Confession: I use a laptop all the time. I use my laptops a LOT. If you watch my live stream on Twitch, you may know that I use three laptops to assemble and present that content. It’s a lot of work, and my hands have been in laptop keyboards, and laptop keyboards only for the last 5-6 years. I haven’t used a desktop machine as a daily-driver, or even an external keyboard on a regular basis in that time.
I’ve learned to deal with all of the nonsense with “Fn” keys and the function keys on laptops not immediately accessible. As a programmer who is always using the function keys and the arrow keys, its really annoying to have to use an extra keystroke to access these keys that I use on a regular basis. These are the keyboards that I was using regularly:
Lenovo Yoga 910
Macbook Air 13
SurfaceBook 2 15
… and they’re all flat and I have those stupid Fn keys in order to use the F1-F12 keys, which I use regularly as a developer.
Enter the Vortex Race 3
I stepped up to the plate, and got the Vortex Race 3 with Cherry Blue switches and a USB connection. Yes, link to Amazon attached to the pic:
Ok, Cherry Blue is a nice full click sound and just feels like the right amount of pressure to type. I love the extra colored keys and the size of the keyboard is just perfect for me. I don’t need the numeric keypad and I love the location of the Page Up and Page Down buttons on the right.
Gratuitous Unboxing Pics
I was so happy when the Vortex Race 3 arrived, and took pictures of the entire process.
The unopened box
Sliding open, and peeking out
The standard keyboard in the box
More keyboard parts under here
Spare Colored Keys
Minor surgery, swapping out keys
The finished look
I’ve been using the Race 3 all the time, and absolutely love the feel and the sound as I type. When I’m on the road and typing on the laptop keyboards, it just feels… non-responsive. I feel like I’m typing on a dead fish. I’ve also seen the communities out there that make custom key caps, and considered getting a few cool ones made. I’m thinking of replacing my C key with a C# logo key and the A key with an Azure logo key.
Are you using a mechanical keyboard? What has been your experience? What would you recommend for new folks looking to get something a little less ‘stock’?