Wooting One Basic Red Analogue Keyboard Review
Published: 27th March 2018 | Source: Wooting | Price: |
Reviewing keyboards can be something that really stretches our writing skills to the fullest because, usually, there is so little to say that you haven't read a thousand times. By this point we think that there are hitherto undiscovered tribes in the Amazon who understand the benefits of a Cherry MX switch or RGB lighting. With the Wooting One though it wasn't our creative skills that were tortured but our muscle memory.
Unquestionably the star of the show, the reason you're here, are the analogue switches that beat at the heart of the Wooting One.
What makes them such a spectacular success is their ability to feel just like a normal switch, but with all the added benefits of their extremely flexible actuation profile. If you're just typing on it, such as this review for example, you can't really tell the difference between these switches and most of the major mechanical options. They are slightly - technical term ahoy - squishier and with a robust return spring. That isn't to say that they are squishy in the nasty membrane keyboard way, just with so little resistance you'll find them actuating with a lot less pressure than you might be used to. This has the knock on effect that you don't need to press them as hard and thus don't get fatigued when working on that novel you've been talking about. What really helps is how much adjustment the Wootility software gives you regarding the actuation point. You can set it quite deep to begin with whilst you adjust, and gradually bring it upwards as you get used to the lightness of touch required.
It's often said that the only limit to something is your creativity, but it's particularly true of the Wooting One. Sure the obvious use will be as a gaming keyboard, utilising analogue keys to replicate gaming axes. That's absolutely do-able. But because you can set the keyboard up to have one key stroke at the top of the actuation and another further down, you can also bring it to life in a raft of applications. With a little bit of setup in the software you could have a key - for example - use the square selection tool in Photoshop when lightly pressed, and the polygonal one when fully pressed. Or the brush tool and the pen tool. If you're a keen photographer then you can have the graduated filter and radial filter on the same key in Lightroom. Or selection start and end in a video editor. You really are only limited by your imagination.
If there are any negatives it's more a problem with the market as a whole and/or our physical limitations rather than anything negative regarding the Wooting One itself. Because analogue keys are new, the Wooting One has to pretend to be a controller. Most FPS games for example don't have different speed of movement utilising WASD because keys are, normally, on or off. Depressed or not. So you have to get used to using the Wooting One as a pseudo-controller or understanding that certain games are, by their very nature, unable to utilise it to its fullest. Secondly the price of a 360 pad or other controller style is affordable enough that it is hard to believe anyone who wants to play, for example, Forza on their PC hasn't already got a perfectly good pad with which to do so. Lastly there is no denying that the Wooting One has a bit of a acclimatisation period. I've been touch typing for the best part of thirty years so it took a few days before my fingers remembered I had an analogue switch beneath them rather than a digital one. That isn't a fault of the Wooting at all, it works just as happily as a digital one, but it's worth bearing in mind if you're particularly far down the "teaching an old dog new tricks" path. The benefits more than outweigh this learning curve though, in the same manner than learning to use a HOTAS or wheel and pedal setup requires beating your muscle memory into submission but is worth the pain.
However, those are slight issues around what is an excellent product, rather than problems with the Wooting One itself. It's a joy to type on, the keys are fantastically customisable and flexible, the lighting is brilliant and - for a small volume company - the build quality is excellent. There is nothing else quite like it and the long gestation period has been worthwhile and led to a product that deserves all the plaudits it is bound to receive.