Author Topic: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar  (Read 1064 times)

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Offline didjamatic

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Hey kids, just checking in to see what your thoughts are on the best currently available full-size 101-104 key in cherry browns or other non-clicky switch around 45g range. 


« Last Edit: Fri, 10 September 2021, 13:55:40 by didjamatic »
IBM F :: IBM M :: Northgate :: Cherry G80 :: Realforce :: DAS 4

Offline Chalkboard

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 10 September 2021, 14:06:53 »
iKBC makes the MF108, which is a full size CNC aluminum keyboard available with Cherry MX brown switches. All things considered, it's not a bad deal at all for the asking price.

If we are referring to keyboards that are commercial off the shelf and currently in production, my favorite is the Cloudnine C989m. It's split with a small amount of integrated tenting, integrated palm wrests, a rotary encoder, and passable customization software. I actually prefer the customization software to most others including QMK, but hey I prefer GUI tools versus having to write "code" to program macros. It also has an extra two columns of macro keys on the left, so I guess you could call it an ergonomic battlecruiser. The downside is that it is all plastic.
« Last Edit: Fri, 10 September 2021, 14:08:36 by Chalkboard »

Offline didjamatic

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 10 September 2021, 14:46:36 »
Thanks for the recommendations Chalk.  That Cloudnine looks awesome but I'm committed to straight keyboards because it's too hard to switch to other people's computers once you get used to ergonomic.

The iKBC looks interesting and the 5lbs of aluminum alone... I'm going to give it a shot. I'm hoping I can disable the LEDs because I don't want lights and I always swap caps to blank PBTs.

« Last Edit: Sat, 11 September 2021, 09:51:07 by didjamatic »
IBM F :: IBM M :: Northgate :: Cherry G80 :: Realforce :: DAS 4

Offline Riverman

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 11 September 2021, 00:59:04 »
You should also look at Leopold.  They're extremely nice, and pretty reasonably priced from Mechanicalkeyboards.com.  Ebay sellers typically want insane amounts of money for them.  Varmilo keyboards are also very good, if you can stand their fake wood grain case, and the newest Ducky keyboards, like the One 2, are also good.  All three of those brands also come with PBT keycaps (doubleshot from Ducky and Leopold, dye sub from Varmilo).  Have you looked at Topre?  If you can stomach the cost, and want a very tactile keyboard, they're quite a bit more refined than any MX brown keyboard.

Offline didjamatic

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 11 September 2021, 09:09:00 »
I've owned many Topre keyboards and love them.  The 2 fastest I've ever typed on were a Topre 87u and an IBM Model F PC AT.  In the past they only offered the 101's in variable and for some reason, the pinky keys on the 101's were much lighter than the pinkies on the variable 87u's.  They did not offer an all 45g option in the 101, but apparently they do now. I really prefer blank key caps and no one makes them for a full sized realforce 101.

101's in all 45g - very tempting.  I wish they still had the older, more organic case shape and the dip switch to remap caps lock to ctrl.  That's the first thing I do on a new computer is remap that key in the registry, but I like the concept of dip switches to do it as you see on the old Realforce boards and old Northgates did it as well.
https://www.realforce.co.jp/en/products/R2SA-US4-IV/   
https://www.realforce.co.jp/en/products/R2SA-US4-BK/
Realforce site shows the 87u discontinued.  https://www.realforce.co.jp/en/products/87U_SE07T0/ 





I'm digging the Leopold vintage color schemes - one is very IBM and the other a tribute to the old Dolch PAC60 keyboard.  When I was in the height of my keyboard mania I had at least 6 Dolches at one point in my garage, lol.  I will never confess how many IBM's I had :)
https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=3563
https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=5654




Varmilo looks cool but I don't see it as an upgrade over the DAS 4's that I've been using.

Thanks for the info River.
« Last Edit: Sat, 11 September 2021, 09:30:50 by didjamatic »
IBM F :: IBM M :: Northgate :: Cherry G80 :: Realforce :: DAS 4

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 11 September 2021, 10:16:09 »
Leopolds tend to be very solid. But you have to watch out for their stabilizer inserts - they can too easily detach if you are pulling keycaps off a stubborn switch. Leopold should be using standard Cherry-sized inserts, but they're not.

The other issue I have with Leopolds, in my limited experience (only 2), is that the MX Browns on my 2019 were pretty mediocre.

Ducky, especially the One Two or Shine 7, I think, were using the Hyperglide Browns new when they came out, which were pretty good in feel. [But may have interference with GMK keycaps due to a mold sizing issue]. I think Ducky is built worse than Leopold, but sometimes they do pick better MX Browns than Leopold.

Varmilo is nicer in feel than Ducky or dare-I-say even Leopold. Stabilizers are often lubed better than competitors. Nice features [except the stupid wood-grain case, which is why I didn't buy the full-size]. Problem is, their internals are less-elegant than Leopold, and it may be more difficult to mess around with. Their parts will likely break down before the Leopold does, as well. From PCB to stabilizers.

Offline didjamatic

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 11 September 2021, 12:13:54 »
The other issue I have with Leopolds, in my limited experience (only 2), is that the MX Browns on my 2019 were pretty mediocre.

I wonder if Cherry had a bad batch around that time.  I have 2 DAS 4 professionals that I bought at the same time, both have cherry browns and they feel absolutely nothing alike.  Similar resistance but one feels more dead and the other has a very "alive" rebound without being hard to press.

Good info on the others.  I can't tell you how hard I am on keyboards because I am on them typing literally 16 hours per day most days.  Durability is huge for me.

I think I'm going to pick up one of the iKBC MF108's.
« Last Edit: Thu, 16 September 2021, 08:14:39 by didjamatic »
IBM F :: IBM M :: Northgate :: Cherry G80 :: Realforce :: DAS 4

Offline didjamatic

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 16 September 2021, 08:14:17 »
Well, the iKBC MF108 is definitely not going to work.  I found out you can't disable the LEDs.  What a horrible limitation.

Looking back to trusted Filco and considering trying Topre again.  Pretty disappointing at the lack of mechanical keyboards that are purely aimed at the typing experience.
IBM F :: IBM M :: Northgate :: Cherry G80 :: Realforce :: DAS 4

Offline N8N

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 16 September 2021, 09:06:04 »
I was going to say GMMK barebones with Boba U4s and keycaps to taste.  I LOVE this board so much and so do my coworkers as it is quiet.  However, it just burped on me this morning...  see other thread
Filco Majestouch-2 with Cherry Corp. doubleshot keys - Leopold Tenkeyless Tactile Force with Wyse doubleshots - Silicon Graphics 9500900 - WASD V1 - IBM Model M 52G9658 - Noppoo Choc Pro with Cherry lasered PBT keycaps - Wyse 900866-01 - Cherry G80-8200LPBUS/07 - Dell AT101W - several Cherry G81s (future doubleshot donors) (order of current preference) (dang I have too many keyboards, I really only need two)

Offline timw4mail

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 16 September 2021, 09:28:31 »
So, for an inexpensive option (~$50), with brown-like switches, there's the Redragon Devarajas K556. The backlight can easily be disabled by pressing Fn + arrow down a few times. It even kept the setting when I moved the board to a different computer.

It's also surprisingly hefty.

Edit:
According to Redragon on Amazon, the switches are Outemu. These switches have [ + ] shape stems.
« Last Edit: Thu, 16 September 2021, 10:24:46 by timw4mail »
Buckling Springs IBM Model F AT, New Model F 77, Unicomp New Model M
Clicky iOne Scorpius M10, OCN-branded Ducky DK-9008-C, Blackmore Nocturna, Redragon Kumara K552-1, Qtronix Scorpius Keypad, Chicony KB-5181(Monterey)
Tactile Apple AEKII (Cream damped ALPS), Filco FKBN91M/JB (Japanese Tenkeyless), Cherry G84-5200, Cherry G84-4100LPAUS, Datalux Spacesaver(Cherry ML), Redragon Devarajas K556 RGB, Newmen GM711, Poker II (Cherry MX Clear), Logitech G910 Orion Spark, Logitech K840
Linear Lenovo Y (Gateron Red), Aluminum kiosk keyboard (Cherry MX Black)

Offline uncleaner

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 16 September 2021, 18:38:25 »
Well, the iKBC MF108 is definitely not going to work.  I found out you can't disable the LEDs.  What a horrible limitation.
You can absolutely disable the LEDs, unless you're talking about the status lights or something.
I've had that board with browns though and hated it, the case does them no favors and makes them feel and sound really dead and scratchy. It might be okay with modding, but the case design makes it difficult to burger mount and there's about 1mm of space under the pcb which doesn't help things.
At any rate I really preferred my old Das 4 and Filco to it.

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Best full sized mechanical keyboard in 2021 - Cherry brown or similar
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 16 September 2021, 21:11:39 »
If I was buying a full-size with MX Browns for myself, I would probably go with a modern Ducky, like the One Two or Shine 7.

Especially if it has HyperGlide Browns, which seem to shine in the Ducky. [It is sometimes indicated in a label on the box.] If you ask mechanicalkeyboards.com, they sometimes can tell you if it has Hyperglides.

Only downside is, the HyperGlide molds are worn now, so unless it is older stock, it might not be as good as the 2019/2020 Hyperglides.

Another option is to get a decent hotswap board like the Archon AK89. It has crap stabilizers, but you can replace them. The nice thing about it is that it is pretty dampened for a factory board, so you get less ping and a more muffled sound for office typing. [This works better with silenced switches than Browns]. I tried Hyperglides in it with GMK and it was a good typing experience.

But hotswap keyboards may not be durable enough for 16/hr day typing. I am typing on a Filco Majestouch 2 with MX Browns from about 2016 or so. It has survived bad maintenance and many, many keycap changes. I am using DCS profile keycaps. I find that thick, low-profile ABS keycaps are best for MX Browns. So if you do get a Ducky, or even a Filco, I recommend any DCS or, failing that, GMK.