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Ellipse's New Model F62 Review


After about 2 months with my New Model F62 keyboard, I figured it is time to deliver an opinion on the overall experience of both purchasing, anxiously waiting, acquiring, and messing around with it.

So I was pretty late to the game in finding any Model F keyboard, period. NIB was pretty much out of the question, and even XT layout boards were 200 dollars in random condition when they were posted. So as I was fantasizing about getting one, I rewatched Chyros's video on his Model F collection and saw the mildly shady website that was the new model f project. So, I of course checked into things to see if the project was legit on at least some level. I saw about a dozen or so miscellaneous videos featuring the new keyboards and was convinced enough that these keyboards exist. And then I found geekhack in my research to discover just how rare the 4704 keyboards really were, meaning this sudden burst was at least caused by something. Connecting the dots meant that this site had to be legit. So now was the time to decide if paying 389+ dollars for a board was justifiable. I had a lot of money I wasn't actively using at the time after taxes and the look of a kishsaver was just too hard to pass up, such a pretty board. I ended up trying to go as standard as possible in order to simplify my order for speed and paid for the rush fee not only once, but I also paid for B-stock keys to ship early because honestly I wanted to try this keyboard within this lifetime. After a record speed for a group buy order that has never been matched, Ellipse delivered in just 21 days from ordering to arrival.

As I got my keyboard in hand, the heft wasn't immediately apparent due to the large package. The weight seemed pretty spread out and looking at the parcels weight at almost 10 pounds meant that the repair kit I bought weighed almost as much as the keyboard. Boy, was I surprised when I flopped out the foam on my desk. Almost no weight came from anything but the behemoth of a keyboard. Another thing surprised me as well, the only key attached to my board was my spacebar. I watched a couple videos on seating caps and began the slow process. I got a little overtly excited when in the keycap bag I found a black stabilizer and proceeded to insert it the same way the other stabilizers were inserted, taking a lot more effort than the others, so I pulled out and tried again, with much more force. Suddenly the keycap gave way and stuck forcibly down, taking significant strength to pull the keycap back up. and to my surprise, the black insert remained, wholly embedded in this barrel. I figured the first time the keycap stuck down it was just the force of a new insertion, and to my surprise, the cap stuck forcibly down again. This is when I realized I was in a pickle, grabbed a drill and carefully attempted to bore out the insert. I thankfully chickened out about midway through thinking it was a dumb idea, then I looked online to figure out the problem. Turns out the inserts were meant for vertical keys like the iso enter and numpad enter. Sadly I couldn't attempt the fix demonstrated online because I had already bored out the upper portion and believed I couldn't get enough grip to pull it out. And so it sits to this day, taking up a unit of key real estate. There really should have been a bold warning on the manual to warn idiots like me monkeying things into sockets from making this mistake, for which sadly the manual is in an ever fluctuating state.

Ellipse's support through a large barrage of my questions keeps me very thankful and that alone justified the high price I paid for the board over any random 200 dollar GB. I don't think there was a single email I sent that he didn't reply to. So my first goal was to set up QMK, which at this point I haven't done for over 6 months. I looked bleakly at the large manual document to find the exact route to take for programming the board with custom firmware. After off and on debating on risking flashing the wrong firmware on my board with the incorrect assumption I'd brick my board if I was wrong, I decided to yolo for the most likely pathway in the custom instance of QMK. For my board it was the wcass model F62, which was not immediately clear to me(should be written somewhere on either the back of the keyboard sticker or on the controller PCB), and that the exact layout(as far as standard/split keys/all) didn't really matter.

Meanwhile, I endured the rattliest, most unholy spacebar and sticky stabilized keys(a consequence of rod stabs) to major dismay, as much of the rest of the keyboard was sublime. As my first buckling spring keyboard ever having hysteresis was quite strange but after a while I liked it more and more, and the joyous noise of all the keys(except spacebar) was truly satisfying after a break in period. The true advantage of the rod stabilizers is the infinitely adjustable ergonomic layouts that can be applied, especially due to the curved assembly and uniprofile keycaps. Modifiers can be swapped around nearly at will, for instance having the tab key on the bottom row? Got it. Escape key second row? No problem. Unified tap and hold backspace/control on the second row? Of course. Having settled on the perfect ergonomic layout like this is a dream, I am glad I never tried to mold a mainifold or ergodox to my hand which would be the same price.

All in all, these crisp, tactile, clicks are close to unbeatable in their category. Anyone who appreciates the look and build quality will not be disappointed. One thing to note is that the case paint is a bit fragile and I have already scratched it a couple times bumping it against mere aluminum. If the keyboard was a little less fragile for it's weight, I would easily give it a 10/10, but due to the spacebar and fragility of the case I would say it's a solid 9/10.

Thanks for your review blur410! 

Please do take a look at the manual on the project web site as I think that some of what you mentioned has been addressed there, including ways to remove the stabilizer insert and ways to mod the sound of the space bar.

Also feel free to check out the manual's section on Via, the new firmware that allows offline GUI based configuration of the keyboard.


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