Split mechanical keyboards are a great way to reduce the arm and joint strain often caused by typing on a traditional keyboard. New gaming hardware maker Dygma wants to bring those benefits to the esports scene with the Raise, which they're calling "the world's most advanced gaming keyboard".
Split keyboards have been around for years, but split keyboards built specifically with gaming in mind are a relatively new development. Last year's Kinesis Freestyle Edge is one of the first. It's a great piece of hardware but pretty basic as far as split keyboards go, with a traditional layout and single-colour lighting.
The Raise, currently being offered via a fully-funded Kickstarter campaign, is a more extreme sort of split gaming keyboard. It's a 60 per cent layout without dedicated arrow keys. The space bar is shortened as well as split, making room for some extra thumb-accessible keys. The keys are fully programmable, complete with special behaviours for multiple taps or holds. And it has RGB lighting for each individual key and an LED strip that runs along the sides and along the wrist rests.
It's certainly one of the more feature-packed split keyboards I've seen. The two halves can be used apart, magnetically connected to present a unified typing front, or used individually in conjunction with a mouse.
It even has one of my favourite mechanical keyboard features: The ability to swap out switches on the fly. Why limit one's self to a single tactile, clicky or linear switch type when you can mix-and-match?
All this plus a full aluminium body and a pair of lovely padded wrist rests. It even comes in white.
Dygma's CEO is Luis "Deilor" Sevilla, former coach of Fnatic's League of Legends team. He founded the company following his 2016 departure from Fnatic. Looking to do something that would benefit the gaming community, he decided to "create the 1st keyboard designed for esports". You can read all about the design process over at the Dygma blog.
It may be built with esports in mind, but the Raise has enough cool features to make any mechanical keyboard fan take notice.
The Kickstarter campaign runs through January 20, with the Raise running either €165 ($251) (early bird pricing) or €189 ($288), with shipping starting in September.