Greetings fellow humans, Human fellas.
I’ve finally got all the parts for my custom ortholinear 75 mechanical keyboard! I’ve been using it for a week or so, enough to make a formulated opinion IMO.
Here is my full review of the keyboard. Hopefully, others can take advantage as well.
The entire build was purchased from Aliexpress. The case seller also sells the right Ortho keycaps. They are flat DSA profile switches, have a greyish look to them with some orange-colored accents. There are a few keys that I’m happy with the legend printing. I’ll have to purchase some colored blank keycaps which the seller also provides.
The switches are Gateron Yellows and have been lubed with Silicon spray lube by my self.
Overall Quality of the case is excellent. The entire case is made of two pieces of Aluminum, with a transparent layer of acrylic in between for LEDs to shine through. You can remove the acrylic layer, but the USB C port will be too small for use. The case also comes with 4 feet stickers and two raised feet. The sticker feet fall off almost instantly, so I simply used some of my own. Using the raised feet, which can be screwed in, will raise the board to about 1/12 pi radi.
The PCB is a Hotswap one so no soldering needed. Just plug the switched in and you’re set. Not that this board supports both plate mount(3pin) and pcb mount(5pin) switches, so no need to clip them.
Additionally, there is no room ro add foam for sound dampening, though there isn’t any audible case ping on this board so it probably wouldn’t matter.
This keyboard supports QMK firmware flashing, allowing the user to use any kind of keymapping they want using the “windows only” QMK toolbox(there is a CLI version in the repos) and kbfirmware.com. I’ve tried a total of 5 different layouts and ended up with a standard 65% board layout, though slightly customized 65% layout.
Using the remapper, I can have multiple layers and macros on any key. I have my standard layout on layer 0, the FN keys and media controls on layer 1, and a Numpad and Blender macros are on layer 2. To all this craziness, I also have three left ctrl keys on layer 0. I use each key depending on what I’m typing/gaming.
This is the first time I used an Ortholinear board. It takes some time to get used to, especially if you are using a custom layout. That being said, I do think the non-staggered keys are much more natural to type on and are superior to staggered keys. I have a much better experience when I type u, b, v n keys. Those keys are much more closer to my fingers making them much easier to type. With enough practice, I’m sure I’ll be able to reach my typing speed.
Using Ortho mech board and staggered board interchangeably
The biggest hurdle with orthos is when having to use both orthlinear keys and staggered keys. My WPM on both styles has drastically decreased(though is increasing). It takes a few seconds for my brain and muscle memory to kick in and type. Though, when asked on the r/OLKB subreddit, they say that you will get used to it after a month or so of typing and will reach full speed on both. I will update this review a few months later to see if what they said is true.
One thing I noticed when using an ortho board is that it seems to catch my bad typing habits. I’m not sure if it’s the board, or my desire to type better(probably a combo of both) but I do notice myself catching my typing habits and rectifying them.
At 100USD for the case, PCB and plate alone with no switches or keycaps, the ID75 keyboard will be quite expensive for your average person. Though in the world of mechanical keyboards, a 100 dollar board is considered budget, so take that into consideration.
For my build, it was 99USD for the keyboard, 20 dollars for 90 gateron yellows switches, and 30 dollars for DSA keycaps. Total is about 150 USD for a quality aluminium keyboard.
Since an equivalent high quality staggered aluminum case alone costs 100 USD (Tofu 65)(no switches, plates, PCB or anythjng. Just the case), 150 USD isn’t that bad IMO. If you are willing to put in the time to learn the layout, then I think this is a great keyboard. I’ll be using this as my daily board until I can get my hands on a custom 65% layout, probably mid to late next year should be possible.
I’m not good with photos so here is just a short typing sound demo.