I would like the chart at the end of this post with the different switches to be finished for a Textblade?
Does the Textblade have a bump? I’d assume not because of the touch technology. But the other question is, that is there any feedback to when the key actually actuates.
Does the Textblade Click? Not as applicable. I have heard and seen the videos that it is just the clunk of the plastic. Not the satisfying click of a switch. For office use, I use the quite switches, but at home, I like the click. These are butterfly quiet, and I am good with that.
What is the actuation force of the Textblade? This is what I’m most curious about. How much equivalent force does it take to actuate the key? Is the Textblade on the lighter or heavier side of the scale. I am loving the light Red’s and Brown’s. When I am forced to use Membrane Keyboards, they feel like I am pushing through mud or molasses now.
Can we get the different forces with your ModKits? What is the exact range?
@Waytools - Thanks and awesome! It’s nice to see you back on the forums. I saw that the cN and gram seem to be almost 1 for 1. The conversion for 45 grams ended up being 44.1 cN. This is definitely what I want to see and probably won’t be needing the ModKits. I can’t wait to feel the Textblade for myself.
I used to type on one of those massive clicky model M IBM keyboards with the buckle spring keys. They were superb, with easily interchangeable key caps and very satisfying key dynamics. I long thought they were the best but portability and chicklet keys won me over.
That is, until now . The TextBlade’s magnetic release butterflies feel a lot like buckle spring, minus the loud noise. It really is a dream to type on.
I suppose it would be nice if the TB was completely silent (they have a tad of noise at the end of the push) but as it is it is totally acceptable.
Bump = kinda. It is not like the typical mechanical feel. For mechanicals that have a bump, most have it third or half way down the travel (and the activation point near it).
Textblade doesn’t seem to have a bump per se, but most of the resistance is at the top of the stroke where you are unlatching a magnet so there is a distinct sensation of overcoming that threshold.
It is quite hard to press a key just part way, you overcome the latching force and down she goes. As Wout said, it is a little reminiscent of the much loved bucking spring although it is much smoother, has lower force (maybe 65g for BSpr?), and half the travel so don’t expect it to feel just like an old Model M.
A bunch of stuff I am going to say next is just how it seems to me, just my subjective view of how the forces and activation points feel to me - the truth may be different.
The operation point seems low in the stroke (makes sense since for most reliable capacitive sensing you want the finger as close as possible). If I make a very deliberate effort to steady my hand on the desk and hold my finger firmly I can push a key part way without bottoming it out. Bouncing keys in this way it seems like operation is at least 2/3 down, sometimes it even seems like its at the bottom.
It could even be that activation is not at a fixed distance in the stroke, but depends on the TB getting a strong enough ‘signature’ from the sensing to make a determination.
However, it turns out the depth of the activation point is mostly irrelevant because of the key action I described above. In normal use pressing hard enough to unlatch a key and begin a stroke automatically commits to pushing through to the bottom - at least that’s how it seems with the way I type.
The release at the top coupled with the subtle ‘clack’ at the bottom produce a very satisfying action IMO.
Correct, no click and no mid travel bump. Worth noting though that mechanicals like MX have steadily increasing resistance from the return spring so they kinda need a bump & click from the switch for feedback or they’d feel like mushy little pogo sticks. TB has collapsing resistance so to me doesn’t feel like it needs bump or click. It doesn’t feel mushy like collapsing rubber domes though, at least to me. Magnetic seems to have it’s own feel.
As above, 45g, which combined with the short keystroke, low noise, and reduced finger movement makes for quite a ‘soft’ and stealthy action. Add in the fact I’m using Colemak which massively reduces finger movement vs qwerty and it’s hard for people to see I’m typing at all. I look forward to the confusion I’ll cause when I take this thing out in public.
In fact I think I am going to tell people it is a new type of psychic keyboard that just senses your thoughts because that’s what it looks like when I’m using it
MX red are more of a gaming oriented switch, light action, minimal bump, no real click, and with activation and reset points close for quick repeated strokes on partial travel.
Depending on what roll you end up using TB for you might want to consider putting small soft o-rings under your MX Brown, can quieten them down a fair bit while leaving the bump unaffected. Then you might use that at the office and perhaps even replace with a MX Blue at home for maximum clickiness.
I would be ecstatic if it’s anywhere near like the Model M and the buckling spring. Though I’m happy with my MX Blue keyboard, it’s just a facsimile of the original buckling spring in the model M. Now, that’s a keyboard. And that’s what I’m ultimately after.
IBM model Ms were in use at my workplace. Young people, often dirty work, snack foods and beverages–those things all became grimy every day, but they were consistently functional. I remember marveling over how electrical contact was made; seemingly unrelated to the buckling of the spring, and well before a key bottomed out. Those keys must have had about 4mm of travel. I always loved ‘playing’ the numeric keypad. Noisy, but so was the workplace.
TextBlade is reminiscent of the M, with its maglever mechanism’s ‘breakaway’ simulating the buckling springs of the IBM and smooth force pushing back, unlike today’s spring (or silicone dome) compression. 2mm travel feels good to the fingers because each large key is well controlled–no perceivable tilting, all the way through its stroke, very much like the friction-free guided telescopic key motion of the M.
I don’t want to over sell this, its far too different in many ways to say it’s like a Model M but it does have one characteristic that is ‘familiar’ from that type and it happens to be the one that reminds of that signature feel.