Sometimes less is more, provided that the “less” part has just the right touch.
In the case of the tiniest mechanical keyboards, that touch is wood. It’s the key feature of the Woo-dy mechanical keyboard, a compact 67 keys design with a solid wooden base that’s a week out from finishing up its Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been messing around with a pre-release version of the design for a couple of weeks though, and while I miss having a permanent tilde key to access the console in certain games, the Woo-Dy mechanical keyboard has displaced my current favourite daily driver at work.
Earlier this year CORSAIR refreshed their mechanical keyboards with the LUX RGB line, and I liked them so much that I ended up buying one for myself. And I thought that'd be it for the year. They were the best keyboards I'd used in a good while. They were small, did everything I wanted, and didn't break the bank. But then iKBC came along.Read more
It’s a tiny, tiny board. The whole chassis is slightly wider than your palm with the smallest bezel around the keys. There’s not much space left for anything else, and because a ton of keys have been cut to make the frame as tiny as it is, you’ll be missing a few features — there’s no function key on the left hand side, no pause, no print screen, no scroll lock, no tilde, and no function keys.
The keyboard itself has a black theme with soft RGB lighting underneath, which can be customised through the same software powering that ergonomic keyboard of my nightmares. In this case, because I can’t live without the home and end keys, I’ve remapped those to the right shift and insert keys (because I’m always using the left shift more often, and insert isn’t something I ever really use).
The whole keyboard connects via a tiny USB-C connector on the left hand underside of the board, and the whole unit is small and pretty lightweight. If you’re the kind of person who has a tendency to swipe your mouse into your keyboard, the Woo-dy is a nice fit. The keys also have an inverse curve for your fingers, a nice little ergonomic touch that also just feels good when running your fingers over them.
The software is minimalist, but there’s enough functionality to do what you need. There’s three separate function layers that can be toggled at any time via a shortcut of your design, or manually through the software. The lighting also isn’t too gaudy, because it’s all emanating out from underneath the keycaps and not through the keycaps themselves. I’m actually a big fan of this, because it means you can have the keyboard going in an office environment without it blasting lights that can be seen from the other side of the building.
The keycaps themselves are a good side and rounded off nicely, so if you find yourself hitting the edges of keys you won’t really notice. The switches are also hotswappable Gateron Red/Blue/Browns. Gateron switches, in my experience, tend to have a slightly duller feel than their Cherry counterparts, but not in a bad way. It takes the edge off that clacky sound you get from mechanical keyboards, particularly if you bottom out a lot like me, which again makes it well suited for an office environment.
Beyond that, I’m really pleased. I’ve always liked typing on Gateron switches, and the small frame fits perfectly for the kind of keyboard I like, and the minimal space on my desks. The walnut wood is a really nice touch, and because I’m not someone who wants their lights blazing 24/7, I don’t mind that there’s no LEDs in the keycaps.
Of course that won’t be for everyone, but if you’re after a really small frame keyboard around the $150 mark (going off the Kickstarter tiers available now) then it’s a nicer option than some of the entry level mechanical keyboards on the market.
It’s not the most technically advanced, and you can certainly find cheaper, but sometimes it’s worth paying a little bit extra for something that’s just nicer. Or at least whatever fits your definition of nice, which the Woo-dy does for me.