So I am new to the whole custom keyboard scene. I just built a GMMK Pro for myself and am looking to get my girl into this. She needs a 100% because she does data entry and likes the space that comes with a 100%. I’ve been searching around and just about every site I have looked at, the boards are out of stock. So any recommendations would be appreciated. I showed her the regular GMMK, but she wasn’t a fan of it, aesthetically.
Custom 100% get pricey fast. It is just that much more board and aluminum.
You might look into “1800 layouts” too. One board I can think of that is coming up is - https://kbdfans.com/collections/interest-checks/products/ic-kbdfans-d1000-mechaincal-keyboard
What about a 65% or TKL with separate numpad? Aesthetically, it’s super classy and I’ve read having your mouse in-between the keyboard and numpad has certain ergonomic and workflow benefits.
If not, I might consider the Keychron C2 when they restock.
If aesthetics are high on the priority list then, possibly the the Heavy-9: aftermarket upgrade housing for the Leopold FC980C keyboard – Norbauer & Co.
- the Leopold board.
do you both already have an idea of what kind of switch/weight/typing experience she likes? would she be the type to really get into the aesthetics (external) or would she potentially be interested in the internals/nitty gritty of assembling, soldering, modifying a board and moving deeper into the hobby?
as far as layout i came here to add a vote for 1800-layout. @djmantis linked a kbdfans upcoming project with what is likely a metal case (typically aluminum) but there are currently several 1800 boards well within entry pricing–soldered prebuilts by Leopold (Leopold FC980M) come in Cherry MX switches; Akko/Epomaker makes the Akko 3098 which has both soldered and hotswap versions and arrives as a complete package with switches, keycaps, etc. Then there’s the wild world of Aliexpress–KPRepublic has a barebones kit called the BM980 which comes in black or white and is just the pcb, plate, case (and stabilizers for additional charge.) There’s at least 2-3 other 1800 kits on Aliexpress that I’m aware of–some in acrylic/frosted cases that are dirt cheap, but YMMV on durability/longevity.
i also do data entry/excel at my 9-5 and my workhorse is the Leopold FC980M. I had a Durgod K310 which was a 100% but I liked saving room on my old desk at the time and so opted for the compact Leopold. Another option is going the TKL and adding a numpad that can be put away (or not) after work. If I had to do my work station over I’d go with the TKL over a 65 or 68% keyboard because I do recall needing to use the F-row in certain office software/applications.
IMO if there’s no rush for her to replace her current gear, it’s worth spending some time with your GMMK Pro, grabbing her a few different switches to try, maybe even trying different keycap profiles as well before sinking cash into something she may immediately yeet. (hopefully not literally.) I wish I knew about keebs before going into it during a pandemic with meetup restrictions. Maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much money and would have found something I was happy with straight out the gate.
Thank you, everyone, for your replies and ideas. After going over each recommendation, she had decided, in a rather hasty way, on the Akko Sailor Moon Crystal 1802V2, because…it was cute. Lol.
Well, everyone needs a different gateway drug for this hobby
She is right, isn’t it cute?
An update for this. Now she is looking for a wireless 100%. Wireless and 100% seem to be a rare breed.
I have options for wireless 100% or 1800 or 96%. Wireless full size is a pretty rare breed. Unless you can find a 1800 or 100% PCB that will allow you to drop in a Nice!Nano and battery.
Off the shelf
- 96% format - IQUINIX F96 Bluetooth
- 96% format - Keychron K4
Modded - 1800 layout
- Leopold FC980M
- Yang BLE980 Bluetooth module
- Mill-max sockets for hotswap
i thought you had pics of the sailor moon board
96% isn’t going to do it for her, since she likes the space between keys that 100% offers because of her chubby fingers, and man, the modded recommendation seems like a major hassle. Haha.
It is. I’m looking at doing it again bc I really like the 1800 format.
Not sure if this modified layout would do the trick; here’s a new custom fullsize entering group buy on KBDFans soon: