As usual, Computex is hopping with keyboard news. Some of it is happening at the show, and some of it is happening around the show, but there’s a lot of it, in any case. We’re keeping track; keep this page handy as we update you on all the keyboard happenings that are…happening.
Update 3, 6/16/18, 4am ET: Make sure you catch our articles on the weird and interesting stuff that Varmilo brought to the show, Kaihua’s new laptop switch and Sun switch (both with centered LEDs), and Logitech’s new clicky GX Blue switch and budget keyboard.
Update 2, 6/8/18, 4:18am ET: Added Vortex 105-key entry.
Update, 6/6/18, 7:40pm ET: More info on the Ducky Shine 7 and a new Vortex keyboard with Mito-designed caps, added below. Originally published 6/5/18, 7:56pm ET.
…but it’s also going big, as it were. On Day 3 of Computex, it published photos of a full-size (105-key) board with a twist: The keycaps are PBT doubleshot but with shine-through legends on the front instead of the top. It’s kind of a daring move, but it’s one that has a high potential upside in terms of interest.
The effect of the keycaps is that you get a bit of that Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate look without the accompanying occasional fear and chaos, and you still get a certain amount of RGB glow.
Vortex also stated that this keyboard has Bluetooth, which means the wireless plank will cut quite a clean profile on your desk. Although the sheer number of keys is notable, the chassis is still compact, with a minimal bezel.
Cooler Master, you sneaky sneakers. Back at CES, I saw a rough prototype of a keyboard with Cherry MX Low Profile RGB switches on board in Cooler Master’s suite. If you recall, CES was the show at which Cherry debuted the new switch, so there were prototypes floating around here and there. It seems the company is riding hard on the lowpro wagon now though, because it has three models with Cherry’s latest on board: the SK620 (60%), SK630 (80%), and the SK650 (100%, 104-key).
So far we have pictures only of the 60% version, but lowpro fans will be salivating. It’s compact (I mean, obviously, but there’s basically no bezel), and it has an aluminum top plate. It’s also got full RGB lighting, a detachable Type-C connection, and a razor-thin LED lightbar around the top edge. The spacebar is short (5U, I believe), and the right Shift key is 1U.
Note the App key to the immediate right of the right-side Alt key. It looks like at least a second layer is included, given that several of the keys have Delete, End, Pg Up, Pg Dn, etc. as tertiary legends.
It seems that you’ll be able to configure lighting, key assignments, and macros via an “all new software application” which, tongue in cheek, will almost certainly be an improvement over what was there before.
A Cooler Master evangelist on Reddit said that the SK series of lowpro keyboards will arrive Q4 2018 or Q1 2019.
Don’t forget, Cooler Master is also showing off its analog MK850 at Computex.
Razer is selling its switches to other keyboard makers, and later this year you’ll be able to buy loose Razer Green, Orange, or Yellow switches if you want to stick them on your own DIY build. This one is a puzzler; no offense to Razer, but we’re not sure anyone is asking for this. Up to now, Razer’s switches were available only on Razer’s BlackWidow line of keyboards, and that was just fine. It meant that fans of Razer got Razer switches on their Razer boards.
Is there a Venn diagram of Razer fans who love Razer switches but don’t like BlackWidows? Further, are there keyboard companies out there who would opt for Razer switches on their products over the myriad options on today’s market?
On the other hand, Razer may as well give it a shot and see what the market says. It’s a big company that’s already making the switches anyway. Why not try and swing some deals with other keyboard makers and see if people will buy the loose switches for funsies?
In addition to the tattooed Year of the Dog keyboard, Ducky is showing the lowpro Blade and the Shine 7 at Computex. The former has Cherry MX Low Profile RGB switches and low-profile PBT doubleshot shine-through keycaps. The one on display has a full-size ANSI layout, and it’s dressed all in black.
The Shine 7 is the predictable yearly update to the Shine series. Earlier, there was but a single photo of it from Computex, but now we have a few more to gaze upon.
It looks like it’s in a white chassis with black keycaps. A placard caught in a shot promises a zinc alloy chassi, three-stage feet, detachable USB Type-C interface, an ANSI layout, PBT doubleshot keycaps, and Cherry MX RGB Brown switches. It’s a full-size keyboard.
The new images show multiple chassis color options, from white to green to orange to silver. All have black keycaps, and all appear to be two-toned, with one color for the top plate and a different one for the bottom part of the case.
It looks like HHKB and Topre got together on special edition TKL Realforce R2 keyboards. There are four models in all, two JIS and two ANSI, with “ivory” and black versions for each. All of the switches on these keyboards are 45g, and they’re silenced.
They also employ Topre’s actuation point change (APC) function, so you can set these switches to actuate at 1.5mm, 2.2mm, or 3mm. They cost 28,500 yen (about $260 USD). The JIS versions are already on sale, and the ANSI versions will be available starting on July 3, 2018.
Finally, ICYMI, Roccat has a new switch with its name on it, and three keyboards sporting them.
If and when you see more keyboard goodness coming out of Computex, drop a line to seth [at] keychatter.com.