The enthusiast keyboard market is littered with smallish shops that routinely deliver the tasty variations for which keyboard nerds hunger. Vortex’ latest offers a rather specific layout and keycap set, but it should appeal to a number of people.
Called the Vibe, the keyboard is a “78%” layout--which is basically a 60% layout with a numpad attached. There’s a huge trend towards more compact layouts, from tenkeyless (numpapd removed) to 60% (usually no numpad, F keys, or navigational keys) to adorable little 40% (more or less the same as 60% but also without the number row).
A 78% layout is a curious variation because although it’s short bottom to top, it’s quite wide--long and lean, if you will. (Hey, there’s a layout for everyone.)
Vortex neglected to mention which switches would be on the Vibe (we assume it’s going to be multiple Cherry MX options), but the keyboard does feature PBT, dye-sublimated keycaps--in SA profile, which is kind of a retro-flavored favorite--with a mostly gray-and-white scheme that’s punctuated by one purple key, one light blue key, and one red key.
All of that is mounted on a CNC-machined metal chassis.
Although Vortex has been teasing the Vibe for a bit already, the company said that this is the final version. There’s no word on release timing or price.
At least you can get an external numpad if you need it (heck, there are excellent mechanical ones out there, even). F-keys are far, far harder to replace.
You'd be surprised. Lots of people want that. As I said, there's a layout for everyone. The diversity on the market is amazing.
I suppose you're right. However, the diversity for people wanting ISO layouts rather than ANSI is depressing. I've been keeping an eye out for years for a simple, minimalist tenkeyless ISO keyboard with MX Brown (or similar) keys and media+volume controls, and I've yet to find one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The closest I've found is Cooler Master's lineup, but they all manage to leave me wanting. All the nifty, custom-designed ones seem to be ANSI only.