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Computing

Glorious’ customizable mechanical number pad looks amazing

Sometimes you just need a good number pad for those intense number crunching sessions. Glorious has unveiled a new mechanical number pad simply called the GMMK Numpad that matches the company’s regular mechanical keyboards — and can be a good companion for those with ten keyless (TKL) keyboards.

The compact accessory is made of anodized aluminum and has the standard 17-key layout of a number pad, but also a configurable rotary knob and slider that the company says offers “unparalleled versatility.” This should make it a great tool for both content creation and productivity.

The keypad also features Glorious’ Fox key switches, GSV2 stabilizers, and ABS Doubleshot V2 keycaps. It connects over Bluetooth 5.0 or wired USB cable with Glorious claiming about 76 hours of use while using Bluetooth.

Glorious clearly wanted to make the Numpad more than just a regular number pad. Like the company’s mechanical keyboards, you’re able to swap out numerous components including the switches, switch plates, top frames, the knob and slider, and even the printed circuit board (PCB) itself. Glorious will have an “ecosystem of accessories” that should allow you to personalize the Numpad to your desired configuration.

It goes without saying that the GMMK Numpad is geared primarily toward people who prefer TKL keyboards. Many people choose TKL keyboards as it offers a sweet spot between a larger full-sized keyboard and the tiny 60 percent keyboards. A lot of people may not want or need a number pad, but still desire the navigational keys.

GMMK NumPad next to a mechanical keyboard.

That said, having a separate number pad such as the GMMK Numpad could be particularly useful to use either as a traditional number pad or even as macro keys. In fact, Glorious intentionally designed the Numpad as a companion to their GMMK Pro and GMMK 2 65% keyboards. You can even position the Numpad on the left side of the keyboard for those who are left-handed.

Glorious says that the GMMK Numpad has been one of the most requested products and seems to have delivered on a functional, yet customizable number pad. For those interested, preorders go live on August 16th and begin shipping next month. It’s not exactly cheap at $130, but it could be a worthwhile purchase for the customizability alone.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Logitech MX Mechanical keyboard review: Form, meet function

Logitech MX Mechanical keyboard

MSRP $170.00

“The Logitech MX Mechanical keyboard should be the centerpiece of your next office setup.”

Pros

  • Excellent typing experience
  • Works with Windows and MacOS
  • Pairs with up to three devices at once
  • Adaptive, useful backlight
  • Pairing is a breeze

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Limited key remapping options
  • No hot-swappable switches

The Logitech MX Mechanical fills a gap that’s plagued mechanical keyboards for years. You want a true mechanical typing experience with the slim form of Microsoft’s Surface Keyboard, but all you’ve been able to find are RGB-ridden gaming keyboards that may offer a great typing experience, but don’t look great sitting in the office.

Enter the MX Mechanical.

It’s not the first low-profile mechanical keyboard, but it’s the first we’ve seen from a mainstream peripheral brand like Logitech. The price is a bit high, and the software could use more features, but the sublime typing experience on the MX Mechanical earns it a spot among the best keyboards on the market.

Expensive but not egregious

Logitech MX Mechanical keyboard sitting next to its dongle.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Logitech’s premium peripherals are expensive — there’s no way around it. The MX Mechanical doesn’t buck that trend, but it still doesn’t feel like you’re throwing away extra money. Logitech has two versions available at slightly different prices: The full-sized MX Mechanical for $170, and the 75% MX Mechanical Mini for $150.

The main competition are the low-profile Keychon K3 and K7, which are both around $50 less than what Logitech is asking. The K7 supports hot-swappable switches, too, so you can adjust the feel of the keyboard down the line or swap some switches out if they go bust.

What’s working in Logitech’s favor is that the MX Mechanical works with other Logitech peripherals, and it unlocks some productivity features that aren’t present with brands like Keychron. Make no mistake: The MX Mechanical keyboard is expensive. But considering Logitech’s gaming-focused G915, which is very similar to the MX Mechanical, sells for $60 more, the price doesn’t seem as intimidating.

Three devices at once

Device keys on the MX Mechanical keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

One of the most exciting aspects of the MX Mechanical is that it can switch between three devices almost instantly, regardless of the operating system you’re using. You can connect with either the pre-paired Logi Bolt dongle (a newer dongle for keyboards like the Logitech Pop Keys) or Bluetooth, and you can switch between systems either with a trio of dedicated keys on the board or through the free Logi Options+ software.

I paired it to my desktop with the Bolt dongle and Bluetooth across a laptop and tablet, and there was never more than a second or two of delay between switching. One downside here is that the MX Mechanical flat-out doesn’t have a wired mode. It works via wireless while it’s plugged in and charging, but you can’t ditch Bluetooth or the dongle for a straight wired connection.

Dual support for Windows and MacOS is a huge plus for the MX Mechanical.

Even inexpensive mechanical keyboards like the Akko 3068B work across various connections at the press of a key, but the big boon for the dual connections is Logitech Flow. With a compatible mouse, you can bounce between Windows and MacOS just by dragging your mouse, as well as transfer files or text. It works across up to three devices, either with Windows or MacOS.

The keyboard supports Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, iPadOS, Chrome OS, and Android on its own, but Flow is restricted to the two major desktop types of OS. Dual support for Windows and MacOS is the main plus for the MX Mechanical, though. Unlike the Keychron Q1, the MX Mechanical recognizes what OS you’re using and automatically switches the layout.

More than a backlight

Lighting on the MX Mechanical keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I assumed the static white backlight on the MX Mechanical would be the biggest difference it has compared to Logitech’s G915 gaming keyboard, but I was wrong. The MX Mechanical doesn’t have RGB lighting, but the white backlight is for more than just looks.

It’s adaptive, so the ambient light sensor inside the MX Mechanical will adjust the backlight automatically based on how much light you have in the room. This is a key component that allows the MX Mechanical to achieve 15 days of battery life and a full 10 months with the backlight off, according to Logitech. I don’t have 10 months to wait for a keyboard to die, but I’ve been using the MX Mechanical on and off for about three weeks, and my battery is at 50%. Bring a USB-C cable with you when you leave the house just in case, but you shouldn’t need to charge the MX Mechanical often.

The lighting has some nice touches outside of being adaptive. It lights up when you lay your hands over the keyboard, for example, which is a novelty I haven’t grown tired of (even after three years with the Nvidia Shield’s remote and its proximity sensor). Logitech uses the backlight to call out important information, too, like a brighter light on your currently paired device when you turn the keyboard on.

Sublime typing

Logitech logo on the MX Mechanical keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The MX Mechanical isn’t a G915 with the gaming bits ripped out, and a few minutes of typing on it makes that clear. It uses Kailh Choc switches like the G915, but the V2 versions the MX Mechanical comes with use a standard cross stem so you can swap the keycaps out if you want. Logitech gives you the choice of Tactile Quiet (brown), Linear (red), and Clicky (blue) switches, and I chose the Tactile Quiet option that comes with 45 grams of activation force, 1.3mm to reach the actuation point, and 3.2mm of total travel distance.

These low-profile switches have the same force as their full-sized counterparts, but the travel distance is much shorter (0.7mm less actuation travel, and 0.8mm less total travel). That completely changes the typing experience compared to full-sized switches like the ones on the Azio Izo keyboard. It’s snappy, like if Apple’s Magic Keyboard was slathered in a coat of mechanical goodness.

Switch on the MX Mechanical keyboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Tactile Quiet switches have a traditional feel, but they’re not exactly quiet. They’re not loud, like the click you’ll find on the Clicky option, but they have a hollow, chunky clunk as you type. It’s immensely satisfying for typing, and I found myself wanting to write just to use the keyboard more. Most mechanical keyboards are focused on gaming first (like the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini), but the MX Mechanical is among the few mainstream options focused on typing first.

I didn’t count it out for gaming, though I probably should have. The flat keycaps mean there’s little distinction between rows, causing multiple slipups in Destiny 2 and my recent addiction, Neon White. It works for gaming, but you might have to build your own keyboard for something that looks like the MX Mechanical but functions like a G915.

Simple isn’t always better

Key remapping options in Logitech Options Plus software.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Logitech wants the MX Mechanical to be powerful and simple, which is apparent the first time you load up the Logi Options+ app. It walks you through the unique elements of the keyboard — the three device buttons, the various backlighting options, and even some special function keys like a dedicated emoji key and a mute button for meetings. Simplicity is great, but the MX Mechanical takes it too far.

You can’t rebind most of the keys. Options+ allows you to rebind your function keys, the grid between Insert and Page Up, and four keys on top of the keypad, but that’s it. Key remapping is a standard function for multiple Logitech keyboards, so it’s strange that it’s not more available on the MX Mechanical.

It’s even more strange considering the options you have for the few keys you can remap. You can bind them to keyboard shortcuts, OS apps like the Calculator, and functions like minimizing the active window. You can even customize the keys for specific apps (though, you’re given the same slate of actions regardless of the apps you’re using).

Options+ is also missing macro recording and binding. The list of actions in Options+ is fairly comprehensive, but the fact that you can only rebind some keys seems like an unnecessary roadblock for what is otherwise a great software experience.

Our take

The Logitech MX Mechanical keyboard is all about keeping you productive. Flow is a big plus if you have an MX mouse, and the updated low-profile switches provide one of the best typing experiences you can get south of $200. The price stings a bit with the lack of options in Logi Options+, but the premium is well worth it if you have other Logitech peripherals or often need to switch between Windows and MacOS.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes, but they’re few and far between:

  • Keychon K3: It’s much cheaper than the MX Mechanical and still comes with low-profile mechanical switches. It doesn’t support Logitech Flow, however, and it uses strictly Bluetooth for the wireless connection.
  • Logitech G915 TKL: A gaming take on the MX Mechanical for a much higher price, the G915 offers a similar build and typing experience. It’s much more focused on gaming, with dedicated meta buttons, a volume wheel, and per-key RGB lighting.

How long will it last?

Low-profile mechanical switches have a life span of 50 million keystrokes, so you can get several years out of the MX Mechanical before you need to replace it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have hot-swappable switches like the Keychron K7 or K3, so you can’t extend the life with a switch swap down the line.

Should you buy it?

Yes, especially if you have a mouse that supports Logitech Flow or toggle between devices often. You can get a similar typing experience for less with something like the Keychron K3, but no other peripheral maker has the same combination of features that Logitech is offering with the MX Mechanical.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

The Best Mechanical Keyboards for 2021

Mechanical keyboards are some of the most beloved among typists and gamers. They can offer the fastest and most accurate switches, great RGB lighting, and fantastic durability. But even among the best keyboards, some simply outshine all the others. Our favorite is the Logitech G Pro, which has a great compact design, excellent switches, and beautiful lighting.

Whether you’re looking for a wireless keyboard or a gaming keyboard, we’ve gathered the best mechanical keyboards for everyone.

The best mechanical keyboards

Logitech G Pro Gaming

It might target gamers, but the Logitech G Pro is a fantastic keyboard whether you’re fragging enemies or feverishly typing away. In fact, it received a near-perfect score when we tested it in mid-2017.

For this model, Logitech ditched the age-old Cherry MX switches for its own, lower-profile, fast-response Romer-G switches. They’re rated to last for up to 70 million key presses and go through rigorous testing. The sturdy frame includes rubber feet so that your keyboard won’t slip out of position during a crucial moment, and three different angles depending on what your wrists most prefer. The result is a compact, high-performance mechanical keyboard that will last a lifetime.

Whether you’re customizing the RGB LED backlighting (onboard storage can hold multiple profiles) or remapping the keys, the tools are intuitive and powerful. You can even create bespoke profiles for individual games so the Pro G responds exactly as you want as soon as the game starts.

Thanks to the combination of fast — and surprisingly quiet — switches, a compact and light package for LAN gaming, RGB backlighting, and a price tag that’s not exorbitant, the Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard is our favorite mechanical board in quite some time.

Razer BlackWidow Elite

Razer might produce all sorts of great hardware like the Razer Blade, but its high-profile peripherals — top-notch mechanical keyboards, for instance — are still its bread and butter. Our recent Razer favorite is the BlackWidow Elite, a mechanical keyboard that boasts RGB LED backlighting, multiple switch options, a magnetic wrist rest, and dedicated media keys.

Sporting Razer’s in-house mechanical switches and fully programmable keys, you can configure the Elite exactly how you want, whether it’s with custom RGB lighting, bespoke Macro keys, or how the keys feel under your fingertips (our purchase link offers some customizations right out the door, but there is more you can tinker with over the long term).

The combination of USB 2.0 and audio pass-through makes cable management easier, leading to a cleaner desk. Backing the whole BlackWidow Elite keyboard is Razer’s excellent Hypershift software that lets you minutely control every aspect, like keypress combinations. The keyboard is also compatible with Philips Hue devices and gear from more than 30 brands, so it will probably be right at home no matter what setup you currently have.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

German-engineered and American-made, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional stands out among all others in the Das lineup. It features a standard 104-key layout with multimedia keys located in the top right along with an attractive dial, which fine-tunes your system volume with just a single turn. It flaunts full n-key rollover, so you can press as many keys as you like without interruption.

Additionally, the 4 Professional’s gold-plated Cherry MX keys are rated to endure more than 50 million keystrokes, which is now a mechanical keyboard standard. The key caps even feature a new Das Keyboard font for a more refined look and easier reading.

The ergonomics and aesthetics of the Das Keyboard 4 Professional remain intact regardless of the key switches you choose, but the tactile feedback and active response rate are entirely up to you. We prefer the Cherry MX Blue key switches due to the satisfying audible click, but check out the brown or red key switches if you’re looking for something a bit quieter with less action.

Logitech G Pro X

Logitech G Pro X mechanical gaming keyboard

Logitech’s G Pro X keyboard is both an evolution of its traditional G Pro, and an unnecessary upgrade if you don’t need its main selling point: Swappable switches. Supporting both Logitech’s own GX Blue, Brown, and Red switches, as well as a full suite of Cherry MX switches, this keyboard lets you swap out individual keys. That means you can fully customize your keyboard like no other, effectively allowing you to use this keyboard as long as the parts remain available.

In addition to the switches, the swappable USB cable eliminates another potential failure point. Overall, the G Pro X is super compact, great for gaming and typing, and provides subtle and well-designed backlighting. The media keys could do with a little more love, but they’re better than having no controls at all.

Unfortunately, Logitech’s G Pro X is a little on the expensive side. If you don’t want the swappable switches, the standard G Pro is just as good for less money. However, if swappable switches tickle your fancy, this keyboard is simply fantastic.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Corsair was once well-known to many as a memory manufacturer. Now it produces some of the world’s best mechanical keyboards for gamers and typists alike. A good example is its K95 Platinum, the peak of that click-clacking mountain packing some of the best features of any keyboard on the market.

Available with a selection of Cherry MX switches — Brown or Speed (silver) —  and a choice of Black or Gunmetal Grey finishes, the K95 includes RGB backlighting with deep customization options, onboard storage for profiles, and a set of dedicated, textured macro keys. The frame derives from anodized brushed aluminum and includes a detachable wrist rest, one of the most durable designs we’ve seen.

Arguably the best part of the whole package, though, is that it’s backed by the Corsair Utility Engine. The backend software is hands-down the best available at the moment, providing an easy-to-understand interface that enables deeper customization than most for backlighting and key remapping.

The only downside to the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is the price. Even then, it’s money well spent.

Vinpok Taptek keyboard

Vinpok Taptek Keyboard Impressions

Keyboards for MacOS users are far more restrictive than those of their Windows counterparts, but they aren’t nonexistent. Some of them, like the Vinpok Taptek, can be surprisingly good. This model brings mechanical switches and a compact design to MacOS for a price that’s not too extravagant — especially compared to the cost of many official Apple accessories.

This keyboard is durable, and except for the keys, you won’t find much plastic here, just a single piece aluminum chassis. The keyboard provides a mechanical keyboard’s positive feel and responsiveness while maintaining a slim, low-profile design, thanks to its thin keycaps.

Portability is one of this keyboard’s most noteworthy features, thanks in part to the condensed tenkeyless design. The Taptek MacOS features all of the keys you’re used to seeing on your Mac, including Command, Function, and Option. It’s compatible with Windows, iOS, and Android.

The keyboard boasts eye-catching details, like individually backlit keys with 19 compelling RGB backlighting modes. Now you don’t have to get bored of looking at the same thing month after month. The keyboard’s sleek, slim design supports several preset effects, and you can also use it while charging using a wired connection.

The Taptek MacOS is one of the best mechanical keyboards you can get for Mac. It’s an excellent option if you want the feel of mechanical keys with your MacBook. With all of these overachieving features, choosing the Taptek MacOS is a no-brainer.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Fortnite Challenge Guide: How to Craft Mechanical Bows

During the second week of Fortnite‘s season 6, you’ll be introduced to a new set of challenges. While many of them aren’t wildly difficult, some will require a bit of effort on your part. The first one that might cause you some trouble is crafting a Mechanical Bow, a Mechanical Explosive Bow, and a Mechanical Shockwave Bow. The main hurdle is simply knowing what materials are needed to craft each weapon.

Some of these materials are harder to find than others, but luckily, we’ve got some tips that should make it easier for you. In this guide, we’ll show you how to craft each of the weapons needed for the challenge. Here’s how to craft a Mechanical Bow, a Mechanical Explosive Bow, and a Mechanical Shockwave Bow in Fortnite

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How to craft a Mechanical Bow

The first step in the challenge is to craft a Mechanical Bow. You can do this by combining any bow you find around the world with four mechanical parts.

Materials needed:

  • Any bow
  • Four mechanical parts

As always, refer to our Fortnite crafting guide if needed. The easiest way to find mechanical parts is to destroy vehicles. You can find some at the junkyard in Catty Corner or in the trailer park in the Weeping Woods. You can also collect them from enemy players after you eliminate them. Thankfully, bows are quite common and are usually found lying around inside buildings and huts.

Keep in mind, however, that you must craft the Mechanical Bow before being able to craft the next two weapons.

How to craft a Mechanical Explosive Bow

fortnite-season-6-week-2-challenge-guide-craft-a-mechanical-bow-a-mechanical-explosive-bow-and-a-mechanical-shockwave-bow

After you’ve crafted a Mechanical Bow, you’ll have the ability to construct a Mechanical Explosive Bow and a Mechanical Shockwave Bow. You can create them in any order, but from our experience, it’s easier to find the materials needed for the Mechanical Explosive Bow.

Materials needed:

  • Mechanical Bow
  • Six grenades

To craft the bow, you’ll need the aforementioned Mechanical Bow and six grenades. Grenades are quite common and can be collected from chests and found on the ground in main hubs, so we recommend hitting every chest you come across.

How to craft a Mechanical Shockwave Bow

fortnite-season-6-week-2-challenge-guide-craft-a-mechanical-bow-a-mechanical-explosive-bow-and-a-mechanical-shockwave-bow

As for the Mechanical Shockwave Bow, this one is a little trickier.

Materials needed:

  • Mechanical Bow
  • Two shockwave grenades

You’ll still need the Mechanical Bow, but this time you need to combine it with two shockwave grenades. These are harder to find, but they do have a chance of dropping from supply drops and can also be found scattered around the world. We recommend just playing normally, and you’ll eventually come across them during the later stages of the match. It also helps if you play with a squad who can be on the lookout for the shockwave grenades. The more eyes, the better.

Once you’ve crafted all three Mechanical Bow types, you’ll earn 24,000 XP.

Editors’ Choice




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