Wooting keyboard for Linux users: review
This is a basic evaluation of the Wooting One analog mechanical keyboard from the perspective of a Linux user. Perhaps it does not deserve a full blog post, I just wanted to separate subjectivity from the technical article, which you should check out:
Wooting for Linux users: technical tips + XInput key mappings
So, did I like the keyboard? No, though I suspect it's mostly about me being used to slim keyboards.
- It is very tall, even for a mechanical keyboard, which generally hurts your (or at least my) wrists more.
- The keyswitches:
- If you choose "red" keycaps, you get a pretty bad typing experience. The actuation has no tactile feedback at all, and accidental key presses also happen quite a lot. I imagine this is usually a big deal for Linux users.
- If you choose "blue" keycaps, you can't really utilize the analog input, which is most of the point of this keyboard. But this is still likely the best option because you get 4 keys of the "opposite" type in the package, so you can put reds just for the directional keys.
- In either case, the typing is really noisy, and not in a good way.
- There is inconsistency in the feeling of keyswitches.
- Some of them feel "poorly lubricated" (not sure if actual lubrication is involved but that's the feeling).
- For the "blue" ones, the actuation point in some cases feels like eventual steep sinking of the key, while for others it feels more like direct physical resistance followed by it giving in.
- The analog input seems hard to usefully utilize. It's the same for a gamepad: you will move the stick to the maximal position 99% of the time, and it requires special effort to do a partial input. The difference is that at least with a gamepad/joystick you can precisely choose the direction even if it is at full speed.
- For the game where I did most of my testing, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, the gradual/directional movement worked well and very precisely, but I did not actually utilize it at all. I think the feature is useful almost exclusively in 3D games, and among those probably only the shooters. While I'm an avid gamer, I just don't get it.
- Linux is definitely not the first class citizen, the software lacks proper testing and some features. You can never be sure whether your technical issue is something wrong with the keyboard or just some weird Linux-specific omission. It's common to see advice "just use Windows to do a factory reset, then it will work".
- The software is proprietary and there is no API.
- Lock-in in terms of components (only keyswitches). The keyswitches are unique and only come with the keyboard. For some reason (lack of money is quoted) the ability to purchase a set of keyswitches is locked behind a Kickstarter campaign.
- Yes, it supports Linux.
- Live chat and technical support are combined into one. You feel like part of the core community.
- Almost all of the upsides of a normal mechanical keyboard.
- More precise control in games.
- Adjustable actuation point
- (this can actually mitigate the aforementioned accidental key presses, though it's pretty useless for "blue" keycaps).
- Well made and very "hackable" hardware.
Overall, I think it's a decent keyboard, and people who know what they want from it should be satisfied. For people who are on the fence, the answer is probably no, especially considering the penalty that Linux gets.