I am a fan of mechanical keyboards , I recognize it. Several have passed through my hands (literally) over the years and I currently have one that is totally customized and made to my liking. Spending hours a day writing, it’s actually one of the best investments I’ve ever made. The problem? It doesn’t work for me anymore. Mechanical keyboards don’t get along very well with Apple products and the portability of these. This is something that fortunately I have been able to solve since the moment I discovered NuType F1 .
During the last weeks I have been testing a new mechanical keyboard from NuPhy. The NuType F1 is a new keyboard that has been funded through the Kickstarter funding platform. The project has far exceeded its funding target and is now in production with the aim of shipping the first units soon. I am not surprised that the campaign has been a success, everything it promises in it is more than fulfilled.
The sublime of a mechanical keyboard
The obsession with mechanical keyboards is not something that only happens to me. They have many advantages for people who spend a lot of time in front of a computer typing . In Xataka we have talked about them in depth on more than one occasion. But it is clear, either you love them or you hate them. The main problem they have is their sound and the size of the product in general. They are practically the opposite of the keyboards that Apple has been creating over the last decade. Don’t get me wrong, I love fine Apple keyboards like the Magic Keyboard on the Mac or the Smart Keyboard Folio on the iPad. But when I’m using a mechanical keyboard I simply have more comfort and typing speed.
At AppleApple Smart Keyboard Folio in detail: How the new keyboard for iPad Pro works
What are their advantages to be so special? It’s hard to describe. You simply note that you write more comfortably and your fingers don’t get so tired . This is because the keys have much more travel and therefore the impact is less. Also the mechanical mechanism (worth the redundancy) makes you receive a response when you press the key and “notes” that the key has been activated. This response is accompanied by the characteristic sound of these keyboards. In the end, each user is more comfortable with one keyboard or another, but the general rule is that the mechanics provide more comfort when typing.
But of course, as we have indicated, mechanical keyboards are noisy, cumbersome and generally wired and too bulky to use in a world as portable and minimalist as the current one and that of Apple in particular. I’ve had a custom mechanical keyboard for years and have used it with iMac all along. The problem is that it’s wired, so it’s not the most convenient for use with an iPad if I want it to be my main computer. I’ve basically had to keep it in a drawer for months.
This is something I have been able to solve with the new NuType F1, which is basically a mechanical keyboard designed and manufactured for today’s needs and not the technologies of more than a decade ago. This means reducing its size as much as possible, adding Bluetooth connectivity and a handful of other technologies and benefits. The result? A virtually perfect mechanical keyboard for iPad (and other devices). And I thought the tablets would end the era of mechanical keyboards.
The advantages of NuType
There are a number of features that I have loved this mechanical keyboard for. There are many iPad keyboards out there, a few mechanical ones too, but that add up to so many features I really haven’t found. Here are some of them:
- It’s compact: The size of the keyboard is literally the same as that of Apple’s keyboards. It’s really compact (traditionally known as the 60% model), as it eliminates the numeric keypad, for example, and has a 64-key layout. As for its thickness, it is also smaller than the one normally found in this type of keyboard. The manufacturer says that up to 40% less, this is because it eliminates part of the keys to reduce their size but not their travel.
- Mechanical keys: It’s a mechanical keyboard, as I’ve been saying for years, but with so many other features, you might even miss this one. It has inside the switch (the mechanism used for the keys) Kaihua Choc Low Profile Mechanical Switch. It is available in three different profiles depending on how quiet or noisy you want it. In my case I have tried the unit with White Switch, which are the noisiest ones, I love the sound, but not everyone, so there is an option to choose two quieter models.
- Built in aluminum body: The main body of the keyboard is made of aluminum. On the other hand, it has a silicone base (we’ll see why later) and plastic keys. It is available in black or white. One of the things I’m not convinced about the keyboard is that the keys are precisely made of plastic. I understand that this is so that they weigh less and can be backlit keys, but the problem is that due to the fact that the keys have been cut out to have more travel, they are pieces of plastic attached to the keyboard minimally. This gives the impression that they can be torn off or broken at any time. Although this has not happened. I can’t think of a better solution either, it has to be said.
- Key layout as in the Apple keyboards: The keyboard as we have indicated has the size of the Apple keyboards, it is not something random. It has been purposely made this size to match the keys of the Apple keyboards. Result? From day one, you can use your keyboard without looking at the keys, because they’re all in the same layout and size as the Apple keyboards you’re used to. There are some small modifications such as the size of the arrow keys, but come on, in general it is a keyboard that is “familiar” to you and does not require extra learning. And yes, we have keys like Command or Function. Does it stick? It is international layout and not in Spanish with characters like ‘ñ’. But this is normal in this kind of third party keyboards.
- Multiple connectivity via Bluetooth: The keyboard, as we have seen, connects to the iPad or other computers via Bluetooth. But if for some reason you want to use a cable you can do it too, it works by USB-C cable (it comes with two cables, one with USB-C to USB-C and another with USB-Ca USB-A) and it even works with iPad. Returning to Bluetooth, you can easily connect to up to three devices at once and just press a keyboard shortcut to switch from one to the other.
- Battery and charging via USB-C: Inside the keyboard there is a 1200 mAh battery, enough to use it for a long time. To charge it, the same USB-C connector mentioned previously is used.
- Adaptable to multiple computers: Being a Bluetooth and USB-C keyboard we can connect it to almost any computer. But it has an extra feature that I loved, and that is the possibility of coupling it to laptops. As I said, it has a silicone base, this base also has some molds so we can place it right on top of a MacBook pro example and it is fixed. This is great to use with Apple laptops and have a better integration between keyboard and laptop. Another detail is that for the iPad you can use the sleeve that comes with the keyboard, this sleeve becomes a dock and we can put on top the iPad or any other tablet or smartphone.
I wanted to leave the issue of the backlighting of the keys for the end and in a separate section because it deserves it. You see, I’m not a fan of keyboards gamer full of lights that look like a Christmas tree or something radioactive. But it’s impossible to deny that it’s cool when you try it. The NuType F1 keyboard has RGB lights on each of its keys, so each one separately can illuminate virtually any color.
It has a lot of different effects and key behaviors because of its lights. You can also regulate various brightness intensities and get responses by lights when setting up some keyboard details. All this is done from the keyboard itself, no apps or weird stuff to use.
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Apple en Instagram
Compartir NuType F1, análisis: si vas a comprarte un teclado mecánico para el iPad o el Mac, que sea este
I counted a total of 20 different light effects for the keyboard . We can set the keys to light up when we press one, for example, or turn off the one we have pressed. You can also set up animations to simulate playing in the water and generate a wave of light from the one you clicked on. Or simply that it is always lighting and changing between different colors and by zones. Or if you want something more conventional, all the keys illuminated in one colour like a traditional backlit keyboard.
Here are four videos showing four different effects on the keyboard:
All these effects will seem silly, and the truth is that they are a whim. But it’s a whim that when you’ve been working for several hours comes in handy to have some fun. My favourite method is that all the keys are illuminated in different colours and when you press one of them, it turns off at times to turn on again in a different colour.
NuPhy NuType F1, is it worth it?
The NuType F1 keyboard will go on sale with an estimated price of 149 euros . For this price alone it is a mechanical keyboard and worth it. That is, mechanical keyboards (if they are really mechanical and good) are not just any old thing, they have high prices because of the difficulty of manufacturing them and the mechanisms they use. But in this case there is more, it is Bluetooth, it is compact, it has backlighting, it connects to several devices at once… When I first heard about it I estimated a price of over 200 euros.
Is there something wrong with him? Sure, no keyboard is perfect. As I mentioned, doesn’t convince me that the keys are plastic and that they feel like they’re going to come loose. I’d also like the delete key to be a little bigger (it inexplicably leaves a gap in the corner). Or that there is an English version , although this is not really a problem as iOS and macOs understand the keyboard as an English version if we set it up that way and it doesn’t pay attention to the characters printed over each letter. But these are small details of a first version. It is the same as the Escape key for example, in the unit I have tested it does not come and it is activated by pressing Fn + the key in the upper left corner where Esc should be. But the final unit that goes on sale does.
I have the feeling that this keyboard will be with me for a long time. These days, I lead a “nomadic” life that doesn’t allow me to always work in one place from a stable computer like the iMac desktop. To be able to type again with the comfort of a mechanical keyboard anywhere, without any difficulty, is great. If you want a good keyboard for your iPad, MacBook, or Mac because you spend all day typing… the NuType F1 is the best external keyboard I can recommend right now .
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