My new keyboard: Magicforce 68
April 3rd 2020
I just got my second mechanical keyboard, the Magicforce 68. And it is awesome. I bought it on sale on Amazon, for 24 GBP. I payed extra for shipping it faster.
The package is simple just like I saw in videos on Youtube. Brown box, tightly packaged. The keyboard comes with a cabel, and a plastic keycap puller, which is not the best, I won't use it (and others do not recommend it) and a Chinese/English manual. The manual is good mainly for learning the function layer. The cabel is just a simple white one, a little bit short for my use though.
Recently I got back into the world of mechanical keyboards. I already had one, which I bought two years ago. Now I wanted something different. I had a chance to get an Anne Pro, which is a 60% RGB bluetooth keyboard (kind of an all-in one thing), I missed it. Price was a major factor, and while I was search something different, I saw the Magicforce 68 in a search result. It was on Amazon, and I never thought getting a keyboard from it, but some of the Magicforce keyboards were on a 30% sale, which was very attractive to me.
At the end I decided to buy the cheapest possible option. The non-backlit, outemu brown switch version. Interestingly it has the better font face on the keycaps in my opinion, not too gamery, although still a little bit futuristic. I liked the possibility that I can try out the brown version too, as my current keyboard came with Cherry MX blue. Design wise the keyboard looks OK, although if you don't like visible branding (like I do), the very prominent "Magicforce" logo might be a problem for some people.
How to hide the Magicforce logo with customization I was worried that I won't be able to type every character I need for my language. We have like 8 accent characters, and I can type just fine. Only one is Ã, which I knew how to find anyway. Other troubling characters were 0 itself, as the top row is one button short. Also characters like \ or /. I slowly started to make a cheat sheet for myself.
The other interesting thing for me was, how can I adapt to the 60% form factor. Well it is 65% really, but it is still the smallest keyboard I have ever typed on. During my waiting period for the keyboard I recognized how much I reached for the arrow keys, and I was so happy that I got the MF68, because of that. Almost like faith wanted me to have this keyboard.
My Linux system recognized it really well, even my custom setup (caps lock is control), largely everything is the same. The new function keys works well, I have new media buttons! Honestly I like them more, since they are much closer to the function key, than on my previous keyboard. I think I have to get used to the smaller Enter key, which I use with my pinky and most of the times it tends to go to the higher part of the key than the lower.
With the Fn key we have the F1-F12 row on the number keys and we have also the media keys on the Z row. We don't have dedicated keys for Home/End and we have two ways to reach them with the Fn key. Also if you use the keyboard in a non-English language, the 0 will likely to be Fn + ESC. The whole thing is simple brilliant. I wonder if I could use a 40% keyboard, but I doubt it, since it wouldn't have the accented keys my language require. It would probably be perfect for typing in English though. Strangely Magicforce also has a smaller keyboard, called Magicforce 49…
Although I type this in English, I have no problem with the accent characters, only í is in a different place.
I would say the weakest point of the whole, is the quality of the keycaps. It definitely feels cheap, but I don't blame them, with a more expensive keycaps, the whole keyboard would have been more expensive. In this way, we get a nice entry level keyboard, and we can change the keycaps to our taste. I am considering buying some PBT keycaps, but at the moment I like the originals, and I am in no hurry to replace them.
Luckily it has a standard bottom row, so buying a set won't be a problem for it. Previously I wanted non-blank, but if I learn the Ansi set, I don't think I need legends on my keyboard. However a traditional top printed, with good font type would add to the design of the keyboard for sure.
This keyboard is simple amazing, from the first minute. I was so afraid of the Ansi layout, and the new format, but after some time I am glad I choose this. If you want a cheap option to try out 60% format, I can recommend the Magicforce 68 (you can get the backlit version which is just a bit more pricey).
If you are looking for similar keyboards I can recommend the Anne Pro too.