A split keyboard?
When I first saw the Corne, I felt a sense of confusion, intrigue and appeal towards it. An ergonomic, split, staggered ortholinear, 40% keyboard had all the appetising buzzwords that I was looking for in a keyboard, but it could've also been my worst nightmare.
The truth is that since owning one, the exact opposite is true. Throughout my keyboard "journey", I’ve pushed myself to find that elusive sweet spot between physical size and perfect functionality for my needs. At first, 60% was the perfect size for me and I adored my DZ60; then I got the UT47.2 and all that changed.
The UT taught me more about my enjoyment of a keyboard than any other board so far. It’s by far the smallest board that I’ve ever typed on; yet in contrast, it’s also the board that I became comfortable with fastest and is now a consistent staple in the rotation of keyboards in my arsenal... yep, you read that right!
The RoPro, on the other hand, taught me about my unknown passion for ortholinear layouts. An ortho layout has proven conducive to boosting my typing speeds and also helped perfect my home-row typing/logical placement of my fingers whilst typing. It does, however, have more physical keys than both the UT and the DZ so it’s hard to say that it’s a “small” board which was one of the aims for me.
Back to the Corne and when I bit the bullet and ordered one, I proceeded to build another game-changing board for my collection.
You might be like me when you hear or read the word "ergonomic"... Prior to falling headfirst into the world of mechanical keyboards, my only real recollection or knowledge about ergonomic keyboards was that they were ugly, plastic, humped boards that Mark from Peep Show had. To be totally honest, that is what some of them look like, but there are some absolutely stunning ergonomic keyboards too.
In all seriousness though, I type on a keyboard almost all day. Healthy or not, I hardly spend time at home not using a keyboard, so anything that has even an iota of a chance to keep away the RSI fairies is good news in my books. Maybe I'm getting old, but I'm genuinely thinking about these things nowadays!
I can totally accept that RGB is not to everyone’s tastes and I agree that some RGB keyboards can be super gaudy and look pretty cheap when they’re sat there flashing away. The Corne is different.
I don’t know if I feel this way because I had to personally solder every last single one of those damn LEDs and I’ve convinced myself of their beauty during the process, or because the RGB matrix that you can create with the firmware is just a beautiful thing?
Either-way, the Corne suits it’s lighting capabilities and it looks superb when coupled with the IMK Kulio case. If you don't believe me, check out these photos 👇
Building the Corne was always going to be a step-up from my previous builds mainly due to the sheer quantity of SMD components on the PCB. If you’re not aware of what SMD components are, the short description is that the component sits on top of the board rather than having a lead/leg go through a hole.
They’re considerably more difficult to solder for a couple of reasons:
- They’re super small and really fiddly so you have to use a pair of tweezers to hold them in place.
- You can’t bend legs on the back of the PCB to hold them in place so they move around a bit
- SMD LEDs have a low tolerance to heat meaning that you can’t hold the iron on them for too long without running the risk of burning out the LED
Regardless, I wanted to build the Corne and learn along the way and boy was it a learning curve. The lesson at the end of the build is that the next time I come up against SMD components, I’ll know what to expect… I’ll still be nervous but it won’t be unknown.
The MKUK discord channel has a number of die-hard Corne fans on there (of which i am now one of) and without their help on some of my issues, I’m not sure I’d have made it through alive.
If you’re looking for a friendly community of very well informed and knowledgable people, head on over and take a look. Be warned though, opinions are hard to wade through sometimes 😉
Since building the Corne, I now realise that I can do away with even more physical keys. Having characters, symbols and macro’s hidden under modifiers make total sense to me.
I'm fully in love with the split layout, it makes long days of typing really comfortable and the look of it is something else. Every time I peek down at my hands (which isn't that often now that I am basically touch typing), I’m genuinely in awe of it.
If this post has done something strange to your thoughts and makes you want to pick one up and fall deep into the world of the Corne, I cannot rate or recommend the guys at Mechboards who currently stock the Corne. If you don't fancy building one yourself either, they do offer a building service so you can enjoy these beautiful boards without needing to solder a thing ✌️
🡐 Older NoteHello Dave!