geekhack Community => Reviews => Topic started by: blur410 on Sat, 13 March 2021, 05:07:14

Title: Idobao ID75 Review(With Novelkeys Creams)
Post by: blur410 on Sat, 13 March 2021, 05:07:14
For my first foray into custom keyboards, I wanted to experiment and try a keyboard which was completely novel, that I could mold the layout as I saw fit, and even possibly improve my typing technique from staring down at the keyboard to looking at the screen more.

So I bought the obvious keycap set for my Corsair K68 RGB, an ortholinear GMK Red Samurai set that was readily available on Amazon at the time from the first run of the kit(Glad I got in when I did, now that set is worth triple or more what I paid). I was saddened by the fact I could only use it on the alphanumeric block though, so I thought "Are there any cheap ortholinear keyboards out there that would be compatible with my keycaps?" Turns out after a lot of searching, the Preonic was not entering a third round group buy just yet. So the only boards that I could use with this set that I knew of were the XD75, the Planck, and the ID75. At the time the XD75 wasn't on Amazon and the Planck just felt a bit too small to show off my keycaps, even if I could manage to handle a 40% form factor. And so, I hit up an order from China and waited for the shipment.

When I received my board, it was modestly packed in a padded envelope within which the board sat in another layer of bubble wrap along side a plastic bag of the included accessories, including rubber pads for the feet and rear risers. Oddly enough it only came with a single screw for the rear, so I had to take one of the feet to the hardware store to find a corresponding size of screw. Since the screws were a bit long, I got some washers because I was too lazy to attempt carefully cutting the screws. This made it sit at a bit of a higher angle than stock, but still not overtly uncomfortable. The day after, my switches I had chosen to go with Novelkey Creams. I wanted a linear switch with a decent sound and good feel without lubrication. On the product page it said that the switches self lubricate(Which because I'm dumb, made me think there was lube in the slider plastic itself) and that it would maintain it's feeling for a long time. My goodness, did the creams feel super duper bad the first day. A few days later I had ordered some switch films to see what these could do for the key feel, because I couldn't be bothered to put lube on the keys but I still wanted to open them up with my bare hands to put films on them. After filming, the gentle binding on most switches had completely stopped and all I really had to do was get used to the weight of the keys, coming from a Cherry Red board. The extra weight was truly wonderful to be honest, and I think the spring is one of the best parts of this switch.

Next up was to figure out how to use QMK. Luckily many guides exist thanks to the community and it was a breeze to adjust the layout a few times after a couple weeks to get something practical that matched the keycaps. Speaking of layouts, ortholinear boards arent that hard to get used to(at least its not split unless you want it to be), and the flexibility in altering sizes for modifier keys is also convenient. RShift+Enter for life! And escape on the home row is good too!

After 6 months with this board as my daily driver, I have noticed that it tends to randomly reset itself, I do not know if this is a problem with all QMK boards or if mine is just subpar QC, but it was annoying to have an unreliable keyboard to utilize in bios for things like overclocking and flashing updates, and the drivers not starting correctly can also lead to uncontrolled boot orders causing programs like RTX voice to crash Windows Explorer, making it require a restart to a properly useable screen with a taskbar. This made it so I had to employ a backup keyboard if I needed to do anything imperative in the bios. Another thing I noticed is that the key feel of the creams changed significantly after the first few months. The switches around the WASD cluster became almost as smooth as my Tartarus Pro, whereas the less used punctuation keys still feel close to the day I received the pack, very crispy, not as bad as cherry browns in their abhorrent rubbing, but not anywhere near as smooth as the well used keys.

Overall, it was a fun experience finding a custom board, tinkering with the layout like playdough(which is damn near impossible on any typical form factors) and making a work of art with the GMK Red Samurais. Sad that I couldn't get any number pad keys from that set, would have been better than the random jumble I made on the right side of my board with mismatched keycaps. I could have definitely adjusted the layout even more if I wanted, the extremely small footprint for a 75 key is almost a perfect macropad as well. And for that reason alone, I would say it's a solid buy. If you dont need a macro pad, for gaming it was quite comfortable to go between an ortho layout and a staggered layout on my laptop. It is kind of a cool way to ease yourself into something like an ergodox or kinesis if your into that. Out of all the boards I have tried, this one is a good choice, 7 out of 10, and it comes in pretty cheap for a 60% sized kit made with thick aluminum, but the complete lack of options for stabilized keys is a downside, and I would far rather have a bigger spacebar or an erase-ez backspace.
Title: Re: Idobao ID75 Review(With Novelkeys Creams)
Post by: Leslieann on Sat, 13 March 2021, 06:11:17
Does the reset happen when you first reach for the board on occasion?

That's the telltale sign of the case not being grounded, what's happening is static jumping from you to the case then to the PCB. A simple fix is tape a bit of bare wire to the housing and USB port housing, not perfect but a quick easy, non-permanent fix.
Title: Re: Idobao ID75 Review(With Novelkeys Creams)
Post by: blur410 on Sat, 13 March 2021, 06:21:26
Thanks for the help, but right now I'm not worried about it, and it only happened like once a week while I was daily driving it. I've been moving along since.
Title: Re: Idobao ID75 Review(With Novelkeys Creams)
Post by: Leslieann on Sat, 13 March 2021, 20:24:28
You should, this is precisely why you ground yourself when working on your computer.

The fact that it's resetting tells you it's messing with it, one real good zap could kill it, to say nothing of how much damage may have already occurred.
Title: Re: Idobao ID75 Review(With Novelkeys Creams)
Post by: blur410 on Sat, 08 May 2021, 09:59:53
Well thanks, I may simply just transplant the PCB to another case thats better grounded. Luckily it's 60% compatible.