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Pok3r mechanical keyboard


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#1 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 08:00 PM

I just received my Pok3r 60% with Cherry MX Blue (mechanical) switches today and I absolutely love it. The layout is called a 60% keyboard due to having 60 keys (technically 61 due to the menu key) instead of a full 104 key keyboard. Using a 60% keyboard is a lot more ergonomic because your fingers do not have to reach as far to make the keystrokes (plus it's smaller and looks really cool). This keyboard also has 4 levels of customization (that is controlled via the FN and PN keys). Basically you can have four sets of layouts where different keys have different functions (using the FN+key). I highly doubt that I will be using any of the other level simply because I already have shortcut keys mapped in my window manager.

The keyboard is very heavy and weighs about 2.4lbs. The build quality is very nice as well. I ended up paying bout $120 (including shipping) which is pretty cheap for a keyboard of this quality. I have a Das Ultimate Model C and a WASD keyboard that both cost around $200 each and their build quality is less than what this keyboard has. I know that sounds expensive but there are mechs that run upward of $500 a piece.

They are able to offer the cheaper price as they come in a plain box with no documentation (the docs are on their website). Because of this, this version was much cheaper than the previous Poker 2. Because of these features and the extreme build quality, the Pok3r is one the most popular mechanical keyboard on the market.

When I first started typing on the keyboard, I tried some of the keys that require FN to operate and it was kind of hard to use because most of those keys are on the same side as the FN keys is (left side).

So I ended up finding the wiki page for the device which explained that there are switches on the back that allow you change layouts (qwerty, dvorak and colemak) along with 2 switches that let you remap capslock to FN and one that just disables the capslock. Enabling the FN key when pressing the capslock made things a lot easier as it is on the opposite side of the modifier keys so it is much easier to use them (it doesnt replace the FN key on the leftside but it allows the capslock to act as another FN key). I had planned on remapping it manually using xmodmap or in my i3 config but a flick of one of the switches fixed my issues. I understand that having the capslock key changed to FN might confuse some people but who uses the caps lock key any more anyway?


Quote

W3
On: CapsLock = Fn
Off: CapsLock = CapsLock
SW4
On: Allow remapping of FN & PN
Off: FN & PN mapped to default keys
http://www.vortexgea...23361966663.pdf

The 60% layout will take a little bit of getting used to but I am already getting the hang of it. Most things are very intuitive so it's easy to get used to the function options. Typing on this keyboard is very nice and I have to say that I am very pleased.


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Here is a video of the Pok3r backlight modes. I do not really know why anyone would use the last one that slowly pulses but they are pretty neat. That said, I will probably leave the backlight off 90% of the time. That's why I didn't bother with the RGB version.



Link where I purchased it: https://mechanicalke...t_detail&p=1417

This will be my new daily driver for my home setup and the previous WASD model will become my new work keyboard which will replace the older Das Ultimate I was using. If you have never used a mechanical keyboard before, you should really give them a try (a lot of electronic stores will have one in house you can play with). I would never buy a mesh, non-mechanical keyboard ever again. The difference in quality is really amazing.

Oh and I ordered a custom braided and coiled cable from http://zapcables.com which should be Saturday. I will post an updated picture with the cable attached when it arrives.
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#2 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 10:51 AM

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Using a 60% keyboard is a lot more ergonomic because your fingers do not have to reach as far to make the keystrokes
Ummm that's not true at all.

Look at your image above of the two keyboards. Now slide the lower keyboard to the left until, with a straightedge, the left keys align with the left keys of the upper keyboard. You will see the layout is the same size (and may even be a bit larger).

Ergonomics has nothing to do with this. If anything, the smaller keyboard is like using a notebook keyboard (never known to be "ergonomic") and it forces you to bend and position your wrists closer together which is actually painful for some of us. That's why I much prefer a curved "ergonomic" keyboard like this one so my arms can come in at a "natural" angle and I don't have to twist my wrists together to approach the keys.

That compact keyboard also forces you to press extra keys (like the Fn key and Pn keys) to engage "normal" functions.  

For example, there there are no dedicated arrow keys. You have to hold down the Fn key and press the I, J, K, or L keys to move the cursor. But with no Fn key on the left, how are you supposed to hold down the Fn key and, at the same time, press I, J, K or L? You have to be a contortionists and/or use both hands - or reach way over and engage a mouse. And for entering numbers, you have no choice but to use the top row number keys which requires much more finger, hand and entire arm movement compared to hovering over a dedicated numeric keypad on a full size keyboard!

So a lot more ergonomic? Sorry, but no way!

On the other hand, I suspect that keyboard is very well made and the keys most likely have a great mechanical "feel" to them and probably provide great "feedback". Beyond that, sorry, but IMO, the layout and design leaves much to be desired.

Having said all that, keyboards (like mice) are extensions of our own hands and fingertips. Consequently they are very personal HIDs (human interface devices). As such, what feels great in my hands may feel horrible or even painful in someone else's. So if you are happy with this new keyboard, then that's great! :)
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#3 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 12:04 PM

There is a switch on the bottom that toggles the capslock key to function which takes care of that issue. Regardless, I could remap the keys easily enough using xmodmap.
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#4 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 12:18 PM

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There is a switch on the bottom that toggles the capslock key to function which takes care of that issue.
That's good, but it is still a two-handed process.

Quote

Regardless, I could remap the keys easily enough using xmodmap.
No doubt it is very flexible and you can make it do just about anything. And again, I am sure it is very well made with quality parts. I am just saying it is not an "ergonomic" keyboard.
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#5 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 12:35 PM

Well I keep two hands on the keyboard anyway so it doesn't bother me any.
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#6 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 12:50 PM

And again, as long as you are happy, that's all that matters. I am sure it is a quality keyboard that will give you years of service.

Edited by Digerati, 02 November 2017 - 05:03 PM.

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#7 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 01:15 PM

Thanks
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#8 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 09:41 PM

If you like it, Josh, that's what matters. :)

I still love my Logitech G610. But, of course, I don't have much to compare to, as this is my first and only mechanical keyboard... as long as we're not counting old time typewriters. ;)

#9 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 10:07 PM

Vert nice Eric!! It even have Cherry MX switches as well. I have not played with the Browns, are they as clicky-clack as the old IBM model Ms? The blues are a bit loud but I like them that way. Here is how they sound https://soundcloud.com/comhack-1/blues
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#10 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 09:14 AM

These mech keyboards are mostly cable connections, no? I hear that keeps latency down for hard core gamers.
I don't type fast enough to get much benefit from a high end keyboard, but I do like the convenience of wifi setups.
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#11 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 09:16 AM

Yeah, they are mostly wired but there are some wireless ones out there as well. http://www.wirelessh...board-2015.html
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#12 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 10:49 AM

I don't mind wired keyboards because I don't move mine around - it stays on my keyboard tray. But I have to have a wireless mouse because wires often pull back. :(

I also am not a fan of RGB or even lighted keyboards. I don't use mine in the dark so I don't need lights. But most importantly, like my cases, I don't want them to distract me from my primary point of focus, my monitors. RGB lighting does not improve my computer's performance or my own productivity so I fail to see their value. When I want to see pretty lights, I set up my Christmas tree! ;)

That said, the best mechanical keyboard ever used was my old Northgate OmniKey Ultra I got way back in 1992. It was arguably the best keyboard ever built, reminiscent to the keyboard on the IBM Selectric typewriter and superior to the IBM Model M, IMO. Sadly, Northgate could not compete with the rising Gateway, Dell and Zeos computers and they folded even though they OmniKey keyboards became legionary. I still have this beast of a keyboard but sadly, no Windows key and it only came with the old (very old) style AT or DIN connector.

Many did not like mechanical keyboards because they were noisy with an obvious "click" when pressed. It made for a noisy office environment when many were in use. I found and find the click reassuring. I think that tactile feel and sound is one reason many still like mechanical keyboards today.

It is interesting that that review of wireless keyboards says "mechanical keyboards give a feedback to a user that a standard keyboard can't match." I find that interesting because at one time, mechanical keyboards were the "standard" type.

BTW, for those (like me) who are confused about the various colors of "Cherry MX" type keyboards, here is a nice guide, An introduction to Cherry MX mechanical switches.
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#13 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 06:25 PM

Logitech G610 specs: https://www.logitech...ard#specsAnchor

Yes, Cherry MX Browns inside. :) It's not super clickety-clacky, but when I'm zipping along, I definitely hear some chippering away. ;)

#14 OFFLINE   mac

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 03:37 PM

I've been using a Unicomp Classic 104 Black for 10+ years. It's built like a tank and I love the tactile feedback.https://www.pckeyboa...ategory/Classic
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#15 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 03:47 PM

Yeah, the buckling springs are pretty nice. I still prefer the mechanical switches but I would use a buckling spring keyboard any day over a mesh keyboard. Once you use a solid keyboard, it's hard to use a cheap made, mesh keyboard anymore.

The IBM Model M with the buckling springs are still one my all time favorite keyboards.
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