Author Topic: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!  (Read 1703 times)

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Offline beko1987

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Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« on: Thu, 09 November 2017, 05:08:59 »

My name is Sam, and I want to get away from laptop chiclet keyboards at work!

I've been reading these forums for a while now, and whilst 96% of what is discussed goes right over my head (and wallet), I feel I need to take the big brave step to the next level!

I want a new keyboard for work. I work in an office as a software tester, so do alot of typing. My keyboard history so far has been rubber dome, although I have had a fw model M's in the dim and distant past (I used to live, when at my mums next to the big office park I currently work at, and used to go skip diving alot, and have had a fair few M's, which all got used, then disgarded, which makes me cry inside a bit now!). However, not having used one in anger makes me hesitant to shell out the money they go for in the UK just to try one.

What's my recent keyboard history?

Our office is fleeted out with these things

I did a year with one before hating every second of it, and bought one of these

Which was actually lovely, and I did enjoy using it. However I moved from having a desk to having a laptop and working wherever I was needed during the project I was on, so they keyboard got taken home and forgotten about a bit. I have had it out recently, and wrote a long how to post for my main hobby (a few tens of thousands of words) and TBH I don't like it anymore. The key travel is massive and the keys feel huge. The lettering on mine is worn off many keys totally, others are smooth and it just looks a state. So that's out!

For the past 4 years, I've used my laptop keyboard on my HP Probook, which TBH I did start liking, and got on well with, but it looks a bit of a state now

Plus it hurt my fingers after a while.

I am due new hardware soon, so my creaky old (well, it would be utterly fine if it wasnt for the horrible company ISO it's loaded with) laptop will be going. So I decided to have another go at a proper keyboard since I'm desk based again! The laptop went up on a stand, and I got given 2 1990's IBM keyboards from someone from a car forum  frequent!

One is an IBM kb-7993 with wrist rest. Lots of cool buttons, but none that work with Windows 7 (or windws 10), and no way around that. Plus it's huge!

The other is an IBM KB-9910, which I am currently using and typing this on now. I even cleaned it up

It's nice, but I've found the keys take a fair bit of pressure to push, resulting in my typing getting noticably heavier. Plus the spacebar wobbles and clacks as I push it on the LH side with my thumb, I'm not a touch typist, one of those people that uses 7 fingers very fast...

So why am I here? Well I've been googling really, lots of googling, and I want to try a mechanical keyboard. I'm not a gamer, 0 gaming done here or at home, this board will be used for typing/looking cool/showing off! I've already had people come over to my IBM and exclaim how retro it looks, and type on the keys and go 'wow, that's loud', so that's the caliber of my colleagues, bar the bloke who sits next to me who thinks it's a good idea!

What have I found so far?

Well, Corsair K70 is interesting me, especially the RGB one but TBH that's not needed, but I'd happily rock one if it came to it! It has a built in wrist rest too. Cherry Blue's in that apparently.

Logitech G19's are very cheap, and I could have email notifications come up on the screen for when I'm immersed, and even see if I can hook it into Jira or Basecamp or similar (no need to show system stats here!) It's not mechanical though.

There's a Razer BlackWidow on ebay for 29 atm

A Dell AT102W currently at 29, but imagine that will shoot up with 3 days left

Something called a Fnactic Gear Rush Pro with cherry reds


So, (I'm rambling now), anyone got any suggestions for a nice, good to type on mechanical board? Won't be buying it until next month (will have cleared my credit card down alot so will be a crimbo pressie to myself that 'er indoors won't know about) so plenty of time!

Or, is there anything to avoid?



Offline Mechboards

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 09 November 2017, 05:28:48 »
Welcome! We're from the UK too :) I won't offer suggestions besides steering clear of the Blackwidow if other keyboards catch your eye.

Offline 0ff1c1al

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 09 November 2017, 15:58:14 »
Hey UK Chap.

I'm still kinda new to the mechanical keyboard world myself, but I did spend about 2.5 months reading about switches, cases, plates, pcbs, etc before I got a keyboard that wasn't a gaming company keyboard.

For my own personal experience, I started with two Corsair keyboards. Both of them were K70s, one with RGB leds and the other with Red LEDs. I liked both keyboards for the most part, but one thing I did start to dislike was the sound when typing on them. Because of them using MX Cherry Red switches, the keys bottomed out when I typed (I am a heavy typist) and would make a metallic pinging noise. I used one at work and the other at home, so when I was at work, I would always worry about making too much noise from that.  And since I work on the phone, I would occasionally get a customer make a joke about how fast I was typing.

My second keyboard I used at home was a Razer Blackwidow Chroma. They use their own version of the Cherry switches and that one has one that is similar to the MX Blues. It's an okay board, but the software is clunky and somewhat temperamental. If I had known better, I could have gotten a better keyboard for less. My main two issues is that the keyboard collects dust like no other and after a while, the font on the board gets tiring since it's a gaming font with the unnecessary edginess that some gaming companies like to use.

My third keyboard is the IKBC Poker 2. It's a 60% keyboard that uses Cherry MX brown switches. They are quieter than the other two keyboards I have and have a nice tactile bump while typing. While the Razer techincally has the tactile feel, it's overshadowed by the loud click. I love using that keyboard as it's small and gives me the most desk space available, and feels really nice to type on. Since it's so small, I bring it with me to work and some of my co-workers noticed that they couldn't hear me type anymore.

The fourth keyboard I got (last week) is the Vortex Core which is a 40% keyboard and has MX Cherry Clear switches. I am loving this keyboard as it's really small and super portable and makes the least ammount of noise while typing due to how much force you need to put on the key to type (about 80G iifc). The biggest downside to this keyboard is the layout changes that you would have to relearn. Because it's 40% most of the keys are now under a FN, FN1, or FN1+Shift combo to get to.

As a recommendation, I would avoid the gaming brands. They look nice at first, but they loose their appeal pretty quickly (at least to me). If you have the time to make a proper decision, I would reccomend getting a switch tester and trying out a few switches so you can get an idea of what you would want. In terms of size, if you don't need the 10-key, go for a 75% board as a starter since they can be a bit cheaper and give you a better idea of what you might be looking for in a keyboard. If you like the classic boards though, then I can't personally make a good recommendation though.

Happy hunting.

Offline beko1987

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 04:46:23 »
Great insight 0ff1c1al! Certainly food for thought!

I have been looking at 60% boards. I do use the num pad ALOT (heavy excel work here and there) but there's no reason why I can't use a seperate num pad. I have an ancient chiclet one that came with a 3 laptop I got at a car boot sale years ago, or cheapo chinese 'mechanical' ones are 20 on the bay, so that's certainly a plan.

I've also been looking at exactly the same boards as you, in the Corsair K70 in various flavours! Mainly because their cheaper than others, probably, as you say because their more mainstream! And your experiences have confirmed to me why I want to try a 'cheap' second hand board maye first just to test the theory before maybe buying a proper one. But then I'll waste more money doing that than just buying one outright!

In terms of switches, from the reading I have been doing I need either Cherry Blue or Brown. Noise isn't so much of an issue I don't think as this IBM board is quite loud, and I sit in a corner of the office away form the people who usually moan, so noise isn't high on my list, but then again I don't want to be sat here with a 200 board and be told to get rid of it!

It's a shame I've got no money at the moment as there's a few cheap boards I could try. Will bite my wallet though and wait until next month and see.

Been having very naughty thoughts about a Ducky One TKL RGB, but it's alot of money to spend and not like it!

I also need a wrist rest I think. I spent yesterday with the one taken off the IBM to try it, and it hurt after a while! But I can start a seperate thread about 'what wrist rest' if needed when the time comes.

Back to the search!

Offline jhonessteve

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 05:15:10 »
Yes, I am looking for this, Thank you so much you have suggest me this one here.

Offline AMongoose

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 08:07:32 »
I don't think you are considering the noise problem to it's full extent, any mechanical keyboard will be louder than a rubber dome and blues actually make "artificial" clicky noises IN ADDITION to the key clacking. While that is satisfying to some, almost everyone hates hearing it when he is not the one doing it.

I would advise to stay clear from corsair boards just because their keycaps are somewhat iffy and not easily replaceable.

It would be best to try some switches at a store first and figure out what you like.

Offline beko1987

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 08:33:03 »
I see your point, hence why I don't want to buy a 200 board and have issues! I've seen the assorted switch tester plates, might pick one up although TBH their not much less than the full board I've been eyeing up!

I don't think any of our UK stores will do mechanical keyboard, certainly not any that I can drive to!

I'll keep weighing up either to spend <30 on a board and see how it goes, then clean it up and try and get my money back, or buy a few tester switches and do it properly!

Don't suppose there's a collector around Oxfordshire/Bucks I could pop over with some beers and have a play is there?!

Offline AMongoose

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 08:46:51 »
These guys are on your country and have a return policy, never ordered from them tho.

No place that sells gaming gear? although i don't recommend buying a razer or a corsair you could try the switches.

Offline beko1987

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 14:40:27 »
That's the best UK price I've seen a Unicomp for... Damn tempting, I've always fancied a try... Some nice Cherry ones too.


Whilst bored at work in the last half an hour of the day earlier, I was browsing Amazon, and realised I had 15 in my account from a voucher I got for my birthday earlier in the year!

And I found their (on UK amazon at least) cheapest actual mechanical board, with Gateron Blue switches

So I bought it! For 20, if I hate it it's not much to loose, I'll either see if anyone else in the office fancies a go, or pop it on ebay and get shot of it! But I need to start somewhere, and I've been pondering Blue switches, so what the heck! It's only 4 more than I can get a switch tester for!

I'll dig out my USB num pad in the week since it's a (is it 70% board) smaller size, pop my IBM under my desk just in case and see how it goes!

If not, it's back to the drawing board, and I'll try Brown switches! Not quite sure I fancy spending 100 on a buckling spring board and not actually like it...

Flame proof suit on!

Offline ppp

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 14:53:30 »
I suggest getting a switch tester or some individual switches to try out different things so you don't have to buy/return so many keyboards. It might not be the true typing experience, but it definitely gives you an idea of what you won't like.

Offline AMongoose

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 10 November 2017, 16:01:44 »
Gaterons are pretty good cherry clones, but i thought they all had transparent top housings...

Those can be have quite cheaply so they are a good alternetive, usually the worst part of these keyboars are the keycaps, that one uses a pretty standard layout so they could be changed easily if you wish.

I hope you like it.

Offline beko1987

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Re: Hi! UK chap looking for inspiration!
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 11 November 2017, 03:23:52 »
Thanks! I hope I like it too, but for 20 I won't be as upset if I don't than if it cost 100!