The bottom line
If you ask me of one word to describe the HHKB I will choose the word “comfort”. I feel cozy and warm inside when typing on this board. It’s the board you can take with you in bed and type on it even when it isn’t connected to anything.
It’s also why I chose not to take this board apart. I may do it in the future, however it’s one of the first keyboards I used in the past few years I have been in the hobby that I don’t feel the need to take apart. Yes, you can lube the sliders, but it feels so good stock that I don’t want to bother. Unfortunately PFU also put a seal on one of the screws so you will lose the warranty if you do take it apart – but why bother?
The board is NKRO capable however you don’t really need that either – it is fairly common to say that 6KRO is more than enough. When typing on the HHKB you want to enjoy it, like sipping a fine wine – rather than gulping down a beer.
You can gulp down the bottle though when gaming because this board will not limit your APM. I play Starcraft 2 recreationally and my average end-of-game APM is around 150-200, however in bursts I easily went to 600-700 as indicated by the replays, which is no different than my 1000Hz custom mechs.
There is no “best keyboard for gaming” or “best keyboard for typing” just as there is no “best switch for gaming” or “best switch for typing”. It is all preference.
Generally, there is a thing called input lag that is something to be aware of – but this is not the keyboard that will limit you in terms of input lag.
I know I’ve been gushing over this board and with good reason. It feels like the premium product it’s marketed to be.
But is it really really really good?
Well yes. And no. But actually yes. Confused? So was I.
In one of our previous articles we talked about QMK and how nice it is to have a fully programmable keyboard, we touched on the notion of layers and how we can use them to do our work more efficiently – and with less keys if that is the case.
PFU finally offers a programmable keyboard – but with some caveats. You only have two layers and you can only remap most keys – as an example, the keys used for Bluetooth pairing and selecting amongst the four devices you can pair with the board are not programmable. From my perspective of a QMK power user this is somewhat limiting and I can’t do my regular bindings because of the layout and I feel that two layers is not enough.
But you know what? Over the weeks I tested this board it grew on me. I couldn’t care less if the software is limited. Because the board is that good in terms of feel, acoustics and aesthetics I actually adapted to it. I learned to love it just like you love somebody who has their personal oddities just because they’re such an amazing person when you put those quirks aside.
You don’t need to lube the switches for this board. You don’t need to take it apart and stuff it with foam to sound amazing. You don’t need to spend on silent switches that you then need to lube and you are still a slave to the rattly stabilizers.
This is it. You buy it and that is it. This is the saddle, first and last you’ll ever need, cowboy.
And that is good enough for me.
HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S is available on Amazon.de for 339.99 EUR.