Here’s the Deal
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The HHKB lacks a metal backplate. Most decent mechanical keyboards have a metal backplate that is usually mounted to the underside of the PCB. The inclusion of such a plate, aside from increased build quality, adds more stability by dampening vibration during use. See More
This keyboard’s keys use Topre switches, which have a smooth, interesting feel: each key’s resistance is quickly lost once it starts being pressed. This sensation is accompanied by a unique and pleasantly organic “thock” sound. These hybrid switches have both a rubber dome and a spring which create the initial tactile bump feel and subsequent continuous action. If you want, these switches can be silenced, either by the manufacturer before purchasing or by following some DIY steps (easy to do, but time-consuming). See More
This keyboard comes with the standard DIP switches to modify key behavior, but you can also completely swap out the controller board or even fork the TMK firmware to make your own keybindings in the firmware. Also available is the TMK controller board, custom made for HHK users. See More
Eiiti Wada (a Japanese computer pioneer), the co-developer of this keyboard, is a UNIX user and wanted to make life easier for programmers, particularly vim and emacs. He aimed for a keyboard layout that allowed fingers to stay in the home row most of the time. For example, he placed the Control key where the Caps Lock traditionally is. Most *nix users and general power users know that Control is used more often than Caps Lock for various shortcuts. Therefore, this key repositioning makes sense, since it makes access easier, using the pinky fingers while keeping one's hand on the "home row" of keys. See More
There are many potential reasons as to why this keyboard is as expensive as it is, like the use of certain materials or the remarkable build quality. However, at the end of the day, its price is still quite higher than what most people are willing to spend on a keyboard. See More
PBT plastic is a very brittle material that is able to withstand high temperatures, doesn't yellow or wear out easily. The dye sublimation process ensures the inscriptions don't wear off easily (compared to pad printed ABS, for example). This process usually requires keycaps to withstand high amounts of heat for the ink to transfer from one material to the other, something that's not possible with other commonly used plastics, like ABS. Dye-sublimated inscriptions are also better than laser, etched, or engraved inscriptions in the sense that they don't get dirt or dust as easily. See More
The warranty conditions specifically imply that the one year manufacturer’s warranty is only valid within Japan or if bought within the US from elitekeyboards.com. For all other countries, the warranty is considered void by default. See More
Even though there aren't dedicated keys for these functions, they can be easily used by pressing an easy-to-reach Fn key, placed just below Enter. Functions accessible via the Fn key are printed on the front of the keycap. See More
The arrow keys, the page up/down keys and the media keys, among others, are easily usable via the Fn key, comfortably within reach
Due to the nature of the Topre switch, customization is very limited. On other keyboards, like those with Cherry MX switches, it is easy to swap switches. With Topre switches, this is only possible if a keyboard with the right set of rubber domes/cups is bought. This leads to a higher customization cost. See More
This keyboard uses a 60% layout that forgoes unneeded keys and merges the extra set of keys into the Fn layer. This mimics the behaviour found on most laptops due to size restrictions. Despite this, the more commonly used keys are left intact so that one does not feel too unfamiliar with the more compact layout. In addition to reducing the keyboard's size, it makes accessing virtually every key on the keyboard a breeze. See More
The Pro 2’s design focus on typing and coding results in compromises that hinders other kinds of uses. It’s not an ideal keyboard for gaming: many games use the Function and arrow keys extensively and with the Pro 2, that requires double strokes or completely reconfiguring the key binds to fit the layout. Also, when it comes to crunching numbers and spreadsheet work, the absence of the arrow keys and a dedicated number pad makes this keyboard completely cumbersome and inefficient to use. See More
Topre switches are a mix between mechanical switches and rubber dome switches. They have mechanical components, however they are covered beneath a rubber dome which protects the switch. They bring a mechanical feel, and mix it with the durability of a rubber dome switch. See More
Silenced Topre switches are designed for those who do not particularly like the sound of keyboards being tapped on or for those who may be concern over disturbing others when using a noisy keyboard. Silencing is done mainly by placing a material that absorbs the sound of the slider when it makes contact with the slider housing. This thereby prevents excessive noise when the key has been released after it has been actuated. The overall effect of a silenced Topre is quite astounding as it may give the impression one is on a cheap keyboard (obviously, the reality is actually the opposite). See More
When the keyboard is not sourced directly from Japan the price may vary (usually higher). At the same time, sourcing directly from Japan may only save one a couple of dollars here and there (after including the forwarding/proxy costs). Ideally, the best solution is to shop around and do one's homework, to see what is more viable in the long run. See More
It's pretty rare (maybe once every 3 months), but Realforce keyboard keys can "chatter" (at least on the Realforce 87u and 103u keyboards). The key is not physically stuck in the keydown position, but nevertheless, the input will continuously and endlessly repeat as if the key was being held down. Further keyboard input is ignored until you unplug the USB cable. It's an uncommon annoyance, however an annoyance nonetheless. See More
Variable weights under each specific groups of keys was done in a bid to prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury). For instance, the groups of keys that the pinky finger hits are much lighter/softer than the rest of the groups of keys that are pressed by the rest of the fingers. Variable weights are achieved by having either heavier or lighter rubber domes. Whilst this idea is very useful for normal typing, for gaming it's not so great: for instance, when dealing with First Person Shooter games that requires WASD keys, those sets of keys feel very light when fingers other than the pinky are used to actuate them. See More
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