Spec sheet: Vipul’s Ducky One 2 SF
- Price: About ₹10,000 (135$) + Free Shipping and 10 keycaps free.
- RGB back-light keyboard – Multiple modes also available, t can be toggled easily with the shortcut key Fn + Alt (left) + T
- Cherry MX blue switches with PBT double-shot seamless keycaps (Sound sample below)
- Comes with detachable USB Type-C cable – Having Type-C is pretty sweet
- Supports Ducky Macro V2.0 and Mouse control function – More on this later
- One year domestic warranty
- Bought from Meckeys
- Shipping took almost 4 months (Peak Covid), Meckeys kept me informed of all delays and follow-ups were frictionless, so kudos to folks there.
With the box, you get?
The 10 additional key-caps, some instructions for controlling RGB, warranty and repair policy along with a key-cap puller.
Why go mechanical?
Upgrade your knowledge, about types of keyboards out there first. Popular ones are mechanical (mech), ergonomic (ergo), and membrane based keyboards.
“They are an investment in themselves,” as I have been recommended time and again while I was thinking the same question as you are. Why go, mech? The best thing about mechanical keyboards is the sheer typing pleasure you will get out while using them. They effectively last for several years without breaking or going out of commission. With unlimited freedom to customize both hardware and macros of the keyboard. You can essentially tune your mech’s behavior according to your workflow and use case.
Along with this, mechs offer the best tactile feedback, which accounts for much of their typing pleasure along with smaller form factors, and of course, RGB. I could have gone with semi-mechanical keyboards (Logitech) or membrane-based keyboards (Lots of cheap ones out there). But, nothing offers the same satisfaction as an authentic mechanical keyboard feel and sound. Mechs are great for the occasional gaming streak and eventually can be customized according to your preferred work style.
Okay you sold on a Mech, why 65%? What is 65%?
Mechs come in shockingly different sizes. It can get complex really fast, really easily. Here’s a good sliding article by KONO on almost every size of mechanical keyboard. Right from 40% to behemoths having multimedia keys, full layouts and even a mouse inbuilt in them.
For a first time user, I think a 65% keyboard, 5-rows keyboard would work out great. I was a beginner jumping from a really great Thinkpad standard-issue keyboard, 65% with 6 rows. There wasn’t a big learning difference in the months of usage, and the muscle memory adapted fairly quickly with the shortcuts on the keyboard. There is a placement of keys I still am not happy about, but knowing that I could customize it if push comes to shove keeps my mind at rest. Another reason for going with a 65% is the standard arrow keys you already have in place.
With the macro function that Ducky offers, you can perform several tasks that were usually assigned to hotkeys with the ability to set new macros as you wish. I don’t miss the 6th row of function keys that are usually available in standard-issue 14-inch laptops. All Linux shortcuts, volume controls, media controls, brightness, and even mouse movement, are available inbuilt in the keyboard. They worked with Linux right out of the box without any configuration. I use PopOS 18.04 LTS currently.
But, does it work on Linux? Shortcuts? Macros? Configurations?
Yes. Yes, it works on Linux without issues or any change of configuration. The Linux shortcuts configured on the distro seem to be working fine as well. Some I use quite a lot are Super + S to open Albert or Super + W to open the default web browser. The keyboard did have an issue with the H key when I did clean it once. I reached out to the Meckeys support, and after a quick firmware upgrade later, the keyboard was back in working shape.
The keyboard’s firmware installer is only present on Windows so, please keep that in mind. But, that might be the only thing connecting you to Windows as the keyboard can run without needing any 3rd party software or integration. Even the macros can be edited and configured as per the need on Linux without using software, as Adam mentioned down in the comments.
When you get the keyboard, update the firmware if possible since it helps to reduce the time spent debugging on support. I am sure that one could change RGB configuration as well on the machine, but that remains to be seen as I haven’t played much with it since I arrived. After a year or so of active use, the keyboard has been performing splendidly well.
Wrist Pain: Would you need a wrist rest?
Maybe. Changing from a laptop keyboard to a mechanical one is also different for your hands, fingers, and wrist. Long time usage could lead to severe wrist pain. The setup I have turned out to be quite well; by table has the right height to match my chair’s arms. So that’s where my arms usually rest. My hands are slightly bigger and have long fingers, so my wrists lay on the touchpad with the hand and fingers defaulting to the keys F and J for effective touch typing. With longer fingers, I can easily reach the length of the keyboard and operate the mouse with my right hand.
Always get the backlight model (Read RGB)
I think one thing I have realized in this dark, desolate year is 2020. That light can bring happiness, especially when it’s RGB. Maybe this idea comes from my love for Party Parrots, who knows. Coming back to the heading, I started. I think having a backlight really helps work in low illuminated areas. Even if your workspace is brightly lit, you won’t have any regrets not buying a backlit mechanical keyboard when you are working at home in **cough** 2020.
Are you satisfied?
I think I am. Made pretty good choices throughout the setup journey, and folks around me really helped with my questions. Questions are bound to come when you are buying something this substantial; it’s okay. If you are interested in buying one and have questions about the product, you can put them down in the comments sections. I will be happy to help or redirect you to someone that can help you better with your questions.
That said, I think I would like to buy some cute key-caps from @tinykeycapmaker. She makes beautiful food shaped key-caps; I mean, look at how appetizing this burger looks. Hot damn. My next keyboard change would be a wireless, backlit, mechanical keyboard with fewer wires on my table. A viable replacement is Keychron, but they are wireless through Bluetooth, neither reliable nor efficient. Keychron folks, if you are listening, release a dongle with your keyboard, please! Other than that, an ergonomic keyboard seems like a good bet as well. Extremely expensive, though.
Replacing the Spacebar key
You can’t. So when your keyboard comes and you want to swap out your spacebar key. My recommendation is to use the Ducky’s keycap remover to remove the neighboring alt keys as shown in the picture below and then pull the spacebar towards you using your fingers on each end of the spacebar. This will pop it out of the stabilizers and onto your hands. Replace keys is fairly easy with many videos on youtube.
All photos originally tweeted by Vipul Gupta is having cake 🐣 (@vipulgupta2048). Vipul’s 2020 no compromise minimalist remote setup blogs are a series. With more blogs, coming right up. Full list of items and more recommendations is available here on Notion.
- MX Master 3: The iPhone of productivity mouses
- Meckeys Ducky One 2 SF Linux Review: After a month
- Jabra Evolve 75t – They are great, but …
- Buying a great mid-range monitor is a modern nightmare – 101 guide
- Vipul’s no compromise minimalist remote setup: lessons in choosing your work furniture.
Edit: Cherry MX blue switches sound sample
WordPress won’t let me upload a audio sample natively without upgrading to premium. Hence, now I am on Soundcloud too, DJ 2048 at your service. Enjoy!