Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Holy Grail (or is it?)

Yep. It finally arrived.

Initial impressions. Very light keyboard. Key feel is typical Topre. Better than the Realforce 86U. It's definitely more "thocky". Is it more "thocky" than the Leopold FC660C? I'm not too sure about that. It's a different kind of "thock". I still prefer the "thock" of the Leopold. It's more crisp and the "thock" is deeper. The HHKB Pro 2 keycaps are also slightly lighter than the Leopold which offers a bit more resistance which I like. When typing fast, the "thock" on the HHKB Pro 2 is very pleasurable and I can see why people get addicted to it. Still preliminary impressions though.

I've configured the DELETE key to be BACKSPACE by flipping on the SW3 DIP switch and changed some keycaps to highlight the location of the cursor keys. The current keyboard arrangement is throwing me off a lot and I think it will take some time before I get used to it.

Did it meet my expectations? Not really. I mean, it did not disappoint me but it does not feel like what I thought it would feel like either. I guess I just have to give it more time.

More impressions later.

UPDATE 1 : I'm slowly but surely adapting to the keyboard. My typing speed has increased by at least 10 wpm and I'm slowly familiarising myself with the new layout. I've actually taken out the orange keycaps to wean myself off them. What I'm struggling with though, is the effort that I have to exert to hold the FN key to trigger my often used keys like the cursor keys, the PGUP / PGDN keys and the HOME / END keys. It's taking its toll on my fingers. In short, finding them is fine but to trigger them is becoming a problem.

I'm slowly getting a hang of the keyboard and I now find the typing experience to be at least equal to the Leopold FC660C. The HHKB might even be a bit superior. Overall I find the experience to be quite different. The HHKB has a very nice "thock" and less of the "thunk" that the Leopold has. The keycap quality is also excellent with big letterings on a beige background. All the keys are fine except maybe for the DELETE key which I've made into my BACKSPACE. That one has a bit of a "ping" on the upstroke which I'm not particularly thrilled with.

My biggest bugbear is still the layout and although it is a lot better now, I keep getting tripped by the location of the BACKSPACE key which is a row lower than what I'm used to and the CTRL key which is now 2 rows above where it used to be. I'm ok with the location of the cursor keys even though it was my biggest worry initially. I also keep forgetting to press the FN key in order to trigger the DEL key.

I hope I can adapt.

In short, the keyboard feels fine (if not fantastic) but the layout is driving me nuts. I can't help but wish the keyboard was a TenKeyLess. It would have been perfect.

UPDATE 2 : Is there a break-in period for keyboards? I don't know but the "thock" on the HHKB is becoming more and more prominent the more I type on it. Maybe it's all psychological but that "thock thock thock" is damn addictive. I just want to keep on typing. At times I feel it to be superior than the Leopold. I still type faster on the Leopold but I attribute that to my familiarity with its layout. The HHKB still trips me up at times.

Both the Leopold and HHKB are a pleasure to type on and you can't go wrong with either. Depending on my mood, my preference will swing from one to the other. Overall I still have to give the edge to the Leopold due to its more conventional layout.

One thing I noticed, the more I type on the HHKB, the worst I become when I go back to my other keyboards. My fingers seem to remember the position of the BACKSPACE and other keys on the HHKB. Takes me awhile to get myself acclimatised back to the other keyboards.

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