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Review: Thnikk's RGB osu! Keypad (r2)

The coolest osu! keypad thus far!

What is Thnikk’s RGB osu! Keypad (r2)?

This is a keypad made specifically for the rhythm game osu!. It uses mechanical keyswitches on the front and a miniature pushbutton on the side, positioned optimally to be able to quickly pause the game with your ring finger without interrupting play. This model features four different user changeable lighting modes.

r2 stands for revision 2. This is the successor to the RGB 1.1 model that uses a different pin layout.

Cycle gif

Why?

I have been playing osu! on my Macbook keyboard and was starting to hit my limits while also damaging my fingers. I didn’t want to pull out my huge Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate Clicky just to click on two keys. Aside from the size, I also wanted to use linear key switches. I don’t want to buy an entire keyboard with linear keys because I am not a gamer. I also love tactile clicky switches too much. The RGB lighting modes are also super flashy.

Buying

I made the purchase for the keypad with the options for clear keycaps and Gateron Clear Switches on the night of January 24, 2016. I asked for a white case instead of a black one and Thnikk was really responsive and fulfilled my request. The keypad was $32.00 plus $5.24 shipping, $37.24 in total. It was ready and shipped off to me on the 27th and I received it on the 29th, a day earlier than I expected.

First Impressions

Ooooooh, shiny!! (1) (2)

My fingers were still hurting from over-playing the day before, but I couldn’t wait to try it out, so I did. Somehow, I didn’t feel any pain in my fingers while using it even though there was a preexisting injury. What a plus for my stamina! My accuracy has drastically improved, probably because I am able to press the keys more consistently and not have my fingers choke up. My fingers still slip off the keys from time to time. I like to rest my fingers on my keys but since the Gateron Clear Switches were so light, I don’t realize myself holding down on the keys until it shows up on my screen, haha.

I wasn’t used to how high the keys are because I used to play with flat keys the same level as my resting hand, so I used a disposable tissue pack as padding underneath my wrist for extra height. I don’t use the pad anymore because I am used to the extra height of the keypad now.

Compatibility & USB Port Issues

I read some reviews that the keypad was picky about which USB port you plug it into. I am plugging mine into a USB hub and it works perfectly. Perhaps this issue has been fixed?

I was worried that this keypad wouldn’t have OSX support because I read that the Nono osu! keyboard didn’t. Surprisingly, it works fine on my OSX and I didn’t need to switch into Bootcamp just to use it. This is great cause I’m too lazy to restart my computer sometimes.

Side Button Positioning, Feel, & Mapping

The side button that is used to toggle between LED modes and to serve as an escape button is positioned on the left side and is meant to be pressed by the ring finger. Since the shape of the keypad is of one of a handheld device, I believe it would be more comfortable if the button was on the right side and pressed by the thumb, as the thumb actually faces that direction. The middle finger doesn’t curve inwards and it feels weird to press a side button with it.

I agree with some of the reviews that say that the button may hurt and is difficult to press. It works, but it’s just not a very comfortable button.

I know that less buttons equal more simplicity, but there are just way too many functions mapped onto that one button alone.

This is an amazing number of functions for one button. I tend to fail to escape simply because I hold onto the button too long, and then accidentally change my LED mode. Since all of the functions besides the first one should not ever be used in play, it could be another button elsewhere.

Also … all this and no smoke button? It would be nice to have a smoke button. It would definitely be a plus for extra coolness.

Functionality

The keys work perfectly. I have not had any lag issues. They also feel great to push down on. I am not sure at what point a 1000 hz polling rate would affect my play, or if it could even. We’ll see.

Gateron vs Cherry MX Switches

I got the Gateron Clear switches, which are the lightest linear switches in the Gateron and Cherry MX selection. They are extremely light.

Gateron

Cherry MX

Sticky Pad

On the bottom of the keypad, there are two sticky pads to hold it in place while placed on a surface. It is supposed to be reusable by putting a bit of water on it. I have moved it around several times already, trying to find a comfortable playing position, and it is working fine.

Price

Let’s say that the keypad took $15 to make. That would mean that I am paying an extra $20, which would be worth about 1 or 2 hours of my time, currently. If I cannot figure out how to make the keypad myself within that time frame, I would gladly pay another person $20 to build it for me, especially if it means supporting them. I think that learning how to make one would be a great project for the future though.

Service

Thnikk is very responsive and easy to contact. It was a great pleasure purchasing from him.

Pros
Cons

Final Thoughts

I am extremely happy with my purchase. Even the whole buying process was very pleasant. I am now a fan of Thnikk’s osu! keypads and am looking forward to whatever he makes in the future. In the case a new version comes out, I may buy another one in a black case.

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