My Keyboard Journey

Figured much that from all the doom and gloom of my life, I decided to write something fun this time. So, let’s talk about keyboards.

Mana Pool was written on an Apple Keyboard (before it became the Magic Keyboard, but still with a cord), my 2008 MacBook nicknamed The Heat Sink until I upgraded, and an old full-size Logitech keyboard used on my old iMac (the first one, in blue). Afterward, I stuck with the Apple Keyboard through college and after moving to Tustin.

More keyboards came through my life, including my bad luck and family deaths. With my day job, I moved to a Logitech solar keyboard I liked and bought a used one. It was a bridge between my Mac and my Gaming PC/Hackintosh/Linux test bed. And then later down the line, I discovered mechanical keyboards, an anxiety-inducing rabbit hole leading to an identity crisis as a writer. What a mouth full.

I got one from Corsair, I think, with Cherry MX blue switches. Can’t remember the name. In truth, I hated that switch. It hurt my fingers, but also too… dang… loud. No amount of o-rings under the keys could dampen the sound. I swapped that for a hybrid mechanical-membrane keyboard, the Razer Ornata. I liked it was low-profile, but the switches were not working out. Pretty much decided I dislike loud, clicky switches reverberating through my finger joints.

Next was going straight to linear switches with a Corsair K63, before it went wireless. Red backlight and Cherry MX Red switches. The typing speed was fast. It had this pinging sound when I bottomed out, too much air in the metal chassis, so using o-rings did some help. What I grew to dislike was the keycaps being too thick, the travel distance to press a key being too long, and the keyboard’s cable getting in the way when I want to move the keyboard to the side to write on the laptop sometimes.

The Corsair keyboard and the solar keyboard swapped places for a few years. I added the Logitech K38 Keyboard to write on the iPad. So from 2019 to last year, that’s three keyboards in my possession.

I added on the Corsair K65 RGB mini keyboard when living in Lake Forest for a year, this time with Cherry MX Speed switches. I loved how smooth they were, and quiet, I still had to use o-rings, and then later add a silicone layer in the body for more silence. I liked I can unplug the cable from it. But it was tall. Had to use a wrist rest for that one.

I once tried a Logitech MX Keys keyboard, the big one, for a week, but I returned it to MicroCenter thinking, This is a pandemic. What am I thinking?

So before the move to Nevada, we have the Logitech Solar Keyboard, the Logitech K38 Keyboard for the iPad, and the Corsair K65. Yeah. Talk about indecisiveness.

Moving to Nevada, I saved a little more and bought the MX Keys Mini to replace the Bluetooth one. I just like how solid it was compared to the big one. The other two are still with me.

So why this journey? Why keep searching for the “right” keyboard? This is all part of this perfectionist journey to nail down my writing setup. Having fits with my chair placement, my desk height, writing on the floor with a coffee table, or just the laptop on top of a Lapdesk while in bed. My arm placement. Upper back pain if I don’t crack it at some point. Just continuously looking for that right writing setup to not feel uncomfortable all the time when home. Just sucks having a high awareness of everything. With all the stuff happening around me and in my head, I had to find comfort from the pain. A good keyboard is one of them. And don’t get me started with handwriting and writing stories longhand. That’s a separate can of worms to deal with.

So here I was, in Nevada, and with a recent tax refund from California, I put in an order for another mechanical keyboard. And I believe I found the right one: the NuPhy Air75 with Cherry MX Brown switches.

I had this for a week now, both using it for my day job and writing. This keyboard has been on my wishlist for a year, and there were times when I had serious doubts this will not fulfill my needs. A lot of them. There came a time when I say, fuck it, I can return it to Amazon if I don’t like it for a week.

Got the one with low-profile Gateron brown switches. Had to be sure that this switch was for me from a bunch of Reddit posts. I like how strong the spring is, the low profile, and the short travel distance with the keycaps attached. It’s like a membrane keyboard but not.

I can use a single USB-C cable to my USB hub, or go wireless with up to four devices. It came with a radio dongle, but I don’t feel like using it right now.

I can turn off all the RGB lighting. It just feels like a gimmick to me. If there’s a need in the future, I’ll turn them back on.

The best part is the switches are hot-swappable. If a switch fails, I can buy a set for cheap and swap it out with the tool it came with. Or replace all the switches if I want to.

I’ve yet to use o-rings, but the travel distance is growing on me. Somehow I’m not having a problem with the sound when I bottom out.

It came with removable tilt feet. I have them on most of the time. The tilt height is not much. It’s a preference thing.

Last, and I just found this out, I can plug this into my iPad. The iPad recognizes it. I’ve read before I needed Apple’s splitter or something similar from Amazon. No. Just one cable from the keyboard to iPad and I can type as normal. Just not with a mouse. That means I can put away the Logitech K38 Keyboard and stick with this when traveling. That is when I’m in a quiet room. I’d be annoyed if I whip out the NuPhy at a coffee shop and get some annoyed glances my way.

So now, it’s down to the NuPhy keyboard and MX Keys Mini. The rest are to be donated soon. Sure hope this will be the end of my search.

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