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Home Technology X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Split-V Keyboard Review

X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Split-V Keyboard Review


Workplace ergonomics grew to become a extremely vital issue when everybody began make money working from home in the course of the pandemic. Even probably the most careless individuals I knew invested in laptop computer risers or stands and wi-fi mice (together with fundamental keyboards) to cut back neck pressure. And since many people are nonetheless working remotely or from dwelling, we regularly search the absolute best {hardware} to make our work lives lots simpler. And this isn’t simply restricted to your desk and chair, however extends to what’s in your desk as properly. There are a number of forms of ergonomic mice out there, and even a number of common ergonomic keyboards. Most of those go together with a bulge or a wave within the centre with the standard scissor switches and the same old key structure, which doesn’t require one to relearn finger positioning making them fairly simple to make use of and adapt.

The Keychron Q10 Max has an Alice structure for improved ergonomics over a standard keyboard

 

After which there’s the world of extremely customisable (to not point out costly) ergonomic mechanical keyboards.

First, there’s the normal break up keyboards with an Alice key structure (Keychron Q8 and so on.) which shuffles the keys a bit (has two house bars and B keys on either side), however packages it right into a single-piece keyboard design. This keyboard class additionally has one other sub-category with two bodily separated halves (Keychron Q11), letting customers unfold out the 2 halves for higher ergonomics.

Secondly there’s the entire world of custom-made ortholinear keyboards that are conventional wanting keyboards however usually have a smaller footprint given their non-staggered key structure geared toward quicker typing and fewer hand motion.

Then, there’s the intense world of ergonomic and tented break up keyboards (Naya Create, ZSA Moonlander and so on.), with ortholinear key layouts that intention to ship the absolute best ergonomics, by not simply preserving your arms positioned proper (or far aside) but additionally intention to cut back finger actions to a minimal, guaranteeing an virtually injury-free typing expertise.

NayaCreate keybaord ndtv NayaCreate  Naya

The Naya Create provides a break up ortholinear key structure with hot-swappable modules

 

X-Plus, a Hong Kong-based firm has provide you with the VickyBoard, which merges the Alice key structure from the primary class with an ortholinear typing expertise of the second class however lays all of it out in a novel cross-radial design which has similarities however not the identical as tented break up ergonomic keyboards when they’re unfold aside. The corporate claims to get you one of the best of each worlds with some additional keys thrown in at proper locations and claims to do minimal injury to your wrists and fingers whereas typing.

Other than the way in which it seems to be? Is it value spending all that cash on this keyboard? After greater than a month of utilization, I lastly have a solution.

X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V Evaluation: Worth and field contents

X-Plus’ VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V is presently out there for buy on Indiegogo and these can be found in 4 fundamental case finishes (or collection). It’s a must to decide one of many 4 (Ruby, Sapphire, Onyx and Neon) case colors and go together with the keycap choices supplied with every case there on. In keeping with X-Plus, customers are free to pick out a mechanical change sort of their alternative (a number of Gateron mechanical switches) when selecting a keyboard.

The essential package which incorporates the essential key software, charging and connectivity cable (together with a keyboard of your alternative) has an early chook pricing of Rs. 14,903 (excludes transport and {custom} duties) and retail worth of Rs. 20,688.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V back case ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

The VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V has a clear backside case which like the highest case is made out of CNC-machined acrylic

 

The VickyBoard All-Star package features a particular X-Plus Key a particular Swap puller software, an X-Plus Mat and X-Plus Eva case has an early chook worth of Rs. 17,304 (excludes transport and {custom} duties) and a retail worth of Rs. 27,309. Since all of those equipment are priced at a premium, it is advisable to go for the latter because it provides higher worth.

X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V Evaluation: Design

The X-Plus VickyBoard has a prime and backside case made totally out of CNC-machined acrylic. My Ruby unit with its clear sapphire keycaps seems to be like nothing else you’ve in all probability seen on-line when shopping for pre-built mechanical keyboards. Whereas the colourways are a bit vibrant (and extremely subjective), I am a fan of the keyboard’s total design, solely due to how hanging and angular it seems to be. It is also fairly the dialog starter, that means whoever you present it too will go “Wow! I need this!” till they take a better look, look at the oddly positioned keys and provides it a fast move.

One of many benefits of a clear acrylic case (versus an aluminium one) is that it exposes the internals of the keyboard. This principally offers lovers a window into the again of the PCB together with the chips and the wiring. And it positive seems to be good and attention-grabbing when achieved proper. Which is the case with the VickyBoard. One other benefit offered by a clear acrylic case is the underglow the RGB key lighting gives in your desk mat.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V RGB dark ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

It’s totally onerous to beat the VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V’s RGB lighting and floor results

 

One element that stands out aside from the clear design of the keyboard and the keycaps is the X-Plus emblem. It is method too massive, garish and ruins the look of the keyboard for my part. And to make issues worse, there’s two of them one on the prime centre of the highest case and one other to the left of the directional keys.

The end of the CNC-machining technique of the acrylic case is improbable, but it surely’s worrisome that the screws which maintain the 2 halves of the case collectively haven’t any steel sleeve however drive instantly into the acrylic case, which is placing a variety of religion into one thing this delicate.

As quickly as I pulled it out of its bundle, I shortly observed some deep scratches on my overview unit, proper out of the bundle. Throughout the overview interval, topic to common typing use, I didn’t handle to get any new scratches on it, however it is rather simple to get a deep scratch on this one if it makes contact with a metallic object in your desk.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V logo ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

The X-Plus emblem is an eye-sore on this beautiful acrylic case

 

Now acrylic is about 10 occasions stronger than glass whereas giving an identical feel and appear to a fabricated product, however it’s not proof against breaking, in reality polycarbonate as a fabrication materials is lots stronger than acrylic and glass. The upside of utilizing acrylic is that it doesn’t yellow like polycarbonate and can be proof against flexing to a sure restrict, which makes it fairly sturdy within the case of this keyboard.

My transport expertise with the VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V was not achieved proper and so my keyboard arrived wrapped in a bunch of froth sheets and bubble wrap, minus the same old branded cardboard packaging. The prototype keyboard I obtained was clearly thrown round in the course of the transport course of and so has a number of deep cracks on its acrylic case. Whereas this makes it evidently clear how delicate acrylic may be, I am hoping that the transport expertise with the correctly packaged retail items (that have been shipped out in February, 2024) are lots higher and safer.

The VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V provides a 75 p.c structure with 72 keys. However due to its further keys which can be all well-spaced out for higher ergonomics, it’s going to really feel lots bigger in comparison with a daily 75 p.c layouts.

My overview unit included a Ruby colourway with clear sapphire keys and Gateron yellow mechanical switches. The Eva case was shipped individually and it included a fundamental connectivity and charging cable together with a fundamental keycap puller software.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V side case ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

The X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V keyboard makes use of clear Cherry profile keycaps product of acrylic

 

The whole key structure is angled at 6-degrees and sadly this can’t be adjusted primarily as a result of it was meant to offer one of the best consolation by the producer. This typing angle can’t be adjusted in any respect because the case doesn’t have any adjustable fold out ft to make any tremendous changes such as you would discover on common pre-built mechanical keyboards.

The Cherry profile keycaps that got here with my overview unit are of the clear sort and made out of acrylic. They’ve a pleasant matte translucent end on the highest floor with clear sidewalls. I am not an enormous fan of those as a result of it is onerous to learn the characters on the keys (with the backlights on or off) they usually do not sound nearly as good as the same old PBT keycaps.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V switches ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

The PCB helps hot-swappable switches

 

The PCB contained in the case additionally helps hot-swappable switches, that means you’ll be able to swap the switches with a wide range of out there choices. Nevertheless, I have to add that I discovered the cutouts within the acrylic case for the switches to be very tight, making swapping very troublesome with the offered change and keycap puller.

X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V Evaluation: Efficiency

The cross-radial design of the keys signifies that each halves of the structure have been angled inwards after which fanned out. The keys even have an ortholinear structure, that means that your fingers principally find yourself transferring up and down and never throughout, making typing extra comfy. This mixture together with a 6-degree incline of the 72 keys made it moderately comfy to sort on, however you’ll have to put money into a set of ergonomic gliding wrist rests (additionally used for mice) or get an Alice structure or break up wrist relaxation (two piece) to make the typing expertise extra comfy as there’s a correct one-inch clearance from the underside until the keycaps on condition that this keyboard doesn’t use low-profile switches.

For each day work use, I’ve a daily 65 p.c keyboard with common QWERTY structure. So I tried to attempt to rewire my muscle reminiscence to adapt to this keyboard’s unorthodox structure. I have to confess that I didn’t succeed, as this key design and structure has a steep studying curve and desires you to rewire your muscle reminiscence, given that the majority of us are used to common keyboard layouts.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V key layout ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

Even ortholinear keyboard customers will discover the fanned out cross-radial design distinctive

 

Nevertheless, I did try a number of assessments with this one and whereas I used to be clearly low on velocity, I did realise that it was immensely comfy on condition that my arms have been firmly planted in place whereas typing. The explanation for this are the extra keys positioned bang within the centre of the break up structure. This features a delete, enter, management and shift keys which we regularly attain out for on both facet of the common key structure whereas contact typing. The positioning of the 2 house bars and the centred delete key can be one thing I bought used to and located to be very handy. All-in-all this keyboard does what it claims to do which is to successfully cut back typing pressure in your wrists (with a wrist relaxation), it is simply that you must adapt your typing model drastically to a brand new structure, which can take loads of time, except you might be an fanatic who’s already accustomed to utilizing ortholinear keyboards.

The keyboard by design helps hot-swappable switches. As for the switches, these are your typical Gateron G Professional yellow mechanical switches, which by trait are linear however require a little bit of drive (50g) regardless that they’ve respectable pre-travel (2.0mm). These sound pretty customary (quiet) however supply a cushty typing expertise. Whereas a lot of the switches labored simply tremendous, I had two broken switches out of the bundle which had bent pins.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V keycaps dark ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

It onerous to learn the characters on the clear keycaps

 

I had my doubts about how properly the keyboard would sound given the acrylic case (which isn’t good for acoustics) and the acrylic keycaps. To be very trustworthy, it sounded very hole and never satisfying in any respect, in comparison with a totally steel pre-built keyboard at this worth level, which sounds lots higher as compared.

Whereas the acrylic case and acrylic keycaps have some influence on the sound, common PBT caps (out there on the enter and house keys and different case variants) would have improved this to an extent. The case due to its acrylic design is not plate mounted, however has the PCB instantly mounted on to the CNC-machined case, which made for a moderately stiff typing expertise on condition that the entire mount is inflexible and has zero flex. Add to this the clear design and it’s onerous to even add any sound dampening mods to this case to kill any undesirable sounds or vibrations.

On condition that this is not a keyboard constructed for the plenty I nonetheless missed a easy mac/home windows change, which might conveniently let me change between a Mac or a Home windows structure. The operate key row can be lacking, so these will must be reconfigured by way of software program.

The keyboard doesn’t use your typical VIA software program for key-remapping however goes with a {custom} QMK answer for key-remapping and macros. It isn’t as handy as VIA the place remapping occurs on the fly when making modifications on a web-browser. Out right here, you must make modifications on a web-browser, obtain a configuration profile and manually load (learn: flash) profiles each time you wish to remap a set of keys, which may get annoying when you’ve got a posh setup.

XPlus Vickyboard Ergo Split V extra keys ndtv XPlusVickyBoardErgoSplitV  XPlus

The position of the extra keys identical to the cross-radial design takes some getting used to

 

Whereas remapping and loading keyboard profiles was not the issue, I used to be in for a shock because the cable I obtained for overview was not supported by the keyboard. Fortunately, I did have a spare one mendacity round and it helped me manually get into DFU mode. And I needed to get into DFU, as a result of I wished to reconfigure a number of the keys that are by default setup for Home windows.

Other than its hanging design, one other function that actually stands out is wi-fi connectivity. When you can join the keyboard by way of a cable for low latency, you may also join it wirelessly (elevated latency) by way of Bluetooth. Wi-fi connectivity must also work higher right here on condition that the case is not made out of steel which is an issue with most premium wi-fi keyboards. Moreover, the X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V can join and change between 5 gadgets (together with Android and iOS), which is healthier than the same old 3.

Battery life is fairly good total. The three,000mAh battery lasts a couple of week of use with LED lights however can final a number of weeks with the lights off. Charging velocity just isn’t one thing I examined out, since this isn’t a keyboard one would journey given its weight (1.4kgs) and the way delicate it’s.

X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V Evaluation: Verdict

The X-Plus VickyBoard Ergo Break up-V is a keyboard I wish to use every day, due to how good it seems to be in all its glass-like acrylic glory. However for me it isn’t value retraining my muscle reminiscence to adapt to an ortholinear cross-radial structure as a result of I’m extra comfy with a daily keyboard structure. And this additionally signifies that it is all down to non-public preferences and your willingness to adapt to one thing new.

With that stated that is undoubtedly not a keyboard for everybody and undoubtedly not for the informal person searching for a correctly ergonomic mechanical typing expertise. It has a extremely steep studying curve and is supposed to be a showpiece that can sit on the cabinets of lovers or those that are already used to the ortholinear key layouts (and doubtless already personal a couple of related keyboards). Even seasoned break up keyboard or Alice structure customers ought to discover themselves scratching their heads over this one, due to the cross-radial design and that is lots to ask even for a keyboard that appears this good. This one caters to a distinct segment viewers and these are precisely the purchasers who will discover this keyboard attractive.

Rankings out of 10

Design: 8
Efficiency: 8
Worth for cash: 7
Total: 8

Execs
Engaging design
Constructed for RGB followers
Good ergonomics
Can join to five gadgets wirelessly

Cons
Acrylic case and development is delicate
Key remapping is kind of advanced
Wants a break up palm-rest to be efficient


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