Author Topic: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)  (Read 3087 times)

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Offline nemui

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I recently bought a SmartYao split keyboard and wanted to share with my fellow geeks some photos and personal thoughts about it. For some background, this is a split keyboard that was previously discussed about in this thread here. I haven't seen anyone mention it again since then, so hopefully someone will find this quick review useful!

SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI)
Manufacturer website
Taobao product page
Options available:
Chassis: Black / White
Switches: Cherry Red / Black or Gateron Red
Keycaps: Laser engraved PBT, side-printed
For reference, I took the black chassis and Cherry Black switches.

Some features of the keyboard:
1) Split keyboard
2) Staggered layout
3) All keys fully programmable (manufacturer provides custom program to configure keys on their website)
4) Function key row
5) Compact (touted as 70% keyboard)
6) Tentable? (I've not tried this out yet)

Here's a picture of a spec sheet pasted below the left board.
169845-0

A closer look at the board. The keys look like blank caps, but they're actually side printed.
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Even closer look at the boards.
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Size comparison with an Ergodox EZ. Lengthwise they're about the same. The SmartYao is slightly slimmer in width.
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Comes with a few extra keycaps, a key puller, and some tenting screws I think?
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The program provided by the manufacturer for configuring the keys is quite sophisticated. I know it doesn't look like that in this screencap, but it's because I took it from the Windows XP version, which is only available in Chinese. For Windows 7/8/10, the manufacturer has kindly provided an English version of the program.
169857-6

I think the staggered layout makes it quite accessible to those who are used to a regular keyboard but are wanting to transition to a split keyboard for ergonomical purposes.

The boards are plenty sturdy and very well-built in my opinion. There are USB ports on both the left and right boards so you can choose which side you want to plug into the PC with (helps a lot with positioning especially if your desktop is on a certain side).

Unlike other split keyboards I've used, SmartYao uses miniBB to connect both sides of the keyboard to each other instead of audio jacks. Seems to stabilize the connection, but I wouldn't know for sure until I use it for a longer period of time.

I think this keyboard would make for a good portable board as well. They're packed very well in compact boxes, which can be reused without much fuss. Here's a picture of the boxes and its relative size compared to a human hand.
169859-7
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So yeah, it's definitely a board to consider for the budget conscious looking to try out a split board before taking the jump into an Ergodox or something along that line.

For reference it cost me around US$90 including shipping to Singapore, and it took less than one week to arrive from the day of purchase.

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the board! :)

Offline mrduul

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 02 June 2017, 12:28:53 »
Really nice board. Would love to try ergo split board sometime soon.
 
 
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Offline nemui

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 02 June 2017, 19:34:38 »
Really nice board. Would love to try ergo split board sometime soon.
You won't regret it! :D

are those m3 screws ?
Yes, they are!

Offline earplugs

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 08 June 2017, 01:43:13 »
It's almost been a week since you first got it. How are you liking it so far? Also, how come you didn't get the linear version? oops, you covered that in the original post.

How do you like it compared to the Matias ergo pro? Have you encountered any issues with the Smartyao?
« Last Edit: Fri, 09 June 2017, 02:11:19 by earplugs »

Offline nemui

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 09 June 2017, 03:54:31 »
It's almost been a week since you first got it. How are you liking it so far? Also, how come you didn't get the linear version? oops, you covered that in the original post.

How do you like it compared to the Matias ergo pro? Have you encountered any issues with the Smartyao?

Hi, earplugs, thanks for the great questions!

About the linear version, I actually had my eye on it, but the product page touts it as a one-handed keyboard, so I wasn't sure if I could simply buy two of the boards and mash them together to make a split keyboard (since the keys are fully programmable). I may ask the seller about this and depending on the answer, may get that board next...

As for the SmartYao, I really, really enjoy typing on it. The build quality is super sturdy, and I have had no issues with it at all. The main problem I had with my Ergo Pro (before it died) was that the left board had problems recognising keypresses to a competent degree. Sometimes it wouldn't register the press, other times it registered as much as three to five presses! And then there was the phantom key problem, where occasionally it would insert a character I hadn't pressed. The SmartYao has had no such problems so far.

I also love the ability to reprogram the keys on the fly, no reboot required unlike the Ergodox EZ for example. Just configure, save, and the keyboard is ready with the new layout. The company does recommend unplugging and plugging the keyboard in again, but so far I've managed just fine without having to do that.

In comparison with the Ergo Pro, I have to say I very much prefer the Matias linear switches to the Cherry Blacks on this board, but that's not the fault of the SmartYao keyboard makers. There's also a Cherry (or Gateron) Red version which I probably should have gone for, coming right off a 30cN keyboard LOL.

Also, the keycaps for this board have rather angular edges, so they may cut into your fingers after some heavy duty typing! Fortunately, the keycaps are replaceable.

All in all, I do highly recommend this board for the budget and ergo-conscious!

I hope I answered your question! :)

Offline earplugs

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 09 June 2017, 14:09:32 »
 :thumb:

Thank you! That was very helpful.

Yes the linear version can be used as one handed or as a split keyboard. I read a couple threads on other sites, and they had pics of using it as a split.

It seems like many people experienced similar issues on the Ergo Pro. Quite unfortunate because it looks like a really nice keyboard.

That's convenient and useful to know that no reboot is necessary. It must be fun playing around with different layouts!

My preference for ergonomics is linear, low actuation force because it provides the least resistance. Reds are my favorite switch type atm. Still have yet to try gateron clears, but I think I would like them.

Offline nemui

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 09 June 2017, 20:55:58 »
Wow, thanks for letting me know about the linear keyboard! I'm definitely setting that as my next goal then!!

Also, if you like linear and low actuation force boards, the Matias Ergo Pro would be a great pick. Mine was the low force edition, actuation is just 30cN compared to the 45 cN Reds. I've heard that the newer batches are much more reliable with the keypress thing, but I can't be completely sure. Perhaps someone from the Matias subforum with one of the latest models may be able to help you out with that?

Offline earplugs

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 09 June 2017, 22:11:10 »
I'm most likely not going to get the Ergo Pro because it is not linear.
However, I already ordered the LY092-SN. I can't wait to try it out!

Offline nemui

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Re: SmartYao Split Keyboard (LY092-MINI) Quick Review (with photos!)
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 13 June 2017, 02:24:30 »
I'm most likely not going to get the Ergo Pro because it is not linear.
However, I already ordered the LY092-SN. I can't wait to try it out!

I think you'll love your SmartYao! Don't forget to share with us what you think about it too! :D