Clickity-clack from Music City

Howdy, folks - I’m Dave, one of many recent transplants to Nashville, Tennessee. I’m a native of the state, though - and have lived here the majority of my life. I’ve also been immersed in technology, computers, electronics, and related things since I was a kid - but somehow hadn’t discovered good keyboards until about five years ago.

I’d always used generic dome boards, and when the one I had would wear out every few years I’d just go to the generic store and pick up the cheapest one - I never really noticed much of a difference until one day. One day I got the [worst] keyboard I’d ever used in my life - so extra bad that even though I’d just bought it two days prior, I decided to cut my losses and buy something else - and if I was going to do that, I might as well see what this “mechanical keyboard” business was all about.

But first… let me tell you about this [bad] keyboard. Mine was labelled as an Onn Soft-Touch something-or-other, but the very same model was sold as a low end Logitech as well as a few others. It’s a generic full-size, but with a few quirks; the layout is a bit squished, and the function row is made of smaller keys (vertically, if you’re looking down at the keyboard). The keys are also pretty low-profile, and while they do have a little sculpt, the profile is pretty flat. That’s what it looks like.

What it feels and sounds like… well.

Picture wearing some thick silicone gloves that are way too big for your hands. Now imagine aggressively finger-drumming an over-ripe, partially mushed-out melon with those gloves - bits of moist, slightly pungent pulp occasionally leaping their way out of the mass.

That’s pretty much the Onn Soft-Touch experience - well, minus the stinky fruit meat, but you get the idea. I was inspired - and being on the tight budget that I was at the time, I picked up the cheapest mech I could find that I didn’t hate the look of: a “Tomoko” water-resistant mechanical keyboard from Amazon, recommended by some youtuber. (It was actually an EasterntimesTech I-500, and my example shipped with Switch Master blues and absolute trash keycaps. At the time it was around $35, but now you can get them for closer to $26 and they tend to ship with Outemu (“dustproof”) blues and totally acceptable if unattractive keycaps.) It’s surprisingly solid for being so cheap and even has some extra functions. To this day, it is the loudest keyboard I own by a wide margin, despite having a handful of clicky boards from my early years of experimenting

Anyway - moving from the mush-melon to even the cheapest generic mech out there was such a massive improvement that I never looked back. Five years and a small black hole in my wallet later, and I find myself with a new favorite hobby.


Hi, welcome! you spent a lot of time detailing a bad keyboard, what’s your favorite one?


Thanks for the welcome - and good question!

Honestly, for all the time and money spent on this or that project that will never be truly finished, I think my overall favorite keyboard right now is my stock Anne Pro 2. It’s pingy but otherwise sounds and feels fantastic (Kailh BOX browns), and I love the feel of the caps, even if they aren’t so pretty. I use the bluetooth feature on smaller devices a lot, and the portability is great.

As for a keyboards I don’t own but would like to… I love the CA66, Grid 600, Graystudio HB85, and that aluminum one that looks like a classic Cherry board that for the life of me I can’t remember the name of… All that said I’m thinking my next board will be some kind of DIY 65% / 68%. I love my 60%, but I could get a lot more productivity out of it at work if I had dedicated nav keys, so that form factor seems to fit the bill perfectly.

65% is pretty popular these days, and I think for good reason. I’m not sure off the top of my head what’s available right now, but I think the novelkeys one just wrapped up pre-orders. You could also look at 66%, one of my first custom boards was a clueboard and that was a pretty cool one

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I second the Clueboard for a high quality yet still relatively affordable custom board. Skully even got a less expensive low-pro sandwich case style aluminum Clueboard out now to replace the old school acrylic Clueboards. I personally wish he would’ve kept producing the acrylic Clueboard or iterated on it by upgrading materials as I think the design of them makes for a very unique feel, much more so than the aluminum ones.

Edit: BTW, welcome to the community! Hope to see you around here more often now!