Drop + OLKB Preonic Keyboard MX Kit V3
$150

Drop + OLKB Preonic Keyboard MX Kit V3

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$150
Case Color:
Black
Complete Setup:
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Acute Keycap Set
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Switches (70 pack)
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Carrying Case
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7.5k Sold
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Free Returns in USA
Review Highlights:
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My absolute favorite
Easily my favorite keyboard form factor of all time. It has everything I need and nothing I don't use (and layers for things I want but don't use often). It's small enough to slip into my carry-on bag for work trips, or just in my backpack for when I'm going to chill at a coffee shop. Construction-wise, the Preonic Rev. 3 is built like a tank. Make sure you save the tiny pamphlet in the box, it has the assembly instructions. Personally, I go for the ultra-secure plate method. This uses the provided bolts and spacers to make the plate firm within the case. The plate is a hefty stainless steel plate with a tight tolerance. It will take some force to push the switches in. BE WARNED! The hotswap brackets for the switches can come off if you push too hard. I have made 4 of these model and have never had the issue, but it has been known to happen. The recommended method is to put a few switches in the plate, then line them up with the PCB, then place the remaining switches in place by putting your finger on the back of the PCB to hold the black hotswap in place while you use medium force to push the switch into the plate. This reduces the risk of popping off a hotswap. The board is programmed with QMK, but make sure when flashing it that you use the Rev 3 firmware. Rev 2 used a different micro controller and the firmware and layouts aren't compatible. I would love to do a write-up on QMK, but it's a bit complicated to set up and there are a million different things you can do with it. If you have questions, you can always ask on the OLKB subreddit (reddit/r/OLKB). Search first! Your question has probably already been asked and answered, but if you're really not sure just make a new post. People will usually help, but it's not super active so it may take a day or two to get a response. Included is a picture of my collection, which is just about a year old. I have quite a few more now...
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This is my first orhtolinear, and three days in I'm really liking it. I'm still in the process of figuring out where I want keys to be, and am _really_ liking the MOD_T setup (i.e. left-shift on hold, enter on tap, etc). From what I can see, it looks like there is a little solder on the USB-C connector, though that piece still makes me a little nervous. I got a magnetic cable set ( https://amzn.to/2Eup4dR ) so there isn't any strain on the connector. Since I pack this from work to home and back, it's great for the convenience factor alone.
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Q&A Highlights:
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Do I need to assemble this myself?
Yes, but no soldering required to get a basic keyboard with switches.
LED ready--meaning LEDs need to be soldered to the board (yes/no)?
The board comes with presoldered addressable LEDs around the edge of the board, other than that there is a cutout under each switch where you could put LEDs but there is nothing else other than the hole. If you wanted per switch LEDs you'd have to wire them separately.
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Here's what our community has to say
All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.7
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660
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95%
would recommend to a friend
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SpicyPeppers
0
Jul 2, 2022
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Great compact keyboard
I wanted to try a keyboard of this size and format and it does take getting used to but it is easily portable and does feel nice once you get used to it. Only problem is that the keyboard feels a little hollow so you can notice the ping when typing. Should put some foam inside to make it sound better
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How dare you make me fall in love
I was interested in ortho keyboards years ago, but never wanted to commit to learn someone else's layout. They board got me to dive into custom firmware and keymaps and now I use all sorts of weird boards.
Grifous91
0
Jun 24, 2022
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An Excellent Foray Into the Ortholinear World
I've been using my Preonic for a little over two months now, and I think I can safely say I'm hooked on the OLKB lifestyle. TL;DR: if you're looking for a compact Ortholinear keyboard and you're someone who likes to tinker until you have the perfect setup, the Preonic is an excellent choice. I started working as a claims processor last year, which means I spend pretty much my entire work day typing in data. I had a WASD V2 Keyboard that I was using, which is an excellent keyboard, but it felt very limited. The full size layout also meant that constantly switching my typing position from the alpha keys, to the numpad, to the mouse, and back again; would start to get tedious on the longer work days. I had been looking at the Preonic for some time prior, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pull the trigger and give it a try. So I ordered the Preonic, along with some Box Navy switches, keycaps, case foam, a rotary encoder, and a bunch of other stuff. Once everything arrived, I got to work and assembled the keyboard. Overall it was a straightforward process, the most difficult part being soldering the rotary encoder in. Made doubly difficult when I decided I wanted to move the encoder after the fact (the position in the attached picture was what I did originally, but I ended up moving it down to the bottom corner). Otherwise the assembly and initial setup was straightforward and painless. Switching to the new layout was a little difficult at first, but it was definitely worth it. I took the opportunity to unlearn some bad habits from typing on a staggered layout, and I'd say after a week or so I was close to typing at full speed again. Now a days I type faster on the linear layout, and switching back to a staggered layout takes a bit of effort.  The flexibility of QMK is amazing of course, custom keymaps, layers, macros, all of it makes my job easier and improves my typing experience and performance. It took a bit of time to learn how to write the keymaps and such, but the documentation and community should be more than able to help you figure it out. Overall, I'm happy I got my Preonic. I'm thinking in the future I might get an Ergodox to use for work, so I can use the Preonic as a mobile option. For the time being however, it's going to be my main driver for work and general use. And I'm sure I'm going to keep tinkering away at my keymaps and fine tuning it in every little way I can. It's an excellent little keyboard that's worth giving a try if you want a compact OLKB. Honestly the only negatives I can ascribe to it would be the LEDs are difficult to see during normal use, and sound-wise it isn't amazing. The aluminum case makes everything a bit pingy, but with case foam and other mods you can mitigate it to the point where you won't notice it. Those two little things aside, I highly recommend this little keeb. One extra little note I didn't mention, I got the MT3 Skiidata keycap set, and to get the slight upward angle they suggest for the key profile I got some chunky rubber feet off of Amazon to raise up the back, and they did the trick.
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Would recommend to a friend.
UDKeeb
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Jun 24, 2022
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First ortho, solid choice
Loved the weightiness of the full aluminum body, but wasn't a big fan of the aluminum plate's sound so I left it out of my build. Still, it was compact and QMK configurable which I liked immensely. Made it easier to figure out which keycaps looked best where.
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Mods needed to make it sounds good
The board is hollow and pingy out of the box. Definitely consider these mods to make it sounds good:
  1. Force break of the case and long standoff screws
  2. Tape mod
  3. PE foam
Overall it's a nice little gateway keyboard into orth. It can't compete with the much more mature 65% market value wise (like QK65, zoom65, etc). Wish there are more options in the future.
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Would recommend to a friend.
rollyjoger
18
Jun 16, 2022
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Great keyboard.
Awesome little keyboard. Incredibly steep learning curve if you're not used to it.
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CakeOfLies
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Jun 16, 2022
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Great gateway into ortho
I've got that board as my first ortho and its great and now Im waiting for my Planck to arrive :D
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Would recommend to a friend.
Je3H
5
Jun 9, 2022
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Versatile Ortholinear Keyboard
A well-built & sturdy kit can easily reprogram for new keymap through QMK.
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Compact size, lots of features
Small in size but a great KB. Takes some getting used to, nice color options too
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Takumeme
1
Jun 5, 2022
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My soulmate in keeb form
I love this thing so much with Colemak DH. I use it daily and bring it with me everywhere. 100% recommend the layout
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