BirchTree

Talking tech since 2010

A New Keyboard

A New Keyboard

Okay, so not a new keyboard, but a new set of keycaps. Sorry for the mild clickbait.

Sometime last year I got a Vortex Race 3 and I love most of it. The Cherry Brown key switches feel perfect, it's low enough profile that I don't get hand pain when typing on it for a long time, and the layout is compact but not too compact.

There were two things I didn't love as much though. The first was that it uses micro-USB, and there's nothing I can do about that, but the second was the key cap colors. At first they were fun, but as time went on, they started to feel more a Fisher Price keyboard. It came with great replacements for the primary colored keys, but then it just looked too much like a generic, old keyboard at that point.

So I went shopping.

Quick aside: While mechanical keyboards have gotten more popular over the past decade, you really notice how niche it still is when you shop for parts. Amazon is pretty bad for it, and while there are a few sites like mechanicalkeyboards.com and KBDfans that are relatively centralized, a lot of this world is “knowing a guy” and getting in on a limited run of some really cool set. And even when you do get one of those, you’re probably going to wait months to actually get the thing.

I browsed around and bought the DSA 9009 keycaps set from KBDfans, and I think this set looks amazing. Really, look at this!

Now, eagle-eyed readers will notice a few things are a bit off, which are my fault because I didn’t pay enough attention when ordering.

The most egregious error is that I didn’t get a set with an “end” button, so I had to leave the old key on there. Blur your eyes and you don’t notice, but it’s definitely out of place.

Second, and less terrible, is that escape and delete keys have a little space separating them from the rest of the keys. This is a quirk of the Vortex, which has 1.5x wide keys for those, which is not standard and is almost impossible to find keycaps for in the wild. The alignment is a little odd, but the separation doesn’t actually bother me for these, so I can live with that just fine.

But scroll to the top image again…

Do you see it?

I freaking bought the pack without a function row! I got the 75 key version when I should have gotten the 99 key one. Ugh!

So the top row is all the old keys, minus the escape and delete keys. Do I feel like an idiot? Sure do! Did this ship from somewhere random in China and come what I can only describe as a Ziploc gallon bag wrapped in FedEx wrapping paper? Sure did, so I’m not doing a return on this, so I’m going to live with it.

I didn’t stick the landing, but I’m quite happy with this new look. This feels friendly without being childish to me, and I hope the mix of keys fades into the background for me.

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