Qwerkytoys Qwerkywriter Mechanical Keyboard Review

Most mainstream keyboards today follow one of two design aesthetics: boring black slab or neon stealth fighter. The Qwerkywriter is notable for taking a different path. This mechanical keyboard has a decidedly retro look that imitates an old-fashioned typewriter. Like they say, it's what's on the inside that counts, right? The Qwerkywriter has all the accoutrements of a modern keyboard with support for a wired microUSB connection or Bluetooth wireless.

You'll pay a lot for the privilege of having a hipster typing machine, though. The Qwerkywriter used to retail for a whopping $349, which is more than twice as expensive as a good-quality full-sized mechanical keyboard. Even so, the inventory sold out. The company is taking orders again, though, and it's dropped the price down to a still expensive but less ludicrous $239.


This keyboard is a lot smaller than a full-sized board, and that alone may put some people off. We would caution you not to judge a keyboard by its size, though. The Qwerkywriter uses what's known in keyboard parlance as a 75% layout. You have the alpha keys, modifiers, number row, and a function row. Along the right side is a column of additional keys like page up/down and home, as well as the arrow keys.

If you don't absolutely need a number pad, this is an efficient, ergonomic layout. Your mouse remains closer, so you don't have to reach as far to hit all the keys. However, the smaller design also means you'll miss a few other things commonly found on larger boards, like dedicated media keys and a number pad.

There's one dedicated macro key on this board--the big, shiny, silver, retro-looking Return bar.  By default, the Return bar is a return key (makes sense). However, you can program it with a macro that has up to five keystrokes. Hold Fn + Enter to input the keystrokes for your macro, then pull the bar down at any time to trigger it. (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a grand total of one macro.) It's not the most practical, but this keyboard really isn't about practicality. Case in point, if you don't let the bar flip back freely after activating it, it tends to get stuck partway and crowds the Escape key.

This is a hefty keyboard for its size at 2.75 pounds—that's as heavy as some full-sized boards. Part of that is the 1,000mAh internal battery that keeps the Qwerkywriter running on Bluetooth (it promises three months of juice), but it's also got an aluminum case. It also has a faux paper carriage, complete with vestigial knobs to complete the illusion.

We’re not the sort to turn our nose up at a heavy keyboard, but the added weight doesn't do the Qwerkywriter any favors. The back of the keyboard has a tablet stand, so the designers envision you pairing this keyboard with your tablet and presumably hauling it around someplace--but the keyboard is a little bulky for that.

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