I've been sent a really cool keyboard by the name of Delux Designer recently. It's made by this company called Delux and they have also listed in on Kickstarter as a campaign. So far, they have already raised HK$ 878,951 out of the HK$ 100,000 they hoped to raise. The project is officially a huge success and there's still a few more days to go before the campaign ends on 8 June 2018.
The keyboard comes with a carrying pouch and a really long braided USB Type C cable.
The design and build quality of this keyboard is excellent. The body is made of brushed aluminium that feels good to the touch. The edges are beveled and polished.
They are using mechanical key switches on this keyboard. So every click has a satisfying tactile feel to it. The downside of mechanical keyboard is they are loud. I don't mind the clicking sound because that's easily compensated by the good feeling of the click. I'm sure some will prefer quiet keyboards, especially if you work in an office environment with others.
You can easily swap out any key when needed.
The keyboard is about as thick as typical plastic keyboards. It's about twice as thick as the wireless Logitech K810 keyboard (without number pad) that I'm using. In terms of volume, I would say these two keyboards are quite similar. Delux Designer is thicker while the K810 is wider and flatter.
On the back are some rubber feet that keeps the keyboard firm on any table.
The keys are also back-lit so you can use the keyboard even in the dark.
The main function of this keyboard is its use as a shortcut keyboard.
There are three menu sets assigned to each M key at the top. You can customise each menu to a specific software you use, for example, M1 for Photoshop, M2 for ZBrush, M3 for Maya, or any other program. Press any M key and you can switch between the sets. The lighted M key will let you know which set you're using.
For each set, you can configure specific keyboard shortcuts to the 10 shortcut buttons provided. In addition to those 10 buttons (00 - 09), there are also the \, Z, X, C, V and the modifier keys: Shift, Control, FN, Alternate.
If you're using a Mac, the Command ⌘ key is the Control key. So basically, in addition to the 10 shortcut buttons, you can undo, cut, copy and paste.
Update 31 Aug 2018: For Mac users, the Control key does not map to the Command ⌘ key.
This ability to customise keyboard shortcuts, and assign such shortcuts to different sets depending on the software you use is helpful for those who switch between applications frequently and need help remembering shortcuts, or for those who just want a convenient way to access frequently used commands.
Other than all those buttons, there's also a multi-functional dial with various commands you can choose from. You can click on the dial and switch between different functions.
So for example, if you want to change brush size in Photoshop, you can do so easily with the dial.
Another key feature is the ability to program multi-step command sequences, aka the ability to make your own macros.
Having the ability to program your own macros can save a lot of time for those who go through certain process or steps frequently.
For example, with Photoshop, one of the frequent task I do is to make a selection, and mask out the selection so that I can keep the subject on top of a transparent background. Here are the exact steps that I go through in sequence after I have made a selection
- Select -> Modify -> Contract
- Select -> Modify -> Feather
- Layer -> New -> New Layer Via Copy ( Ctrl + J)
- Select the layer below current layer ( Alt + [ )
- Image -> Trim
That is a series of keyboard shortcuts that I use often. Now I can program that sequence using the driver and have access to them through one single button. That's such a huge time saver.
The ability to program macros is what sets this keyboard apart from other compact keyboards, such as the Logitech K810 I use. When I use the Logitech keyboard, I certainly have access to all the keyboard shortcuts that I can remember. But the Logitech keyboard does not allow me to program macros. That's the main differentiating factor here.
This is not a difficult product to understand. Whether you will find this keyboard useful will ultimately depend on your workflow. And whether you need the functionality provided will come instantly to you I'm sure.
The Delux Designer is priced at US $69 currently (the Super Early Bird $59 units are all sold out). It's a bit pricey for a keyboard. But it's well build and works predictably and as expected, so you have to decide whether it's worth the money for you.
Check out more details at http://kck.st/2K3JUB2
Campaign ends Friday, June 8 2018 8:52 PM AWST.