Awhile back Jason Snell over at Six Colors wrote a review of the Lofree Bluetooth mechanical keyboard that was a campaign on Indiegogo. It sounded promising and looked absolutely gorgeous. Plus a mechanical keyboard that is also Bluetooth caught my eye. So I decided to go ahead and back this beauty.
At first sight, the keyboard did not disappoint. The muted black, round keys, pinkish backspace keycap, and a compact design had me quite excited. Most mechanical keyboards have, well, a very mechanical look to them. Additionally, they are wired, which is fine, but aesthetically having one wire strung across my desk isn’t very pleasing. Regardless, I brought to the office to text out over the next couple days.
Initially, I was pretty excited. The keys felt nice under the fingers, looked gorgeous on the desk, and made the perfect clickity-clack sound that I love from mechanical keyboards. Additionally, the keyboard can be paired with three different devices. I didn’t know this at first until I started reading through the instructions. I’ve always wanted this in a keyboard but all the options out there don’t feel pleasing to type with. After connecting my Mac, iPad, and iPhone I was good to go. Switching between devices was a breeze and worked well. Some people have issues on certain Bluetooth keyboards with the iPad going to sleep and then reconnecting. I had no such issues when switching between devices.
But as I started typing more I noticed two things that ended up being somewhat of a deal breaker for me. First, the return and shift key are much harder to press down. All the other keys press down with an ever so slight depression on the key but those two keys have a double click, which feels like they have multiple key switches in them. I’m really not sure what is going on here but pressing them down took a noticeable toll on my pinky fingers. At first it wasn’t that big of deal but halfway through the day I was making more mistakes because it took a cognitive effort to think about pressing those keys with more pressure than the rest of them.
The second problem I had was with the number row because it is shifted to the right from its normal position. Normally I don’t have to look at the number row when typing but with this decision its caused me numerous typos because I am always hitting the key to the left. Thus, trying to type an explanation point I hit the tilde or attempting an asterisk I type an ampersand. I didn’t realize how often I was typing numbers or these modifiers but it throughout the work day this proved to be the biggest barrier of this keyboard. Usuallly I can type fast on a mechanical keyboard, which is one of the reasons that I like them but with this design decision it simply made it very difficult to type without looking down at the keys.
At the end of the day the keyboard is not for me. Granted, it is really a beautiful keyboard but functionally those two issues make it unusable for my main keyboard. I think I will use it in my home office when it is set up. I plan on having a small desk in there so the compact and wireless design of this will go together nicely. Additionally, I won’t spend a lot of time in there so typing will be minimal and will not be work related so I imagine I won’t be using the modifier keys as much. But for my main keyboard at work I just need something that doesn’t cause me to think about the keyboard. The keyboard should fall into the background and let you type without having to look down. Additionally, it shouldn’t cause unnecessary finger fatigue after a long day of typing. I have a hard time recommending this keyboard that retails for $149 (on sale on Amazon for $129). But if you’re really needing a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard this is the one to get even if you have to adjust your typing. But for me back to my beloved naked keycapped Das Keyboard for work.