The Qwerkywriter – retro charm with modern quality
Yep, it’s that time of year: I needed a new keyboard. Well, not any keyboard, but something a little special: the Qwerkywriter. I’ve been looking for a good keyboard to use with my iPad and found the probably best match of quality, durability and retro design. Honestly, this thing makes you feel like Dashiell Hammett writing up the Maltese Falcon.
Some of you might know that I’m leaning towards retro and steampunkish items a bit. Thus I always wanted a keyboard made of an old typewriter. I never managed to get my hands on one, though, as these things need to be custom made and need a lot of skills, hence they don’t come cheap, if you ever manage to find someone to build it. Doing it myself was out of the question due to the afore mentioned skills, which, for some bizarre reason, are not in my toolkit.
So it’s no wonder I’ve been positively enthusiastic when I’ve seen a video of some project evolved from a Kickstarter initiative called Qwerkywriter – a keyboard combining the nostalgic charm of an old typewriter with modern mechanical keyboard technology.
I watched a video about the prototype (see below) and was impressed by the advertised build quality. Of course I had to order a keyboard – being in Europe I’ve chosen the UK layout to match the ISO keyboard style I’m used to.
The first surprise was the amazing delivery speed. This thing was almost instantly on my doorstep, just two days from the US to Germany definitely is stunning. It arrived in a pretty solid unmarked carton box from the aptly named company Qwerkytoys, inside the rather vintage styled product box, holding the keyboard in a snug fitting foam enclosure. No worries about transport damages here.
Speaking with your computer or tablet
The keyboard itself comes with an easy quickstart leaflet and an USB loading cable. In fact that was the only drawback for me – to wait about two hours till the keyboard’s build in battery was fully loaded. After the guys from Qwerkytoys have tested my patience successfully I’ve set it up for it’s first usage, pairing it with my Macbook.
The whole process is pretty much straightforward: you switch on Bluetooth on the Mac, switch on the keyboard, press the connect button and bingo – after typing in the required code digits you’re up and running. If you want to know in detail how this works and see a cool unboxing you best look it up on the Qwerkytoy’s website. The box is even a tad cooler now, btw. But let me warn you – when you watch their videos you might end up filling out the order form faster than you can spell typewriter.
Matching the keyboard
Now, of course there’s one more thing I had to do: matching the keyboard layout with my Mac, which basically is done in seconds. I simply needed to open the system preferences, go over to the keyboard settings and hit the +-button to add the Englisch-PC keyboard. Now my Mac was matched with the layout of the Qwerkywriter and ready to rumble. In the same way I can connect to my iPad and use this in the build-in stand of the keyboard. If you use an iPad or another tablet it really looks like an old typewriter with a sheet of paper in.
Typing with the Qwerkywriter
Typing with the Qwerkywriter is just great. They keys feel solid, due to it’s metal base the whole keyboard sits firm on the table. The keys not only produce that old fashioned clicking sound – there’s no way to type secretly with this one – but sit just fine under my fingers due to their nicely curved in heads. The keyboard is well laid out and even it is pretty compact there’s quite enough room for each key. On a side note: the keycaps are interchangeable and can be replaced.
It’s not easy to say much about something that just works and is so easy to use as the Qwerkywriter. It definitely is more than just another iPad keyboard, rather it’ll replace my standard Apple keyboard as well. It’s just too much fun to write on it – you’ll see what I mean when you try it. The return lever alone brings a smile to my face every time I use it. That it’s even programmable with five keystrokes is an additional bonus. To me the Qwerkywriter is the perfect match to the Scrivener app, which I love to use both on the Mac and the iPad.