The Search for a British Mechanical Keyboard
Oh, and I wanted it to be backlit. And have dedicated media keys. And cherry blue switches.
Searching for this keyboard was horrendously difficult. Having grown sick of my Razer Reclusa (which is a perfectly good keyboard normally), I decided it was time for me to get a decent mechanical keyboard. I had gotten used to having a nice backlit keyboard on my desk and so having a backlit mechanical keyboard was priority number 2, right after it having a british layout. Media keys were also very important to me, as I love being able to hit a single key and pause my music, or bring up a web browser, etc. More importantly, I could map useless ones such as ejecting the CD drive, to useful ones, like toggling hidden files and folders. My final requirement was cherry blue switches. I love the sound that they make and having tired out a few different switches before, figured that these would be best for me.
My first look into this lead me to the CODE Keyboard which Jeff Atwood created. This keyboard was newly designed and is quite simply an elegant masterpiece. However, it doesn’t have a british layout. Deal breaker. I can deal with most of the other requirements being slightly modified, but not this one.
I had to move on. Trawling through countless Google and Amazon searches revealed nothing to me. Each keyboard I saw had something wrong with it. Not a british layout, no media keys, no number bad, the enter key was that silly little one, or the keyboard was just plain ugly. I spent days looking for something, but didn’t see anything I liked. So I went back to thinking about the CODE Keyboard and just how it was created. How can someone with no previous experience of making keyboards do something like this? Turns out he worked with WASD Keyboards. This company creates “custom” mechanical keyboards, at a reasonable price. He just went all out with them instead.
Using WASD Keyboards I could create the keyboard I had dreamed of (except for dedicated media keys, but it does have them as function keys instead, which is something I can live with). I played around with their designed for a while, getting things exactly how I wanted it. When I was ready I went to click “Buy” and…. it was out of stock. I figured I could wait though. I had waited this long so what was a few more days/weeks?
In my searches though I had turned to Reddit and had a different keyboard pointed out to me. This keyboard was the Qpad MK-80. This met almost exactly the specs I wanted, and was almost identical to the custom one I had created on WASD Keyboards, just £40 cheaper.
Two days later I was opening that box and plugging in my new toy. It was quite possibly the best thing I have ever bought. I enjoyed using it so much that I stopped going into the labs at university for a while just so I could work from home using that keyboard. Absolutely fantastic keyboard. I have had it for three months now and enjoy it just as much as they day I bought it.