Keycool 22-key Numeric Keypad Review
Today we'll be taking a first look at the Keycool 22-key numeric keypad! One of the reasons I purchased this was because my Leopold is a tenkeyless model. This allows me to have the best of both worlds: a keypad plus mousing space without the slight twist in my wrist.
This one's got sweet white LED backlighting. There's another limited edition version with fancy colors, and of course one without LEDs altogether.
The switches are Cherry MX Clears. These switches are very similar to Cherry MX Browns, but just a bit more weighty. I feel the tactile bump sooner than I feel the bump on Browns. Think of MX Browns (light bump) and MX Blacks (linear heavy) blended together; it's very pleasing.
Build quality is good. You can't go wrong with a simple plastic black frame (unless it's glossy plastic, which it isn't). It's not particularly weighty, but not light as a feather either.
It has two USB ports, one on either side. I'm not sure if they're powered. I use them to plug in my Leopold and my Corsair M60. I wish both were on the same side or on the back; it looks dorky.
There's a very useful FN layer underneath most of the keys. On the top row, you'll find a dedicated Windows Explorer key, a calculator key, and a web browser key.
The second and third rows are all about music playback and control. The first key on the left opens up your default music player, while the other shortcuts are pretty self-explanatory.
The fourth row has two keys which allow you to control four different levels of brightness: off, low, medium, and high.
I did find a couple of minor things to be picky about. Let's go over those.
The cable is non-removable. Unfortunately, you can't use a custom cable with this one.
The green num lock LED is not my favorite; it doesn't match with the white backlighting.
The backlighting doesn't show evenly on the enter key; every other key looks good.
One unique problem I found while using this setup is the fact that, when entering characters via their alt codes, I cannot press "Alt" on my Leopold plus the code on the keypad. I'll have to do some searching around to find a fix for this.
Overall this is a very good buy if you are in need of a separate mechanical keypad. There aren't many choices out there, and I think this is the only one that offers backlighting and Cherry MX Clears.
This thing is pretty hard to acquire in the U.S. You have to spend a bit on the shipping charge to have it sent across the globe. The only place I've found to purchase the Keycool is at Taobao.com. Taobao is a Chinese marketplace, like Amazon, but it does not ship internationally by default. To get around this, you must use a middleman who will charge a minimum of 10% of the item price. I had a good experience using Taobaofocus.com to make my purchase, but there are many other middlemen to choose from. Here is the original Taobao item listing.
Well, that's it for this review. Thank you very much for reading. Make sure to leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions!
edit: The video review is now live!