The ideal mechanical keyboard for an ‘old soul’.
I grew up with a mechanical typewriter in my house. I was amazed by it and loved the feel of it. Not too long after I got used to typing, my mom got an electronic word processor. It still operated like a typewriter but you could preview your typing before it printed out. This was my first introduction into the computer world and when I actually got my hands on a computer, I understood how to type. As time has gone on keyboards have advanced past the older mechanical styles to membrane keyboards. Now it’s popular to have technical keyboards again for gaming purposes. The mechanical switches can just handle a lot more physical wear than the membrane keyboards can. For my purposes, I type more than I game, but I love the feel of mechanical keyboards. So, when I saw information about the Rymek keyboard from Knew Key, I knew I had to try it out. Fortunately, we were able to obtain an early release of the keyboard to review. The Indiegogo campaign starts today.
The Rymek keyboard is a retro-styled mechanical keyboard that features a vintage typewriter design. It uses Micro USB to charge and/or connect directly to your computer. In addition to standard keyboard functions, the Rymek has several special features including Bluetooth connections, multimedia controls, a power button, and lighting effect controls. The keyboard has a surprisingly long battery life and an LED indicator to let you know when it needs to be plugged in. You have the option to connect up to three Bluetooth devices to the keyboard and have the keyboard remember those devices.
The Rymek has special energy saving modes when it’s in Bluetooth mode. After 2 minutes, the backlights will turn off and then after 10 minutes, it will go to sleep. Any key will wake the keyboard. The keyboard is compatible with macOS/iOS/Android/Windows systems and is specially keyed for Mac compatibility with the inclusion of the CMD key.
- Mode: Bluetooth/USB dual mode
- Number of Keys: 83
- LED Dynamic Backlighting
- Lithium Battery
- USB interface port on both sides
- Dimension: 360x190x70mm
- Weight: 2.8lbs
The Rymek keyboard arrived in a black, branded box with a nice image of the product on the outside. It’s packaged really well and has a lot of foam to keep the keyboard safe during shipping. The keyboard comes packaged with a Micro USB cable for charging. I was surprised that the cable was white though instead of black to match the keyboard case. When I pulled the keyboard out of the box, I was surprised to find that there were no instructions included. Some of the buttons are quite obvious – like the power button and regular function keys – but when it comes to the keyboard’s advanced functionality – like how to connect to it via Bluetooth – I was a little lost without a manual. When I reached out to the KnewKey, they provided me with a manual and let me know that since I received an early model of the keyboard, they didn’t have the manuals printed yet. A manual will be provided inside the product’s box when it is officially released.
That said, the first impressions of the Rymek were priceless. I really felt like I was going back to a time before computers existed. I took a few minutes just to appreciate the amazing design of the product. It’s actually quite hefty and quite a bit larger than standard mechanical keyboards these days. The Rymek looks just like a typewriter and even comes with a paper rest, which you can use to rest your smartphone or tablet on.
Since the keyboard is designed as a typewriter, I tend to feel like that is its main purpose. Therefore, I really tried to use it for typing as much as possible. The feel of the keyboard is brilliant. With a laptop keyboard, you tend to have a flat playing surface. Even though it’s not very ergonomic, you tend to get used to it. So, the transition over to this typewriter keyboard definitely felt different. I found that I typed faster and more accurately when I made sure my hands were floating over the wrist area and my fingers were curved — proper typing posture for hands.
Aside from the Rymek, I use my MacBook Pro’s keyboard with Butterfly switches and a SteelSeries Apex M800 with a PC for typing. The Rymek keyboard uses Blue switches which typically considered to be the ‘clickiest’ of all the switches. I believe the designer of the keyboard chose this switch because of its unique sound. It mimics the sound of a ‘real’ typewriter to match the look of the keyboard.
One of the things I always do to test how well a keyboard types is to complete a short typing test. There is a one-minute typing test online and I completed it using the Rymek and my MacBook Pro’s keyboard. I was able to achieve a score of 66 WPM with the Rymek and a score of 69 WPM. This is a much greater score than I’ve been able to achieve with other mechanical keyboards. Aside from the speed, I’ve found that typing on the Rymek has just been all-around enjoyable because of its retro look and feel. Sometimes the loud click of Blue switches really bothers me, but with the Rymek, it’s a soothing memory-inducing sound.
As far as gaming with Rymek goes, it’s a little awkward. I think it’s a bit straining on the hands because of how high the keys actually sit. Even though it’s mechanical, it’s not really designed for comfortable gaming in my opinion. That said, I did play a few levels of Lego Star Wars and Code of War on my Mac and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was easy to feel where ASWD was. I do feel like I was at a bit of a disadvantage though because I didn’t have the number pad.
This is a very special keyboard. I don’t think that everyone who wants a mechanical keyboard will appreciate the uniqueness of this device but if you like the retro style of the Rymek, then it will suit you just fine. The keyboard is wonderful to type on and it looks great. I truly love this keyboard and I would say this was a perfect keyboard for me.