Since it was released last year I have been intrigued by the TKC Candybar - I love 40% keyboards and southpaw keyboards, so this seemed like a natural fit for me. I was not a fan of the round 1 colors, but recently picked up a round 2 in white.
Yes it is tray mount, but in underserved form factors like 40% Southpaw I think it is perfectly acceptable.
I have been using it for the last 24 hours and I think I have a good handle on it.
- Quality, finish, and tolerances are all extremely good
- Substantial feel
- Hotswap PCB
- Next level packaging for a low-mid priced custom
- Tray mount to the plate
- Loud typing sound
- The board is almost completely untunable (see below)
This is a great board and I love it, but it is not tunable. What do I mean by that? It is a tray mount and to get the best typing experience with tray mount you need to tweak it with case foam and/or plate foam - maybe burger mount the standoffs, etc.
You can’t really do any of that with the Candybar. The tolerances are so tight on the USB-C port (it is deeply recessed and the cut out doesn’t have a millimeter to spare) that unless the case foam came perfectly cut from the factory or if you installed O-rings, it would prevent you from plugging in the board.
Plate foam could be cut, but it is not generally available for the Candybar and plate foam with a Hotswap PCB is a shit show unless the foam is exactly the right thickness (otherwise your switches pop out).
The tray mount system is designed such that the stand-offs go through the PCB and you screw the plate directly into the standoff.
This is very convenient and much easier to screw together than normal tray mount cases. But it definitely stiffens the plate even further. Normally a carbon fiber plate, like the one included with the candy bar, would flex pretty pleasantly.
Not in the Candybar. There are at least 8 tray screws and because they mount directly to the plate it is super stiff regardless of material.
So in the end, you have almost almost no control over the sound of the board except for the stabilizers, switches, and keycaps that you choose.
For my initial build, I chose poorly.
The Candybar would probably sound fairly good with a lighter, linear switch or silent switch and PBT keycaps.
I built mine with Holy Pandas and ABS DSS Honeywell and the results are LOUD!
These shortcomings somehow do not detract from me loving the board.
I will just have to rebuild it with quieter switches and thick PBT keycaps.
Normally I am not a big hot swap fan, but I am sure glad that this one is, because I have to redo my entire build.