboard came with Outemu blue switches.  At first it sounded too "clacky" to me, but later I swapped on some WASD blue O-rings, and it became very pleasing to type on.  With the clacking noise tamed, I can hear that sharp click of the switch, and the dainty, musical "ping" that they sometimes make, and it's all good.  I'm very pleased with the typing feel.  (I also replaced the original black key caps with a blue-and-white set of double shot PBT keycaps, which may have also helped a little, but the O-rings were the main thing.)

Also worth mentioning, even though it's not exactly what you asked about. . .   I got a new Matias Mini Tactile Pro, which is more of a 75% layout, and I love it.  It seems like Matias have recently improved their switches and their build quality, and it shows.

Offline Kavik

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 26 August 2017, 21:21:06 »
I've ordered Option 2, but I do not have it yet. It should be arriving in a week or so. I plan on doing a review when I get it, but I can give an initial impression here.

Offline svetlio_vd

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 27 August 2017, 05:00:23 »
The Matias Mini Tactile Pro is a very interesting option and I have to say I already looked at it in the past, because I got interested in Alps like keyboards from all the Chyrosran videos I watched :) But unfortunately, I am limited to shipping options, because I live in Bulgaria (EU) and I avoid any US offers. The option I have is to order a piece from Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), but the price is not very sweet - 124 british pounds with UK shipping, which is about $160 and I have to add some more money for shipping to BG.

The Rantopad MXX looks cool, but I have the same concern as for the Matias - I see offers from US. The lowest price in aliexpress was $64 with free shipping, which is not so bad for Gateron.

Something else to consider - the new Outemu switch design blocks the option for adding O-rings!

Since I am not in a huge hurry, maybe I will wait a while for more opinions on the Havit keyboard - for now it seems balanced in every possible direction - price, dimensions, design, availability. Plus I have a feeling it will feel better for typing than the classic MX-like design of the blues.

Offline AGscooby

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 27 August 2017, 11:36:47 »
I've ordered Option 2, but I do not have it yet. It should be arriving in a week or so. I plan on doing a review when I get it, but I can give an initial impression here.
Did you pick it up from AliExpress? Amazon doesn't seem to have it currently.

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Offline Kavik

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 28 August 2017, 09:30:39 »
I've ordered Option 2, but I do not have it yet. It should be arriving in a week or so. I plan on doing a review when I get it, but I can give an initial impression here.
Did you pick it up from AliExpress? Amazon doesn't seem to have it currently.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

Hmm, I see it's not available on Amazon now too. That is where I bought it; they were instock as of a week ago. It just shipped yesterday, so I should have it later this week.

Offline Waateva

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 28 August 2017, 10:28:22 »
I would pick option 1, as Coolermaster is the more reputable brand out of the 4 choices and would be the easiest to return if there was a problem.  Coming with PBT caps is just an added bonus, even if they aren't fantastic they'll be better than the cheap and ****ty ABS the other options are sure to ship with.
Duck Black Bird - 80g Gatistotles /// O'Mira - V Blacks

Offline Kavik

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 31 August 2017, 18:41:20 »
I just received Option 2, the Havit "Low Profile Mechanical Switches Backlit Keyboard" or HV-KB390L for short, in the mail a few minutes ago.

My initial impression is that this keyboard is very impressive, especially for the price point. It feels very flat even in comparison to my V80 with DSA keycaps on it. It almost feels as if it has a downward slope to it when the feet are retracted (which might be nice if you have wrist pain). With the feet extended, it's about the same as any other keyboard with the feet retracted. The case/plate feels very sturdy but is not heavy at all.

The switches feel really nice! They are very short travel, and very, very crispy. Crispy is the best word I can use to describe the sound and feel. They basically sound like Rice Krispies cereal when you pour milk over it. It's hard to feel the click without hearing it though. If I cover my ears, it's difficult to detect. That said, the sound is much quieter than Cherry MX Blues. It's close to, but still slightly quieter than, MX Blues with o-rings. There's very little to no bottom out noise.

It has quite a few lighting effects if you're into that, but they're all the same cyan/teal color.

The only complaint I have so far, which is very nit-picky, is that the click actually happens slightly before actuation. I really have to try to do it, but I can make the switch click without registering a key press.

Overall, my initial impression is that I'd recommend this keyboard as long as you aren't interested in swapping switches or keycaps. Obviously, I have no experience with its durability.


Offline svetlio_vd

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 01 September 2017, 04:34:01 »
Thanks for the feedback! I'll drop some of my thoughts too, because I ordered the same keyboard just a day before you wrote your post :) Now I just have to wait for it to ship to me. Paid $55, I think is a fair price.
Before ordering, I spent 1 hour playing with my switch tester and thinking what exactly do I want? So, I thought - I am already tired of the lack of good tactility from my Topre board (and soft typing) and I want something more tactile. The linear choices go out of the options. But I also never quite liked tactile non-clicky switches - was disappointed of Cherry MX Brown, and do not seem to like the stiffer variants also. I was left with Cherry, Gateron, Kaihl, Outemu Blue, Cherry Green and Cherry White. OK, but the blue and the green ones are just too noisy and I remember getting tired of my CM Quickfire XT Cherry MX Blue drilling my brain with its sound all day. So it came to me - the Cherry MX White feels so much better than Blue and Green! The click is crispier, the key stroke with a cap on it is less noisy. And I get better feels, because of the stiffer spring. Then I saw Ducky One TKL with Dye-Subbed PBT caps and Cherry MX White on mechanicalkeyboards.com. Would have bought it, but damn US shipping  :( :( :(
For now, I will wait for the Havit to arrive and enjoy it. Thinking about getting Cherry White or Matias Quiet Click for Christmas though :) *if I find a nice delivery option without additional customs taxes.

Offline Kavik

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 01 September 2017, 20:02:16 »
Thanks for the feedback! I'll drop some of my thoughts too, because I ordered the same keyboard just a day before you wrote your post :) Now I just have to wait for it to ship to me. Paid $55, I think is a fair price.
Before ordering, I spent 1 hour playing with my switch tester and thinking what exactly do I want? So, I thought - I am already tired of the lack of good tactility from my Topre board (and soft typing) and I want something more tactile. The linear choices go out of the options. But I also never quite liked tactile non-clicky switches - was disappointed of Cherry MX Brown, and do not seem to like the stiffer variants also. I was left with Cherry, Gateron, Kaihl, Outemu Blue, Cherry Green and Cherry White. OK, but the blue and the green ones are just too noisy and I remember getting tired of my CM Quickfire XT Cherry MX Blue drilling my brain with its sound all day. So it came to me - the Cherry MX White feels so much better than Blue and Green! The click is crispier, the key stroke with a cap on it is less noisy. And I get better feels, because of the stiffer spring. Then I saw Ducky One TKL with Dye-Subbed PBT caps and Cherry MX White on mechanicalkeyboards.com. Would have bought it, but damn US shipping  :( :( :(
For now, I will wait for the Havit to arrive and enjoy it. Thinking about getting Cherry White or Matias Quiet Click for Christmas though :) *if I find a nice delivery option without additional customs taxes.

You'll get your MX white board someday. I think the Havit is different enough that you'll enjoy it though based on your description.

Definitely let us know what you think of it when you get it!  :thumb:


Offline svetlio_vd

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 19 October 2017, 13:39:31 »
The damn Singapore post seemed to have lost my package :( I have been waiting since August 30 and I have not still received the keyboard! I wrote the seller on Aliexpress (havit official store) and they replied they think the package may have been lost and offered a refund. Then, they offered me to order the board again. Yeah, right! Was $54.99, now it is $71.99! I hope the board eventually arrives, even if it happens after 2-3 months (as I've seen this happen before).
Thinking of pursuing my wanted Cherry MX White board if I receive a refund.

If I receive the Kailh low profile I will still write an opinion.

Offline Kavik

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 19 October 2017, 16:39:08 »
The damn Singapore post seemed to have lost my package :( I have been waiting since August 30 and I have not still received the keyboard! I wrote the seller on Aliexpress (havit official store) and they replied they think the package may have been lost and offered a refund. Then, they offered me to order the board again. Yeah, right! Was $54.99, now it is $71.99! I hope the board eventually arrives, even if it happens after 2-3 months (as I've seen this happen before).
Thinking of pursuing my wanted Cherry MX White board if I receive a refund.

If I receive the Kailh low profile I will still write an opinion.

That really stinks! It's still the same price on the US Amazon site. Havit has released a full sized RGB version now for $20 more. I wish the TKL were RGB.

I've been using mine as my main keyboard at home since my last post (occasionally alternating with my M65-A) since it's a nice middle ground (clicky, but not too loud, and it's not a space waster). My only gripes are a firmware update broke some of the features (just stick with v1.1; don't upgrade to v1.5) and the switches are pretty gritty (Not noticeable during typing, but very noticeable in games).

Anyway, I hope you still get yours. It's a pretty nice keyboard for the price.

Offline svetlio_vd

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 20 October 2017, 15:01:08 »
Goooooood neeews  ;D ;D ;D Today I received tracking info updated, the keyboard is in Bulgaria! Woohooo that means I will get in Monday or Tuesday max (if it does not get hold up in customs, as it sometimes happens when you receive from outside EU (China)). I contacted the seller on that. So hopefully, I will write a honest opinion here :) Till then - scissor switch laptop and CM Novatouch :)

Offline svetlio_vd

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 29 October 2017, 16:12:19 »
I finally got my hands on the Havit low-profile mechanical keyboard, in fact I am typing from it right now! Could not be more happy with it! It is exactly like I expected it to be, and how everybody described it. Here are my thoughts on it :

Things I like :

- The switches - they are great, very crips click, just the right weight and very nice sound! Way better to me than the Cherry MX Blues to me. It is very strange to encounter a double click switch  :p
- The build - great aluminum bottom, practical design, just the format that I wanted - 87 keys TKL
- Removable micro-usb cable - way better than some leash constantly hanging around my laptop bag
- Lightning - I did not insist on led lightning though the keys, but as it happens to have one - I do not mind. it is an OK blue light, that I like. I will be using constant blue light or no light at all at daytime.
- Rubber feet at the back
- Thin and mobile
- The price - I got it at $54.99, which I find OK. I do not feel comfortable about the new price of $71.99 though. Would not bought it at this price.

Things I do not like :

- Keycaps - they are not like say Vortex thick PBT caps, which I had on a Quickfire XT. Although I think they are OK, because at least the font is not "gamery".
- Case - the back is not aluminum, but plastic. I know that if it was, the price and weight would be different. Just mentioning.
- The sound - wife will eventually be moaning about the noise - this is not the keyboards problem though :)

Offline dante

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 01 November 2017, 09:08:04 »
HP KU-0901.  Dirt cheap membrane board.  Independent media buttons.  No firmware update/Chattering nonsense.

It just works.

Offline DudeSnail

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 01 November 2017, 09:44:16 »
chose
CHōz/Submit
past of choose.

Why ask if you already chose?

Offline svetlio_vd

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Re: Which TKL keyboard to chose?
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 02 November 2017, 17:51:26 »
If you are asking me - I chose it after taking your advises in mind. And after that, I decided it would be good to share my opinion on the keyboard. And no, I would not take a membrane TKL keyboard, cause if this was the case I would better use my laptops integrated scissor switch keyboard with a numpad. So once again - I think the Havit option is very good, even better than some Cherry Mx Blues, but it is unfortunate that they upped the price to $71.99 which is not very generous for a Chinese board.