Quest for the perfect Keyboard

As a programmer, hobbyist designer, and gamer, I’m always on a quest for best keyboard. This actually became a thing when I was in university where I started earning a bit of extra cash through part-time jobs which was like during the year 2008-09ish. As usual, during one of those days, I was doing window shopping at Sim Lim Square (a famous IT mall in Singapore), when then I first came across an expensive keyboard that labelled Mechanical Keyboard. I was like why was it so expensive? I tested it out at the shop, and it really felt different from normal keyboard that I was used to. Basically, it was softer and has this satisfying clicky sounds. I felt really good typing on it. So I went back home intrigued and like anybody curious person would, I googled “Mechanical Keyboard”. That was the first time I was introduced to the world of keyboards learning that there are different type of keyboards and the ones I’m used to are generally a type called membrane keyboard. You can find a lot of google result explaining Mechanical Keyboard, but to put it simply, for me, Mechanical Keyboard is really like a very sensitive keyboard with a very good tactile feedback when you type which gives you a feeling that you’re not spending to much effort and energy into typing and that in turn should allow you to type faster and longer without ergonomic injury. On top of that, the 1 extra super fantastic factor for me was the fact you can easily remove button cap from each key to clean the keyboard! or basically change all the keyboard cap with new ones and basically customize look and feel. Awesome! For a long, I have problem cleaning my keyboard. That was like mind-blowing stuff for me to discover! Reading the superiority of Mechanical Keyboard, I was amazed and really really wanted to get 1 without have any further technical idea of anything about the Mechanical Keyboard. So sometime later, when I had enough money that I thought it was financially okay to purchase it. With that, I got myself my first ever mechanical keyboard which was Razer BlackWidow for around 100 SGD. And since then, my world has gone Mechanical, no more membrane.

I really like it. But soon, I realize I have a problem with it. Remember that “clicky” sound that I like. I didn’t realize it could be a problem when I tested at the shop, but when I bring back to my room it became a problem. In university days, I stay in hostel and share room with other students. So yeah, the sounds is actually quite noisy especially at night and it disturb my roommate. So in the end, I had to toggle keyboard to use normal keyboard at night or whenever he is around. Ouch!

So yeah I was stuck with that habit and keyboard till I start working which then I started having my own private room which I can free enjoy the keyboard, but another problem came. By then, I was spending most of time at work doing coding. So I actually I would want to use it at work but obviously I can’t because it would be disturbing for my colleague. So then when another curiosity strike me. Is all mechanical keyboard clicky and noisy? If so, what will be my options for good keyboard? Is there like a super good membrane keyboard? So again another google research.

That was the time I started learning about switches in Mechanical Keyboard. My Razer BlackWidow has blue switches which technically is the lousiest and noisiest of all the switches. So that’s when I learnt about other color switches like Red and Brown. But they were generally more expensive and I wasn’t willing to put my money in, plus my BlackWidow was still doing perfectly fine. Then during IT Show in September 2013, I came across a heavily discounted Mechanical Keyboard with red switch. That was when I got my 2nd Mechanical Keyboard for just 87 SGD – CoolerMaster CMStorm QuickFire Pro. And yes, it was definitely better than the Razer BlackWidow in term of both sound level, sensitivity and feedback feel. However, it still wasn’t quiet enough for me to bring to office for coding. And with that, I parted with my perfectly working Razer BlackWidow by giving it my young brother. With that, we fast forward again to a number of years later, when I already return back which I was still making frequent trip back to Singapore visiting friends. So one of those trip in May 2017, I came to know about this popular online auction and second selling app that really took of in Singapore called Carousel. I was browsing if I can find anything to buy and get any good deal so I can collect during my trip. That was when I started googling for “the best programming keyboard”. I figured why should I buy new Mechanical Keyboard since they are so hard to spoil. All the keyboards I have are still like work perfect and all keys are still very sensitive. So chances is that even the second hand one are good. Plus that I would be I can afford a higher price band of keyboard. Then, I had my target which that time was the Filco Ninja Majestictouch 2 and WASD Keyboard Code which their original price was like 150+ to almost 200 USD. Crazy for keyboard. I couldn’t find any deal on WASD Keyboard Code apparently it’s not a popular brand in Singapore. But luckily I struck a deal on the Filco Majestictouch 2 for just 100 SGD! So my journey with my 3rd keyboard starts. It’s a brown switch keyboard which I felt it was better than the BlackWidow and CMStorm QuickFire Pro. And that was my first tenkeyless keyboard (i.e. more compact). I was like really in love with Majestictouch 2 compactness and simplicity in design. So in the drawer goes the QuickFire Pro.

So I was enjoying the Majestictouch 2 for like a year before I started to really miss the numpad especially when I was working with numbers and excel spreadsheets which I was doing a lot in my corporate position. That was when I realize, I’m not really not a tenkeyless person. I don’t really need the compactness since I barely bring it around and generally my working desk space are very spacious. So at that point, I was toggling back and forth between the Majestictouch 2 and QuickFire Pro depending on needs. At that point, I was still on occasion casually researching for my next go to keyboard but due to the fact that any next upgrade beyond the Majestictouch 2 the cost would be prohibitive (we’re talking more than 150 USD for a keyboard) and really not sensible other than just something really nice to have. So sometime back in mid 2018, my colleague was looking a good wireless keyboard that he could get quickly without waiting for shipping. You see, normally in Cambodia if you want to get any these kind of gadget there isn’t much seller locally because there wasn’t really a demand for these things. Only in recent years, that the demands and supply started picking up. So I figured since he was needing for office work coding, I would recommend him the best higher end office brand I know – Logitech. So I shared 1 local online seller Facebook page to him to buy and he could afford it as well. He got himself a Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard. So of course, I would try his. To my amazement, the Logitech G613 felt really really good which really struck me. Why have I never looked at Logitech Keyboard? Well, obviously the answer is the google research never showed up any Logitech result. That was when I learnt about a new type of switch from Logitech for their mechanical keyboard- Romer-G mechanical switches. So now I like Romer-G better than brown switch? Guess so. I really really wanted to get the Logitech G613 not just because the sensitive feedback feel and very low noise level (even lower than my Majestictouch 2 which is perfect for office use) but also I’ve never had a wireless keyboard. There was only 1 thing that prevent me from getting it. It was the fact that the G613 has no back-lighting. And I really don’t why that somehow stopped me. The Majestictouch 2 doesn’t any back-lighting but I bought it anyway. So why not the G613. So here’s the context. You see, at this point I was at the point my career were I have pretty comfortable income that I could finally afford things I used to dream about during teenage and university days. And that is a high performance gaming PC with really cool casing, large monitor. So at this point, I’m pretty accustomed to RGB lighting in both mouse and my whole CPU. So with my next purchase, subconsciously, I think I would also want an RGB back-lit keyboard to complete the set. But an RGB back-lit keyboard just add to the cost of being mechanical keyboard. I never really got around to have compelling reason to actually buy one. All things considered, that was when I ultimately came across the Logitech Orion Spectrum G810 that got me decided. This is the one! I didn’t dare to buy it at first stilling thinking that it’s not really a necessity but then again I think at this point it’s long past debating about the question of necessity, it’s always been about comfort and luxury which I need to accept it. So guess the question now is should I spend on the next luxury upgrade? Well I did give it some time to research around for secondhand on various online marketplace apps. Until eventually I resigned to temptation and finally cross my 100USD threshold for a keyboard and get the Logitech Orion Spectrum G810 in Oct 2018. I’ve been using it at office for a year now and recently, there is long public public holiday which I need to quite some coding work done at home, so I was reminding myself to bring it home for the holiday. So that was when it really hits me that this is such a perfect keyboard. It stops me from ever even thinking about keyboard and wondering if there is better keyboard out there at all. It has everything I need and want in a keyboard. It take 4 keyboards for over 10 years period to figure out what I really need and want.

In conclusion, I think what compels me to start writing this blog post is really the revelation in reflection that never strike me for more than 10 years. That when it struck on such a mundane thing like keyboard, one can really take time, effort, reflection and research to really figure out what you want and what fits you best in your own time and affordability. I’m always looking at significant reflection of life and so on but it never really struck me that sometime mundane and small things can also teach us a lot into how we look at bigger things in life. It’s always about constant improvement and getting better then yesterday in anything we do.

What about wireless, you may ask? Somehow, I’ve never really been a wireless device person. What with the signal radiation and all. And then there is battery and charging. I really hate it when I have to keep monitoring battery because I really have OCD over batter life somehow always want them to be above 50%. So below 50% is like 0% to me. Too much hassle. My wife on the other hand is someone who likes the mobile compactness and slimness which actually gave me another reason to just get a wireless keyboard to try out. I bought her a Logitech K780 to put on he working to give her a complete wireless setup with mouse and keyboard. I tried it a few times the feel was really good. Soft and very quiet. and of course very thin. My only mainly issue with is really the keyboard layout. I hate it. It takes away the whole 6 insert-home-end-pgupdown buttons group and push the arrow key to the main key layout making it really small. I need those group to be exactly where they are! as all other keyboards. So I’m very very uncomfortable with the layout slowing the typing a lot. However, yes it’s a really good alternative when I was moving around the house or toggling between work and personal PC.

Quest for the perfect Keyboard

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