It has been a few days since the unboxing of this mechanical keyboard and Ive had time to put it through good use. Before I made my purchase, I spent a few days looking through YouTube and lurking at GeekHack to educate myself on mechanical keyboards. Before I pulled the trigger, I was seriously tempted to try the TypeMatrix. I was either going to get that of a mechanical. Needless to say, I went with the latter. The Leopold Tenkeyless didnt win my money at first. For my price range, the Razer Black Widow (non-Ultimate) had me taking a second look but in the end, I decided I didnt want to wake-up my other half with the loud Cherry MX blue switches. The Razer Black Widow only came in Cherry Blues which seems a bit strange since blacks/reds are considered better for gaming. Razer, being widely renowned for making gaming products decided to use a typing switch over a gaming switch. I also decided that I didnt want a traditional keyboard. The more compact Tenkeyless was just the right size. Before I got into keyboards, I would normally look for one with the most features. After going through 2 Microsoft Ergos, I realized I only used 2 of the extra buttons which were the volume controls. A sleek design means more free space on my desk.
Overview and Design
When I first unboxed the keyboard, I immediately started typing on the keys and it was louder than I expected. The keys felt really good. Ive read posts where people described the feeling and they were right. It isВ hard to explain. Let me try anyways. When you depress the keys, it feels like there in no resistance(at first). It almost feels like your fingers are falling and the *Clack* is the sound of the keys bottoming out. The keys registerВ before they bottom out. If you press the keys slowly, you canВ literallyВ feel when the switch activates. With practice, you can double tap without bottoming out the keys. Personally, I like the clack. It gave me an audible feedback telling me the key is depressed. The Leopold Tenkeyless is a fine-looking keyboard. At first, I thought it looked plain and boring but I soon learned to appreciate the simple look. The design maybe common, but its timeless. I think it looks better than the over-the-top designs of some gaming keyboards with tacky LED lights. I also prefer the traditional look over the monstrous looking Maltrons. I mean, Im sure theyreВ ergonomic, but I dont want forget typing if I ever have to jump on another computer. I also dont want to feel like a handicap either. No offense. Out of all the mechanical keyboards Ive looked into, I think the Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2(HHKB2) looks the best. I just couldnt justify spending $300+ for a keyboard Yet.
Features and Ergonomics
Lets be honest here. This keyboard doesnt have any. This is a keyboard that is design to do 1 thing and 1 thing well: Type. The real feature in this keyboard is not media keys,В back-lighting, or macro buttons. The real feature is the switches. This thing is a joy to type on. This is my first mechanical keyboard so I cannot compare them to the Blues but the Browns are easy and fast to type on. Once you get a feel for the actuation, you can really let your fingers go. I found this out during my first night of use.
There are no special designs when it comes this keyboard. No split keys, no matrix layout. You would expect it to rank average when it comes toВ ergonomicsВ but this Tenkeyless is more comfortable than my Microsoft Naturals. Again, I have to go back to the switches. Typing on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard was fine but after a while, my fingers would get tired. I would feel pain and need a rest. With the Tenkeyless Browns, I can type longer without a rest. Remember when I said it first feels like your fingers are falling on the keys. TheВ resistanceВ feels light but only at first. Its because I was so used to typing on dome membrane switches. Typing on these browns feels light compared to the sudden jolts of using a membrane key switch. Before, I thought keyboards needed to change hand positions toВ prevent hand-twisting. Now, I believe the switches are the main issue.
This is a solid keyboard that has some weight to it. It feels very substantial when you lift it up. This adds to the quality feeling but its not perfect. After my unboxing video, I went ahead and tested out each key. To myВ disappointment, the Backspace key was noisy. It sounded like it was scrapping on something as I depressed it. I did a search and found others with the same problem. Apparently, this was cause by a stabilizer issue. For a keyboard that costs over $100, I expected perfection. I eventually fixed the issue by carefully removing it with my headphone wires and putting it back on lightly. Then I seated the key but barely. This fixed the squeaking. Everything else was fine. The keyboard is heavy enough so that it wont move when typing and the pads are sticky. The kickstands that lift up the back snaps solidly in place. The keys are laser etched and filled with a white paint which sounds nice. Other (cheaper) keyboards use printed lettering and stickers them into place. Ive had no other quality issues besides the squeaky Backspace key.
I purchased this keyboard as my first mechanical keyboard that I can have fun typing with. I also purchased this keyboard because I wanted a quiet keyboard. It is not. It may be quieter than the Cherry MX blue switches but these still wake up my girlfriend. I have read that mechanical keyboards are louder than regular membrane, laptop-style keyboards and I knew this before I made the purchase. It wasnt a surprise. I did practice typing as so I dont bottom out the keys but this drastically reduced my speed. Maybe Ill get better. Do I recommend this keyboard? Yes. I think they are a great buy. They are probably the cheapest mechanical keyboard you can get, only rivaled by the standard Razer Black Widow. The Leopold Tenkeyless has a timeless design and is very compact. Although Ive only had the Leopold Tenkeyless for about a week, I can say withoutВ hesitationВ that this is the best keyboard Ive ever owned so far. HHKB2, youre next!
Leopold Tenkeyless Tactile Touch Keyboard Brown
This mechanical keyboard uses the Cherry MX brown switches which are great for extended typing sessions. The keyboard is heavy(sturdy) and the classic look wont make it stand out in a professional environment. The keycaps are made of ABS which are good, but not great. They do tend to suffer from shiny key syndrome after a while. Some keys may feel rough and will have to be reseated.