Talking about spending less money on things that are not necessities, I really do have too many keyboards. Most of these keyboards were bought during the height of the pandemic, since I was pretty much locked inside and could not go anywhere. I wanted to find something fun, something new, something that could provide me a subtle difference in my day-to-day work or life as I was confined in a 800 square foot space with two other mammals. Something that a little bit goes a long way. Keyboard was a perfect object that fulfills these goals.

So I pull out all my photos taken for keyboards. There are tons of them. The followings are only a selected few. I hope you enjoy my keyboard collection, and I hope you can also find you own sweet little something that goes a long way for you in this crazy world. Of course, it does not have to be a physical, tangible object. 🙂

Azio mechanical keyboard set

Azio’s mechanical keyboard was bought in September 2020, when I just moved from Georgia to California. I was having fun with my new life, and I was thrilled to start earning real money that I could spend on buying myself something (not the $2K per month from academia that was barely life-sustaining). So I bought this Azio set, my first mechanical keyboard in the U.S. The set contains a pretty keyboard with a metal frame and a wooden board, plus a palm rest and a mouse. The mouse is mediocre, but the keyboard both looks and feels awesome. Sadly, that’s about it — it satisfies the eye and the touch but not really the typing experience. Pressing the keys was not smooth, and it was quite easy to make mistakes when typing, which again means sacrificing one’s speed of typing. Later on I learned that Azio did not specify the kind of switch it uses for the keyboard, which is a warning signal for any mechanical keyboard. I decided to donate this set to Goodwill before I left California.

Keychron K3 mechanical keyboard, with Gateron low-profile brown switches

The second mechanical keyboard I bought, which is also one of my favorites, is Keychron K3, a low-profile mechanical keyboard. It is low-profile in the sense that the travel distance of the keys is much shorter (about half) than a regular mechanical keyboard’s (learn more). The keys, when pressed, do not sound loud but still provide the same kind of tactile feedback for fingers. The one I have in the picture has brown switches. I think after trying a few different switches, now I can confidently say that the switch I love the most is brown switch. Brown switches are not loud, so they won’t attract unnecessary attention and will stay low-key, which matches with my personality. However, brown switches are still tactile switches; they still provide the clicky acoustic feedback when pressed, and they feel very nicely on fingers. Since I use a Mac, there aren’t many great mac compatible mechanical keyboards around, and after some research, Keychron seems to be a no-brainer for me. I have been enjoying this keyboard ever since.

(Disclaimer: I don’t use mechanical keyboards for gaming; I only use them for typing, like for work stuff or writing blog posts.)

Leopold FC750R PD, with Cherry blue switches

The next mechanical keyboard I got is this one that came in Cherry blue switches. You know all the hype about Cherry’s switches when it comes to the world of “competitive,” “legit,” and “orthodox” mechanical keyboard. I bought into this hype and vanity when I just started playing around with mechanical keyboard, so I got this one, since this was the one that I could afford but still had Cherry switches. And I’d heard good things about Leopold. It was interesting that when the package arrived, it had all these Korean words on it, apparently it should’ve been sold in Korea but not in the States. But I had no problem figuring out all the set ups (nothing challenging) and started using it right away. Oh boy, what a pleasure! It was really a phenomenal user experience, even though (as you can tell in the image) the keys are not exactly designed to match a mac. I can’t say more about how the clicky-clack sound satisfies me, a signal of high-quality blue switches, and with the light, textured key caps, everything worked so harmoniously. The keyboard is not too thick either, which is very friendly to my shoulder and neck. I’m not using it often now solely due to its less compatibility with mac. Highly recommend to windows users.

It is really with Cherry blue switches; every single one of the switch is blue.
My fluffy loves it too. Their colors go great together.
A macaron mechanical keyboard, with Gateron brown switches.

Then I was into mechanical keyboards that not only excel functionally, but also aesthetically. With this, I was led into the world of keyboard customization (learn more). Sadly, I didn’t have the patience or the financial flexibility to play around with self-designed, self-painted keycaps, so I settled down on buying keyboards that came with good art design. This macaron keyboard looked quite pleasant to me.

Besides mechanical keyboards, I have several non-mechanical keyboards as well. When to use which depends on my mood 100%. Locked at home, I’m glad I have these keyboards to accompany my gloomy days.

A mac user will always have an Apple keyboard.
When I’m working with a spreadsheet (implies numbers), I need a full keyboard with numeric keys. (I was learning Korean at that time.)
Logitech makes good stuff. This K480 keyboard allows me to read and type at the same time.
This K380 set is not only colorful, but also very quiet. Great to use in a shared, public space.

Recently, I’ve been using another Keychron that has all the keys but comes with a more compact design. It looks like this.

Keychron K4, with Gateron brown switches

Because I’m fairly short, I don’t have long arms either. This means a full-size 108-key keyboard usually challenges my arm expansion. And it hurts my right shoulder when I have to stretch my arm too much to reach the mouse. Keychron K4 solves this problem. With a compact design, it’s shorter than a full-size keyboard so my mouse can stay closer to my arm. Yet it still includes a numeric pad and a forward delete key, supporting efficient typing. The only, slight downside is that it is a lil bit thicker than I’d like. I make sure I don’t type with it or sit in front of my screen for too long to avoid any shoulder and neck stiffness.

I do have another Keychron (K2, Gateron blue switch) and another Logitech (MX Keys, full-size) that I don’t have pictures for. But they are both great keyboards — I just prefer a few other ones slightly more, like Keychron K3.

Having joined the keyboard universe, I know the name of NuPhy and want to try it for a while. Since I do not have a keyboard with red switches (I hesitated to try red switches because they are not tactile, and I know I love the sense of tactile keys), I ordered one with red switches a few days ago and it arrived yesterday.

NuPhy Air75, with low-profile red switches

Like Keychron K3, this NuPhy comes with low-profile switches, so it doesn’t require as much typing effort as regular red switches do. I start using it today and so far everything has been pretty good. It was designed and made in the city I grew up in, so I smell some affinity. I find it odd that its battery does not allow charging; just regular, ordinary batteries. A small itch.

Last but not least, a REAL keyboard. LOL.

How about a black-and-white keyboard, huh?

One response to “Keyboards”

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