I’ve recently fallen down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole, and I’m not the only one.
Okay, this scene has exploded in the last few years and today I’m showing off a new entry level keyboard from the key company.
A major player in the custom seat with a lot of people working from home now, There’s been this sort of newfound appreciation for the home office, and I think that has resulted in a huge uptick in the custom keyboard scene.
And because the custom mechanical keyboard can be, Unity is still on a meteoric rise.
That means a lot of people are first getting into the hobby right now.
The portico is a custom keyboard that’s looking to fill that space for the newcomer.
So, if you’re already lost what makes mechanical keyboards so attractive
Is the ability to completely make them your own.
You can choose the switch, be it linear, tactile, or clicky, get a case that speaks to you.
And of course, throw on some slick caps to finish it all off.
You can even take things further by lubricating switches and stabilizers to basically.
Change the way all of this sounds because yes, sound is actually a very big deal in this community.
So the Portico is a 65% keyboard, meaning there’s no F row up top and there’s no number pad on the side.
This one is set to start shipping in March and it’s currently in its group by phase.
What’s a group by you might ask a group by or GB is a time where customers have a limited opportunity to preorder a keyboard that will be shipped at a later date.
So this one right here in front of me is fully built.
It’s got TK sees infinity Team Liquid keycaps and dragon fruit switches Which are really like tactile switches that are also super satisfying.
First of all, you can swap in any switch you want on this board because it has hotswap which means there’s no soldering required whatsoever.
So like I said, sound is very important in this community.
Here’s what this keyboard sounds.
With the dragon fruit switches and the Team Liquid key caps.
Do you hear that?
There’s just something different about a custom mechanical keyboard.
That just sounds so much better.
Than those stock keyboards you might have I know it sounds crazy.
But listen, once you hear it once you type on a keyboard, not even just this keyboard, any really customized mechanical keyboard.
You get it once you start typing on one.
So like I said the beauty of these keyboards is that it has hotswap you can put in whatever switch you want in this board.
You can put different types of switches in the board.
At the same time, this one is an unfinished portico and a purple case, and I’m going to put TKC’s tangerine switch you see that right there.
All their switches have fruit names.
So that’s pretty neat, like the dragon fruit.
This is a tangerine switch.
It’s linear, it’s smooth, and this is how you put in switches.
You just sorta Pop them in, and look, there you go.
They’re in there.
Now when you get a portico, it’s going to come as a build kit, and it’ll be completely disassembled.
So you’re gonna have to assemble it yourself.
It’s pretty easy to do and if you’re new to building keyboards It’s really not tough, don’t get intimidated and to keep you confident tkc has really good instructions on their site, how to assemble it.
So now I’ve got the switches installed in the portico.
Really nice I’m gonna connect it to my PC over here.
Alright, so what we wanna do now is make sure all the switches I installed were done so correctly.
The way we do that is we use a program called via and that is a really good utility for customizing your keyboard.
You can program the LEDs that are in here protocol as RGB LEDs which is pretty sweet.
So I’m just going to start testing these out and as you can see, as I hit the buttons here, they start to show up on screen and so far So far it looks like I did a good job.
The Caps Lock stays on that that led stays on when you engage it so caps lock is on.
That’s pretty sweet.
g h, j, k, l There we go.
There we go.
Amazing, perfect job.
So there you go.
Now I know all the switches work.
The next part is putting on the key caps.
My favorite part, just to show you what I mean with a hot swap.
I’ll do it right here.
You just take a little tool here.
This is called a key.
Key cat polar or a switch polar.
It’s got both sides for easy functionality.
They’re pretty sweet.
And you just grip this guy on either side and pull them out.
This is this is exactly what a dentist does.
This is it and you’re like, This switch has to go anyway, so I’m going to pop out one of the tangerine switches And then, I’m gonna throw in a kiwi switch instead.
And we’re still watching the screen.
You can see as soon as I pop it in, there you go.
That’s the J key.
It works cool.
So you see what i’m saying, you could have different keys, so you know what I’ll do just for funsies make j k and l be.
And then we will do a sound test after everything’s installed, we’ll be able to hear the difference.
So there you go.
Again, the Kiwis are tactal and the tangerines are linear.
So J K L is working good.
Lets put on some kick ups
Okay, so here is the portico with tangerine switches, and in finicky white on black key caps.
And here’s what this one sounds like.
Now with a hot swap board, you can pop in different switches and compare their sound side by side.
So what I did here was I put green Kiwi tactile switches in J, K and L, and everything else is the tangerines.
Here’s what those sounds side by side.
Alt right, so now let’s listen to the Kiwis.
That’s the tactile switch.
That’s j k and l all right now here the tangy tangerines.
Alright, so you see that sound difference.
So this is all what makes up the big draw with mechanical keyboards.
I mean once you sit down and use one of these you will realize what you’ve been missing this whole time and like I said earlier This whole hobby goes way beyond just the keyboards, right?
Aside from the infinite amount of switches, stabilizers and key caps you can customize with the hobby really leans into that idea of home office appreciation and aesthetics.
So maybe you wanna spice up your keyboard with a cool.
Good desk mat like this one or a wrist rest whatever it is.
It’s all about getting your home office space to be a space that you want to spend time in.
So that you can really enjoy yourself and be productive.
All right, a big thanks goes out to TKC for providing us with some of the samples, And for more on the portico, other keyboard kits, desk mats like this one, and other marks like super cute plushies they’ve got that you can check it out all at the key.company.
Thanks for watching.