There was a time when computer keyboards were not considered a mere afterthought. Many keyboard manufacturers proudly promoted the comfort and durability of their keyboard. Computer manufacturers, including Apple, once included some of the best, if not the best keyboards possible.
Somewhere along the way, the bean counters in many companies targeted the vulnerable keyboard as a way to reduce costs. At meetings with management, I can only imagine the input from bean counters, “A keyboard is a keyboard. Customers won’t care.”
There’s only one problem with that flawed logic. While many customers didn’t care, there were many who did and still do care about the quality of their keyboards. Apple was among the worst offenders when it came to cheapening the quality of its keyboards, starting with the AppleDesign Keyboard in 1994.
I have been a keyboard aficionado for a long time now. I have done reviews on some very good quality keyboards. Growing up with the IBM Model M, I am extremely picky as to what I type on. There is a scarce picking of quality keyboards to choose from these days.
Thankfully, there is a company attempting to carry the torch for good quality keyboards into the future. That company is WASD Keyboards. I got the chance to review one of its keyboards, and it was nothing short of a top-notch contender.
Since reviewing this keyboard, WASD Keyboards has released a V2 version of this keyboard. The keyboard I used is the V1 version with 104 keys. The first thing you’ll notice when taking this keyboard out of the box is the quality feel and the feeling of just enough heft. In the pictures that follow, you’ll see that in keeping with the Apple of days gone by, I chose a rainbow of colors.
The USB cord is just the right length and is braided for extra durability. WASD keyboards are mechanical keyboards that use the Cherry MX key switch. The keyboard I’m reviewing uses the Cherry Brown key switch. The key switch feel is tactile, but not altogether clicky. The click is more or less muted, which is in direct contrast to the IBM Model M, which uses buckling-springs and is louder.
The V1 is extremely customizable. There are a plethora of options one can choose. You can get keycaps either laser etched or engraved. You can also get different colors, as well as Mac and Linux keys. To see what’s available, WASD even offers a Custom Keyboard Designer to design your keyboard.
If you prefer an even quieter keyboard, you can order your WASD keyboard with rubber O-rings under each key cap, which dampens the sound whenever you bottom out, meaning when you press the key all the way down. Should you need to remove a keycap or two or twenty, each keyboard also comes with a Wire Keycap Puller Tool to make removing the keycap a lot easier.
How does the V1 type? In a word, smooth. You can develop a very good rhythm on this keyboard. With each key press, you can feel the quality. The V1 easily became a favorite of mine to type on. While you can order your WASD keyboard with a few different types of key switches, I would definitely recommend the Cherry Brown key switch. There’s a good balance between tactility and clicky.
How much will this keyboard set you back? For the basic keyboard, the V2, which replaced the V1, sells for $149.99. If you don’t need the keycaps, you can order a barebones keyboard for $99.99. I give this keyboard five out of five LEMs.
For peace of mind and a good, quality typing experience, a WASD keyboard will give you many years of pleasurable service. If you have any comments or questions, please email me at email@example.com.
Short link: http://goo.gl/prbR7R