When comparing CODE Keyboard vs Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2, the Slant community recommends CODE Keyboard for most people. In the question“What are the best keyboards for programming?” CODE Keyboard is ranked 2nd while Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 is ranked 11th. The most important reason people chose CODE Keyboard is:
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to. There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
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Pro Available with 4 different kinds of Cherry MX switches
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to.
There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
Pro Full white backlighting
The CODE keyboard comes with backlighting that feels similar to the one found on Apple products. You can pick from seven brightness levels and the onboard memory saves your lighting preferences. They also have gone to a lot of trouble getting the backlighting even by painting the backplate white and positioning the key symbols just right.
Pro Solid construction
This keyboard is built solidly, using sturdy parts made of robust materials. It's mounted on a solid steel backplate, weighs over 2 pounds and has a dual layer PCB board. In this aspect, it’s comparable to other keyboards renowned for their build quality, such as those from the Ducky series.
Pro Minimalistic design
The CODE keyboard has a textured finish that resists fingerprints and scratches. It has no stickers or logos and the back-lighting is very clean and elegant.
Pro Saves time with complex key combos
Key combos can be configured, supporting combinations of up to six keys. However, Ctrl, Alt and Shift don't count to this total. As a result, using these keys actually increases the combo key limit to nine.
Pro Removable/replaceable USB cable
Many keyboards come with a permanently attached cable, meaning that if it gets damaged, you need to get it fixed or replace the whole board. CODE keyboards come with removable cables, which means they're easy to replace if broken. This also has the added benefit of allowing for more customization options: braided cables, different coloured cables, or longer/shorter cables for different setups without having excess cables hanging around.
Pro DIP-Switches allow quickly disabling or switching certain keys and changing the layout completely
DIP-switches on the back of the keyboard can be used to disable the Windows key, switch Caps Lock with Ctrl, swap Alt with Command (if you're on macOS), and change to QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak layouts.
Pro Available with or without a numeric keypad
Users can choose between versions that have and don't have a numeric keypad.
Pro Consistent design
FN labels are on the front of the keycaps (i.e. media labels). This improves the user experience.
A consistent design is an outstanding aspect in this keyboard.
Pro Media control
Even though there aren't any dedicated media keys, the navigation cluster has secondary media control functions. To access these functions, the keys should be pressed in combination with the Fn key.
Pro Very portable
This keyboard’s detachable cable, dimensions, and weight make it extremely easy to carry around.
Pro Compact & minimalistic
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.
Pro Fluid key feel with Topre switches
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).
Pro Very well built
The Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 is a very well built keyboard that uses materials that give it a tough body resistant to bending.
Pro Easily programmable and highly modifiable
This keyboard comes with the standard DIP switches to modify key behavior, but you can also completly 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 HHKB users.
Pro Designed to keep you in home row
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.
Pro The keycaps are made from PBT and the inscriptions are dye-sublimated
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.
Pro Contributes to a more ergonomic workspace
The positioning of the numpad on traditional keyboards forces users to keep the mouse far on the right-hand side. With this keyboard's compact layout, a more ergonomic workspace can be created by allowing the mouse to be placed closer.
Pro The arrow keys, the page up/down keys and the media keys, among others, are easily usable via the Fn key, comfortably within reach
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.
Compared to alternatives which offer RGB lighting, USB passthrough or other features, this keyboard is pretty expensive.
Con No numpad
Con Sculpted keys make switching to Dvorak difficult
Dvorak is a keyboard layout that's an alternative to the commonly used QWERTY layout. While QWERTY was designed in the early days of typing, Dvorak is a more comfortable, modern layout which is technically superior. It is designed to have more flow than QWERTY, where the left hand does most of the work. Here, keys are strategically placed to spread the typing out more evenly. This creates better flow (left hand types a letter, then the right hand, then back to left and so on). In this keyboad, the keycaps are sculpted for the QWERTY layout, which means that, when you switch the keys around, each of the keys is at a slightly different angle than the one next to it.
Con Spare parts and keycap sets can only be obtained from third parties
The manufacturer doesn’t sell spare parts or keycap sets, so if users want to change the layout, they have to get these components from a third party.
Con Too small for some, particularly those with big hands
This keyboard's small size may prove difficult for some people to get accustomed to.
Con It's hard to source the MX Clear version
The version of the CODE keyboard that comes with the MX Clear switches is constantly out of stock.
Con No wireless connection
CODE keyboards connect via USB. No Bluetooth or any other form of wireless connection is available.
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.
Con Manufacturer warranty is only valid under certain conditions
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.
Con No dedicated arrow keys
The HHKB Pro JP is the only version that has dedicated arrow keys. On the HHKP2 , these functions have to be used via the Fn key.
Con The USB hub only has 100 mW power
The USB hub on the HHKB only has 100 mW of power, so it might struggle to power some devices.
Con Lacks versatility outside of typing
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.
Con It's popular because it is ridiculously overpriced, even though it's underfeatured
This keyboard's price is much too high for the features it offers.
Con The traction feet are weak and the height feet are short
The traction feet do not actually provide much traction just as the height feet do not add that much height.
Con No metal backplate
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.
Con Lack of keycap/switch customization options
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.