As a mainstream keyboard user who previously purchased the Ducky Year of the Goat, I’m now on the hunt for a new full-sized keyboard that suits my preferences. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Ducky brand and would love to explore other options that offer a similar typing feel.
To give you an idea of my preferences, I’m particularly fond of MX Cherry Brown switches or any similar tactile switches. I find them to strike the perfect balance between responsiveness and comfort, making them ideal for my everyday typing needs. However, I must admit that I’m a 100% normie when it comes to keyboards, meaning I’m not really into modding or lubing. I prefer a hassle-free experience straight out of the box.
With that said, I’m reaching out to this knowledgeable community in the hope of receiving some valuable recommendations. What full-sized keyboards would you suggest that cater to my preferences? I’m open to exploring other brands and models as well.
Any insights or personal experiences you can share would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to include any noteworthy features, build quality, or even aesthetics that you think would enhance my typing experience.
Thank you in advance for your guidance! I look forward to diving into the world of keyboard upgrades with your help.
You get a decent aluminium chassis for this price bracket and I think it improves the overall feeling of your keyboard a lot.
Ready out of the box.
Gateron Pro Switches. I haven’t tried the browns yet, but overall the Pro series are very good stock switches since they have a polished stems and a decent factory lube application.
The default keycaps are very good too. It’s pbt which I find a lot better than cheap abs sets in general.
QMK/VIA. No proprietary bs. VIA just works and since it has ARM MCU you will have all the cool features enabled.
The overall design is mod friendly; easy to tune to your liking. And it is a decent base for future upgrades if needed.
You can get a knob.
However, it is still a $200 keyboard. That’s why I asked your budget. I actually find this keyboard cheap and think it is insane value. But if that’s too much I would get a V6, it is essentially the same but with a plastic chassis. It looks like the only other difference is that it comes with Keychron switches and I don’t know if they are as good as Gateron pros.
Then you have the K series but I don’t know much about them. They look less enthusiast; they include features like shine through, low profile, wireless … that I personally do not like/care but are generally cheaper.
Keychron keyboards are very tall compared to other 100% mx keyboards, so I’d never use it with high profile caps. And the Q series has a fixed angle (which I find too low, so I’ve had to buy adhesive rubber feet to lift it up). I also dislike the feel of whatever they used for the gasket.
Also, the Gateron Pro browns feel different to Cherry browns - much lighter for my heavily-bottoming-out typing style.
I will end up replacing the switches on mine, if I don’t sell it first because of the high profile and too-soft gasket.
Finally, I sold my first keychron Q because of the terrible ping. My Q6 has no ping, just the nice Keychron thock, so I’m not sure if they’ve fixed their pinging issue, or it’s a lottery whether or not you get the ping.
On later Q lines they implemented a force break integrated on the bottom case that fixed the pinging issue.
You can easily add force break yourself with soft tape like electrical tape to do exactly the same thing, it is said that the result is pretty dramatic on the early Q versions
As for the Gateron Pro Browns, I was a little disappointed with them. They didn’t seem to be much of an improvement over regular Gateron Browns.
The best Gateron light tactiles are the Zealio V1 Redux (on sale this weekend), but you need to lube them.
There aren’t too many Brown-like switches that are ready-to-go. You might want to pick up samples of SP Star Meteor Orange, lubed+filmed Cotton Candy from loobedswitches, Durock Light Tactile. Naevy 1.5 are light Ergo Clears, and are decent stock. Gateron CAP Milky Browns don’t need any work, but they’re a little heavier than Browns.
The Gateron Pro Browns that come with the Q6 will give you a good basis for comparison with anything else. If you like them right away, then you’ve already won.
If you’re open to an “1800” as your next board, down the line - more like a 65% + numpad (without the 6-key TKL nav cluster) - you’ll have more options. Some really nice ones exist, like the Rekt or Brutal v2 1800 from CannonKeys. Both are “in-stock”, so not a group buy.
I have a newly-built board with Blueberry Chiffon V1.
It’s an NCR-80 [beige], plateless with shelf-liner as dampening.
The build itself is fine, but yes, the Blueberry Chiffon V1 have leaf-ping.
If there was no leaf-ping, the board would sound deep and clunky. The BC V1 don’t have much of a distinctive sound, it’s a plastic clunk. [Mine are the factory-lubed version.]
Compared with MX Browns, the BC have a larger bump that seems to begin a bit earlier than Cherry/Gateron. There’s a bit of pretravel, then it’s a ‘p’ shaped bump. The bump seems to extend longer than Cherry/Gateron Browns, it’s easier to ‘hang’ on it before actuation [kind of like with Zealio V2]. Requires more force to actuate.
The Blueberry Chiffon is a cleaner switch than Cherry Browns, as the bump is far more distinct and less-granular. Bottom-out is harder, since it is long-pole, but relatively gentle for that type of switch. I used them on plateless since LP switches basically create their own ‘plate’ anyway.
It’s a consistent and comfortable typing experience that requires a little more force, and hits a little harder than Browns. It’s more staccato, compared with the liquid Cherry tactility. Should I have waited for the V2 Blueberry Chiffon before doing the build? Probably, but then I would have to pay full-price for 90 more switches [mine were discounted and bought 6 months ago], have them imported from the U.S. with possible duties, and they don’t exist yet. This board would be fine to hand someone to hook up to a retro emulation system or something. Too bad about the leaf ringing, though.
Related to the NCR, I have a biege Cherry G80 3000 with clear switches.
I filled the bottom half of the base with blutak & chucked on some AFSA keys to replace the cheap-feeling lasered caps it came with. With the extra heft, this is a very nice full-size keyboard.
I semi-regularly see these sell for under $50 in as-new (but nicely yellowed) condition.
And if you’re considering wireless…
I’m currently typing on an ikbc W210 with Cherry browns (the vintage biege model with off-white & grey AFSA caps).
This took a lot of effort to de-ping, but it’s definitely my favourite out of the wireless keyboards I’ve used (and I’ve bought every full-size wireless mechanical keyboard I’ve seen).
This is wireless-only, but it has a dongle so it’s reliable and fast, and it uses 2xAAA batteries which last for months.
Keychron K series Bluetooth range is pretty dire. Filco convertible is better (and the batteries last for many months). But Bluetooth keyboards’ low polling rate seems to confuse Citrix, so that I’m constantly finding V and C characters in my code where I meant to copy & paste.
I tried tapes, space-filling foam spray between the plate and circuitboard, foam sheets, blutak. I liked the extra weight of the blutak, but nothing removed the ping.
I finally tracked it down to the stabilizer wires. I wedged foam sheet (from a cut up makeup applicator sponge) between the stabilizer wires and the circuitboard, and now I only get pinging when I’m thumping the heck out of the keyboard.
Yeah, my Filco was a pingmaster at first, and it’s still a little-bit there [cleared-up really nice over time, though.]
It looks like the W210 doesn’t really offer anything over my existing Filco. Sometimes I wonder if it’s true that Ducky procures better MX Browns for its keyboards [I’ve heard a number of positive reports.]