Review: The Vinpok Taptek Keyboard is Almost Perfect

Review: The Vinpok Taptek Keyboard is Almost Perfect

Computer keyboards are a hot topic these days. Many people have very strong opinions about the feel, the sound, and the layout of their typing surface. While I wouldn’t label myself as a “keyboard snob,” I certainly have specific reactions to different keyboards that I encounter. When I got the Vinpok Taptek keyboard to review, I immediately thought to myself – “this is the one.” Then I started typing…

Overview

The Vinpok Taptek Keyboard (starting at $89 on Indiegogo) is a wireless mechanical keyboard for the Mac. It features a low-profile design, RGB backlighting, clicky mechanical keys (something akin to cherry blue), USB and Bluetooth modes, and one critical flaw. Before digging into this issue, there are many great things to look at.

From a design perspective, the Taptek is beautiful. The space gray aluminum body feels sturdy and looks great. It also adds some weight to the keyboard, helping to keep it solidly in place while typing. The black plastic keycaps also feel solid and responsive when typing. A primary reason for using a mechanical keyboards is the feel of the keys, and the Taptek does not disappoint.

RGB Backlighting is another key feature of the Taptek keyboard. With 19 different color effects, you can personalize your keyboard for your tastes. Whether you prefer a solid color, slow color changes, or dancing lights while you type, choosing your backlight option is quick and easy.

Connecting the Vinpok Taptek is also extremely easy. The Bluetooth option on the keyboard can pair up to 3 different devices, allowing you to easily swap between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone (or Windows computer, Android device, etc.) The wired mode offers additional versatility, allowing you to connect to Mac or PC through the included micro-USB cable. This offers even greater flexibility, allowing you to connect to a computer without the need for Bluetooth.

While everything sounds like sunshine and rainbow colored LEDs, the layout of the Vinpok Taptek has made it nearly unusable for me. Looking at most compact keyboards, the key immediately to the right of the [/?] key is a double-width shift key. On the Taptek keyboard, the designers have opted to place the up arrow key in one key space, with the shift key further to the right.

In typing on the Taptek keyboard, this placement caused more frustration and errors than any keyboards I’ve used (and I’ve spent time touch-typing directly on the iPad’s screen). I never spent much time thinking about which shift key I use when typing, but it turns out that I learned to use the right shift key far more than the left.

By placing the shift key on the opposite side of the up arrow from the rest of the keyboard, I often found that when I attempted to capitalize a letter, I was moving the insertion point up one line. As hard as I tried, I was unable to break 15+ years of muscle memory to find the shift key (or use the left shift) while typing.

Verdict

[rating: 3.5/5]

The Vinpok Taptek keyboard is a solid, gorgeous, and enjoyable keyboard. Having the flexibility of bluetooth and wired connectivity in a single package is a great advantage. Add in the responsive mechanical keys, and you have a recipe for success. Unfortunately, a single misplaced key means it isn’t something I can personally use.

Pros:

  • Sturdy design
  • Bluetooth & Wired modes
  • Multiple backlighting options
  • Responsive, accurate keys
  • Mac/iOS first design

Cons:

  • Poor placement of right shift key
  • Seriously – that one key is the only flaw.

I want to love the Vinpok Taptek keyboard. I truly like everything about it (except – say it with me now – the right shift key), and anyone that isn’t a touch-typist or a die-hard right shifter should consider picking one of these up. You can back the Indiegogo project now, starting at $89.

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