I got another keyboard this month, an Anne Pro 2. It's a 60% keyboard that is pretty cheap. I've actually had an Anne Pro 2 before, but it was in ASCII layout and that caused a problem for me because I am too used to the Nordic ISO layout. Well, nowadays, there is an ISO layout version so I got that one!
I got it with Gateron Brown switches which I don't love, but they're fine. Maybe on an infinite timeline I will desolder them and replace them with something else.
But that's not really why I'm here to talk about this keyboard. I am here to talk about this keyboard because I haven't written a blog post for this month and I figured I could do this to show you why this keyboard is so great.
There are dozens of 60% layout keyboard, why did I pick this one?
Because it has a very configurable layout!
You download this tool called ObinsKit. After you're done with it, you can uninstall it if you want, it doesn't need to be running in the background or anything.
In this tool, you can configure a bunch of things about this keyboard, things like the lighting and Bluetooth stuff (it's a Bluetooth keyboard by the way, might be interesting to some of you, I don't use it).
More importantly, you can modify the layout and its many layers.
The default layer is the layer that is accessible without doing anything special. Mine is fairly standard, except I have the bottom-right keys configured to be arrow keys. I need dedicated arrow keys, I use them a lot. You know what keys I don't use? Right shift, Right control and the weird list button... whatever it's called. I do however use the FN key, but I can work around that.
Having a huge Up arrow keycap isn't ideal and it probably looks kind of silly, but it works great.
So what about the FN key, more specifically FN1? Well, there's another key that is placed fairly well and I never intentionally use: Caps Lock! I'll gladly trade a Caps Lock key for a FN1 key.
Now here comes the goodies. Holding down FN1 (which is Caps Lock for me, as I said) I get access to this layer.
My arrow keys turn into Home/End/PgUp/PgDn. This lets me hold down FN and press "Left" to jump to the beginning of a line, and so on. Very similar to how it works on a Mac.
FN+Enter toggles the lighting between different presets. I usually keep it in this Teal/Pink theme but it's fun to change it sometimes.
Similarily, I use the the three keys next to the big shift to modify the lighting. Brightness up/down and toggling it. Especially the toggle is useful if you just wanna turn off the lighting.
P turns into Print Screen. Use that one a lot, especially in combination with CTRL to access ShareX (so I press CTRL+FN+P, which is the same as CTRL+PrintScreen according to the computer)
Backspace turns into Delete. Don't really use this one a lot but sometimes Mac muscle memory kicks in.
The rest of the top row turns into F1-F12 and such, obviously.
My media keys are a bit spread out, but they make sense if you think about it: N for Next, M for Mute, U for paUse and R for pRevious. The volume up/down I have next to the enter key.
The most observant of you will have noticed this keyboard has 2 FN layers, and I only have 1 FN key. So what do I do?
Well, I just use one FN layer. That's all I need.
This is the really interesting layer. TAP is literally that: you tap a key to access it. By default the keyboard ships with having the keys I have for arrow keys as tappable arrow keys, but I want permanent arrow keys, so I don't use it because sooner or later you're gonna have to hold down an arrow key.
But there is one key I frequently use but rarely hold down: Delete!
And conveniently enough there is one key I pretty much never tap and always only hold it if I ever need to use it to make an @ symbol in this ISO layout: the Alt Gr key!
So if I tap Alt Gr I get a Delete. Fantastic.
(When I used the ASCII version of this keyboard I used to have the <>| button TAP'ped to the left Windows key. Worked alright but was very weird. I like plain ISO layout better.)
So it's really the layout, and its customizability, that I like about this keyboard. Other 60% keyboards are probably nicer feeling and more sturdier built, but this one has a great customizable layout that works great for me. It's not a badly built keyboard anyway. I've done some mods to it though.
I've applied O-rings to all the keys. O-rings in combination with the Gateron Browns makes it feel a lot like Topre in my opinion.
I'm not sure it made a huge difference, but it helped a little. Maybe down the line I will get some fancier foam or a fancier case.
That's all I have to say for now. We got a blog post down for July and I got to detail my keyboard. Maybe you're considering a 60% keyboard but can't give up your arrow keys or your Delete key? Well, consider the Anne Pro 2, you can do it here!