"SFF" Keyboards

What's the smallest you'd go with a keyboard?

  • 100%

    Votes: 20 7.5%
  • 80%

    Votes: 27 10.1%
  • 75%

    Votes: 51 19.0%
  • 60%

    Votes: 125 46.6%
  • 40%

    Votes: 21 7.8%
  • Electrodes implanted into brain, effectively 0%

    Votes: 16 6.0%
  • Something else

    Votes: 8 3.0%

  • Total voters
    268

wiretap

Average Stuffer
Apr 25, 2017
55
141
The Ducky TKL has some cheap crystal keycaps I found on Ebay for like $20 lol. They look pretty awesome but definitely feel cheap.

The Reviung39 has Signature Plastics DSA keycaps that I just mix 'n' matched. (Pimp My Keyboard website)

The Daisy 40% has Winmix OSA Dolch keycaps. I don't recommend them because they had issues with the molds, so some keys had partial stem receptacles and could break easy. I got lucky and only had a few keys in my set like that, but I got a 50% refund for it. However, they do feel and look great.
 
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jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
176
Got the green light to build a keyboard for christmas, so got my cart ready on kbdfans for the DZ65 restock and sale going on today 😈
 
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Tonkatsu

Caliper Novice
Jul 18, 2020
28
4
So since Keychron's ISO-FR plans are dead I gave up on the K1 low profile, and in place went for the Sharkoon PureWriter TKL RGB.
(a.k.a 'Klim Dash', both are newer versions of the Havit HV-KB390L)



It is surprisingly better than I expected it to be, the Kailh red 'choc' low profile (v1) switches are fairly smooth and stable, although you'll read different reports on that, I guess there's always some lottery with the switche's quality.

Keeb sounds a bit pingy but I've heard much worse, it is overall more silent than most mechs I've used.
The retractable kick feet are rather short so the board lies slightly too flat even with those up.

For my first LP mech experience it is the feeling compared to a normal height mech that's the main difference;

The linear switches travel is really short and touch sensitivity superior to the normal reds (gaterons) I'm used to.
There's little to no feedback other than the moderate springs and very close bottoming impact, somehow I'd like a little something more, not in the tactile fashion, rather this makes me want to give the Blue version a try.

Maybe the ideal height exists somewhere in-between standard and LP ? idk, but the way it is now under my fingers I feel like rather than providing a typical mechanical vibe, this LP feels more like what laptop keyboards should be if they were done right.

STILL, the overall impression is positive, if typing feels a little weird, it is good enough for playing. Yes really, ignsvn was right about that, the impression I get is that for gameplay there's no benefit in normal reds having a longer travel and an activation point deeper than that.
Also since I don't have a wrist rest, the lower height is rather relaxing despite the slightly too flat low angle.
I think unless you have big and large fingers and tend to hit keys brutally, an LP option such as this is valid.

With the low price (55~60) in consideration for me this is a solid 7.5 / 10
 
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biopunk

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Bronze Supporter
Sep 24, 2020
134
180
Been waiting for ISO UK version of Durgod Hades 68 and it's finally up on Amazon UK. More switch options should be coming soon.
 
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jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
176
nice, what switches do you have in mind for the build?
I went with some inexpensive tactiles with the Kailh Pro Purple. Got switch films and lube as well so we'll see. It's my first switch outside of prebuilt, so I didn't want to go too expensive and not like them. A lot easier to swallow $20 worth of switches being meh instead of $70 😂
 
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YESWEKEN

Caliper Novice
Aug 22, 2019
30
30
I went with some inexpensive tactiles with the Kailh Pro Purple. Got switch films and lube as well so we'll see. It's my first switch outside of prebuilt, so I didn't want to go too expensive and not like them. A lot easier to swallow $20 worth of switches being meh instead of $70 😂

smart, in my experience, a good and consistent application of lube with some switch films can make most switches perform extremely well, even inexpensive entry level switches can feel amazing.
 

jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
176
After scrounging the internet to find a decently priced keycap set that I could live with until I found what I really wanted, I found something on Amazon that had glowing reviews and was pretty inexpensive. They arrived yesterday and I have to say, the reviews were not lying. For the price, they seem to be pretty high quality. Doubleshot PBT, no warping or weirdly shaped pieces. Only super minor complaint that could be had is the capslock lettering isn't 100% clean, but that's being nitpicky. $45 shipped got me 108 keys plus 11 extras which is perfect for the 65% build I am doing. And their "brand" keycap is pretty cool, too. Got white on black, but it also comes in black on white. Might get the BOW later but for now, this will do (whenever my keyboard parts come in and I build it at least)

 

ignsvn

By Toutatis!
Moderator
Apr 4, 2016
1,261
1,051
After scrounging the internet to find a decently priced keycap set that I could live with until I found what I really wanted, I found something on Amazon that had glowing reviews and was pretty inexpensive. They arrived yesterday and I have to say, the reviews were not lying. For the price, they seem to be pretty high quality. Doubleshot PBT, no warping or weirdly shaped pieces. Only super minor complaint that could be had is the capslock lettering isn't 100% clean, but that's being nitpicky. $45 shipped got me 108 keys plus 11 extras which is perfect for the 65% build I am doing. And their "brand" keycap is pretty cool, too. Got white on black, but it also comes in black on white. Might get the BOW later but for now, this will do (whenever my keyboard parts come in and I build it at least)

I believe these are from Mistel Keyboard https://www.mistelkeyboard.com/

Pretty decent, it's just that the coverage seems to be rather limited.

But if you're not picky with that & for that price, I won't complain.
 

jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
176
I believe these are from Mistel Keyboard https://www.mistelkeyboard.com/

Pretty decent, it's just that the coverage seems to be rather limited.

But if you're not picky with that & for that price, I won't complain.

Yeah it's not a complete set like GMK or anything, but it does come with the smaller shift, split spacebars, and 1u FN, ALT, CTRL keys, stepped caps lock, and a couple others for 65% format. Which is kind of rare I've found for a set this inexpensive. It has the keys I needed so definitely worth it imo. Obviously if you're doing a non standard layout then this wouldn't work.
 

Dubnobass

Average Stuffer
Bronze Supporter
Sep 9, 2017
69
50
So I had started a thread with questions regarding a gift card for my son. Didn't see this thread so here goes.

For Xmas I want to get him a gift card to a place like kbdfans and am considering 200usd. He talks about wanting a 60% keyboard that he wants to be able to build. He's not a fan of rgb, so I'm just trying to make sure 200 will cover at least most of what he's looking for. I have never built a keyboard and probably never will so I have no idea how much to give him. Any help is appreciated.
 

ignsvn

By Toutatis!
Moderator
Apr 4, 2016
1,261
1,051
So I had started a thread with questions regarding a gift card for my son. Didn't see this thread so here goes.

For Xmas I want to get him a gift card to a place like kbdfans and am considering 200usd. He talks about wanting a 60% keyboard that he wants to be able to build. He's not a fan of rgb, so I'm just trying to make sure 200 will cover at least most of what he's looking for. I have never built a keyboard and probably never will so I have no idea how much to give him. Any help is appreciated.

There's this kit which I believe quite popular: https://kbdfans.com/collections/diy-kit/products/tofu-rgb-60-custom-keyboard-kit at $179

It's a 60% layout with arrow keys, hotswap (no solder required) PCB, and aluminum tofu case. QMK firmware. It has per-key RGB but can always be turned off. You just need to buy switches & keycaps.

You can go cheaper by buying the components separately & opt for plastic case like this https://kbdfans.com/collections/60-layout-case/products/60-plastic-case
 

jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
176
They also have this less expensive option in the 65% layout. Also a hotswap PCB. Need switches and keycaps like the 60% option above

I went with a 65% because I preferred a few extra keys that I use semi-regularly and using the FN key to get to another layer was cumbersome. I would have gone with this option when I just recently ordered but for some reason, I can't get over the blocker. (space on lower right of board). Totally a personal aesthetic thing. For $109 though, this is a great deal.
 

YESWEKEN

Caliper Novice
Aug 22, 2019
30
30


Made a considerable upgrade and moved on to a Smith + Rune Iron 165 Standard Edition in the Graphite colorway

Bamboo Leaf Spring Tactile Switches
GMK URSA keyset
 
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jmarin

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 8, 2018
258
176
Love the Ursa colors. I just ordered a grab bag off pimpmykeyboard so I'm excited to see what I get. Also ordered a Super16 diy macro kit from 1UP keyboards. Oh and a St. Jude's novelty key from Drop 😬. Should probably stop now before the wife questions me too much 😅😅😅
 

MaZo

Trash Compacter
Dec 6, 2020
51
48
Considering I’m going white (no pun intended) with a E-White T1 case and AW2721D monitor, I also pulled the trigger on a white Razer Huntsman Mini (60%) keyboard and matching Basilisk mouse.
 

Tonkatsu

Caliper Novice
Jul 18, 2020
28
4
I was so curious about the Kailh blue low profiles that I couldn't resist and ordered a full size Purewriter with those.

And I now understand the logic behind why the original Havit model came only with blues, and why Sharkoon came up with the name 'Purewriter'.

Normally I'm not a fan of blue switches, but here I find the combination of LP and clicky pleasant, just right.
While I can't like normal height blues at all, I can enjoy these Kailhs.

Of course the Purewriter with blues is unfit for gaming, and the keys texture remain too soft and maybe too flat for demanding keeb connoisseurs.

Yet keeping in mind a purely 'for work' keyboard in the LP niche I think it deserves an even slightly better mark than the reds TKL version for the rationality of the package.
Also assuming you're a noisy blue switches enthusiast, of course.
With all that in consideration it's a 7.8 out of 10.

(totally subjective :p)