byArt Rosnovsky / September 17, 2021
4 min read
I've ventured into the world of mechanical keyboards a couple of times. The first one was relatively successful: I've got a 60% board with ok keys and had been using it for a couple of years alongside my Apple Magic Keyboard. Probably because of a fairly regular layout and barely noticible differences between the two keyboards, I didn't really get all the hype around mechanical keyboards. Yes, they are more clicky, a bit nicer to type on due to physical and audible feedback, but that's about it.
This time around, I went all in. I've been getting tired quickly, my wrists started to ache more and more quickly each day. After a bunch of research and reading, I decided to give mechanical keyboards another shot. Only this time, I decided to go all in: no half-assed keyboards that are barely an improvement, no regular layouts since they proved to be hurting in my hands. "Only hardcore this time," I thought to myself and ordered a Moonlander.
The Moonlander MK-1 is a keyboard from another world. It's split into two parts: the left part can work independently (which apparently is good for gaming?). It has thumb sections for both hands. It has a set of legs allowing you to tilt it outwards. It has handrests for confort. This split design is the main reason why I ordered it: it's radically different from every keyboard I've ever tried, and supposedly it's way easier on your hands when you can position each side of the keyboard independently.
On the inside, it is fully customizable, and has some really nice features. For example, you could assingn a "hold" action for any key: when you tap the key, it types a specific charecter, but if you hold it, it becomes a modifier key (like, type a
Z but hold it and it becomes
Left CTRL). There are also thee layers you can switch between (by default, it's three, but I think you can have more): I have a regular one, "num lock" kind with numbers and symbols, and a media one with media keys and such.
Being a fully RGB-enabled keyboard, customizing colors of individual keys is really easy. You could also go with a "theme" or base your customization on a theme but customize the colors of individual keys.
The keycaps are really nice: they have just enough texture to be a pleasure to touch. I went with Cherry MX Blue switches, and they are satisfyingly clicky, just loud enough to be comfortable yet not too loud.
It's also pretty important to mention that the keyboard is very, very pretty. My photos don't do it justice, but I hope you get the idea.
With all this being said, the first few days with this keyboard were beyond frustrating. I couldn't type; all keys are in the wrong places, special characters were hard to find without refering to the keyboard layout cheat sheet.
There's a special training available for this keyboard and it's really worth it. I went from about 10 words per minute to just over 30 WPM. Still, super slow, but I get better with it every day.
But perhaps the most important thing is the fact that I can place my hands as I please and fully independently. It's a game changer for me. My hands and wrists are very greatful for this upgrade, and I think I get this whole "mechanical keyboards" thing a lot better now.