Vinpok Taptek: 5 Things You Learn Using the Mechanical Keyboard for a Week

Proponents praise mechanical keyboards as a "touch of heaven."

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Mechanical keyboards have something of a cult following. Fans praise them for their durability, premium feel, and the satisfying “clack” sound that comes with every press. They also tend to be pretty big and unsightly, two words that aren’t normally used in conjunction with a Mac.

The Vinpok Taptek, which started life as an Indiegogo project, boasts a super-thin 16mm design with black keys and an aluminum base in either space grey or silver. The unit weighs 18 ounces and measures 117mm by 281mm, making it easy to take on the go. It runs over USB or Bluetooth thanks to a 1,800 mAh lithium-polymer battery, can pair with up to three devices, and also works with other platforms like Windows. Oh, and it has 19 RGB backlights to give your keys a fancy glow.

Mechanical keyboards receive high praise from some users, with one Reddit user proclaiming that “each keystroke feels like a touch of heaven.” Compared to the membrane-based designs found in most keyboards that press down on a rubber surface to interrupt a circuit, mechanical designs trigger a switch. PCWorld claims it “could help you type more quickly and more accurately” thanks to the greater feedback, while Tom’s Guide describes membrane keyboards as “blowing your nose with a pizzeria napkin rather than an embroidered silk handkerchief.” With that in mind Inverse went fingers-on to see what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday

I plug it in and get ready to work, and I’m greeted by an avalanche of garish colors. While the box says the Taptek is Apple-styled, the design is more reminiscent of a gaming laptop typically seen at eSports events.

The Vinpok Taptek switched off.
The Vinpok Taptek switched off.

Fortunately, a little lightbulb button in the corner switches between lighting modes. There’s a wide variety of choices like solid colors, always-on waves, a mode where each tap creates a ripple of colors across the keys, and completely off.

One thing I find interesting is how I have to adjust to using a keyboard with so much key travel. I spend most of my time typing on a mid-2014 MacBook Pro with keys that feel like I’m tapping on a slab of aluminum. It’s a real learning curve.

Wednesday

I keep noticing more ways the keyboard differs from my Mac. The shift key is smaller than the standard Apple layout, meaning I keep accidentally moving the cursor up a line.

It’s not the only misplaced button input I’m tackling. I keep accidentally pressing the lights button, setting off a disco under my fingertips as I’m trying to finish up an email.

I spoke to Vinpok about some of my issues with the keyboard, and I was told that a software update might fix the issue. The software updater only works on Windows, which the team explains is because it’s easier to develop a new program in a short space of time. Vinpok also assures me that users won’t need to update the keyboard themselves as the company will update it in mass production. It’s good to hear that the devices will get better as time goes on, but it’s disappointing that the updater for a Mac keyboard only runs on Windows.

Thursday

I’ve started to get used to the new way of typing. It’s a re-learning process. It does take some time, and I do find myself forcing to persevere. Unlike the keyboard on my Mac, where applying pressure on a key forces it down immediately, there’s a fair amount of give before the Taptek keys reach the base.

Friday

I decide to try switching to the Bluetooth connectivity, but I cannot not get it to enter pairing mode. I hold down the Function and Tilde keys like the instructions say, but nothing happens. Vinpok asks me to hold down the Function and Escape keys to reset the keyboard. I do this, then try again. It works! A flashing blue light on the lightbulb button indicates it has entered pairing mode. Fortunately the device is just as responsive over Bluetooth as it is over a wired connection.

The Taptek illuminated.
The Taptek illuminated.

Saturday

Today is a day of rest, but I have to complete some errands. As I’m filling out online forms and responding to messages, the “CLACK-CLACK-CLACK” fills the room. It’s not the loudest keyboard, but it kicks up a bigger din than my regular MacBook. My girlfriend, sat across the table from me, does not approve. This could make it harder to use in public.

Monday

It took some getting used to, but I’m starting to feel just as fast with the Taptek as I did with my old MacBook. I’ve learned to avoid the lightbulb button, found my way around the unfamiliar layout, and started reaching my older speeds. But as for whether I’ve become a better typist now? I’m not convinced, and I feel that the Taptek probably won’t convert users that don’t already like mechanical keyboards.

Conclusion

Mechanical keyboards aren’t exactly known for their style. Vinpok has delivered with a stylish product that wouldn’t look out of place on a clean desk, next to an aluminum MacBook. But years of typing on a razor-thin laptop have meant I’ve grown accustomed to the way my current keyboard feels, allowing my mind to focus more on the actual words I’m writing. Nonetheless, the designs are all the rage in some circles, and for those looking for a sleek mechanical keyboard that doesn’t look like something from a dusty basement, Vinpok delivers.

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