A keyboard is something nearly everyone using a computer use, yet most of the people use the keyboard bundled with their computer. I was one of them, for the last years I used the keyboards Apple included with their macs.
Last month, after a period where I wrote at my mac for more than 5 hours a day I decided it was time to buy a “better” keyboard than my Apple Bluetooth keyboard.
After some searching on the web I found the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2, it was the right size (I don’t like extended keyboards) and with a nice keyboard layout.
Packaging and bundle
The keyboard arrives in a black box, the quality is not Apple-level but it’s still better than other companies’ boxes.
The box contains:
- A manual written in japanese
- The keyboard
- The USB cable
After unboxing the keyboard you should customize the keys layout using the switches in the back, I choose to use the mac layout and to use the delete key as backspace.
How it feels
The HHKB is not very heavy but it feels very solid, I tried to apply force on the edges and it didn’t flex. The only thing that looks fragile are the switches on the back but it’s something you don’t touch very often, so you shouldn’t worry about them.
The keys are a pleasure to use, they are easy to activate and make a nice noise.
The keyboard does not feels like a mechanical keyboard, nor like a scissor-switch keyboard. It’s really hard to describe it and it’s something you should try for yourself.
The HHKB has a layout different from most other keyboards, it doesn’t have a caps-lock key and it has the Control key in its place.
Near the 1 key there is the Esc key, the numbers row is also the last row — to use the function keys you have to use the Fn key with a number key.
The Delete key is over the Enter key, it’s an unusual place but I like it, I use delete a lot more than \.
The HHKB doesn’t have the arrow keys, to use them you have to press Fn + the keys near enter, it takes only a couple of hours to get used to it.
I bought the blank version because I don’t use the QWERTY layout — I use Dvorak — and I found it’s very hard to press the correct number key, probably I only need some more experience. If you use QWERTY I think you should buy the labeled version.
The HHKB Pro 2 is the best keyboard I’ve ever used, but every review has to answer the question: “Is it really worth the €300 price tag?”.
I think that it’s a really tricky question and depends mainly from how much you can spend on it and how much you will use it.
A keyboard won’t make you a better programmer/gamer/writer, it can only make you time spent programming/gaming/writing more pleasant.