Not-the-best-keyboard dilemma: Good or Bad?

I’m faced with a dilemma that’s been haunting me for a few weeks but got to a point where I need some external advice. I know there are (Edit: In my mind) better keyboards out there, and naturally, I want to acquire one. I shoved this thought away as I (happily) bought and used my Ciel, and even brought it to NorCal. But, subconsciously, I was a smidge jealous of those who brought better keyboards.

Now, present day. Found out about Unikorn r2.2, and that urge to get an (also in my mind) better, more premium board surfaced once again. I’ve always thought the unikorn was a very pleasant board in both looks and sound. The Ciel in sound is similar and I am pleased by its looks. Now it’s just the price and, more or less, hype around it that makes me want to shell out more, not less (ha see what I did there).

If I want it that much, it would be sensible to just buy it. Thing is, I’m not even in high school yet. I’ve managed my spending decently, and the amount of money I’ve invested into this hobby (out of my pocket) isn’t nearly as much as what I’ve actually spent. I just don’t know if another half-a-thousand keeb would be a good choice. Thoughts?

Edit: Unikorn r2.2 will be no less than around 415 USD. Just my luck…

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The big question is, “what is a better keyboard”?.

That question means different things to different people at different points in their keyboard journey.

One day for one person it might be an ultra high class TGR or Keycult board.
For another it might be a DIY Ergo project.
Maybe for you it’s the keyboard currently in front of you?

Since you’re in High School, it’s great that you’re into a hobby with both artistic and technical aspects like keyboards, but I honestly don’t think the hobby takes off for most people until they have disposable income. Not because of the existence of fancy premium boards, but because it will allow you to try out more opportunities to craft your tastes in keyboards as your taste in keyboards change over time.

Right now the urge might be to get a more “premium” board. Tomorrow it might not be. If you can afford it within your budget, awesome! If you can’t, that’s no worries because there will always be another kickass keyboard around the corner :slight_smile:

Almost every enthusiast I’ve known has, at some point, said something along the lines of, “I wished I joined earlier so I had a chance to grab X, Y, or Z keyboard!”. You know what? That’s perfectly fine, but don’t forget the keyboards you’ll be around to check out today and in the future :slight_smile:

I’m not going to tell you that keyboard is going to be worth it for you or not. I’m not going to say if it’s going to be your end-all-be-all of keyboards (hint: it won’t be), but I definitely think that getting into a mindset of just simply finding out your tastes bit by bit helps everything out.

Also thanks for attending the meetup! Hopefully you’ll be able to try more awesome boards in the future to help shape your tastes and I’m sure people’s taste in keyboards will be shaped by the boards you bring as well.

Cheers!

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It’s not just bad but corrosive. Get a girlfriend instead. They’ll sound and feel better as well as go dutch. But no lubing.

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This is what I needed to hear. Thank you.

Interesting. Do you know when the GB will start and the price point? Made in what country?

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I use an all plastic keyboard that uses rubber domes. There is no such thing as a “better” keyboard. This entire hobby is subjective, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, my opinion > yours :sunglasses:

Edit: I have a $1500 (after all mods and shit) keyboard sitting in a box because I prefer plastic boi.

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I’m one of the lucky few that have found there endgame.

And it’s a sandwich mount from 2018. Shure it doesn’t have any brass to make it look fancy and the edges shows some were but sound and feel makes me not want anything else just more of the same in different colors.

So when in comes to using the keeb, I don’t think you’ll be happier with a unicorn than a Ciel.

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I’ll go full romanticism on this - build memories with the keyboard. Whether programming, writing, doing something online etc - start doing thing that’ll make you nostalgic about the board. That’ll matter (long game) way more than what you thought a “premium” board was.

Build a startup - write a blog, journal, novel - attach some other memories to the sights and sounds of the board and it’ll make it much more premium for you.

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FWIW, someone asked if my Ciel was a Unikorn in one of my IG story posts the other day :sweat_smile:

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Definitely understand the dilemma. I own a lot of keyboards (understatement). Some of the most premium ones are really nice, but I don’t find myself typing on them every day. There’s no endgame for me. I like building keyboards, paring keycap sets, and trying new things. That’s the hobby for me. So it makes sense to me to seek out new boards. Of course, many people can’t afford to do that without selling their previous boards, which is most likely what I would do if I didn’t have the funds to keep them all.

Maybe buy the (in your mind) better board and see if you like it more. If you do, sell the old one. If you don’t, sell the Unikorn.

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Heck yeah. Sandwich mount best mount. I hate to admit that my Budget96 sounds and feels better than a lot of my other keyboards.

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Already plenty of good advice here; I’ll just relate some personal anecdotes of my own keeb journey;

My first ~$30 Amazon keeb blew my mind, and knowing I’d started with one of the cheapest available, I thought, “wow how much better does it get from here?” One thing about it that impressed me was how solid it was - no flex (in the way Thomas / Chyrosran22 uses the term; you can’t physically twist the board, it unyieldingly holds its shape if you try).

I figured, well, since I like this cheap solid one with an aluminum top (plate) so much, I bet a full-aluminum one would be awesome! A few hundred bucks later and I’d modded a Filco Majestouch into one of YMDK’s machined cases for it. Finally, I had a big, heavy, solid-as-a-stone keyboard. I looked down with beaming anticipation as I rested my hands on the keys.

…Oh.

Turns out I hated it, almost completely. I think I’ve logged maybe ten minutes on that board. The height was ridiculous. The typing angle was brutal. And the sound. Oh, dear, the sound. Like whacking a pencil against a steel stairwell hand rail.

From that moment forward, I always took the opportunity to question not just what’s good, but what’s good for me personally - as Huey mentioned, answering those questions does get a lot easier with expendable income, but of course stuff like meetups can help a lot with that in the mean time.

Since assembling the underwhelming Monolith-shaped keeb, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my tastes in the intervening 4 or 5 years, and boy did they end up in a place I didn’t expect at the outset. I thought I wanted a super-heavy, solid-as-possible edifice of a TKL - and while I still like that idea, what I actually ended up preferring to use was a relatively light, almost completely plastic 65%.

If you have lots of practical (as in “in-practice”, not necessarily “productive”) reasons for thinking the Unikorn will satisfy the tastes you’ve developed so far, it’s at least worth thinking about - and that’s probably the best advice I can give personally, think about it. More specifically:

Make a list of pros and cons. When faced with a dilemma, I find it really helpful to get all the variables in front of me on a piece of paper (or screen). Dig-into why, for you, the Unikorn is desirable. Put that up against things like how what you have meets those desires, and then ask if the gulf between what you’ve got and what you want is big enough to justify the cost (and if that cost is worth a gamble, as you never truly know until its in your hands).

Another thing to consider; keeb-space is always evolving, and rapidly. If what draws you to the Unikorn has to do with just about anything other than specific aesthetics, there’s a good chance someone else is going to do it better sometime in the next six months.

Not too long ago, I threw down on what I’d consider an expensive keeb, and I’m really happy with it - but it took me at least three years of messing around with other stuff to inform that purchase to the point where I was confident I knew I was getting into. Granted I’ve watched you picking up on stuff like Gohan picking up moves, so I don’t think it’s going to take you nearly as long to hone-in on informed preferences as it did me. I’m just here to tell you it’s worth taking that time before putting big bucks on the table, whatever it is for you.

At this point I own a few really sweet custom keebs and I’m very glad to have them in my collection - but I do have to note that my favorite keeb to actually use is still a toss-up between the KBD67 Lite and Portico. Are there “better” keebs out there? Absolutely. Are there better keebs for me out there? Not that I’ve tried so far.

If it really is just (or at least primarily) the perceived value / hype of a given keeb that draws you to it, well - I’d lean towards resisting that, unless it’s backed-up by plenty of other things. Buying-into hype (literally) can be a slippery-slope, and you’re wise to question it.

It’s fine if reasons for wanting [x] aren’t logical so long as they’re real for you - for example, I really like my P.02 for purely aesthetic reasons. For me, it was worth about half a thousand to have that in my collection primarily as a display piece - but for someone hoping for the best typing experience would probably be sorely disappointed given what else is out there these days.

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Alrighty. I’ll be dead honest, no fabricating or alternate reasons.

Pros:

  • Looks cool
  • Show-off value
  • Everybody says it’s so great
  • Feeling of “I have such a good keeb”
  • Singa!
  • Resale Value
  • Nice sound
  • Hefty
  • Will keep me away from lookin at keebs for some time

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Expensive
  • Expensive
  • Value is driven up by more hype than functionality
  • Probably spend more even after purchase (switches, keycaps, plates, pcbs)
  • Gonna get way too smug saying “I have a Unikorn”
  • Excusing spending a lot as this is a “once in a very long time” opportunity
  • Lack of knowledge in drop day, exact price, how to buy something overseas
  • Guilt not using the Ciel or worse, selling it
  • Lack of preparedness or sense of how much money it really is
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I think some of the cons that you’ve listed are pretty serious ones to consider: additional costs on top of something already expensive, hype potentially leading to a letdown, etc.

In my own experience, the most expensive board I ever owned was the one that I sold the quickest. The sound was okay, if a bit hollow. The typing experience was brutally firm. But the hype was real and maybe I had to own it to understand for myself. But imo, like with many things there’s a point of diminishing returns and price isn’t necessarily indicative of an enjoyable experience. The keyboards that I typically look forward to using each day aren’t the most expensive ones that I own. Hell, I still think the KBD67 that I briefly owned sounded incredible.

The hype will remain and then it’ll fizzle out and move onto something else. It’s an unfortunate result of capitalism. So I’d say focus on if it’s a board that speaks to you. The look, the sounds with your preferred switches and plate, etc. Hype comes and goes. Having something you truly enjoy lasts forever.

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What’s really bugging me is how these decisions come a go… One day I can feel like I need to join in, others I feel like it’s not worth it. Damn.

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Brains are weird, man. I’ve gotten used to this feeling, if only because I ride that little roller-coaster at least on a weekly basis. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Everybody’s different but I find sleeping on it works for me. Find something I’m super interested in? Sleep on it and see if you feel the same way tomorrow. If it’s gone by then it wasn’t meant to be. Giving in to those immediate impulses are what I think gets me into trouble so that’s my system of checks and balances.

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How old are you?

Why do you ask? I’m about to turn 14, but technically 13.

I’m 14 lol and the hobby is so fun but makes you go broke

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I was going to go to a meet-up but then I thought how the hell people would look at me since there probably only 20-30 old people lol so I didn’t go