Author Topic: HELP - Flat, tactile, compact kb with numpad (96%)(Suora,Alloy,Cherry/TTC Brown)  (Read 1278 times)

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Offline hutnik44

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Hi, Iím looking for some help with picking up mechanical keyboard.

Iím typing 90% of time, and gaming 10% of time. I want to have the same kb at home&work to get into good habits, considering muscle memory and so on.

First I will describe my story with keyboards.
- unknown crappy membrane at home in late 90s
- Logitech MK120 at work for ~ 4 years (some keycaps like z,x,a,s was completely faded, key pressure varied)
- Lenovo KB1021 at work for ~ 3 years (much better than MK120 but keys are mushy)
- Logitech K800 at home for ~ 1 year (quite nice actually, but one switch broke down, those delicate plastic in scissor-switch crashed and then I started looking for more reliable options, so I read about mechanical kb and my adventure begins)
- Roccat Ryos MK Cherry MX Black at home for  ~ 1 week (switches were to heavy, keyboard was too big, and generally kb was ugly designed imo)
- Cooler Master Storm QuickFire TK Cherry MX Red at home for ~ 1 week (switches were to light, I wasnít able to type without many typos, integrated arrow keys in numpad pissed me off in excel)
- Cooler Master Storm Trigger Z Cherry MX Brown at home for ~ 1,5 year (macros on left were inconvenient, I had problems with left ctrl/macro key, different kb at home and at work was a main reason for that, Lenovo KB1021 at work and Trigger Z at home)
- Roccat Suora TTC Brown that I bought for my son (I fell in love with solid aluminum, compact design, floating switches, flat design. I realised, that my Trigger Z was plastic crappy, too big, with some useless for me macro keys and that itís to tall, especially at front)
- HyperX Alloy FPS Cherry MX Brown the same at home&work (overall better designed than Suora, detachable cable, gilded cable end, better backlight options, more stable long keys like space and enter)

SWITCH PROBLEM
Now I have a problem. I like my HyperX Alloy very much, itís perfect except of switches (and that itís full size, see below). TTC Brown supposed to be crappy clones of Cherry MX Brown but I like how TTC Brown feels. Itís lighter and more smooth than Cherry. Maybe a little bit to smooth, but I enjoy typing on Suora better than on Alloy. I think holy ****, I prefer clones than original? What is wrong with me? Am my crazy? Another matter that TTC Browns have opinion in web, that theyíre unreliable, much less durable than original Cherry switches. Itís bothers me.

So Iím looking for:
- tactile switches similar to Cherry MX Brown but a little bit lighter and smoother (more similar to TTC Brown but a little bit less smooth) - maybe HX aqua?
- mainstream modern switches (no some crazy archaic alps/buckling springs or something that Chyrosan shows)

FLAT DESIGN VS. TKL/96% PROBLEM
Iím using a lot of excel at work. So I need numpad. But I want to have more ergonomic friendly workspace at work. I know, that full size keyboard itís not good, cause itís pushing your right hand to much to the right to use a mouse. Many times I move my kb here and there and canít rip position of kb with mouse and mouse pad. Itís driving me nuts.

What can I do with that. I could buy:
- kb with numpad on the left (but there are little choices on the market and itís looking crazy weird, moreover different hand operate on numpad)
- TKL + external numpad (that would be weird and it could be uncomfortable, moving in and out numpad every time You want to use it, I canít position external numpad at work permanently on my desk at work)
- 96% (best solution, but there are little choices on the market)

So there are some beautiful 96% keyboards like iQunix F96, BUT there are way TO TALL on front, and I like possibly FLAT (low height) keyboard (like Alloy, Suora).

SUMMARY, IíM LOOKING FOR KB:
- possibly flat design (like Suora, Alloy) - itís essential, Iíd rather have flat full size than bulky compact
- with a little bit more smooth Cherry MX Brown switch a like (but I can live with Cherry MX Brown eventually)
- 96% would be great, eventually only numpad without arrow keys, but integrated numpad is essential for excel
- mainstream kb, I donít want to make my own kb, Iím no-technic kind of guy, Iíd rather want to buy some finished product
- not crazy expensive, cause I have to buy 2 (one for home, one for office), it raises costs

HyperX Alloy FPS in 96% format and a little bit smoother brown switches would be perfect.

I would appreciate Your help.

Thanks in advance.

Offline Leslieann

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Get the idea of clones and them being bad out of your head.

The patent expired and once free to experiment other companies went and ran with it while Cherry sat stewing in the mess they made while sitting on their rear ends. Like many patent holders with a near monopoly they didn't have to compete, so they didn't. They sat around and hoovering money until it came crashing down around them. Stratasys did the same thing with 3d printing. Many of the new switches are flat out AMAZING.

I can't really help with the 96% keyboard itself, that's not my style and I'm not up on what's available, others will have far better recommendations there, though I will suggest maybe trying to find a new or used pair Roccats since you seem to like it. Another idea is get something cheap that is hot swap (beware they can be delicate) for home with a normal layout (check out GMMK) and just try some switches then find a 96% for work (assuming you mostly need 96% for work primarily). There's quite a lot of switches to try.

For the GMMK, it's very flat, too flat for me, but also extremely low profile with an aluminum top half (similar to the Roccat and Hyper X). It's not perfect (may want to check my review in the review section), but it is cheap and it will let you try some switches before deciding where to go from there. You can get it with Gaterons, with or without caps and even just a bare board where you add switches and caps (no solder needed as it's hot swap, they just press in). As for switches, I'd look at Gateron Brown before almost anything else, but also Zeal. Zeal may be a bit too tactile, but the Gaterons would probably be right up your alley as many consider them more smooth than Cherry, though Cherry did redo their molds so they're probably pretty similar, but if similar, get the cheaper.

Regarding the external numpad, you still have numbers on top for short use when it's not worth using the external. That may or may not work at work, but maybe it would for home use or maybe just be selective as to when it's worth using, or maybe try it on the left. You can pick up a numpad for cheap, maybe grab one just to see how it works on the left side before you make a decision.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline bananasplit_00

  • Posts: 110
  • Location: Sweden
Budget96 kits are still for sale iirc, flat, 96%, cheap and whatever switches you want but will need soldering and assembly.

Offline hutnik44

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 5
Thx for answers.

Ąthough I will suggest maybe trying to find a new or used pair Roccats since you seem to like it.Ē

Itís not a solution cause Suora is full size. Only thing that is better in Suora than in Alloy FPS itís switch itself (TTC Brown is more smooth than Cherry MX Brown). Alloy FPS has detachable cable, gilded cable end, better backlight options, more stable long keys like space and enter.

Btw Iím not sure but Suora is probably the only mainstream gaming kb with TTC switches. Itís puzzling.

As I said. I can leave with Cherry MX Brown eventually. More important of me is kb format to work more ergonomically.

GMMK looks nice, itís flat indeed. But itís full size or TKL. There is no option for compact kb with numpad. So itís not a solution.

Leopold FC980M looks nice but itís to bulky.

ďBudget96 kits are still for sale iirc, flat, 96%, cheap and whatever switches you want but will need soldering and assembly.Ē

As I said, soldering is really not for meÖ Iím looking for some finished product.

Why there are so little flat keyboards? I think itís better for wrist (when you arenít using keyboard tray). 99% mechanical keyboard are bulky as hell. I see it like this. Flat kb on the desk or bulky kb with soft wrist-rest in kb tray. And kb tray are being used only by office workers in combination with ****ty membrane. So why they make mechanical keyboards so bulky? I donít understand it.

I also donít understand why TKL are so popular nowadays. Probably 99% of gamers are using WSAD anyway, so arrow keys are useless. On the other hand arrow keys are useful in excel - but excel without numpad? Nonsense. So TKL are neither for gamers nor for excel users. I guess I'll have to wait for the trends to change, maybe 96% will become more popular someday.

Offline Leslieann

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As I said, soldering is really not for meÖ Iím looking for some finished product.
What you want isn't common,
You want a boutique size but you don't want to build it, that eliminates most options.


Why there are so little flat keyboards? I think itís better for wrist (when you arenít using keyboard tray). 99% mechanical keyboard are bulky as hell. I see it like this. Flat kb on the desk or bulky kb with soft wrist-rest in kb tray. And kb tray are being used only by office workers in combination with ****ty membrane. So why they make mechanical keyboards so bulky? I donít understand it.
Mechanical switches are self contained and about twice as large a mechanism as a membrane. Of course the keyboard is taller, it as to be to accommodate a taller mechanism.


I also donít understand why TKL are so popular nowadays. Probably 99% of gamers are using WSAD anyway, so arrow keys are useless. On the other hand arrow keys are useful in excel - but excel without numpad? Nonsense. So TKL are neither for gamers nor for excel users. I guess I'll have to wait for the trends to change, maybe 96% will become more popular someday.
TKL is popular because until very recently you only had full size, tkl or 60%.
Arrow keys are useless? Since when? Arrow keys are precisely why so many won't switch to 60%


96% is not likely to gain a major following, if ever.
The trend is toward smaller than TKL, not larger than TKL and it's not likely to change any time soon, there's too many benefits to smaller keyboards for right handed people. Most people once they go smaller don't go back more than a step to get a few necessary keys they miss.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline hutnik44

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  • Posts: 5
ďMechanical switches are self contained and about twice as large a mechanism as a membrane. Of course the keyboard is taller, it as to be to accommodate a taller mechanismĒ.

But majority of mechanical keyboards are taller than they have to be. You can have mechanical keyboard with standard (no low profile) switch that is no high-bulky - like aforementioned Suora and Alloy FPS. So there are no technical reasons that demands making mechanical kb so bulky. Itís only design matter.

There are some compact keyboards with numpad without arrows (or arrows are integrated in numpad). It could be solution for me but there are to bullky.

For example:
- MasterKeys Pro M (https://www.coolermaster.com/catalog/peripheral/keyboards/masterkeys-pro-m-rgb/)
- Quick Fire TK (https://www.coolermaster.com/catalog/peripheral/keyboards/quick-fire-tk/)

If those keyboards have flat design like Suora or Alloy FPS I would give a lot of money for that.

So Iím stuck with these two options:
- flat full size keyboard
- bulky compact keyboard

I have to choose which of those disadvantages are more annoying for me. Bulkiness or keyboard width.

Budget96 looks quite flat. Do You think that itís possible to buy somewhere already made kb on budget96 base?

Iím not sure if phantom96 is too bulky or not, I have to look for more precise photos.

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 616
  • Location: Asia
Sounds like your wants are an unusual mix. Most enthusiasts have little interest in low profile cases. Cases are taller than they strictly need to be. They're steeper than they need to be too, but when people want high cases with sharpish angles, that's what the market will sell.

If you really, really need a low profile, compact case with the numberpad, you're going to have to either compromise and solder (the suggestion already given seems a good one) or wait indefinitely.

Soldering is not hard. Soldering key switches one of the easiest soldering jobs I can think of. I'm probably going to teach an eight year old kid to do it when a kit comes in. A basic iron is ten dollars. Solder is maybe five dollars.
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 June 2020, 03:31:34 by jamster »

Offline jamster

  • Posts: 616
  • Location: Asia
Duplicate post
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 June 2020, 03:34:45 by jamster »

Offline Leslieann

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  • Posts: 2916
But majority of mechanical keyboards are taller than they have to be. You can have mechanical keyboard with standard (no low profile) switch that is no high-bulky - like aforementioned Suora and Alloy FPS. So there are no technical reasons that demands making mechanical kb so bulky. Itís only design matter.
Where are you measuring from, to where?

The keyboards you are talking about are known as low profile, they aren't actually any shorter from desk to keycap, the sides of the case just do not come up any higher than the plate to hide the switch tops. It's just an aesthetics/cost saving thing, it doesn't change the key height itself.

The front switch on my GMMK is just as high off the desk as my big thick Vortex Filco case which looks like a beast by comparison.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | HMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline hutnik44

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  • Posts: 5
ďWhere are you measuring from, to where?Ē

From top of left ctrl keycap to desk & from top of tilde to desk.

COMPARISON
up -> legs spread out;
down -> folded legs;
measurement in cm;
bracket -> difference, shows the angle of keycaps

HYPERX ALLOY FPS (up)
desk - ctrl 2,9
desk - tilde 4,0 (+1,1)

HYPERX ALLOY FPS (down)
desk - ctrl 3,0
desk - tilde 3,5 (+0,5)

ROCCAT SUORA (up)
desk - ctrl 2,9
desk - tilde 4,1 (+1,2)

ROCCAT SUORA (down)
desk - ctrl 2,8
desk - tilde 3,4 (+0,6)

MSI GK-701 (up)
desk - ctrl 3,4
desk - tilde 4,9 (+1,5)

MSI GK-701 (down)
desk - ctrl 3,2
desk - tilde 4,2 (+1,0)

CM Trigger Z (up)
desk - ctrl 3,3
desk - tilde 4,4 (+1,1)

CM Trigger Z (down)
desk - ctrl 3,2
desk - tilde 3,8 (+0,6)

CM QuickFire TK (up)
desk - ctrl 3,2
desk - tilde 4,8 (+1,6)

CM QuickFire TK (down)
desk - ctrl 3,0
desk - tilde 3,9 (+0,9)

Lenovo KB1021 - typical office membrane (up)
desk - ctrl 2,9
desk - tilde 4,1 (+1,2)

CLICK TO SEE HOW I'VE MEASURED
https://imgur.com/J3oTILj
https://imgur.com/AbWgi1Y
https://imgur.com/vZPoqyn
« Last Edit: Fri, 03 July 2020, 02:40:28 by hutnik44 »

Offline hutnik44

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  • Posts: 5
Iíve founded list of compact mechanical keyboard with numpads on reddit (https://tiny.pl/7cp88).

Unfortunately majority of them donít have a version with Browns.

Some of them have only Black switches which is quite strange cause Blacks imo are rather for games not for typing (unless someone has realy heavy hands).

1. Cooler Master QuickFire TK
- available with Cherry MX Brown, Blue or Red
- I had this kb on red, nice kb but to tall and red are awful to typing, maybe I will buy this kb on Brown and give her another chance (choosing compact layout over flatness)

2. Adesso mkb-125b
- only Cherry MX Blue
- could be hard to buy

3. Cherry G80-1800
- only Cherry MX Black?
- available to buy (https://tiny.pl/7clqd)
- doesnít look very beautiful
- Iíve read that there were some version of this kb with browns, G80-1838 (https://tiny.pl/7clqp), extremely rare

4. Morphling Plum 96
- only Cherry MX Black or Red?
- could be very hard to buy

5. SentrantPC Prototype TK78
- PCB to custom build

6. Thermaltake MEKA P/N: P/N:KB-MEK007US
(https://www.ttesports.com/productPage.aspx?p=19&g=ftr#.XvTcneqFdPY)
- only Cherry MX Black?
- doesnít look very tall at front

7. TX1800
- clone of Cherry G80-1800

From all these keyboards only Cooler Master QuickFire TK seems to have Browns (besides ultra rare G80-1838).

So It comes out that I must hunt for Cooler Master QuickFire TK on Browns.

EDIT:
Iíve bought CM QuickFire TK with Browns today for about 50$. I was lucky, these kb is hard to find. Now Iím waiting for delivery. I will share my impressions and give height dimensions.

8. Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M
(https://tiny.pl/7c2nv)
- refreshed version of QuickFire TK, the same cons and pros

9. IQUnix F96
- astonishing beauty with many sweet layouts but unfortunately quite tall

10. VORTEX Tab 90

11. VORTEX VIBe
- not very tall, could be interesting
« Last Edit: Mon, 29 June 2020, 02:16:19 by hutnik44 »