CODE Keyboard Is Probably Pretty Good

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2013 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: WASD Keyboards, mechanical keyboard, keyboard, CODE

... But if you read the blog post, you would think it is the one keyboard to rule them all.

The CODE is the product, literally, of a collaboration between Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood and Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards. I recognize the tongue-in-cheek humor and I acknowledge that the team are clearly (that was not a Cherry MX switch pun... that I would admit to) well suited to the challenge of designing a keyboard for programmers.

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Before we run through the opinion, its key touted perks are:

  • Cherry MX Clear switches
    • Similar to Cherry MX Brown with much more resistance. Hard to bottom out.
  • DIP switches to customize functionality without software.
  • White LED backlighting
  • Very stable rubberized ergonomic flaps and angled pads.
  • Detachable Micro USB cable

The thing is, WASD Keyboards already allows users to purchase customized keyboards. As far as I can tell, the CODE is just a variant of the existing WASD V2 104-key Custom Mechanical Keyboard with white backlighting. Both Keyboards are priced at $149.99. The CODE limits your choice but provides you with the illuminated keys and the MX Clear switches, normally a $10 upgrade, in exchange for just taking what you are offered without question. Okay, you can ask for a 104-Key or an 87-Key version, so one question is allowed. Still, the CODE is a good value; as I mentioned, you basically get free key lighting and a free upgrade to Cherry MX Clear.

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But it is still not an epiphany for mechanical keyboard lovers.

At one point, I hoped to take some time for a hobby and modify a mechanical keyboard to fit my specifications. I envisioned an aluminum body enclosing solidly built buckle-spring keys. I did not know about Cherry MX Green switches at the time. For keycaps, I imagined two pieces of glass sandwiching a translucent white plastic sheet masked with a black symbol for each letter. I figure the feel of glass would be more pleasing to the fingers than warm plastic. Each key would, of course, be let from underneath with a soft white (blue-doped-white) LED. Each translucent sheet would softly diffuse the light except for the shadow of whatever characters the key represents.

That would be a revolution... for me. I think I would like the feel of cool glass under my fingers.

So I guess I leave the post with a question for the viewers: What would your "perfect" keyboard be?

Source: CODE

September 2, 2013 | 06:19 AM - Posted by windwalker

The new Microsoft ergonomic keyboard looks very interesting and has been praised in reviews.

September 2, 2013 | 12:41 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

I'm not sure about lately but if you go back to ~2002 even some cheap Microsoft keyboards performed really well. Like, almost perfect recognition at ~500 WPM.

September 2, 2013 | 09:40 AM - Posted by Andrii Muliar (not verified)

At least one keyboard can be configured to be without the most annoying button CAPS LOCK.

September 2, 2013 | 09:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The CODE in ISO layout would be nice. ANSI, blech!

September 2, 2013 | 10:40 AM - Posted by derz

I wonder what sound your dream keyboard would make. I'd imagine glass keys would sound heavy?
Never had the pleasure of testing out MX clears but if its a heavy brown, then it wouldnt make much noise (compared to the blues) but you would still get that tactile feedback. Price seems fair considering this is a custom keyboard.

September 2, 2013 | 11:11 AM - Posted by Robert892375298 (not verified)

I still use an old IBM model M, which I love, but I haven't tried any of the modern mechanical kb's yet. It's nice to see all of the high quality products that have been released in the past few years.

September 2, 2013 | 02:28 PM - Posted by ezjohny

A mechanical key board like the Logitech wave, so if you have carpal tunnel, less strain on the wrist!!!

September 2, 2013 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud


September 2, 2013 | 03:29 PM - Posted by Branthog

I appreciate yet another aspiring keyboard being out there, but the CODE offers nothing that the Leopold ( doesn't. Designed by the creator of the Filco (beloved by keyboard enthusiasts everywhere), the Leopold is everything you need in a quality keyboard. No shitty media keys and just an actual keyboard layout, with a tenkeyless option, the choice of any variety of key replacements (colors, functions, styles, blank), and nearly any mx switch you prefer (where the CODE really falls down, if you ask me).

The only thing the CODE offers that the Leopold and some others don't is backlighting. That is fantastic, but it isn't worth $50-$60 increase in price over a Leopold or similar keyboards.

September 2, 2013 | 04:42 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Actually I *love* media keys so I can control my music while I work.

More important than media keys, however, is a volume roller like seen on the Corsair K60/K90 or the Gigabyte Aivia Osmium. I use headphones a lot and there are just some times where you turn up your volume for one thing... and then something else REALLY loud comes on... and you just want the volume down NOW.

My old Razer Blackwidow had volume up and down bound to a fnct+f-button combination. Each tap reduced volume by like 1-2%. At that point you might as well just throw the headphones off of your head, alt-tab (if fullscreen app), and use the mouse.

Unfortunately, LibreOffice has a bug where it blocks volume up and volume down media keys. You need to click another window before using volume buttons or rollers.

September 5, 2013 | 01:27 AM - Posted by krakens (not verified)

KBT Race is the best keyboard I've tried. It's got a fantastic, minimalist tenkeyless layout, and has media keys via using the Fn+F1-F6 keys. It is available in most Cherry MX keys (not sure about clear, but defnitely blue, brown and red) and also different colors of backlighting. You can even get it without the backlighting option, but since you can turn it off, seems worth it to get it even if you're not sure you want it. The backlighting even has different modes; just the WASD and arrow keys, all keys, a slow fade in/out of all the keys, or off. I think the fade mode would drive me nuts, but the other two are fantastic, and even the brightness level can be adjusted.

It also has the DIP switch feature for changing some of the keyboard options, and removable USB cable (I did a black paracord covered custom cable to match in with the matte black theme).

And this keyboard has already been available for awhile, so I'm not sure with such a wide and quality range of keyboards already available, why they made the CODE so standard and run-of-the-mill.

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