Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

First Look: Ajazz AK832 Wireless three mode mechanical keyboard (Brown Switch Model)

June 11, 2024 0 Comments


When you think of a mechanical keyboard, a low profile keyboard is not very common and they are kind of pricey. So of course when the Ajazz AK832 was on sale on Shopee, I quickly grabbed it.

 

Although the board is not hotswappable (i.e. t's forever stuck on brown switches it came with), the RGB is only white light and I could not choose the type of switch it came with (the other options were sold out), it was worth the deal at that price to try out a low profile mechanical keyboard. There are other switch options, so you can choose between Red, Brown and Blue switches (depending on the seller you get it from and the variations they are selling).


It might not come with the digital screen like the Ajazz AK832 Pro, but I am happy with it. Delivery did take some time but it came eventually. 


[First Look: CIDOO ABM066 Barebones Kit Alice-layout Review]



What are low-profile mechanical keyboards?

Low-profile mechanical keyboards offer a unique typing experience compared to traditional mechanical keyboards.  They give an experience similar to typing on your laptop keypad as the keycaps are uniform and short, the switch also has a shorter travel distance - which means that keys do not need to be pressed down as far as a regular switch to register a keystroke, resulting in a quicker typing experience.


[Unlocking the World of Mechanical Keyboards: A Beginner Guide]

[MACHENIKE K500W vs RK71 Mechanical Keyboards]


If you are transitioning from a laptop membrane keyboard, a low-profile keyboard might offer the closest experience if you are already used to typing furiously away on your laptop's keyboard.  When I first started using my first mechanical keyboard with linear switches, it did take some time to get used to the linear switches. There was a slight difference in the amount of pressure to be exerted on the keys. Another thing to get used to was the various different types of keycap profiles!


[Mechanical Keyboard Switches Explained: Your Complete Guide to Types and Characteristic]

[Your Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Keycap Profile for Your Mechanical Keyboard]


Here are some other points which might make a low profile mechanical keyboard more appealing to you: 


1. Slimmer Design: Low-profile mechanical keyboards are designed to be thinner and sleeker than traditional mechanical keyboards. This slim profile can be aesthetically pleasing and can also be more ergonomic, especially for users who prefer a lower typing angle.


2. Shorter Key Travel: One of the defining features of low-profile mechanical keyboards is their shorter key travel distance compared to standard mechanical keyboards. This means that the keys don't need to be pressed down as far to register a keystroke, resulting in a quicker typing experience.


3. Quieter Typing: Due to their shorter key travel and often different switch designs, low-profile mechanical keyboards tend to produce less noise compared to their traditional counterparts. This can be advantageous in environments where noise is a concern, such as offices or shared workspaces.


3. Different Switch Options: Low-profile mechanical keyboards typically use switches that are specifically designed for their slimmer profile. These switches often have characteristics similar to traditional mechanical switches but may have a shallower actuation point and overall shorter travel distance. Some popular low-profile switch options include Kailh Choc switches and Cherry MX Low Profile switches.


4. Portability: The slim and lightweight design of low-profile mechanical keyboards makes them highly portable compared to bulkier traditional mechanical keyboards. They are easier to carry around, whether you're commuting to work or traveling.


5. Limited Keycap Compatibility: Due to their unique switch design and slimmer profile, low-profile mechanical keyboards may have limited keycap compatibility compared to standard mechanical keyboards. This means that customizing the keycaps on a low-profile keyboard might be more challenging.


6. Typing Experience: The typing experience on a low-profile mechanical keyboard can vary depending on personal preference and the specific switches used. Some users enjoy the quicker, more responsive feel of low-profile switches, while others may prefer the more substantial key travel of traditional mechanical switches.


Overall, low-profile mechanical keyboards offer a different typing experience that appeals to users looking for a slimmer design, quieter operation, and potentially faster typing speeds. However, it's essential to try out different keyboards and switches to find the one that best suits your preferences and typing style.


Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Review: Shopping Experience at WildAppleStudio Online Shop

June 05, 2024 0 Comments


Here is the promised experience of buying from Apple’s online shop! 


If you are new here, Apple is an artist in Hong Kong specialising in polymer clay creations ranging from charms, artisan keycaps and accessories. Previously I ordered two adorable and intricately made Miffy and Totoro keycaps from her Etsy store. More about that experience can be found here: 

[Keycap Series: April Artist Featuring wildapplestudio]


This time I tried buying from her online shop instead of Etsy. The shop was easy to navigate and I was able to find what I wanted with her April shopdrop. πŸ™ˆ The sleepy Eevee was too adorable, that my hand had a life of its own and I bought it! 


With the many different platforms and passwords we have nowadays, it was a refreshing experience to simply add to cart and check out; without having to create or connect to a Google or another account. The simplicity was what made it all (too) easy to purchase the wonderful delights Apple has in her online store!


In the checkout page, input the address and contact number, then choose the mode of payment - Paypal, Credit card or Apple Pay etc.. I chose PayPal and before I could blink, it was checked out. πŸ™ˆ It took about 4 working days for the order to be processed with an email to inform that it has been sent out, and another 6 business working days to arrive in my mailbox! 😍


[Unboxing of Sleepy Eevee Artisan Keycap by WildAppleStudio]



The FAQ section mentions that orders usually are shipped out within 7-10 working days, then about 11-14 business days for international shipping. So once you have received the confirmation email, just wait for a bit to receive the update that the parcel has been shipped out.


[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]


Do note that with dynamic currency conversion, there may be minor fluctuations based on market conditions.

Besides the excellent workmanship and the little details on my keycaps, here are what I liked about purchasing from the online store:


πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— The ease of adding to cart and checking out without the need to create an account. As long as you have your order number, you can still keep track of the order status without needing to log in.
πŸ’— Shipping and taxes are calculated when you check out. Not every online (i.e. Shopify or similar) store has this included, which can be a painful event if your parcel is held by customs waiting for you to pay what is due.
πŸ’— Automatic currency conversion based on your location. Converting the currency to what you are using (based on your location) is something we tend to take for granted and not every online store has this function enabled. For some, even if they have the function and enabled, you would still need to manually click on the function, which is one more step extra.
πŸ’— Simple and clean design for this shop with clear navigation for finding FAQs, contacting Apple, or the latest products etc. It was easy to navigate the taxonomy with the top navigation bar containing the right kind of links for both new and regular visitors.
πŸ’— The About section where we get to know the artist, and the FAQ section which answers to the most commonly asked questions.




Remember to compare prices and shipping costs across different artisans and platforms to find the best fit for your budget!


Artist Info

  • Style: πŸ§š Whimsical / Nature-Inspired / Gaming / Anime / Food 🍲
  • Pricing (per keycap)an average of S$15 to S$80+ (US$11 to US$60+)
  • Shipping to Singapore: less than $10 (US$8)
  • Shipping Internationally: depends on your location but should be reasonable. 
  • Wait Time: Orders usually are shipped out within 7-10 working days, then about 11-14 business days for international shipping (to reach you). 
  • Material: Polymer clay and protected with UV resin
  • Location: Hong Kong 
  • Social Media: 

Have you gotten any keycaps from wildapplestudio? If the answer is yes, let me  know in the comments below what you loved and what did you get! 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

First Look: CIDOO ABM066 Barebones Kit Alice-layout Review

May 15, 2024 0 Comments


Finally, I have my very first Alice-layout keyboard! Well it might just be the barebones kit without the full set of switches and keycaps, but it also cost much less on Lazada. I managed to get it on sale (as always) for under S$40! The last I checked it is still cheap and going for about S$65-120 currently. So if you are interested, you can find it here on Lazada. Alternatively you could also check out Shopee where the average pricing is around S$72-89+. Of course with sales, and the use of vouchers and coins you might be able to get it for slightly lesser at either shopping platforms.


With some left over Akko Jelly Blues (tactile), Orange (tactile), and Pinks (linear), I decided to go for mixed tactile and linear experience. I also happened to have a cute cat themed keycaps set that I thought would go well with it.



Delivery was not so fast, taking about a 7 days to arrive. Confirmation of the order took about 2 days and once confirmed it was on its way. One thing to note if you are buying from Lazada Choice is that is can be a sort of gamble, sometimes the order gets cancelled and you lose out on the best price at the time you ordered. Other times the seller takes almost forver to pack and send out the item. There’s also no way to contact the seller except through the Lazada help chat support (not the chat bot). The good thing is when the order goes through, the joys of receiving your items which you got at a deal is oh so sweet. 😁


Given the price point, I guess I cannot complain that it arrived in its box and nothing else. There was no protection, but thankfully it arrived intact (the box was a little beaten but it survived). It came with a manual guide, cable and keycap / switch puller. 



Adding the ‘Flesh’ to the BareBones Kit Experience

As mentioned earlier, the concept of affixing the switches into the board was quite novel and seemed simple, but the execution was another story. Some of the switches were not affixed securely resulting into the switch and keycap being loose. Not knowing how much strength to use and not wanting to break the board can be pretty nerve-wracking. That and the fact that you would expect the switches to fix nicely and easily. But I am not complaining since this was on sale and is working as it should. Alternatively if you are interested in an Alice-layout but want less of having to assemble your own, you could get it pre-assembled with switches and keycaps already on it. 

But if you  want to try and have some sort of sense of accomplishment putting on your own switches and keycaps, this could be a good option. 😎


Now this being my very first Alice-layout and a barebones kit no less, it did take me a while to figure out how to affix the switches. It could be me or the fit of the board, but it took some effort to get the switches to fit (the key is to find the right angle and push it in). It was initially a tad loose for the “right shift” and “? “ buttons but I took them out and out them in again and made sure they fit in tightly (usually there would be a click when you’ve gotten it right).



I have not yet customised the digital screen so it is stuck on 01 April, but I’ll get to it … eventually. Here’s a video I found which gives a pretty good overview about the aesthetics and an overview of the RGB light effects and hot keys.  



Typing Experience

I would say that having this split does make it ergonomically friendly for the left and right hands. The only thing is getting used to it. I found myself having to look at the keyboard or risk hitting the wrong key, also my left hand is really used to hitting the ‘y’ key and keeps on mistaking the left shift key for the ‘a’ key.πŸ˜‚ So that’s probably something to get used to (that and the interesting fact that there is a ‘b’ for both the left and right spilt of the board).


For the moment (for this post and just using the out of the box default settings), the experience typing on an Alice-layout is pretty refreshing. It’s supposed to nurture a healthier typing posture and reduces strain; let’s see how this goes.



Default Settings and Connecting to devices

The out of the box key mapping should be alright for a Windows system. I am using it currently on an iPad Pro and the copy / paste key, display home shortcuts are not as I would expect (or I just need to get used to the layout). Other than that it is alright.


Connection to an iPad or Android device is relatively simple, just set the keyboard to Bluetooth setting, and turn on Bluetooth for your device which you want to connect to, press the FN + Q / W / E to pair. The keyboard can be simultaneously connected to 3 devices at a time. 


If you want to connect to a computer (Windows / Mac), you also have the option to connect it via the USB cable it came with or simply use the USB for the 2.4GHZ. Of course you have to remember to adjust the keyboard setting for the 2.4GHZ connection.


What I love

πŸ’•The split layout (takes some time getting used to but so far so good).

πŸ’•The LCD screen with the battery indicator so it gives a good visual cue how much power is left.

πŸ’• The RBG effects, adds that something special when you are typing.

πŸ’•Being able to customize the key mapping and LCD screen.

πŸ’• The default setting for the ‘b’ key being on both the left and right side gives it more flexibility for the hands.

πŸ’• The ability to swap out the switches and keycaps for personalization or a different keep experience is tthe reason why I got it.

πŸ’• The ease to use right out of the box, to connect and start typing  away.

πŸ’• The quality of the build which made my tactile switches and cat theme keycaps produce a nice mellow thocky sound.


Not so much

πŸ’” It is not as easy to affix the switches, resulting in loose switches and keycaps (till you find the right angle to get them in).

πŸ’” Customization for the LCD screen has to be done via a driver (on a Windows system).


So, there you go my first look at and review of my experienc with the CIDOO AM066 Barebones Kit Alice-layout. Given that the loves are more than the not so much, I’ll say give it is with a try. For those of us located in Singapore, you can get it here for about S$65 or cheaper when it is one sales from Lazada. Alternatively you could also check out Shopee where the average pricing  is around S$72-89+.


For those you who are not really into mechanical keyboards (yet), I would still recommended you try the Alice-layout. If you think that the typing noise is too loud you could always swap them out for silent linear switches that would sound not more noisy than the normal laptop membrane keys. And at this price, it really is worth a try so that your hands are not strained when you are working for long periods of time at the computer.


Have you tried the an Alice layout keyboard before? If the answer is yes, let me know in the comments below how your experience was! 



Monday, May 13, 2024

An Introduction to Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town Nintendo Switch

May 13, 2024 0 Comments


Have you played any cosy games? If you are new to gaming and just got onboard the Nintendo Switch bandwagon, I would like to introduce you to Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town.


If you are looking for something aside from the busyness of life and would like to curl up somewhere comfy and escape to a virtual world where you can farm, talk wait virtual villagers and manage your farm which you inherited from your virtual grandpa? Welcome to the enchanting world of Story of Seasons: Friends of Olive Town.


Nestled at the heart of Olive Town, you inherited piece of land from your grandfather. Olive Town is more than just a fertile soil for crops; it's a community teeming with fascinating characters, each with their own stories, dreams, and aspirations. As you till the land, raise livestock, and explore the vast beauty of the valley, you'll also have the opportunity to form profound connections with the townspeople.


The changing seasons play a pivotal role in your farming journey, bringing both challenges and rewards. With each new season, you'll adapt, strategize, and learn the rhythms of nature. Tend to your crops, care for your animals, and unlock the secrets of the land while embracing the ebb and flow of life in Olive Town.


But it's not all about toil and sweat. Olive Town comes alive with an array of lively festivals, opportunities for exploration, and the chance to delve into the captivating mysteries of the valley. From seasonal celebrations that showcase the town's unique culture to quests that will test your mettle, there's always something new and exciting on the horizon.


As the seasons dance by, so too do the challenges and rewards of farming. Adapt your strategies, tend to your crops, and uncover the mysteries of the land while embracing the natural cycle of growth and renewal.


From bustling festivals to thrilling quests, Olive Town offers a plethora of opportunities for exploration and delight. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the town, embark on adventures, and unravel the secrets hidden within its charming streets.


I like this as it is single player, there is no need to interact with humans (which can be comforting for some), and you play at your own pace.  There might be a lot of graining but the satisfaction in the consistency is there as you develop friendships with your virtual villagers. 


[Top 10 Tips When Your Start Playing Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town]


You can always buy the physical game cartridge (and resell it when you have completed the game) or check out the Nintendo e-Shop for sales (they have pretty good sales from time to time).


Do let me know in the comments below what are your favourite cozy games and why! 





Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Exploring Artisan Keycap Artists: A Review of O_OOHKey

May 08, 2024 0 Comments


O_OOHKey
, is located in South Korea, specializing in resin artisan keycaps and loves cats! The process of creating the little creations is fascinating: the artist posts sneak peaks of the process and it is mesmerizing to watch. So do check out their Instagram (or Discord if you have the app)!

There's actually an interesting backstory behind the artist's online persona: in Korean the word μŒμ•  means the cry of a baby, and when re-interpreted it was born as 'O__OOH ' in English.


I have not yet bought from O_OOHKey, so I am not able to put them in my Featured Artists List (yet). But I did win a giveaway from them and appreciated that the shipping cost was covered (not every artist does this), so here is this post to share about good things. 😍 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]


The quality of the keycap and my interactions with O_OOHKey got me thinking to start another series, "Exploring Artisan Keycaps" where I curate (and possibly in the future purchase from as well) keycap artists with unique designs, good quality and interesting backstories for their keycaps, along with shipping which is not more than S$25


Doesn't little Ninku look so adorable?

Designs

O_OOHKey's current works (in 2024) revolve on different variations of the below:


  1.  O_OOH CAT: Kitten looking like suspenders but wearing a diaper. 😸
  2.  Ho-Raeng: In Korea, there is a culture called '12 gods'. To celebrate the Year of the Black Tiger, we made a tiger character by hand sculpting.πŸ’–
  3. SneakInKitty: Introducing SneakInKitty, our adorable new character! Watch as this lovable kitten playfully sneaks inside a stylish sneaker, bringing a burst of charm to your day. Shower lots of love on this little feline companion – a delightful addition to your world of whimsy and style! 
  4. Ryong-E: Dive into the mythical charm of the Year of the Blue Dragon with our exquisite Blue Dragon, Ryong-E! This blue dragon keycap created in celebration of 2024 boasts a captivating azure hue symbolizing strength and prosperity. Embrace the upcoming year with Ryong-E, whose horns will ward off all your hardships! Meet Ryong-E at Raffle!
  5. NinKu: A cute kid who dreams of becoming a ninja

There are also other occasional designs such as the Cloud Keycaps and Stingray which are priced at US$20-25. So definitely something to look forward to!

The Cloud & Stingray Series which are always available 

How to Buy

The mode of which the keycaps are sold is via Raffle Sales with Google Forms: where you sign up to win a chance to buy the keycaps. The form is usually open for a week and sales are conducted on a first come first serve basis. If payment is not made within 24 hours, then it gets cancelled and you would not be able to particulate in the next raffle. 


O_OOHKey announces the latest sales and posts about past creations on their Instagram. They also occasionally have giveaways, so do check them out! 😍

Artist Info

  • Style: 🐯 Fantasy πŸ‰⛅
  • Pricing (per keycap)an average of US$20 to US$60 (S$26-S$80+)
  • Shipping Internationally: Depends on your country and ranges from USD$15-$30 (S$20-S$50)
  • Wait Time: Not including the time it took to be processed / made, it took within 5 business days (total was 8 days if you count the weekends) to receive my adorable keycap from South Korea.
  • Material: Resin (Hand sculpted)
  • Location: South Korea
  • Payment Method: Paypal
  • Social Media: 

πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— Fantasy / Animal Themes keycaps which are cool and adorable looking.
πŸ’— Light weight and easy to install. It fit my switch seamlessly.
πŸ’— Quality for coloring of the resin and the detail. The little detail where the artist has their logo behind the keycap is genius!
πŸ’— Has personality and unique.
πŸ’— Reasonable shipping price and overall pricing (coming from South Korea and in USD$). 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Deciding Against Joining the Etsy Affiliate Program

May 02, 2024 0 Comments

While the Etsy Affiliate Program may seem like an attractive opportunity at first glance, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before committing. My first encounter with Etsy was for getting Artisan Keycaps as a buyer. The experience was relatively good as a buyer so I thought if they had an affiliate program it would be so cool sharing the shops  I enjoyed purchasing from and earn a little pocket money.


So I went and researched about it and while there were some good points, these 2 main "bad" points stood out so much that I decided not to join it.


  1. To join the affiliate program by AWIN, you would have to leave a deposit which would be returned to you after verification. Although it is a refundable $5 application fee to join (Awin, not Etsy itself). You only get back your deposit once you make your first sale. This is the first time I have encountered signing up for an affiliate where you have to pay, and only get that amount back when you make a sale. That was not very welcoming, so I will be going it a miss. 
  2. The other factor was that although the program would pay 4% for “standard publisher” referrals and 2% per sale for referrals generated by user generated content (UGC), the sellers who have a successful sale might have to pay for more as part of "marketing" fees e.g. 12-15%. 

That just defeats the purpose of my guide on affordable and reasonably priced artisan keycaps and shipping fees. I want to support my favorite artists but I do not want to be the one to drives up the cost (and end up paying more for it when I want to get something).


As a buyer, the experience is alright and if you know what you are searching for, you'd get what you want at the price you are happy with. Or for those of us in Singapore, Lazada and Shopee are good alternatives as well.

Since I am not a seller on Etsy, I cannot say how good or bad the experience using the platform is, but based on the terms and conditions for the affiliate program, it seems a little unfair for the smaller shops and indirectly increases the overall prices for items getting sold using affiliate links. Passing on the cost of affiliate marketing to sellers who have nor opted for such fees is unfair, and inadvertently drive up cost. In addition, buyers are ultimately penalized for it by having to pay more and the seller does not necessary have an increase in profit with all the additional fees. This might also explain why some sellers have really ridiculously prices items and shipping.

The only ones who would truly benefit from the affiliate model from Etsy would be the company itself (saving in marketing costs), the bigger shops where the sellers are aware of and factor in these costs to drive up sales (increasing prices as a result), and the affiliates who hardly buy anything off Etsy and just promote items they like.

As a result, Etsy links in my blog will not be affiliate links but just link references to bring you to the shops I have shopped at and enjoyed the products and experience. πŸ˜€

If you are a buyer or seller (or affiliate) on Etsy, do share with us your experience in the comments below!


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

MACHENIKE K500W vs RK71 Mechanical Keyboards

April 30, 2024 0 Comments

Mechanical keyboards have become an essential tool for gamers and typists who demand precision and comfort. In this review, we'll be pitting two compact contenders against each other: the MACHENIKE K500W and the Royal Kludge RK71. Both promise a compact form factor without compromising on performance, but let's delve deeper into their features to see which one emerges as the ultimate compact mechanical keyboard.


Design and Build Quality:

The MACHENIKE K500W and RK71 share a compact, tenkeyless design, making them suitable for users who value desk space. The K500 boasts a sleek aluminum top plate that not only adds durability but also gives it a premium look. On the other hand, the RK71 features a more minimalistic design with a plastic case but still maintains a solid build.


Both keyboards come equipped with a variety of switch options. For this review, we had the red switches for both keyboards; providing a smooth and pleasant linear experience. The MACHENIKE K500W offers customizable Cherry MX switches, allowing users to tailor their typing experience. The RK71, on the other hand typically features Gateron or similar switches, providing a similar experience and actuation force.


Performance:

Typing performance is a critical aspect, and both keyboards deliver a satisfying experience. The choice of switches, whether Cherry MX on the K500W or Gateron on the RK71, ensures reliable and responsive keystrokes.


Both keyboards support N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting, crucial features for gamers who need every keystroke to register accurately. The compact layout might take some getting used to for users accustomed to full-sized keyboards, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Of course if you prefer more keys, then the K500W has more keys then the RK71.


Functionality and Features:

The MACHENIKE K500W and RK71 each bring their unique set of features to the table. The K500 includes dedicated media controls, programmable macro keys, and customizable RGB backlighting. The RK71, while lacking dedicated media controls, compensates with Bluetooth connectivity, making it a viable option for users who want a compact wireless setup.


Customization options are abundant on both keyboards. The K500W's RGB lighting can be fine-tuned using dedicated software, allowing users to create visually stunning setups. The RK71, meanwhile, offers Bluetooth functionality, providing users with the freedom to connect to multiple devices seamlessly.


Choosing between the MACHENIKE K500W and RK71 ultimately boils down to individual preferences and priorities. The K500W  impresses with its premium build, customizable Cherry MX switches, and feature-rich design. Meanwhile, the RK71 offers a more minimalistic approach with Bluetooth connectivity as a standout feature. When you have turned off the RGB settings on both keyboards, there is a light indicator to tell you the K500W being turned on, whereas the RK71 does not light up when you turn it on. Of course, if you did not turn off the RGB setting then this might not be something which would be a factor to consider which to get.


If you prioritize a robust build and extensive customization options, the MACHENIKE K500W might be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if a more compact design are your priorities, the RK71 holds its ground admirably. Both models are Bluetooth and wirelessly compatible too. Regardless of your choice, both keyboards prove that compact form factors can indeed pack a punch in the world of mechanical keyboards.


Choosing the right keyboard depends on your specific needs, preferences, and use cases. Both the MACHENIKE K500-B94 and the Royal Kludge RK71 have their strengths, so let's consider a few factors that might help you make a decision:


MACHENIKE K500W 

Strengths:

  • Build Quality: The aluminum top plate adds durability and a premium feel.
  • Customization: Cherry MX switches allow for a personalized typing experience.
  • Feature-Rich: Dedicated media controls, programmable macro keys, and customizable RGB lighting.

Considerations:

  • Size: It is a tenkeyless design, so if you need a numeric keypad, this might be a drawback.
  • Wired: While some users prefer a detachable cable, others may find a fixed cable more convenient.


Royal Kludge RK71

Strengths:

  • Compact and Portable: Ideal for users who prioritize portability and desk space.
  • Wireless Capability: Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity allows for seamless switching between devices.
  • Versatility: Various switch options (Gateron, Kailh) cater to different typing preferences.


Considerations:

  • Build Material: The plastic case might not feel as premium as metal alternatives.
  • Feature Set: It lacks some features like dedicated media controls found in the MACHENIKE K500W . But for everting else there are shortcuts. πŸ˜†


[Royal Kludge RK71 Mechanical Keyboard Review: Compact Elegance with Versatile Performance]


Decision Factors:

Usage Scenario: Consider if you need a compact and portable solution for on-the-go use (RK71) or if you prefer a feature-rich keyboard for gaming and productivity (K500W).


Budget: Compare the prices of both keyboards and see which one aligns with your budget while meeting your requirements.


Ultimately, both keyboards are solid choices, so the decision comes down to your budget, personal preferences and how well each keyboard meets your specific needs.


Which would be your choice? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Keycap Series: April Artist Featuring wildapplestudio

April 25, 2024 0 Comments

For the month of April, the artist of the month is Apple, who is based in Hong Kong. It's not too far away from Singapore, so shipping is relatively reasonable being under S$10. Her keycap creations range from an average of S$15 to S$80+, which when compared to the other options out there it was one of the pull factors for me (beside the beautiful design of course). πŸ˜† 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]


In addition to sculpting intricately cute keycaps, Apple also does charms and accessories. I first came across her works on Instagram and went to check it out. Miffy and a Totoro inspired keycap got my attention and I just had to get them as a birthday present for myself.


They are my very first artisan clay keycaps and delivery was faster than expected. They even came with a cute card and 2 adorable stickers. Packaging was solid: the keycaps came in good condition and were protected with sufficient padding. They even had their little case for further protection to make their way from Hong Kong to Singapore.   



Ever since the GST (goods service tax) increased to 9% this year in Singapore, and that all goods will be charged GST... it just gets too complicated for me. It used to be for only items over the value of S$400 having to get charged GST, but now with the new rule, even items below that amount will be charged (supposedly). I don't want to have to pay extra just to get my items from Customs or go through the trouble of having to do so. Hence, platforms which already include GST, such as Amazon, Shopee, LazadaQoo10 and now Etsy are a blessing in that aspect as a buyer. 


The platform I chose to get them this time was on Etsy. It was relatively easy to log in, there are a couple of options to choose from signing up brand new or using an existing Google, Apple or Facebook Account. Apple has her own online website shop as well, but I choose to get them via Etsy simply because the tax was already accounted for (on the platform).

The ordering experience was pretty straight forward and simple enough: pick what you like, add to cart and check out. Payment was via Paypal. 


Apple was really responsive and updated once the keycaps were shipped out. It was a fantastic experience. πŸ‘


Update: I succumbed to her recent April shopdrop. πŸ™ˆ The sleepy Eevee was too adorable, that my hand had a life of it's own and I bought it! 


This time I tried purchasing it from her online shop instead of Etsy (since it was only available there at the time). It was easy (too easy πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ) to purchase: no log-in was required, just add what you want to cart and check out. The only downside is that there was no estimated period mentioned on when the item would be sent out in the confirmation email. It would be nice to have that mentioned in the confirmation email. But a quick check on the FAQ section mentions that orders usually are shipped out within 7-10 working days, then about 11-14 business days for international shipping.


In the checkout page, input the address and contact number, then choose the mode of payment - Paypal, Credit card or Apple Pay etc.. I chose PayPal and before I could blink, it was checked out. πŸ™ˆ It took about 4 working days for the order to be processed with an email to inform that it is on its way! 😍


Once I get the little cutie, I would be writing about the experience from purchasing from the online shop vs Etsy. So do stay tuned for that! 


[Review: Shopping Experience at WildAppleStudio Online Shop]

[Unboxing of Sleepy Eevee Artisan Keycap by WildAppleStudio]



Artist Info

  • Style: πŸ§š Whimsical / Nature-Inspired / Gaming / Anime / Food 🍲
  • Pricing (per keycap): an average of S$15 to S$80+ (US$11 to US$60+)
  • Shipping to Singapore: less than $10 (US$8)
  • Shipping Internationally: depends on your location but should be reasonable
  • Wait Time: Orders usually are shipped out within 7-10 working days, then about 11-14 business days for international shipping. My order via Etsy took  a total of 12 days (9 working days) to get processed and reach Singapore (it actually just took 6 working days to arrive from Hong Kong) which is quite good. 
  • Material: Polymer clay and protected with UV resin
  • Location: Hong Kong 
  • Social Media: 

πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— Intricate details and amazing skills in fitting detail into a keycap.
πŸ’— The evenness and smoothness (clean lines) of the end product.
πŸ’— Does not look mass manufactured and has personality.
πŸ’— Good quality.
πŸ’— Amicable, responsive artist (to address and concerns or questions). 
πŸ’— Reasonable shipping price and overall pricing.

Remember to compare prices and shipping costs across different artisans and platforms to find the best fit for your budget!

Have you gotten any keycaps from wildapplestudio? If the answer is yes, let me  know in the comments below what you loved and what did you get! 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

[Beginner's Guide to Artisan Keycaps: Everything You Need to Know]


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Paper Mario: The Origami King Review (with spoilers)

April 17, 2024 0 Comments
Do note that this blog post may contain product affiliate links. If you purchase something through a link on this blog post, we may receive a commission, which goes into the upkeep of this blog.

Paper Mario: The Origami King is the sixth installment in the Paper Mario series. It was released on the Nintendo Switch worldwide on 17 July 2020. The game follows Mario, who opposes an evil army of origami characters known as Folded Soldiers. They are ruled by the Origami King, King Olly.


This was my first experience with the Paper Mario series, and the ring-based system used to solve puzzles was a pretty interesting and novel way to play a game. Some gamers have said that it is a bit repetitive and pointless, but I think it's a relaxing way to play a game for the first time. 


Your brain does not overwork itself trying to solve complex puzzles, and you have fun while following along the storyline (which by the way was pretty nice). The motion controls are relatively easy enough compared to the likes to Mario Odyssey or Zelda, so it's the perfect game for a first timer too. 


Oh and did I mention that the animation and art transition is simply beautiful? The way Olivia transforms and folds herself into an elemental is a treat for the eyes!


So back to the game's storyline.... In order to bring back the world to its original form, Mario together which his new friend, Olivia travel throughout the Kingdom to defeat the Folded Soldiers and their overlord, King Olly.

The battle ring system might be rather repetitive at times, but getting those coins for shopping and confetti to fill up the holes was a motivation. It did help that the battles with the big bosses were more challenging and different from the usual. Instead of sliding the boss into position, you have to create routes for Mario to follow so that he can step on buttons to activate abilities to trump the bosses. 

Depending on the direction he can turn certain abilities on. Once turned on, he can use the special abilities. The challenging part is that you need to get him to land on an attack icon to deliver a devastating blow. Miscalculating your movements or land on the wrong button might be a regular occurrence and Mario might not be able to attack.

There are 5 streamers (big bosses to defeat): RedBlueYellowPurple, and Green.

[Paper Mario Walkthrough Guide] -> this was a life saver clearing some of the challenging stages.


The journey to each streamer leads to a different part of the kingdom and simply exploring the areas are a visual treat. Along the way, they pick up a Bob-omb with amnesia, whom Olivia names Bobby. He helps in some battles and is really handy to have around. 



What I was not expecting was him sacrificing himself to save Olivia after he regains back his memory. I was totally not expecting that. I thought it was a happy feels game... till Bobby blew himself up. I did get quite attached to that little bomb. 😭


After getting over my virtual grief (for about a month), there were some quirky characters which also grew on me. The Professor, who is a Toad who can dig up coins and treasure! If only I had someone like this in real life, my bank account would also be plush.


In addition, Olivia, whom some (experienced) players might find irritating as she pops up to guide Mario (the player) to certain points in the game; too much hand holding they think. However, if this is your very first game, she is the perfect guide and to be honest, I kind of grew fond of her as we travelled the Kingdom defeating the foes. Just like Bobby, I was totally not expecting her (pointless) end. Yes, you read that right... she "died". 😭😭😭

Of course they have an alternative or true ending, but both King Olly and Olivia are shown as origami people in their origami castle and it's up to you to imagine they are happily ever after. 



Verdict: 3.5/5


After 55+ hours invested into this game and after reaching the ending, I can say this game started out as a fun narrative with plenty of exciting locations and ended up a little bittersweet. As I progressed along the story, I started to get attached to the characters that when I realized they were no longer, it left a virtual void in my virtual heart. πŸ’”

Because of what happened to Bobby, it took me awhile before I could continue on and complete the game. While I enjoyed the mechanics, gameplay and adorable paper animations, the ending could have been better. For a children's game, the theme starts out fun and cute but ends on a heavy note with a badly worded wish which ruined everything (for me).

Happier times with Bobby 

Also, the whole premise was a little weird: a Toad who is so good at making origami folded the antagonist, Olly, and using a forbidden technique gives him life only for his creation to turn on him. Olly is Olivia's brother, but he is the one who folded her and used the same technique to bring her to life. So instead of being Olivia's brother won't he considered more like a father? But no, he is her brother.... who then goes on to cause havoc to the Mushroom Kingdom and Olivia aims to set it right as it originally was, sacrificing herself in the process.


A little google search also turned up some depressing news that as cute as the Paper Mario Series sounds, the endings are always "bad". The accompanying "new" characters never survive and must always sacrifice themselves for the greater good (of the storyline).  I mean.. like why though? 


Does it have to have that morale to the story in order to make it a good game where such a (pointless) sacrifice is needed? 


Life is already riddled with it's own challenge's so why would someone knowingly want to pay to play a depressing series which is disguised as adorable is beyond me. I am not against bad endings, they just have to make sense to be good. 


At the very least they could scripted the game better, and given it a more satisfying ending which makes more sense. Then again, maybe that is why they included the alternate "happier" ending which still was lackluster. 


Why do the accompanying mascot characters of the Paper Mario Series always have to sacrifice themselves for the greater good even if there could have been a better ending? Just because they will not have their own game series does not mean they have to be "killed off". They could happily live in their virtual worlds and avoid such needless "deaths" with the right smart choices.


Paper Mario: The Origami King might be the game for you if you like the bizarre charm found within Mario's world and love participating in puzzles. Also if you can stomach the not so satisfying ending.  I would have loved it if the ending was more conclusive and obviously not just means to an end with the wrong choice of words and a whole lot of naivety on Olivia's part. 


Under S$60 at Shopee




Have you played Paper Mario: The Origami King yet? If so, what are your thoughts about it? Let us know in the comments below!


Monday, April 15, 2024

Unleashing the Power of Precision Typing: MACHENIKE K500W Mechanical Keyboard Review

April 15, 2024 0 Comments

In the ever-evolving world of gaming peripherals, finding the perfect mechanical keyboard can be a daunting task. The MACHENIKE K500W enters the scene with promises of precision typing, customizable RGB lighting, and a robust build. 


In this review, we'll dive a little more into the features and performance of this mechanical marvel to see if it lives up to the hype. I got this on sales from Shopee so this will only be based on my experience. You can check out Shopee and check out more reviews before your make your decision to get your very own!


If you are wondering what is Shopee , it’s basically a shopping platform like Amazon but with pricing closer to Temu. They have an app for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, mostly for the South East Asian countries. Besides the (probably) more affordable (cheaper) pricing, shipping is either free or less than SGD$2 (for majority of the sellers). The only downside is that you need a local number and address for each of the Shopee country app. 

 If you have not signed up for Shopee and want to get S$5 off your first order, sign up 🠊here🠈😊


Design and Build Quality:

The MACHENIKE K500W immediately catches the eye with its sleek and modern design. The brushed aluminum top plate not only adds a premium touch but also ensures durability. The compact tenkeyless design is a gamer's dream, saving valuable desk space without sacrificing functionality.

The quality of the keycaps and switches are comparable with the ones which came with the RK71

The keycaps are made of double-shot ABS plastic, providing a satisfying tactile feel and ensuring longevity. The key switches themselves are customizable, we got the one with the Red Switches. Typing on the K500W is a delight, with the perfect balance of actuation force and smooth linear feeling.


[Royal Kludge RK71 Mechanical Keyboard Review: Compact Elegance with Versatile Performance]


In the end, I switched out the keycaps for pudding keycaps to highlight the RGB lighting effects. Of course, they were also on sale and under SGD$25



Performance:

The MACHENIKE K500W  does not disappoint with it’s responsiveness and smooth experience on the Red switches: whether you're engaged in an intense gaming session, or typing up a lengthy document, the Red switches deliver a smooth responsive and satisfying linear experience.


Want a little light effect in your experience? Then look no further at the customizable RGB backlighting which adds a touch of personalization, along with a plethora of colors and effects to choose from. The lighting can be easily adjusted through the dedicated software, allowing you to create your own unique gaming setup. But we are happy with the default options and settings.


Functionality and Features:

The K500W doesn't just stop at performance; it offers a range of features to enhance the overall user experience. There are dedicated media controls, programmable macro keys, and a Windows lock, all of which are thoughtful additions that make this keyboard versatile for both gaming and productivity.


In conclusion, the MACHENIKE K500W  Mechanical Keyboard is a good option for gamers and typists alike who are looking for something affordable and user friendly. Its sleek design, reliable  switches, customizable RGB lighting, and hot swappability (for both switches and keycaps) make it a standout choice in the crowded mechanical keyboard market. With a perfect balance of performance, features, and build quality, the K500W is a worthy investment for those seeking a reasonably affordable and good mechanical keyboard experience.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Crafted Keys: Unveiling the Magic of Artisan Keycaps for Your Mechanical Wonderland

April 05, 2024 0 Comments

Artisan keycaps are fascinating in many ways: they represent a fusion of artistry and functionality, adding a unique and personalized touch to mechanical keyboards. The creativity and craftsmanship involved in making artisan keycaps are impressive, with artisans often pouring their passion and skill into creating intricate designs that appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts.


One of the most appealing aspects of artisan keycaps is their ability to allow keyboard enthusiasts to express their individuality and personality. With an ever-expanding array of designs, colors, and themes, there's something for everyone, whether you're into gaming, pop culture, nature, or abstract art


Moreover, artisan keycaps contribute to a vibrant and supportive community of keyboard enthusiasts. This community-driven aspect fosters collaboration, creativity, and a sense of camaraderie among artisans and enthusiasts alike,


However, it's worth noting that artisan keycaps can sometimes be pricey due to their limited availability and handmade nature. Additionally, acquiring certain designs may require patience and persistence, as they often sell out quickly or are traded within enthusiast communities


Overall, artisan keycaps are a testament to the creativity and passion of both their creators and the enthusiasts who appreciate them. They add a touch of artistry and personality to mechanical keyboards, transforming them from mere tools into objects of admiration and self-expression.


Let's delve a little more into the enchanting realm of artisan keycaps, where each key tells a story and adds a touch of whimsy to your mechanical keyboard adventure. 


There are various ways which artisan keycaps are being sold:

  • Promoting via Instagram and having Raffle Sales via Google Forms when a new design is out.
  • Artisan's own website, usually a Shopify, Wordpress or a similar platform
  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • Shopee  (Both the app and website are relatively easy to navigate and use)
  • Lazada (Use the app and not the website as the website is hard to navigate and use)

I will be consolidating a list of good quality, unique and reasonably priced artisans which I have tried, and making a more detailed guide for newbies to the world or artisan keycaps.


 So do check out the links below:



Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Royal Kludge RK71 Mechanical Keyboard Review: Compact Elegance with Versatile Performance

December 26, 2023 0 Comments

The Royal Kludge RK71 is a compact powerhouse, offering a tenkeyless design without compromising on features. It comes with71 keys, along with multi-device Bluetooth connectivity and Wired mode, and RGB lighting options. 


With a focus on portability and versatility, the RK71 promises an elegant solution for users who demand performance on the go. In this review, we'll explore the design, performance, and unique features that set the RK71 apart.



Design and Build Quality:

The Royal Kludge RK71 boasts a sleek and compact design, combining a tenkeyless layout with a slim profile. The keyboard's frame is constructed from durable ABS plastic, ensuring a lightweight build without compromising on overall sturdiness. For a keyboard made of plastic, it does have a nice weight to it of around 642g and it feels really solid.


The low-profile keycaps enhance the aesthetic appeal while contributing to the RK71's compact form factor.

The RK71 typically comes equipped with a variety of switch options, including popular choices like Gateron or Kailh switches. This allows users to tailor the keyboard to their preferred typing experience, whether they favor tactile, clicky, or linear switches. The RGB backlighting adds a touch of flair to the design, and users can customize the lighting effects to suit your preferences.



Performance:

Typing on the RK71 is a satisfying experience. The keyboard provides a good balance of feedback and actuation force, making it suitable for both typing enthusiasts and gamers. The compact layout might require a brief adjustment period for those used to larger keyboards, but it quickly becomes intuitive.


The wireless capability of the RK71 is a game-changer for those who value flexibility. With Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, this keyboard allows seamless switching between multiple devices. Want to use your keyboard with your laptop, mobile and tablet? Done. The wireless performance is reliable, ensuring a lag-free experience during both casual typing and intense gaming sessions.



Functionality and Features:

The RK71 is not short on features despite its compact size. The keyboard supports N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting, which is essential for gamers and fast typists who require precise and accurate input registration. While dedicated media controls are absent, the compact layout allows for a clean and uncluttered design.


The keyboard also includes a USB-C port for wired connectivity, offering users the flexibility to choose between wireless and wired setups.


If you want to customize the RGB options, that is possible via the software which you have to download.



Overall, the Royal Kludge RK71 Mechanical Keyboard excels in delivering a compact, elegant solution without compromising on performance. Its thoughtful design, customizable switch options, wireless capabilities, and RGB backlighting make it a versatile choice for those who value both style and substance. Whether you're a gamer on the move or a professional seeking a sleek, portable typing solution, the RK71 proves itself as a worthy contender in the competitive world of mechanical keyboards.



Should you buy?

I managed to get this keyboard from  Lazada at a fairly good price during the Black Friday Sales, and so far I am happy with my Royal Kludge RK71 with red switches. The typing is smooth like butter and the fingers are less tired since they are using less strength to hit to keys. The only downside might be that they are too sensitive but after some getting used to it it's really good to use. 


I also managed to replace the keycaps with some really adorable Spy x Family (PokΓ©mon and Kuromi) designs from Shopee since it was the sales period so I gave myself a Christmas present.  The process to remove the keycaps were effortless and not much strength was used - it was a therapeutic process. 


There are vouchers and sales at Shopee and it is one of my favorite platforms to buy things from. So if you are interested in getting one for yourself or even check out some really adorable keycaps, check out below!


Who says having lesser keys means lesser joy?

Check out my guide on the cool key shortcuts below!