Mechanical Keyboards

I must admit, I was playing around with the idea of getting into the mechanical keyboard hobby for quite some time, but as I already wrote in a previous blog post, getting decent keyboards with Swiss ISO layouts for mac is really hard. And once you want to modify it with custom keycaps and really get into it it's even harder. So after some thinking, I decided to do the ultimate thing and switch layouts. Meaning relearning everything again after working with a Swiss Layout for over 20 years.

So after a couple of weeks, I thought I write down my impressions and where I currently stand in m keyboard adventure.

My first

Keychron K6

The Keychron K6, non-backlight with soldered Gateron brown switches and XDA keycaps

It all started with the Keychron K6, my first foray into this unknown world of mechanical keyboards. It was a wise choice to go with a basic one and one that could be ordered from a swiss retailer and would arrive a few days later. But it all started with a small mishap. I ordered a US layout but received a German one, unfortunately, I noticed this after opening the package and connecting the keyboard to the mac. I was confused on why the Z and Y are switched when I've switched the Mac Keyboard setting to US Layout. Fortunately, the retailer took back the wrong keyboard and a few days later I got the right one.

It came with OEM keycaps and it was a nice typing experience but I always knew that I would go for a flatter keycaps profile and I had my eye on some nice XDA keycaps (not the ones on the image, but on the Q2 image). Once I switched it felt weird not having the angles from the OEM keycaps but I got used to the flat profile quickly. I would love to try out other profiles as well but right now I need to restrain myself a bit because of how much money I already spent.

So I loved the K6 and I loved the small footprint and everything but I was hooked, and I wanted more and I wanted one I could fully mod. Luckily Keychron just released the new Q2 with a knob and so I quickly ordered myself a fully assembled Q2.

My daily driver

Keychron Q2

The Keychron Q2, Knob-version with hot-swappable Gateron red switches and XDA keycaps

The first thing I noticed once I unpacked my Q2 was the weight, damn this thing is heavy but it feels so nice, there is no moving around, it just sits there perfectly and I love the 60% size of keyboards. I first thought I would miss the special mac keys for media playback dashboard or expose, but I hardly use them and for music playback, I use the knob for volume and the two keys below for playback and track skipping.

The keyboard did have a slight pingy metallic sound when typing but I changed that by taping the board on the bottom side with tape. Sounds much nicer now, they could sound a bit deeper but I'm working on that. All the keys with stabilizers sound a bit too clicky for me, so I ordered myself all the necessary tools. I got myself all the lubing tools and some new improved stabilizers so they get this nice "thock" sound. In the long run, I also plan on buying new switches and lubing them all myself so that all the keys have a deeper clicky sound.

For this keyboard I also ordered myself a nice keyboard cable with a coil and a QDC connector in between, I can't wait for that because this then completes my Mac workstation.

The Q2 is my daily driver, it's the one I use the most and the one I love using the most by far. There's still room for improvement but the current status of this keyboard is just so damn good.

My PC version

Keychron K4 v2

The Keychron K4 v2, RGB-backlight with hot-swappable Gateron red switches and XDA keycaps

Since I'm such a freak that I not only have one workspace in my office at home but two, a separate one for just my PC (and also for when I do work at home on my work Mac) I knew that I would need to get myself another keyboard just for that. Now you might ask why not use the K6 for that? Well, what the K6 is missing is a Numpad because Blender is an application that heavily uses the Numpad.

I looked at quite a few options but in the end, I loved the K6 and it just made sense to get the bigger brother the K4 with its new version. The reason I stuck with Keychron is the ability to easily switch between Mac and PC with a dedicated switch on the left side. this was of course needed for the PC workstation.

On my first keypresses on the K4, I fell in love with how certain keys sounded, especially the shift and enter keys have the perfect sound, this deep "thock". But I do have some issues with the arrow keys because I'm not used to having them in between the regular keys and the Numpad and so I miss them quite often, but I guess that's something I will get used to sooner or later.

Side Note:

You count correctly. I now have 3 keyboards for two workstations. Yes, the Keychron K6 will accompany me to work and be the fixed keyboard there. I kinda look forward to the reaction from my colleagues when they see (and hear) my mechanical keyboard with a US layout.

In general, I think I'm getting quite good with typing on a US layout. Sure there are still moments when I press Y but want the Z or when I miss the apostrophe and also the special characters on the number keys. But it takes time to relearn something which was second nature for sooooo long. But the more I type and the more I code I will learn the placement of all those characters and symbols.