As a tiro, does the first mechanical keyboard need super high customization requirements?

Recently , my best friends ask me this question.In my opition,I think that need not.
As your first mechanical keyboard doesn’t need to have super high customization requirements. While mechanical keyboards do offer a wide range of customization options, it’s perfectly fine to start with a more straightforward and off-the-shelf option, especially as a novice. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Simplicity: Starting with a pre-built mechanical keyboard allows you to focus on getting used to the mechanical key switches, understanding the typing experience, and familiarizing yourself with the basics of mechanical keyboards.
  2. Ease of Use: Customization can sometimes be overwhelming for newcomers. Starting with a standard keyboard layout and default keycap set simplifies the learning process and allows you to get comfortable with the fundamentals first.
  3. Affordability: Highly customizable keyboards can be more expensive due to additional features and premium components. Beginning with a more basic model can be cost-effective, allowing you to determine if you enjoy the mechanical keyboard experience before investing in advanced customization.
  4. Learning Curve: Customization often involves programming macros, remapping keys, and adjusting lighting effects. As a novice, it’s beneficial to first learn about these features gradually and when you’re ready.
  5. Exploration: Over time, as you become more familiar with mechanical keyboards, you can delve into customization at your own pace. You can gradually explore options like keycap replacements, modifying switch types, and even building your own keyboard from scratch.
    Is it right? Any suggestions?Any keyboard you can tell me ?
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Hello and welcome!

Tiro means beginner, right? I think all of those factors are good ones to consider.

  1. When it comes to simplicity, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a pre-built. I’d add the notion that ease and expand-ability aren’t as exclusive as they used to be, and there are plenty of pre-assembled hotswap kits out there that allow the user to jump right in and start using the keyboard, while also allowing them to change switches and caps later without soldering.

  2. A weird layout can be intimidating; my first three mechanical keyboards were all tenkeyless, pretty much the default standard minus the numberpad. I’ve since found another layout I prefer, but I don’t think I’d have enjoyed the process as much if I’d started with it. I think this is another place where it’s hard to go wrong starting with something familiar.

  3. Spending lots of money only to find you don’t like a thing is never fun, and custom keyboard prices can be pretty off-putting to… just about anyone that hasn’t bought one before. When I first got started, I bought a pre-built soldered tenkeyless for something like $30 - I loved it. I’m glad I started cheap - my thought was, “wow if the cheapest mechanical keyboard on the market is also the best keyboard I’ve ever used, how much better does it get from here?”

    That said, things have come a long way since then, and for just a little bit more money you can get a surprisingly nice typing experience, depending on other preferences. If you’re willing to go just a bit over $100, you can get a really nice typing experience, and in a familiar form-factor. Most of this kind of keyboard you do have to build, but it’s only about as complicated as legos; no soldering, no special knowledge required.

  4. If my first keyboard had needed QMK flashing before it would work, I wouldn’t have spent the past eight years enjoying the hobby - I agree that starting simple is probably good. There are some keyboards these days that are ready to go from the box, but that also support customization through easy-to-use proprietary software. Once I was comfortable with all that I felt ready to approach something a bit more “hands on”.

  5. I’m still exploring! It’s what keeps me around, honestly. I started simple and have enjoyed going deeper with each successive project.


  • Keychron: This brand sells a bunch of keyboards in familiar form-factors that are available in both kit and pre-built options. They have a range of price tiers starting with budget-oriented plastic pre-built boards all the way up to premium heavy-metal kits that can be customized with QMK. Quite a few of their options would let someone start having fun right out of the box, but afford some customization options later. This is usually where I steer folks just dipping their toes into keeb-space.

  • KBDfans Tiger Lite: I believe you can get these pre-built, but it involves a service fee. That said, these are easy to assemble and are popular enough that finding guide videos should be easy if needed. An easy-to-execute build can be a great ice-breaker / confidence builder for getting into the hobby, and this particular one comes in the familiar tenkeyless layout and can sound really good. If you’re comfortable with some assembly, I think the typing experience and sound might be a cut above most if not all the Keychron options, all other things being equal.

  • Other budget boards: There are lots and lots of options these days; the above are the specific ones I’m familiar with, but once you’ve identified a feature set I think you’ll be spoiled for choice, and might even find something visually distinct to suit your tastes - like a keyboard that looks like a cat, or a piece of swiss cheese. :stuck_out_tongue:


Entry level keebs are to good now days.

I kinda liked the dz60 tray builds that gave you the opportunity to get to know what mods did what to elevate it from standard pre-built. And from there decide if you’re happy with it or to go deeper down the rabbit hole.

Call me a gatekeeper, but you need to take some L in this hobby.
Unfortunately the whole keeb-thing have become quite oversaturated (and together with financial troubles around the world) makes it hard to recoup the L’s on the aftermarket.

I know this ain’t what OP+friend was asking about, but I needed to vent about some things that new ones should know/realize.

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Thanks for you.Beginners from the beginning is to learn to assemble the keyboard? I think they should know how to use it first, because the mechanical keyboard looks different from other keyboards.

I wouldn’t say a beginner needs to build their first mechanical keyboard, but I also don’t see it as a barrier. That’s what I like about companies like Keychron; the beginner gets to choose whether they feel like doing any assembly or not. :slight_smile:

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Back in 2018 or so, I would have recommended that beginners start with a sturdy, factory-made mechanical keyboard.

Back then, that would have meant Leopold FC900R PD, Filco Majestouch 2, maybe Varmilo or Ducky. These would have been valid choices for all the reasons you mention in your initial post.

However, today there is a proliferation of affordable semi-custom boards. These are not expensive boards, but have some custom features. In general, there are boards that are comparable in quality to a 2018 factory keyboard, but offer the user more choices.

One great example is Keychron’s offerings. They have TKL or full-size or other sizes with hotswap. They give you the option of getting some cheap switches or keycaps with the board, or you can forego all that and order your switches and keycaps elsewhere. So it’s kind of like getting a Ducky or something, but with more choice: you can choose switches and keycaps.

So for first-time mechanical buyers these days, I could happily recommend a Keychron V-series [for budget options] or Q-series [for a nicer keyboard.] A V-series with included switches and keycaps would run about what a good factory keyboard would a few years ago.

If somebody bought a Keychron V6 or V7 or something, it would be almost like having a decent factory keyboard. BUT, if they wanted to, they could put in their own switches, and perform other modifications. So, for a first-time user, I think a decent hotswap keyboard offers more options. You’re not just stuck with MX Blacks or whatever. You will be able to learn more in 1 board than with a factory-assembled soldered board. The customization is easy.

So an affordable, standardized factory hotswap board may be superior to just getting a factory-soldered pre-built. It’s not much more complicated. And it’s not an expensive, complicated custom.