Qwerkytoys Qwerkywriter Mechanical Keyboard Review

Switches & Key Caps

Switches

The Qwerkywriter uses that old standby, clicky Blue switches--in this case, Kailh Blues. A blue switch is the obvious choice for a keyboard that's aping a typewriter, when you think about it. It has the click people expect from mechanical keys, and other clicky switches (like Greens) are too heavy for most casual typists.

Keycaps

Keeping with the retro typewriter aesthetic, the Qwerkywriter has round, slightly concave typewriter-style keycaps. The spacebar, though, is plain black ABS with a flatter profile, whereas most boards are sculpted from one row to the next. This will take some getting used to if you're accustomed to regular "OEM" caps.

The surface of the ABS is slightly textured, so it will wear down and develop shine over time. There's also a shiny outer rim on each cap that looks like metal, but it's just more plastic. ABS plastic is not necessarily a poor material for keycaps; GMK makes some of the most highly regarded keycaps on the market (some of which you can buy here), and they're all ABS, for example. In any case, the quality of different ABS designs varies widely, and the Qwerkywriter's keycaps aren't terrible from a material standpoint. There are design issues, though.

The legends are laser-etched, which is better than pad printing but inferior to doubleshot molding. A lasered legend won't wear off too quickly, but it does tend to get dirty and discolored. On the underside, these keycaps have an unusual stem mount. It's a rectangular box, and much more complex than the standard Cherry-style cross. Part of the mount on the underside of the cap fits on the standard Cherry cross stem of the switch, but there's a lot of extra plastic around it. The "box" is basically the same size as the opening in the top of the switch housing, which is a problematic design. If you press these keys off-center, some of them will actually catch on the housing and interrupt your typing flow. The saving grace here is that you can swap out the keycaps, most of which are standard sizes.

The stabilizers under the longer keys are Cherry-style. These stabilizers make it easier to swap keycaps than the Costar stabilizers many boards use.

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  • cryoburner
    Quote:
    It also has a faux paper carriage, complete with vestigial knobs to complete the illusion.

    It seems like a missed opportunity to not turn those knobs into volume dials or something. Maybe volume for one, and a scroll-wheel for the other?

    Quote:
    We’re not the sort to turn our nose up at a heavy keyboard, but the added weight doesn't do the Qwerkywriter any favors. The back of the keyboard has a tablet stand, so the designers envision you pairing this keyboard with your tablet and presumably hauling it around someplace--but the keyboard is a little bulky for that.

    I imagine that the extra weight could help keep everything stable when tapping and swiping on a larger tablet though. It may be a bit bulky to carry around everywhere, but as something one keeps at home, or in an office, it might not be bad.

    The price is certainly a bit high though, and it would only be natural to expect a more premium build quality at that kind of price range. Compared to an actual vintage typewriter, the whole thing looks a bit plasticky, and it could have used some actual metal on its exterior. They should have also made sure it had at least full 6-key rollover.
  • steve15180
    I keep reading that green switches are too heavy for typing. While I'm dating myself,
    I get the idea that no one has ever used an actual typewriter ever. Green switches are
    nothing compared to a mechanical typewriter. I guess that's why I like my unicomp
    keyboard (buckling spring) better than most.
  • vdorta
    Another vote here for a Unicomp keyboard and for the same reason!
  • Zaporro
    Hipsters dream come true
  • brianmin2011
    We love Tom's Hardware and we appreciate the thorough review. Unfortunately, this product is nearly 3 years old and we have a new version Qwerkywriter S www.qwerkywriter.com that address every issue brought forth. We now use Cherry MX, brand new PCB with much more robust multi-device bluetooth, NKRO USB, new Keycap design with smoother throw, and more. We are a tiny boutique company so we do our best to keep prices as low as possible. This isn't a money grab but a reality of what we need to do to stay in business - with so many copycats since 2014 when we funded via Kickstarter! Thanks! :)
  • scolaner
    55485 said:
    I keep reading that green switches are too heavy for typing. While I'm dating myself, I get the idea that no one has ever used an actual typewriter ever. Green switches are nothing compared to a mechanical typewriter. I guess that's why I like my unicomp keyboard (buckling spring) better than most.


    If they aren't too heavy *for you* for typing, then they aren't too heavy for typing. :)
  • cryoburner
    2649006 said:
    Unfortunately, this product is nearly 3 years old and we have a new version Qwerkywriter S www.qwerkywriter.com that address every issue brought forth. We now use Cherry MX, brand new PCB with much more robust multi-device bluetooth, NKRO USB, new Keycap design with smoother throw, and more.

    Hey, and even volume and scrolling for the knobs. : P

    Tom's does tend to be a bit slow with some of their reviews though. : D
  • Bob_Merlin
    It's way cool but at $498 on Amazon, I won't be buying one soon!