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Wooting One Analog Mechanical Keyboard Review

Our Verdict

The Wooting One’s software is still incomplete, but there are numerous attractive features, and most importantly, this is the first shipping analog keyboard--which is a total game changer.

For

  • Analog input is compelling
  • Extremely ambitious feature set
  • Hot swappable switches (and no soldering)

Against

  • Not quite complete software
  • Missing a couple of major features (eg, macros)
  • Keycaps and switches feel loose
  • A couple of the LEDs went out

Introduction & Specifications

The Wooting One is the first commercially available, fully analog mechanical keyboard. The prospect of analog sensing technology in keyboards is still somewhat novel, but if it catches on with gamers--and we believe it should and will--this is a landmark moment in this technology’s history.

With the One in hand, though, we did what we always do, which is take a dazzling piece of technological progress and ruthlessly pick it apart, in every sense of the word. What follows is our deep look at the One and all of its constituent parts.

To fully understand the One and what it can do (and why that’s important), it’s perhaps instructive to think of it in pieces: as 1) a mechanical gaming keyboard, as 2) an optical switch keyboard, and 3) as an analog keyboard.

Looking at the Wooting One, and even after popping off a cap to see what’s underneath, you wouldn’t notice that it’s any different than any other mechanical keyboard. Indeed, that’s because that’s what it is. The switches are mechanical. It offers RGB lighting. Its design is reminiscent of Razer’s BlackWidow X line, even. It has configuration software that lets you tweak settings and make key assignments.

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The switches, though, are Flaretech optical switches. Again, they’re still mechanical switches (the Wooting One ships with both Red and Blue switches), but the sensing method is different than Cherry MX and its clones. Instead of two metal contacts touching and triggering a key event, an optical sensor mounted on the PCB detects the switch stem’s depth as it plunges. (This is a gross oversimplification of the technology. For a primer on optical switch technology and how it works, read this.)

Because of the nature of the optical sensing technology, Wooting was able to give the One analog input capabilities. We’ve discussed what that means numerous times in these digital pages, and we’ll discuss it in more detail in this article, but in a nutshell, a normal keyboard uses digital input (each keypress is a simple on/off command), whereas analog input gives you degrees of control through the entire keypress.

The simplest example involved moving a character in a game. With a normal keyboard, your character is either stock still (no input) or running (press W). With analog input, though, when you press W, the character would creep slowly, then walk, then jog, then sprint, depending on how far down you press the switch.

In a way, then, you could look at the One as a more evolved gaming keyboard, or you could view it as one device that’s trying to do a lot all at once. In reality, it’s both. Let’s take a closer look.


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  • SinxarKnights
    Oh it's finally out, nice! I really want one but my wallet is dead from starvation already. Frankly i'm surprised it took this long for someone to develop an analog keyboard. It was something I wanted from my earliest PC gaming days, having analog input on the keys would have been very useful for many games.
    Reply
  • Mansen
    I'm glad you didn't give them too much criticism over the software considering the potentially game changing features. At least things like macros and light effects can be patched in later. Much harder to add hardware features for existing boards. :)
    Reply
  • Kridian
    @SinxarKnights, don't starve bro. I'll send you a hotpocket. (steak & cheese)
    Reply
  • nimbulan
    While it sounds interesting, I feel like the extremely narrow 2.5mm of analog range will be too difficult to control precisely in the heat of the moment and will ultimately end up not being terribly useful. It's difficult enough on gamepads which have approximately twice as much range on the thumbsticks. It's not often that analog control actually gets used even on gamepads outside of driving and flying games anyway.
    Reply
  • drwho1
    Another way over priced keyboard.
    Reply
  • MrPleasantEXE
    Great review however as a BETA tester i wanna point some things out...

    The issue with the LEDs is most likely due to ISO being loaded on a ANSI keyboard (the on you received) as they have different amount of keys, to load ANSI for all LEDS you need to go to profile manager and load it, if you want to import my profile go ahead =D e04967ea-671f-6558-f4bc-19792281e905

    As for the wobble issue, i personally don't see this unless i go to physically wobble them, for me its not a huge issue.

    As for the software, you are using the alpha version which is different from the final version, or well will be, the version you have should have a feature similar to macro's.

    Overall i love the review however software wise, the final version will be different.

    -MrPleasant
    Reply
  • MrPleasantEXE
    @drwho1 what makes you say that?
    Reply
  • MrPleasantEXE
    19949580 said:
    Another way over priced keyboard.

    what makes you say that?

    Reply
  • scolaner
    19949515 said:
    While it sounds interesting, I feel like the extremely narrow 2.5mm of analog range will be too difficult to control precisely in the heat of the moment and will ultimately end up not being terribly useful. It's difficult enough on gamepads which have approximately twice as much range on the thumbsticks. It's not often that analog control actually gets used even on gamepads outside of driving and flying games anyway.

    Yeah, that is a limiting factor. Currently, it's a limitation baked into the Flaretech switch. I need to do a deep dive on the structure of the other optical switches on the market and see if any of those would avoid that problem.

    Also, I'd been thinking (but neglected to mention in the review) that I think a 5mm travel would work better.

    But I'm withholding some judgment on that until I spend even more time with it. You get used to the analog feel. How much you can "get used" to that small range, I don't know yet. I'm sure some of those uber talented gamers out there would get it really fast. I'm old, slow, and inaccurate. ;)
    Reply
  • nostalgion
    ive been wondering if this type of technology existed. i knew it could be done, and i knew i wanted it, and now. i cant afford it. but a massive praise to wooting for creating a dream, and making it reality, evolved gaming. a blacksmith is only as good as his tools, and his tools just got so much better.
    Reply