The best keyboard I've ever had

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Top view hhkb

There I was. Ready to click the big blue purchase button. 350 Euro, for a keyboard (!) Asking Vitto multiple times: is this really worth it? Should I go for it? I mean, that's a whole lot of dinners.

After much hesitation, I did it. All black, with blank key caps. Yes, I too was skeptical from the start. The first days, I couldn't type 4 keys in a row without having to pull up the manual. 2 days passed, then 3 days passed... Still, I didn't get it. How do people use this keyboard? How am I supposed to type a full credit card number with blank key caps? You're a pro touch typist? Good for you. I'm not.

"I can get used to this" I would tell myself. But after a week using the keyboard, I've had enough. Basta. This isn't going to cut it for me. I'm just too slow with it. 350 Euro.. I'm not only poorer but now I'm also slower at typing.

Returning the HHKB keyboard

I decided to return the thing1. And went back to my good ol' Keychron K2.

A second chance

Some days passed and something was just not right. This can't be! I can't be missing that piece of junk. There's just something about those keys.. Typing on that keyboard just felt right. Even if I didn't know where each key was.. I just feels good!

I reordered it. And we were not about to make the same 'blank key caps' mistake. I ordered the white version with printed key caps. Just to make sure I CAN SEE EVERYTHING.

Some cons

It's perfect, but there are still some things I'm not in love with. For 350 EUR I expect everything to be absolutely perfect. I mean, really perfect. The materials are good, but for the most, they are still plastic. Every time I want to start using the keyboard, I need to click and hold the little power button in the back.

Another small complaint is the layout. This keyboard changes the place of the Control key, removes the delete key, has no dedicated arrow keys. For the most part, it works great (I use Vim keybindings for most things). But now my brain goes through a small hiccup every time I use a 'normal' keyboard. And my pinky still hurts. Maybe my hands are just big, I don't know.

Setup view happy hacking keyboard

What made me fall in love

It was the typing experience. It’s really like typing on a cloud. I'm not a big mechanical keyboard head. I've had a couple of Keychron keyboards, that's it. But these Topre switches are just something else. They are smooth and squishy at the same time. It feels as though your fingers are just swimming in the keyboard. That's what got me hooked from the start.

There are two other things I love about the Happy Hacking Keyboard. First, is the battery. I've had this keyboard for over a month, and did not think about battery a single time. I’ve come to realize just how much I hate charging my keyboard every week. I prefer to use a couple of AA batteries every couple of months.

The second thing is the sound. I like mechanical - but I don't enjoy everyone around the house hearing the hammering sound of plastic against plastic, or Vitto having to know every time I write to file in Neovim. I enjoy working around people sometimes. With the HHKB I can do so without bothering everyone around me.

Final thoughts

So yeah. I have to agree with Alex. This might very well be the perfect keyboard. I'm not 100% sold on all the choices that were made, but I can see why they were made. And the typing experience got me hooked from the first day (or at least once I knew where all the keys were).

There is only one last thing that will truly tell if this is the perfect keyboard: Time. And even though I have good trust on Japanese manufacturing, we'll only know the result of that test in a decade.

  1. Don't buy from PFU EMEA, order from Amazon directly.

April 22, 2024
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