As a customized keyboard player, I have bought two Numeow keyboards, a CyberBoard Terminal, and an AM AFA Alice.
AM AFA Alice
They’re all expensive, but I can’t say I particularly like them. The CyberBoard doesn’t feel very good to me (I haven’t upgraded the feel-optimized inner bag), AM AFA feels good, but the size of the whole keyboard is too big for me (I also think CyberBoard is big).
To put it bluntly, I don’t like “big keyboards”, which include not only keyboards with large physical dimensions and high heights, but also keyboards with relatively large arrays.
65% has always been my favorite pairing. In my opinion, it saves space and looks good. At the same time, its keys are reduced as much as possible, compared to 60% with arrow keys and Home End function keys, which is especially in line with my habit of using keyboards for many years.
So I am very curious, I have been working on the “big keyboard” Numeow, what will the 65% small keyboard I made this time look like.
After I was lucky enough to get this keyboard in advance and used it for more than half a month, my conclusion is: this is my favorite Numeow keyboard, but unfortunately, I am not used to its arrangement.
AM 65 Less, what is “less”?
According to the official introduction of Numeow, the Less in the keyboard name refers to “Less is more”, and this sentence is also printed on the top of the keyboard cable socket (there are also non-printed and custom printed versions).
However, the name of the keyboard specifically emphasizes Less (less), and generally the keyboard itself has a corresponding selling point. What exactly is “less”? I think there are two main points:
Arrow keys are missing
The arrow keys are made into a touchpad and placed on the front side of the keyboard, which is the biggest selling point of AM 65 Less. This form of placing the touch area under the thumb first appeared in the “Hanwen 75” made by Mr. Zhihui. After consulting Mr. Zhihui, Li Nan finally used it on their new keyboard.
Touch Bar on Hanwin 75
Compared with the touch bar of Hanwen 75, the touchpad of AM 65 Less has a larger area, and the functions that can be realized are very single-only used to operate the four directions of ↑↓←→.
The keyboard looks simple
Compared with the three keyboards previously released by Numiao, the appearance of AM 65 Less this time is definitely the most simple and concise – a very simple square box, without any novel design, only the front side frame is made of separate One piece for playing around with colour, finish and personalisation.
On the version I got, the frontal white and blue color contrast is realized; on the “Night Stalker” version, two similar but different purples are realized by using two processes of anode and electrophoresis on the upper and lower sides; On the two light effect special editions, the cool RGB light transmission effect is achieved by hollowing out the two vacant positions in the lower left and lower right corners.
The touchpad experience, I scored 70 points
Before getting the keyboard, my biggest fears were:
- The actual touchpad experience may not be very good
- The existence of the touchpad may cause the front height of the keyboard to be too high
After getting started, I found that there are no problems with these two points , and the touchpad experience is somewhat beyond my expectations.
Let me talk about “front height” first, which refers to the height of the front edge of the keyboard. Usually, if the front height of a mechanical keyboard is 20mm or less, it can be used comfortably without a palm rest. When the height exceeds 20mm, usually You will need a palm rest to support your wrists, in case you use the keyboard for a long time, your hands will be fatigued due to being suspended in the air.
A variety of customized keyboard front height contrast
After adding such a touchpad on the front of AM 65 Less, the front height is still controlled at 20.4mm, which is similar to CyberBoard, and not much higher than other 65% customized keyboards. At least for me, I don’t need an extra palm rest to use this keyboard.
And when it comes to the actual use of the touchpad, my subjective score is 70 points.
In the initial adaptation stage, when I need to press the arrow keys, my right hand will still leave the letter area to find the arrow keys in the lower right corner, but because of the small size of the AM 65 Less, I will find that there are no arrow keys without moving my hand far. At this time, it will come back naturally, and the thumb of the right hand is lowered to touch the touchpad. This adaptation process is not difficult, and it took me about three days.
Furthermore, the operation method of the touchpad is more intuitive. The triggers of ←→↑↓ are similar to those on the mobile phone screen, corresponding to swiping left, right, up and down respectively. It recognizes fingers very accurately and responds promptly. I don’t have any I have encountered recognition errors, and I have not felt any delay. For the operation of moving the cursor between a few words and a few lines in a short distance, the accuracy is extremely high.
In addition, it also supports sliding and pressing to trigger the effect of “long pressing” a direction key, which is very intuitive, but the accuracy of this “long pressing” is difficult to control. If you use it to control the rapid movement of the cursor, basically It will move beyond the position, which is an experience minus item.
There are two main scenarios where I use the arrow keys: to adjust the cursor when coding, and to pull the progress bar while watching a video. This touchpad is very well mapped to the operations that require a short press of the arrow key. For example, the cursor moves for a short distance just mentioned. One slide is to press the arrow key once, and the positioning is very accurate. At the same time, watching the video and pulling the progress bar generally does not require too precise positioning. At this time, you can also get a good experience by using the gesture operation of sliding and holding. However, when the cursor needs to move quickly between a dozen words, it is inefficient to swipe quickly, and it is impossible to control precisely by sliding and holding down. At this time, it is better to use the mouse to locate.
As of the time I finished writing this article, the official key change of AM 65 Less has not been finished yet, after all, it will not be officially shipped until March. I also hope that this touchpad can be opened to users to customize some operations, such as direct long press and double click, which can map the Home and End keys, which will greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of cursor movement and positioning.
It’s not really a 65% keyboard
From the very beginning, I couldn’t agree more with the 65 in AM 65 Less. No matter how Numeow explains the rationality of describing it as 65, in my opinion, it cannot be called a 65% combination. Although its touchpad is indeed replacing the arrow keys, the actual experience is OK, but the key point is that the 65% configuration and the HHKB configuration are not just the difference between the presence and absence of arrow keys.
HHKB is equipped with the right shift of the Ctrl key in the lower left corner. For Windows users and gamers, it can be said to be a “destructive” existence.
I’ve had the habit of pressing the left Ctrl key with my left pinky for years. On this keyboard, the little finger is empty, and the right-moving Ctrl key can only be pressed with the thumb of the left hand. In the Win system, Ctrl is a commonly used combination key. Pressing Ctrl with another finger means that all “Ctrl + ?”
Of course, I can continue to move the little finger of my left hand to the right to press Ctrl, but this will also cause the key position of muscle memory to be misplaced. For example, the most commonly used Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V, I am used to pressing Ctrl with my little finger and C and V with my index finger. What I am used to is the distance that the hand stretches. Ctrl + V, press Ctrl + V to Ctrl + B, which is very awkward.
I tried very hard to adapt to this key change, but unfortunately, I couldn’t adapt to it after more than half a month. Moreover, the Shift and Alt keys near Ctrl are also commonly used combined function keys in the Win system, which means that even if you want to change the keys, there is no compromise.
The arrangement of the function keys on the lower left of HHKB is hardly difficult for Mac users to adapt to, because the Command key to the left of the space in the macOS system is the most commonly used combination key, followed by the Option key on the left. The lower left Control key omitted in the HHKB configuration is rarely used in the macOS system, so it won’t be too much of a hindrance.
So, from this point of view, the configuration of AM 65 Less may be more suitable for Mac users.
The best Numeow keyboard
“Hand feel” has always been a very subjective thing. Different people have completely different judgments on “whether the hand feel is good or not”. So here, I can only base it on my own preferences for your reference.
In my opinion, this AM 65 Less is the latest and greatest achievement of Numiao in the process of exploring and accumulating keyboard feel. Why do you say that? Because AM 65 Less follows the structure of AM AFA.
I am very impressed with AM AFA’s Leaf-Spring structure. By hanging the keyboard liner on the shrapnel, and then through different limit positions and different shrapnel materials, the rebound strength and softness of the keyboard can be adjusted. Provides very good hand consistency.
Schematic diagram of AM AFA structure Structure diagram of AM 65 Less
On the AM 65 Less, Numiao uses the simplified Leaf-Spring structure, and the adjustable rebound range is reduced by one level, but the advantages of consistent feel are inherited on this new keyboard, making it the actual typing feel The performance is quite good, not inferior to other customized keyboards at the same price.
How about compared to AFA? Due to the same structure and the fact that AFA is two separate keyboard cases, the feel of AFA is theoretically better than that of AM 65 Less, but for me, the size and height of AFA make me think that the overall Typing feel, the compact AM 65 Less is even better.
The most important thing is that this time they used a simpler design and a lower price to bring such a keyboard with a better feel, which is great.
So even though I have bought two more expensive and more uniquely designed keyboards from Numiao, the AM 65 Less with the simplest appearance and the cheapest price has still become my favorite Numiao keyboard.
The one I got is a kit version. After I got it, I matched it with JWK’s ginger bump switch (light pressure linear switch) and GMK’s Yeeti snow monster keycap. It matches the blue and white AM 65 Less in appearance. It feels great in the hand too – the Leaf-Spring construction is perfect for smooth linear axes.
In the process of dismantling AM 65 Less, I can feel the exquisite internal stacking and excellent materials and workmanship of AM 65 Less, a customized keyboard, which is the basis of customized keyboards that sell for two to three thousand.
In addition, Numiao introduced a touchpad to this keyboard, separated the front side bar for splicing and contrasting colors, and added two RGB light positions in the left and right lower corners, these are also micro-innovations.
In addition, the full-key RGB and Bluetooth dual-mode that Numeow has been continuing are very common in mass-produced keyboards, but they are not common selling points in customized keyboards.
There is also a more friendly purchase experience for new entry-level customized players-there are finished versions available, detailed disassembly/assembly instructions, and a friendly interface for changing keys.
These can all be reasons to buy a Numeow keyboard.
Of course, there will only be more reasons not to buy. For example, do not like the boss of the brand. After all, this is a brand with its own controversy.
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