Author Topic: Keyboard review: Mech27-TKLv2  (Read 3121 times)

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Offline tex_live_utility

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Keyboard review: Mech27-TKLv2
« on: Fri, 13 March 2020, 19:45:36 »
Mech27-TKLv2

Hello, Geekhack! I'm back with another review, but this time it's a keyboard.

Please do comment to share your own experiences with and opinions of this keyboard. Do you like how it looks? Do you like how it sounds? How would you rate it? Are you still waiting for yours to ship?

Keyboard specs

  • Form factor: TKL
  • Layouts supported:
    • Fixed 7u winkeyless bottom row
    • Optional stepped capslock
    • Optional ISO
    • Optional split backspace
    • Optional split right shift
  • Case material: 6061 aluminum
  • Typing angle: 8 (?) degrees
  • Front height: approx 20mm
  • Plate mounting style: top


Build specs

  • Aluminum plate
  • Durock Alpaca switches
  • TX switch films
  • Medium coat of Tribosys 3204 on slider
  • TX 60g springs
  • Tested with EnjoyPBT, GMK, and Keyreative ABS keycaps

Purchased for $400 shipped, including:
  • Pink anodized aluminum plate
  • Uncoated brushed brass plate, heavily tarnished
  • Leeku 87 PCB, desoldered
  • H87a PCB, desoldered

Background

Frankly I don't know much about the keyboard hobby in this era. When the v1 of this keyboard was produced, custom TKL boards were scarce and expensive in the Western market. By the time the v2 group buy started, several famous boards like the Mira SE and TGR Jane had come into existence.

Unfortunately the group buy for this board was a disaster. I will defer to Midori to explain what happened:

Quote
v1 was made in China, quality was debatable so 27 decided to move production of the v2s to Canadia. Gb went to ****

As of this writing (March 2020), less than half of GB participants have received their keyboards.

Aesthetics

The top of the case is anodized a matte silver or light gray that is very smooth to the touch. The two halves are very poorly matched, and the anodizing on the bottom has a more grainy appearance. Fortunately the good half is on top, so I don't really care about the bad matching and inconsistent texture.



The side profile has attractively aggressive lines, with a respectably tight seam:



The top bezel is balanced, without excessive gaps around the keycaps:



The rear profile is blocky due to the wedge design of the case. The USB cutout is well fitted.

The bottom has a maple leaf engraved in it:



Construction

This keyboard has the standard top-mount 2-piece design, made of anodized 6061 aluminum. It accommodates the standard A.87 PCB, with a right-side USB port. The bottom piece is a solid aluminum wedge, while there is no angle built into the top piece.

The plate is a standard design shared with the TGR Jane (v1), Duck Orion, Mira SE, and Moon keyboards:



Note the extra-wide mounting tabs on the bottom near the spacebar. The mounting tabs on the top are evenly-spaced.

The original plates came with large horizontal cuts between the function and number rows, and horizontal cuts around the spacebar. There are also circular cuts in the gaps between keys in the F row.

There is a small amount of clearance around the plate, meaning that you need to visually check alignment before screwing the plate down tightly.

The case halves themselves have holes for alignment pins, but these pins were missing when I bought my board. The original owner says they never had any, so it's possible that the pins were never manufactured. As such, you also ned to visually check for alignment between the case halves before screwing it together tightly.

The case is held together by 8 screws, evenly spaced across the front and back. This provides enough clamping force to prevent the case halves rattling against each other.

The screw holes are clean, with good quality screws. The same M3 (?) screws are used for both the case and plate.



Typing feel

The overall impression is firm, but with a little springiness or bounciness on the alphas. This bouncy feeling increases slightly when moving from the lower to upper rows. Otherwise the feel is very consistent across the keyboard.

The spacebar is fairly rigid due to the wide mounting tabs nearby, but not excessively harsh.

There is notable vibration transfer across the plate when hitting some keys, especially the spacebar and backspace, or when bottoming out hard on the alphas. Coupled with the firm bottom out, this keyboard can be somewhat jarring to use, depending on your switch choice and typing posture. I found that this keyboard was most enjoyable when holding my hand "flat", rather than a more piano-like position, with a palm rest that sits flush with the front of the keyboard.

Sound

The Mech27-TKLv2 is bassy, resonant, and somewhat loud. This sound works well with the Durock Alpaca switches, which themselves are bassy, resonant, and loud when filmed, even with thick lube.

Due to the cuts in the plate, the number and F rows are especially deep sounding, and the pitch decreases as you move from the lower to upper rows. The navigation keys on the right side have a more focused sound. The backspace is especially "woody" sounding, and the spacebar has a satisfying "plunk" sound, like a rock dropping into a pond.

EnjoyPBT keycaps enhanced the bassy, throaty sound even further. GMK adds some extra clack on top, but doesn't diminish the overall effect. Keyreative ABS is somewhere in the middle.

Typing test here: https://mega.nz/#!Jg4xjAqL!Yp_BcZAN_cYRlnsNrYRtpewHP-M1q83RdokHZilQ5y8 (todo: better quality recording)

Overall

Overall rating: 3/5

The main selling point of the Mech27 v2 is that its flaws are minor. It's far from a standout among the many high-end custom TKLs on the market right now, but it's not a bad keyboard by any means.

Note that this is technically an incomplete group buy, and these boards can be difficult to find on the market, even if they aren't expensive. The runner/designer, with the nickname 27, claims that he needs more money to ship out finished keyboard, but allegedly has turned down requests by GB participants to pay extra for shipping. As of right now,

The relatively high vibration transfer combined with the stiff spacebar makes the board feel less premium and comfortable than some higher-end TKLs. Also the two-tone anodizing is disappointing. Nevertheless, it's still a solid, well-built top mount keyboard.

A lot of people will appreciate the resonant bassy sound. If you wanted, the volume level could probably be reduced with some sorbothane or shelf liner inside the case.

This keyboard is not a "must try" or "must buy" for an experienced collector. But if you're looking for your first custom TKL and you see one of these for sale, it's a good place to start, considering they typically sell for close to (or below) group buy price.

2020, CC BY-SA 4.0
« Last Edit: Thu, 02 April 2020, 10:56:32 by tex_live_utility »
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