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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Product Review: Ajazz Zinc Mechanical Keyboard.

I don't do prod­uct re­views of­ten, but this key­board is a spe­cial case:

  • Me­chan­i­cal key­boards are fash­ion­able now
  • Of­ten you will buy the key­board with­out test­ing it
  • This one is pret­ty un­known
  • It's re­al­ly a mixed bag ex­pe­ri­ence and I think oth­ers may ben­e­fit from the re­view, even if they are buy­ing a dif­fer­ent one.

Dis­claimer I bought this key­board with my own mon­ey and no­body ev­er gives me any toys to play with. Come on, com­pa­nies, give me free stuff, please?

Any­way, this is my re­view af­ter us­ing it for a cou­ple of days.

Specs

  • Ajazz Brand (not very well known)
  • Re­al Cher­ry MX Red switch­es (nice!)
  • 68 keys, ded­i­cat­ed cur­sor keys but no nu­mer­i­cal key­pad or func­tion keys.
  • Full met­al body
  • White keys, white back­light
  • Weight 600g
  • Wired or Wire­less (BT 3.0)

The Good

Typing

Typ­ing in this is pure plea­sure. I like the lin­ear red switch­es be­cause they feel al­most ex­act­ly like a Com­modore 64, which is the typ­ing feel­ing I as­so­ciate with my child­hood and ear­ly ado­les­cence, bet­ter than the tac­tile blue switch­es which I as­so­ciate with IBM mod­el M key­boards and my lat­er, not so hap­py teenage years.

The key­caps are dou­ble-shot ABS plas­tic, which I like enough. While I may have liked them to be a bit more tex­tured they are ok, not too smooth, they are not mushy, they don't jig­gle.

It's not even all that loud, while still be­ing sat­is­fy­ing­ly clack­y.

The look

I am a suck­er for how this look­s. I hate the black­-with­-red-or-rg­b-­lights gamer-key­board look (spe­cial­ly since I am not a gamer!) this ba­by has white keys on a sil­ver body with white back­light and a "naked" pro­file ex­pos­ing the switch­es.

The back­light has three lev­els (and of­f) and can do a "breathe" ef­fect and that's it. So, ba­si­cal­ly, it lets you type in the dark if you need to look at keys and not much else. Which is enough for most grownup­s.

The layout

The ded­i­cat­ed ar­row keys are nice, all the keys are in rea­son­able po­si­tions and have de­cent sizes.

The extras

It comes with a key­cap-ex­trac­tor, a USB ca­ble and a car­ry­ing pouch. Noth­ing fan­cy but more than good enough.

The Not Good

The Layout

I would love for this to have two more keys.

  • There is no Home key (Fn-End is Home) which is ... not ter­ri­ble.

  • There is no ~ key.

For a Linux user and software developer that is a pain in the butt because ~ means "home folder". For a spanish speaker it's even worse because ~n is how we type ñ which is, you know, a letter we need to use because "año" means "year" but "ano" means butthole. So it's kinda important.

In this keyboard that character is Fn+Shift+Esc which is just too awkward.

Yes, I know how to fix it!

I could remap that key to ~ but then I have no Esc key which sucks when using vim. So, I remapped Esc to Caps Lock and voilá, the keyboard is usable (but a bit weird)

# This is the easy way
xmodmap -e 'clear Lock' -e 'keycode 0x09 = dead_tilde grave'\
-e 'keycode 0x42 = Escape'

The Bluetooth

I was ex­pect­ing the blue­tooth in this key­board to suck be­cause it's BT 3.0 but I had no idea the depths and va­ri­ety of the ways in which it suck­s.

  • Yes, the range sucks
  • Yes, the la­ten­cy sucks

But al­so:

  • When in BT mode it be­haves like a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent key­board.

In wired mode, Fn+= is F12 a key I use a lot because it drops down my terminal.

In BT mode, Fn+= is Volume up, which in wired mode is Fn+n ... which still works in BT mode.

So, in BT mode I have no func­tion keys at al­l, and have mul­ti­me­dia keys in two places.

But that's not al­l!

This keyboard supports three devices simultaneously. You switch between them using Fn+Q | W | E and there is a nice LED indicator at the top of the keyboard that shows on what mode you are in by changing color.

Here, let me show it to you:

The prob­lem is, when you are ac­tu­al­ly us­ing the key­board, this is how you (don't) see them:

So, just ig­nore that this key­board even has a BT mode and learn to love the ca­ble.

The Feet

There are no mov­able "feet", it has a small in­cline, and it's ok, the an­gle is nice. BUT... it's not per­fect­ly lev­el. There is a tiny wob­ble be­tween the low­er-right and up­per-left. Sure, I just shim a lit­tle thing in there and it's fixed, but this key­board is not very cheap so this sur­prised me.

Conclusions

It's ok? It's prob­a­bly bet­ter for peo­ple who are not span­ish-s­peak­ing lin­ux-user­s.

It´s prob­a­bly a bet­ter idea to get a more well-­known brand, and/or a cheap­er key­board if you are go­ing to gam­ble on buy­ing them sight-un­seen.

Am I hap­py I got it? yeah. Even as I am writ­ing this not-very-­com­pli­men­ta­ry re­view I am hap­pi­ly clack­ing away with a smile on my face.

The lay­out need­ed tweak­ing but is ok now, the feel is awe­some, and it looks great on my desk.