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Double-Shot PBT keycaps


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This is a pro-tip/PSA for my fellow keyboard enthusiasts: if you're not using double-shot PBT keycaps, you are not living life correctly!

I have what I thought was the perfect keyboard, namely the G.Skill RIPJAWS KM780R RGB. With Cherry MX Red switches, 6 macro keys and a profile that wouldn't look out-of-place on a Klingon battleship, it's a most suitable companion during long coding sessions. Before I heard of PBT keycaps, though, I never thought the cheap ABS plastic caps that came with the KM would be a problem. After looking into PBT caps, I started to notice the very real problems. The shine that develops from the accumulation of oils from fingertips was one thing. The bigger issue was the frequent slippage caused by the super smooth, non-textured surfaces. I don't need to be a speed typist most of the time, but I can imagine how constant slippage would be a major obstacle for competitive gamers.

After some contemplation, I decided to shell out about $100 for a Razer Huntsman TE for its compact design, TKL layout, brand name and, most importantly, the higher-quality, double-shot PBT keycaps. I was almost ready to buy before the reservations hit me. For one thing, I'd really miss my macro keys, as I do use them regularly; for another, the multiple reviews for the Huntsman TE suggest its extremely light actuations would make it unsuitable for regular everyday typing. It's a gaming keyboard through and through.

At this point, I was wondering if it were possible to keep my KM keyboard but just swap out the keys. G.Skill does have replacement keys, but they're also made of the cheap ABS plastic. Looking around, I found these Ducky caps on eBay. (Note: the Ducky spacebar is extra long and may not fit your board, so you may have to be stuck with your old spacebar.) After about two weeks of using them, I can honestly say this was one of the best shopping decisions I ever made. The textured caps made my slippage problem all but disappear, and I can actually enjoy typing again. On top of that, I only spent about 1/3 of what I'd need to spend for another whole keyboard when my current one is still working perfectly fine in every other way.

In summary, if you're in the market for a new keyboard, make sure they come with PBT keycaps. If you're not but currently using ABS caps, get yourself some PBTs. Your fingers will thank you.


Edited by AK-33
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I am actually going through an existentialist phase with keyboards right now and am looking at some more ergonomic options between the Happy Hacking Keyboard and the Kinesis Advantage2. I'm leaning toward the Kinesis a little bit more with hybrid QWERTY/Dvorak keys and also considering switching my layout from QWERTY to Dvorak. And then getting the hang of Vim keybindings.

My motivation is the fact that I type weird. I type at 100-115WPM at ~95% accuracy, and "touch type," but I do so in a way that makes me question if my hands/wrists will last another 20 years. I use 2 to 3 fingers on my left hand and 3 to 4 fingers on my right hand. It's very strange and I am wondering if I can be even more efficient while also more ergonomic.

Anyways, the fact that you are bringing up keycaps throws another major factor into this little keyboard existentialism I am going through right now. I've always loved the tactile feedback of mechanical keyboards and the "clicky" sound of cherry blues. 

Well, now I will be looking into PBT keycaps and seeing what my options are as it relates to my "keyboard project."

Many thanks for the suggestions, @AK-33!

Edited by cwade12c
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I had my eye on the Vortex POK3R for a long time, which is a 60% board and somewhat similar in design to the Happy Hacking. I eventually decided against it; I can do without the numpad, but I think I'd miss the arrow keys way too much. Often, I'm busy with my hands and need to scroll with only one free hand, which would be too awkward to do on a board like the HHK or POK3R.

I don't have any experience with Dvorak boards or layout designs like the Kinesis Advantage, so I have no informed input. I do think it's interesting how they choose to combat carpal tunnel by placing the keys at a lower depth than the wrist wrest. The depth may also have a positive effect on the abovementioned slippage problem if that's a concern for you too. The specs do not indicate of what material the caps are made, but they look like they're textured rather than smooth, so they have that going for them.

One thing I'll mention if I haven't sufficiently emphasized this in my original post: PBT caps feel very good against your fingertips. Yes, I got them to address a problem in functionality rather than for comfort, appearance or anything else; with that said, I cannot ignore how much more enjoyable they make the typing experience.

Hopefully, this will give you some more food for thought!

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