Section 1 - This mysterious custom keyboard thing
Written by ai03, last updated Oct 13 2020
In this quick series, I will cover everything you need to know to get started smoothly on the adventure of custom keyboards.
Information that usually takes months upon months to scrounge together is now available in a quick read in one spot.
So what is a custom keyboard anyways?
In general, “custom keyboards” refers to high-end keyboards designed to maximize quality, aesthetics, comfort, acoustics, or a mix of these elements. They tend to be a fair bit more expensive than a general keyboard, and are usually very exclusive due to their low-quantity high-quality nature.
Their price can range from below 200USD to well over 1000USD, and they can vary heavily in form and function. They also require the user to choose and assemble the parts, making it a far more involving topic than simply buying and using.
Are they really worth their price tag?
In general, custom keyboards tend to have its benefits, such as
- Significantly better quality and design compared to off-the-shelf units,
- Less fatigue on the fingers during extended use,
- Being able to fine-tune the board to your needs in all of its aspects.
Whether custom keyboards are worth their price depends on your use case. Decide based on how you value the aspects of keyboards we’ve discussed earlier, and how much time you spend using a keyboard each day.
Alright, I’m sold. So I just go buy a unit and plug it in?
Not quite. Usually, the custom keyboard kit itself only includes the case parts, meaning you must source the rest of the parts separately and assemble them to build a functional unit.
You may wonder why keyboards are such a hassle rather than being pre-built; this is due to the massive variety of switches and keysets available to fine-grain tune feel and aesthetic to one’s preferences. The age where one picks switches from a few color choices is well in the past, with over 800 recorded keyswitch types and hundreds of keysets in existence. But do not worry, for this guide will cover all you need to know when we get to that.