Feb 15, 2019709 views

Unicorn? 65/68 key | BLE/Bluetooth 4 | Hotswappable/no solder switches | QMK programmable or similar

G’day - I’m after something that I think may exist, or if it doesn’t, it’s on the cusp of existing. If you know of the unicorn of which I seek, I’d really appreciate a pointer to what it is and where I can get one! In short, I’m looking for the following for use in my open plan, multi-device office setting, and would like all of the following in one keyboard:
  1. Form factor - 65/68 key. Like the MagicForce 68, the Leopold FC660M - must have arrow keys, don’t care if it doesn’t have an F1-F12 row.
  2. Bluetooth 4 / Bluetooth Low Energy BLE multi-device pairing . Modern, multi-device BT pair switching, like the Logitech K480 or K380 and predecessors. Most keyboards with this functionality have the ability to link to at least three devices - in my case I want one keyboard to swap between at least two paired devices - a PC laptop and an iPad Pro; and it’d be nice to also be able to connect to a third item (an iPhone), but not essential.
  3. Hotswappable switches. Nope, I’m not hardcore and do not give a rat’s about learning to solder. Hey, I’m late to the buy-your-own-switches party, but now with some heavy Halos, Zealios, Hakos, Box Royals and some others on hand to deal with the not-so-keen-on-clicky open plan office, I really like the option to use my own switches. Hell, if the GK-68 can do hotswap for $142 and the Glorious Modular Keyboard for $85 (and it’s a great keyboard for the money), then it can be done!
  4. QMK Programmable (or similar). Usually this isn’t a factor, although always nice to have - buuuuut now with a locked-down work Windows laptop, on-keyboard QMK-ish editability to swapping the functions of CTRL / WIN / ALT to act pretty much like CTRL / OPT / CMD is now front and centre.
I have or have on order the following related keyboards, which tick some of the boxes, but not one of them ticks ALL the boxes in one package: Are these worthwhile options? I’ve looked at a few others, but they all seem to have no more than three out of the four things I want: {EDIT - I have tried the USB-Bluetooth adaptor that Massdrop has up a while ago - I bought this one https://www.massdrop.com/buy/handheld-scientific-bt-500-bluetooth-adapter. It’s a bit hit and miss with connection, and clunky. Hey, the fact it exists is good, however ideally BT built-in with multi-pairing is much, much better.} Lonnnnnng story short - there’s a really obvious one (or seven) keyboards with all four attributes that I’ve missed by being inattentive, right? Help much appreciated! {EDIT2 - looks like the answer to this question is ‘it almost exists but not quite yet’. Thanks to everyone who replied, and I’ll keep an eye on KBDFans.}
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jeffsui
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Your unicorn is my unicorn... except I also want it in ISO :/
onelivesleft
Your unicorn is even rarer!
juliandoucette
Thanks! Looks great, I’ll report back if it is indeed the unicorn I seek ;)
Cods
Did you get it? Was it the unicorn you seeked?
THIS post exactly describes what I’ve been looking for and the options I’ve found. I’m really glad someone took the time to write it all down and ask. Thank you Cods! Maybe this year is the year we find this elusive unicorn.
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chardane
Glad to be of help... well, ‘help’, given that so far the answer seems to be ‘nope, not yet’. :)
Found this link on taobao, it seems to check almost all your boxes except for the 65/68 key layout but there's no reviews on it. It seems to be programmable using tkg. https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z0k.7385961.1997985097.d4918997.2cd55e40XXcdYZ&id=588298411969&_u=t2dmg8j26111
abitstranger
Thanks! I really appreciate the pointer. Hard to tell, as unfortunately I'm not multilingual, and whilst the translated page looks promising, I've not bought from Taobao before. I think we might just be on the cusp of this sort of thing going, well, not mainstream, but at least becoming a thing for enthusiasts. Cheers, and thanks again!
What you are looking for doesn't exist yet. Sorry. Punchy was the closest thing and it was too expensive to get off the ground. There was also this a couple years ago https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=87695.0, who knows maybe he'd build you another one. But if the only thing holding you back is soldering, check out https://zealpc.net/collections/accessories/products/gold-plated-hot-swap-sockets-for-pcbs for a possible solution.
KribbageFan
Thanks for that - POMK’s Pendula looks pretty good! Shame I’m over two years late... ;) It does look like the four criteria I’m looking for aren’t quite there in one product yet, although it’s probably just around the corner. I appreciate the post - it helps to know one way or the other.
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https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=4556 This is the closest I could find, but no hotswap. There is another option. It's a kit, but it's hotswap, but it's not wireless, however you can get dongles that make your keyboards Bluetooth. I am too lazy to search it now, but Massdrop drops them all the time. https://kbdfans.cn/collections/diy-kit/products/coming-soon-kbd67-mechanical-keyboard-diy-kit This is a 67 hotswap kit. Here is hotswap pcb with your preferred arrow layout, with links to all the other bits you need to build it(case,plate, etc...) https://kbdfans.cn/collections/pcb/products/dz60rgb-hot-swap-custom-keyboard-pcb
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Thanks mate. Will take a look!
Ooh. That link quickly plumbed past the (shallowish) depths of my comfort level. Thanks for the pointer, but a) I’m pretty sure it won’t work on my employer-issued-not-negotiable-locked-down-PC-laptop, and b) I’m not confident that *I* could make it work!