At the height of the rage around the first consumer marketed Hummer, later rechristened the H1, I remember getting the chance to climb into one at the nation’s leading dealer of that incredibly robust SUV. The vehicle was capable of tackling terrain no car I’ve ever owned could, but also was incredibly basic on certain creature comforts. This is a professional tool. That analogy aptly fits the Das Keyboard MacTigr, the curiously spelled, newly released keyboard from Metadot.
The B21 doesn’t look like an ordinary keyboard. Crowdfunded in mid-2021, it appeared with its two brightly colored knobs ahead of present onslaught of turny-thing keyboards. Relegated to Indiegogo while Epomaker nearly simultaneously launched the more conventional AK84S on Kickstarter, the B21 felt almost forgotten. But it hasn’t been on my desk.
I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect keyboard for a while now, and the Royal Kludge RK100 offers an attractive option from a well-established brand that falls just below the attention around Kickstarter stars Epomaker and Keychron. In so many ways, this keyboard checks every box I was looking for and for a remarkably good price. Let’s give it a spin.
Back in mid 2019, I was on the market for a new laptop. My old laptop was plagued by issues that, while farily minor, where a deal breaker for me. Thus, I got a shiny new Dell laptop which seemed to fit the bill just right. And it did… mostly. Enter 2020 and the pandemic. Most work I had to do was from home, and that meant using my laptop. Thus, that poor Dell laptop’s keyboard got quite a beating. Again, I wrote thousands and thousands of words as part of my daily job. The laptop soldiered on, but at some moment the keyboard began to act up. What could I do? I considered my options.
Nearly twenty years ago, the great mechanical keyboards of early computing were largely forgotten, spoken of in reverent tones by the faithful few who clung to them in a sea of mushy, but cheap successors. Das Keyboard stood out as a counterpoint, an attempt to offer a modern, mainstream-friendly board with mechanical switches years before the current resurgence took hold. Do its boards still hold up in a more competitive landscape? And, given that it is Christmastime, would a Das Keyboard make a nice gift?
A year ago — pandemic induced video conferencing mania at the center of it — even a bad web cam was hard to come by and often approached the century mark. Now you can get a webcam for eleven bucks. Will it make you look like a million bucks? No, but it’ll get you on that video conference you have to be on without spending a fortune.
Since its introduction, no one has ever mistaken the Macintosh as the cheap option for computers. Nor would anyone who watched Apple’s launch of its insanely fast M1 Pro and Max chips on Monday argue that the new MacBook Pros are cheap. However, when the dust settles, the previous reigning top Apple Chip — the M1 — will still be the one that created a year when the cheapest Mac was the best Mac and one of the best computers, period.
I shared last week the start of my quest for the perfect keyboard, stopping by the well designed, aesthetically pleasing Keychron’s K2. While less visible than Keychron, Epomaker has emerged as another major purveyor of keyboards suitable for more than just gamers, including the GK68XS — an intriguing board that ticks off a lot of quality boxes.
I’ve been on the quest for the perfect keyboard for a while. What I want is relatively simple, if hard to find: a mechanical keyboard that is oriented towards writing, not gaming. My match would be reasonably compact and friendly towards Macs, too. Keychron, as much as anyone, has arisen as one of the few companies interested in ticking those boxes.