The allure of a custom keycap set is both to show off your personal flair and to bathe in a little luxury when behind the keyboard. Until now we’ve seen metal keycaps, wood keycaps, resin keycaps, keycaps made up like the artworks of old masters, and of course plain plastic keycaps. What we haven’t seen is a ceramic keycap set. But why not? The designers at Cerakey asked just that, and in our interview with them they said that the idea came to them while returning from a PBT keycap factory. After all, ceramic is among the most popular materials in the world, used for practically everything– you can even coat your cars in it. So from prototype, to version 1, to version 2, how are these new-fangled ceramic keycaps? Let’s find out.
As you can imagine, using a new material for keycaps comes with plenty of roadblocks and design issues. The first versions were actually entirely ceramic, including the steam, but because of minor warping within the material, some stems didn’t fit properly. Now, the stems are PBT, and fit just as well as any other keycap. Besides this, some colours like the “crazed” set have had a UV coating added to protect against fading, and the spacebar size has been adjusted to fit better.
Aside from all that, there’s little to give to note in these sets. The legends are nice, slightly raised, and have a slightly rough tactile feel. My first impression was that they would be easily scratched off the smooth surface of the porcelain, but my nails have since had no luck trying to remove them.
The key shapes are mostly uniform, and mostly don’t wobble, but the middle sized keys like Tab do jiggle a little when played with.
How do they sound?
Adding ceramic keycaps to your board does make your typing louder. It seems unavoidable. But if you’re wondering whether it clinks like glass, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that it does, but not too much. You can only really hear this sound when using your spacebar (and maybe your Enter). Aside from that, it sounds like PBT keycaps. But realistically, that’s what you want. An overwhelming, constant clicking is going to annoy you as much as anyone else who hears it, but as the spacebar, it’s like a bass drum or a backup vocal for your typing.
How do they feel?
The weight of the ceramic sure gives a luxurious weight to the keyboard when held in your hands, but the downside of this is that keys require more strength to push. If you do a lot of high speed typing, I can imagine your fingers even getting fatigued from this miniature weight lifting, but I’ve personally had no issues. And of course, if you’re a soft-presser, you’ll be ill-suited to these hefty keys.
Another potential issue is the smoothness of the keys. You might be wondering whether your keys will slip off while typing, but they don’t. It’s conceivable, sure, but in practice it hasn’t happened. And even if you’re typing with wet fingers (for whatever reason), the slight divot in each key should be enough to keep your fingers on track.
The last expectation I had for ceramic keys was a certain coolness to the touch. And granted, it’s there and it’s a pleasure when it is, but unless you live in a chilly climate, you’ll be disappointed to find after typing on them for a couple minutes, they’ll feel the same temperature as any other key.
So is this imported porcelain a pleasure to use? Yes it is. The simple aspect of seeing their glossy finish is special enough, but the light clinking of the spacebar accentuates the monotony of typing in such a way that it’s almost music. For someone who types quite aggressively, it almost sounds like a Beethoven symphony, and for me that’s enough reason alone to keep typing at speed.
What are the colourways like?
The first batch of colours were pretty standard– white with legends, black with legends, white without, black without. But those were really just Cerakey touching ground, laying the foundations. I’m not saying I don’t love the look of my all-black keyboard that looks super slick without any legends, but wait until you see their newest offerings.
They’ve just put lacquered ceramic on the table, and it’s like the marble countertop of keyboards. People are going to go crazy for these, I just know it. If they put out a set that does look like black marble, I’ll jump at it too. And for a company that’s only just started its journey, and to much success, we can only imagine what colourways will be made in the future.
What’s next for Cerakey?
Cerakey has previously said that they’re not stopping with just ceramic keycaps, and ceramic casings and more may be in the cards (can you imagine a ceramic mouse?). That said, it’s a difficult process, and they’ve found larger pieces like casings are prone to warping, so a ceramic knob may be the next item instead.
It should be noted that though this review was written independently by a Game Pro writer, CeraKey has provided Game Pro with a review set of these keycaps.
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