Massdrop x OLKB Planck Light Mechanical Keyboard

Massdrop x OLKB Planck Light Mechanical Keyboard

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Product Description
One of our most popular community-designed keyboards to date, the ortholinear 40% Planck Mechanical Keyboard is hailed for its unique layout, compact form factor, and build quality. Now it’s back with brand-new Kailh low-profile switches and bright RGB backlighting to make it pop off your desktop Read More
Here's what our community has to say
All of our reviews are from verified customers.
3.1
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29
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Best travel mechanical keyboard
When you gotta have that clack on the go
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Would recommend to a friend.
tenderlove
24
Aug 13, 2019
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My favorite travel keyboard
I travel a lot, and I love using mechanical keyboards. This is the best travel keyboard I've ever owned. Please open this drop again!
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Would recommend to a friend.
Andru
26
Apr 14, 2019
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I got one of the second-round kits which resolved the flashing issue plaguing the first drop. Even so, I'm not sure I'd particularly recommend this drop to anyone if it comes up again. Nothing is out-right terrible, but there are some issues which are... less than pleasing. The first issue I found when assembling the board is that most of the switches don't mount securely to the PCB. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the switches or the PCB design, but while some switches click in nicely and feel securely fastened to the board without soldering, the majority are loose until soldered and will fall out if the PCB is turned over, which it has to be to be soldered. I had to place a flat surface over the loosely-assembled board and do a quick flip to solder. Aaand that didn't work too great since my PCB was ever so slightly convex - keys in the middle were held in place by PCB above, but those at either side fell out. I had to push the board down against the switches while soldering to be certain the key was soldered flush to the board. More worrying for the long term, it seems to me that relying on the solder join to secure the key will add stress to the soldered joints and may eventually cause the solder to crack or fail. Next up: I ordered the plain semi-translucent keycaps, and they don't look as nice as they do in the pictures. The plastic is a kind of creamy-light-somewhat-translucent-grey colour like an over-boiled egg. The low profile is great but unfortunately they look, feel and sound cheap. Additionally, and possibly due to the previous issue, some keys are out of alignment and can vary slightly in depth, vertical and horizontal position, and rotation - only by a millimetre or less, but if two misaligned keys are next to one another in a 4x12 linear grid it's sadly very noticeable. Small bits of debris get stuck in keyboards. It's just a reality that keyboards have to be able to cope with (glaring at you, Apple butterfly). After using the board for a little while I had collected some standard keyboard grot under the keys, so I made the mistake of thinking I'd just pop-off a few keys and blast a bit of compressed air in there to clear it out. Lesson learned: the first keycap I tried to pop off using a standard key removing tool snapped, leaving one of its fragile stems stuck in the soldered key. Not quite sure how I'm going to deal with that yet - the stem is tiny and stuck totally flush to the top of the key - I might be able to very carefully drill 0.5mm hole and get some purchase on it with a tiny screw, or I might have to de-solder and replace that switch. Whatever the solution, it's made me very nervous about removing any other keycaps, despite the fact that they're supposed to be removable. If you're the kind of person that likes to play with your keycaps, proceed with caution and get spare keycaps. The kit comes without spare keycaps or switches, except for the choice between 2x1u or 1x2u for the spacebar switches, so a broken keycap/switch is a PITA. It's not all bad: the aluminium case is sexy and gives the whole keyboard a substantial and well engineered feel, the per-key lighting is beautiful and being based on QMK it's super configurable. The low profile keycaps make it feel super portable and, cheapy feel aside, are aesthetically well proportioned to the keyboard. Plus points for USBC, too. Overall, though, most of those things can be found in other boards, and I'd recommend looking elsewhere if the above issues sound like dealbreakers to you.
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aebrer
0
Mar 27, 2019
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Really quite amazing. Two flaws:
  1. Spacebar key sucks and is sticky. This is due to the stabilizers. I swapped it out for a smaller keycap and this resolves it, though it looks a little funny.
  2. The switches I got are not what I expected, and just have the same amount of resistance seemingly all the way until bottoming out. Not really my preferred experience at all, but not terrible.
UPDATE: Okay so it's been awhile now and the keys on this bad boy suck. The "L" key has always had issues... now the "N" and "T" key are also starting to be unresponsive. It's at the point that the keyboard is basically useless for any real productive task, which sucks. I wish I had just gotten a regular Planck instead.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
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jballanc
0
Mar 25, 2019
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It's now been two weeks since my Planck Light arrived, and I have to say this is one of the nicest keyboards I've ever used. No, it's probably not the most ergonomic (but then, I've never been a fan of the MS Natural/ErgoDox-style ergo layout), and after the first day or so of use a slight bit of tightness in my right wrist made me worry that this keyboard might not work out. Eventually, I was able to determine the culprit: the spacebar was slightly stiffer than the rest of the keys (I have the MIT layout), and I still almost exclusively use my right thumb with it. I discovered that by lightly lifting on edges of the spacebar I was able to disengage the stabilizer without lifting off the keycap, and this relieved the situation. However, after a few more days breaking it in, and the difference in weight was barely noticeable (and I've since reseated the spacebar on the stabilizer). Where the Planck really shines, of course, is in the programmability. In the first week of ownership, I was probably altering the keymap and reflashing 2-3 times a day as I attempted to find the right combination of layers and modifiers. This being the first 40% keyboard I've owned, I frequently found myself hitting <return> when I meant to type a "-" and <backspace> instead of "/". After experimenting with a few variations, I've finally settled on a layout I like. Still, I'm making adjustments and fine-tuning. I couldn't be happier with the experience and ease-of-use, though. As for downsides, there aren't many. The up and down arrow keycaps were swapped when I pulled it out of the box, but that was easily remedied. In fact, there were enough extra keycaps in the set that I was able to get creative with changing some others out as well. There was also one screw missing on the bottom case at first, but that was made up for the fact that the box included 3 spares. I do wish there was ever-so-slightly more material surrounding the USB-3 port on the back, as I'm constantly in fear that I'm going to bend it at a weird angle and snap it off...but it's actually much sturdier than it appears. In addition to being a great keyboard, my kids love playing with the LED modes and music keyboard. There does seem to be a few bugs in the music mode where sounds will playback in an endless loop, but it's nothing that un-plugging and re-plugging can't quickly fix. Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the purchase and would highly recommend this keyboard to anyone else wanting to get into the 40% space.
edanaher
2
Mar 22, 2019
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I was going to wait a couple more days to review this, but Massdrop asked me, so here it is. Physically, I love the keyboard. It's compact, and I quickly got back to a reasonable speed on alphabetical characters, and am quickly ramping up on symbols and numbers. Like awmartin, some of the keys on my pre-assembled keyboard are in the wrong place or not quite straight, but those were trivial to fix. Fortunately, I haven't had the issue of locking up; unfortunately, I *can't* flash the keyboard. No matter what I do, I can't get it into the bootloader/DFU mode. This is frustrating, but more so that after three weeks of posting in discussions on massdrop, on reddit, and e-mailing "support", I have yet to receive any constructive feedback beyond "have you tried pressing reset" and "this happened to me too". (And it looks like the initial Drop had this issue on all keyboards, and shipped with a workaround; however, I can't find enough information about that to be confident trying to assemble it myself.) I understand that this is generally community supported, but the community is not supporting me. A major part of the appeal of this keyboard is the ability to remap keys. I can mostly do this in software, but I'm stuck with two keys mapped to space, and a "fn" key that seems to be some sort of self test. So while I'm reluctant to lower the rating too much based on an issue that will likely be resolved in the near future, the fact that it's been three weeks and Massdrop thinks it's time for me to write a review makes me willing to split the difference of the excellent keyboard and the utter lack of support. _edit_: after contacting the new "help@" address, I got a prompt response and expect a reasonably prompt solution. Bumping to four stars in anticipation. Update 2: OLKB recommended that I contact Massdrop support, and they quickly replied. Apparently my keyboard was, in fact, known to be missing the bootloader and was supposed to ship with the ISP flasher from the first Drop. They still have some in inventory, so it's apparently on its way. Problem resolved! I'd up this to 4.5 stars if I could, but can't justify five stars given that it is a pretty unfortunate oversight. But if all goes well over the next week, I should be even happier with this keyboard. Final update: Shipping took a bit, but the flasher showed up today. In about 20 minutes, I had the case unscrewed, ISP flasher plugged in, bootloader flashed, test firmware flashed, and everything put back together. Not ideal that I had to do this, but it did the job. Now I have a full-functionality keyboard that would easily get five stars if it wasn't for the hassle of getting here.
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awmartin
1
Mar 10, 2019
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This is a beautiful, elegant build, aside from some notable manufacturing quirks, which were easily overcome (misplaced keycaps, other keycaps that needed to be reseated, etc.). In two days, I've already had many enthusiastic comments on this unique artifact, even from software engineers unfamiliar with the custom mechanical keyboard universe. My only complaint is that the keyboard itself will lock up on occasion, meaning the lighting freezes and becomes the unit becomes unresponsive. Admitedly being a noob myself, I had to intuit that the resolution to this was to flash the default firmware and piece together how to do that from various guides. Other than this, it's a wonderful kit, and serves as a fun introduction to the world of mechanical keyboards.
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demollator
95
Sep 10, 2018
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I own about 10 Plancks for more than 4 years now - with several switches and keycaps which I use depending on my mood or on the situation.
Along with a "Contour Rollermouse" I do not have to raise my hands or arms anymore while working, so all my rsi probems are gone and I am sure they will not come back.
For me the 'Light' planck is not my favorite for desktop use, because of the lacking keycap variety - and it is also too flat to use it on conjunction with the Rollermouse. But it is foremost the most impressing one with its multicolor leds.
I will use it on top of my laptop's keyboard, the flatness is perfect for this purpose. Also "on the way" to write messages with my mobile phone. Still need to buy a short cable with angled plugs though.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Quincident
17
Sep 9, 2018
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Despite my skepticism, I was eventually sent, at no cost, a device for re-flashing my keyboard with re-programmable firmware. Although there was a major problem with all boards originally sent out, I'm frankly amazed that someone took the time to design and develop, order parts for, assemble, and pay to send out these reflashing devices to every person who ordered a Planck Light (even after they received poor reviews for this product). I can imagine them giving up most, if not all, profits by owning up to their oversight.
Although it took longer than expected, I can't help but give a good rating for what I once would have given a 1 star, very disappointed review for. I want to thank whoever put in so much work to fix this mistake, and express my appreciation. I would consider buying something from them again, only because of my surprise at their impressive communication and handling of this mistake.
evantravers
32
Sep 5, 2018
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Orange case, choc whites. A little dreamsicle.
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TL;DR: The board is awesome, I was able to flash the bootloader before the device arrived from Massdrop, OLKB has been really responsive and helpful on reddit/discord, and I won't ever buy another keyboard I can't program myself.
I really like my planck light. I originally bought it on a lark… I've always admired the plancks and preonics but I thought it'd be too weird. Once I had soldered it together and flashed the bootloader (thanks to a friend with an ample supply of teensy boards to serve as an ISP flasher) I was off to the races. I started to try it out as a daily driver, and after a month I sold both of my 60% standard staggered boards and put in orders for more ortholinear boards.
I could write a lot about ortholinear and the pleasure of having a small 40% that's actually usable, I could write a lot about the cool features of the QMK firmware and how helpful the community is… but I think y'all are trying to decide whether to buy *this* board, so here's my $0.02.
Build quality: The case is solid. Even though there isn't a plate, there's no flex that I can detect. The choc whites that I have on it now are good, although they took a little getting used to after using MX clears for years. The box it came in is lovely with good instructions, and it came with both the black and white keycaps to cover the board (I bought the kit from last round.)
Form factor: This is a hidden bonus of this board… it's so flat that it works really quite well without a wrist wrest if your desk at a good height. I've also used it very happily sitting on top of my laptop keyboard as well. I'm in the process of building a couple MX ortho boards, but I think I may end up coming back to the choc switches because of just how low they are… it's very easy on the wrists.
At this point, like most of you, I'm pretty skeptical of MD's ability to deliver on time when it comes to keyboards. If however you want a fun, minimal project that is *very* typeable with minimal desktop real-estate… or you just want to get into ortholinear keyboards with something that feels solid and is easy to put together, this is a great option.
fehler
5
Sep 15, 2018
Switches arrived today. Supernice! Hopefully my studiomates are OK with the clickiness!
alysdexia
26
Sep 18, 2018
48 keys != 40%; great -> small; travel -> fare -> stroke
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