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

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

First Look: Flesports MK750 Barebones Kit

July 16, 2024 0 Comments


After getting my first CIDOO ABM066 Barebones Kit Alice-layout, when I saw that the Flesports MK750 Barebones kit was on sale... of course I had to get it. It was from Lazada and about S$50 at the time I got it. You could also check out Shopee or Amazon to see which price is better for your wallet. On average this barebones kit costs S$110-185+ (US$80-140~). 


With the vouchers and sales that  Lazada and Shopee have, you might be even able to get it at a better price too.  I don't believe in paying for full price if you I can help it, and always love it when there is a sale. πŸ˜†


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🠈😊


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


They have a range of colors to choose from: black, pink, white and grey. This time I decided to get a black casing instead of the usual white one. As usual since it was from China, it did take some time to arrive. There was no protection, just the box itself in an envelope. But thankfully it arrived intact, the box was a little beaten but it the keeb survived. It came with a manual guide, cable, keycap / switch puller, and a dust cover! I was pretty impressed since my keyboards before this all arrived without a dust cover, so that add on was very much appreciated.



The Unboxing Experience



Adding the ‘Flesh’ to the BareBones Kit Experience

Unlike the CIDOO ABM066 Barebones Kit, this on was a much more easier experience affixing the switches as the holes are already there and you do not need to make any extra efforts to press the switches down; it just simply clicks into place with little effort.


I believe I have discovered the joys of  customization as I selected a range of Akko Linear Switches for this build.  I used the V3 Crystal Pro (43gf) for the alpha keys, the lighter Jelly Whites (35gf) for the spacebar and non alpa keys, the Pink Gateron (45gf) for everything else.




Typing Experience

For the keycaps, I got some nice rainbow Jelly Poms which look great on the keeb, especially with the rgb. The only downside is the learning to type as even if there side engravings on the keycaps, it increases the chances for typos. The moment I look at the board, all the typos occur and I start to forget which keycap is what and lose my way. πŸ˜‚



Default Settings and Connecting to devices

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.


The USB for the 2.4GHZ connection is nicely hidden away behind a magnetic stand on right hand side.




What I love

πŸ’•The ease in which the switches can be installed with little to no effort whatsoever as the holes are already there.

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

πŸ’•The build quality is really good and has a premium feel to it. The knob is such a good addition too.

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 linear switches and rainbow jelly Pom keycaps produce a nice clacky sound.


Not so much

πŸ’” Installing the space bar did take some effort as the board was not 100% straight. But once the right angle was found it was easy.


So, there you go, my first look at and review of my experience with the Flesports MK750 Barebones Kit. Given that the loves are more than the not so much, I’ll say you can give it a try. For those of us located in Singapore, you can get it here for about S$175+ or cheaper when it is one sales from Lazada. Alternatively you could also check out Shopee where the average pricing  is around S$115+.


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. There are even silent switches. 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.


Get from Amazon



Get from Shopee



Get from Lazada




Have you tried the Flesports MK750 keyboard before? If the answer is yes, let me know in the comments below how your experience was! 


Monday, July 8, 2024

Review: UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB C Charger

July 08, 2024 0 Comments


In today’s hyper-connected world, keeping our gadgets charged is crucial. Whether it's smartphones, tablets, laptops, or smartwatches, a dependable charger is essential. Enter the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger with its adorable design and touted capabilities. Let’s delve into its features, and benefits.



Introducing the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger

The UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger is a compact powerhouse, engineered to charge a diverse range of devices efficiently. Leveraging the innovative GaN (Gallium Nitride) technology, it provides faster and more efficient charging than traditional silicon-based chargers (so they say). This charger, despite its small size, can deliver up to 65 watts of power, making it perfect for everything from laptops to smartphones and tablets.


Unboxing Video



Standout Features

1. Advanced GaN Technology

At the core of the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger is GaN technology. GaN transistors are more efficient and produce less heat than silicon, allowing for a smaller, yet more powerful charger. This results in quicker charging times and a more compact design. 


2. High Power Output

With an impressive 65W output, this charger can handle a broad range of devices. Whether you’re powering a high-performance laptop like the MacBook Pro or quickly topping up your smartphone, the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger delivers.


3. Multi-Device Charging

Equipped with multiple USB-C ports, this charger can simultaneously charge several devices. This is ideal for travelers or anyone with a suite of gadgets that need constant charging.


4. Comprehensive Safety Features

Safety is a priority with the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger. It includes built-in protections against overcharging, overheating, and short-circuiting, ensuring your devices are charged safely and reliably.


5. Portability and Compact Design

Despite its powerful output, the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger is incredibly compact and lightweight. Its portable design makes it easy to carry, making it the perfect travel companion.


6. Variety of Designs

The UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger is available in several designs, catering to different aesthetic preferences and functional requirements. Whether you prefer a sleek, minimalist look or a more robust, feature-rich design, there’s an option for everyone. It comes in 3 different designs - black, purple and blue/pink.

I got the purple design


Benefits of the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger

1. Enhanced Efficiency and Speed

Thanks to GaN technology, the UGREEN RobotGan charger offers superior efficiency, leading to faster charging times. You can quickly recharge your devices and stay on the go.


2. Versatile Charging Capabilities

With a 65W output and multiple ports, this charger is a versatile tool for powering a wide array of devices. From laptops and smartphones to tablets, it covers all your charging needs. They have UK and US compatible chargers.


3. Safety and Reliability

Featuring robust safety measures, you can charge your devices with confidence, knowing they are protected from power surges and overheating.


4. Portability

Its compact size ensures you can take the charger anywhere, making it ideal for frequent travelers and those who need a reliable power source on the go.


5. Aesthetic and Functional Flexibility

With multiple designs available, you can choose a charger that matches your personal style and specific charging needs, adding a touch of customization to your tech accessories.


That said, with its GaN-powered efficiency, comprehensive safety features, compact design, and variety of aesthetic options, it is a must-have accessory for anyone looking to keep their devices powered and ready for action. Say goodbye to slow charging and bulky chargers - embrace the future with the UGREEN RobotGan 65W USB-C Charger!


It fast charges my Android and Apple devices in good time and does not overheat. It can even charge my laptop and Nintendo Switch effectively (and perfect to bring for travels). The only thing to note is that only one port is 65W,  so do read the manual. This charger is even more perfect if you have a suitable power point where you can view the adorable face when it is charging and when charging has completed. 


I got mine from Lazada when there was a sale (I always check out all the shopping platforms and compare before making that purchase with the belief that sales are always better than paying for the full price). Typically it costs around S$55-60, but during the sales period it can be almost 50% off!


Get from Amazon



Get from Shopee





Have you already gotten yours yet? If the answer is yes, let me know your thoughts about it! 😁



Thursday, July 4, 2024

My PlayAsia Experience

July 04, 2024 0 Comments


Play-Asia is an online retailer specializing in video games, DVDs, music CDs, and gadgets primarily targeting the Asian market. Established in 2002, it has grown to become a prominent platform for gamers seeking imports, rare titles, and niche products. It offers a wide range of products, including Japanese and Asian versions of games, which can be appealing to collectors and enthusiasts outside Asia. The company also provides digital services, such as digital codes for games and online subscriptions. Overall, Play-Asia serves as a bridge for gamers worldwide to access unique gaming content from Asia.


If you are looking for covers or items which are not available in your country then this could be a good place to look if you are not able to find any online anywhere else.


My experience was not so pleasant (mostly on the courier / shipping side of things) with the long wait, poor resolution time and almost losing the parcel, and the pricing. 


Let’s start with the website. It’s primitive and not user friendly. Navigating between product pages is not an intuitive thing and the design is like it is still stuck in the 2000s. The layout is messy and cluttered, so unless you know what you are looking for specifically… virtual window shopping does not spark joy.


Layout, Taxonomy and Design still stuck in the 2000s


Next would be the purchasing experience, which PayPal is an option. Although it is mentioned that if you spend above a certain amount (basic) shipping would be free, however there are some caveats to that. Not to mention that the sales and discounts are really lackluster.


I was interested in this otome game My Next Life as a Villianess: All Routes Lead to Doom! - Pirates of the Disturbance. It was listed on PlayAsia but it was a pre-order and it was expensive (although the company is located in Hong Kong, they use USD$ as a currency on their platform). Then I saw a something which was interesting, Sword and Fairy Inn 2, the collectors’ edition.


I decided to try purchasing from PlayAsia and the first game from them was the collect’s edition of the Sword and Fairy Inn 2. Rating for the game was not too good but the cover looked so cute and the concepts ofthe game looked like something I would play, so I got it.


Checkout was easy, payment was swift but delivery… delivery was a pain. It took almost forever and more than a month before I received it. All because of the shipping company PlayAsia used - Quantiam Solutions.


You can read all about the lack of professionalism and lacklustre service of the shipping company in the link below.

[Quantium Solutions - the worst logistics and shipping company]


The item reached Singapore but was sitting in at the Post Office Center for a month with no accountability nor response by the shipping company!


It took 7 weeks for my parcel to arrive from Hong Kong and not because it was from a far away... even stuff I've gotten from Amazon US has come in a much fast timeframe with much better updates on the status of delivery ... It was because it was stuck in the Singpost sorting center, to which the logistics company Quantium Solutions was dead on replies and basically non-responsive pushing it over from the Hong Kong branch to the Singapore branch and then dead silence.


PlayAsia took about a week to finally conclude that it was “lost”, whilst its status was actually sitting there with not one bothering about it and no updates whatsoever. They provided an option, to either get a refund or resend out again. I opted for a refund and when that happened, the game was delivered the next day!


Now being the nice person that I am, I informed PlayAsia and they thanked me for informing them that I had received the “missing” item. Next they asked if I could make a payment again on their website since they had already processed the refunded. So meaning, if I had not informed them I would have gotten it for free and gotten an extra one?


But I “returned” them the money and I did earn a few cents back since the exchange rate was higher on the day the refunded me versus when I had bought it.


Oh, and that otome game I wanted? I managed to get it off Carousell for just S$60. That’s at least S$30 lesser than what it is on PlayAsia (not even including shipping).


So would I purchase from PlayAsia again? I guess that would depend if they have the games I really want that I am not able to get else where otherwise it is not worth the time, money and effort. There are also no incentives, unlike Amazon, Shopee or Lazada.


Have you purchased from PlayAsia before? If the answer is yes, how has your experience been so far? Please share in the comments below!~

Monday, June 24, 2024

Keycap Series: June Artist Featuring teas_factory

June 24, 2024 0 Comments



For the month of June, the artist of the month is teas_factory who is located in Singapore! Her aim to make affordable keycaps that everyone can enjoy really resonated with me, and her design aesthetics definitely caught my eye. Her design aesthetics are uniquely adorable with creations inspired from cartoon series to animals. She mainly focuses on custom keycaps, but does come up with designs of her own as well. 


Shipping (within Singapore) is the cheapest yet at S$2


International shipping is also reasonable:

  1. Malaysia & Brunei: S$7.10
  2. Countries in Asia & the Pacific (except Australia, Japan, New Zealand): S$9.30
  3. Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the rest of the world: S$11.90


Her keycap creations range from an average of S$26 to S$36+. The price range is appreciated along with the unique and good quality designs. πŸ˜† 


[Keycap Series: Featuring Artists of the Month

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


I first came across teas_factory  on Instagram and went to check out her creations. 😍


What caught my attention was the adorable Sakura Cow. It was simply too cute to resist, and the pricing made it even more irresistible!


Unlike the artists featured so far who have an Etsy or online store, she takes orders via Google Forms and promotes them via her Instagram and Carousell account. The process was really simple: the link to the form is on her accounts and when you've completed it, she will send the invoice over to the email you provided. Simple and easy (especially for Singaporean buyers since PayNow is also accepted). You can even commission designs from her. 😊


teas_factory  was really fast and responsive, even making sure that my address was correct. The invoice was sent shortly after. It took about 6 working days to reach me, which is not too bad considering it was made upon order, and having to wait a bit for the new batch of resin to arrive.


Packaging was on point: little Sakura the Cow was encased in a little cute box with a lovely wax seal affixed on the top; adding a nice touch. She arrived with some cute stickers and notes!


The overall experience was fantastic. I would definitely be getting more keycaps from her in future, espcially for my low profile keyboard. Don't you think it just vibes with the little cutie just perfectly? πŸ˜€


Artist Info

  • Style:  πŸ“Ί Pop Culture / Nature Inspired / Gaming / Anime
  • Pricing(per keycap)an average of S$26 to S$36+ (US$20  to US$30+
    • Pricing for commission pieces might vary so always reach out and clarify. 
  • Shipping to Singapore: less than $2 (US$2.50)
  • Shipping Internationally: an average of S$9.30 to S$11.90+ (US$7 to US$10+)
  • Wait Time: My order via Google Forms took a total of 2 working days to get processed and another 4 working days to reach me. Also best to check with teas_factory  on when you can receive your little cutie.
  • Material: Resin / Polymer Clay
  • Social Media: 

πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— Unique designs, and offers customization.
πŸ’— Light weight and easy to install caps. It fit my low profile keyboard switch perfectly and easily.
πŸ’— The evenness and smoothness of the end product. 
πŸ’— The attention to detail on Sakura the Cow was immaculate (did you see that behind?!).
πŸ’— Does not look mass manufactured and has personality.
πŸ’— Good quality and amicable, responsive artist (to address and concerns or questions). 
πŸ’— Reasonable and affordable shipping price.
πŸ’— Reasonable pricing and aesthetically pleasing designs.



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 teas_factory ? 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]


Monday, June 17, 2024

Exploring Artisan Keycap Artists: teeny.snug

June 17, 2024 0 Comments



teeny.snug is located in sunny Singapore and embarked on her creation journey since March 2022. She started out with many interests from keebs, clay and vtubers, ultimately deciding to focus on clay creations. She has the most adorable series of artisan cat keycaps called “Potted Pets” on her online store. 


Of course, her creations are not limited to just keycaps. She  recently introduced a deskbud series where potted cats and dogs were up for purchase to keep you company while you work, adding that something special to your desk setup.


Can you guess? Yes, I got them cute deskbuds - the cat and dog dark brown version. Little did I know they were so popular and were sold out quite fast after I got them. Thankfully I got them and they are happily on my desk now. πŸ˜†


The packaging was super adorable with a sticker each for the cat and dog deskbuds. I love the little paw print details which are peppered throughout the package! 😍




Purchase Experience

Experience purchasing from the shop was good and straight forward. Navigation was also easy as everything you would want to know from the backstory, how long delivery takes, terms and conditions, adding to cart and check out was straight-forward. 


There are a few ways she offers her creations via her online store:

  • New pre-orders are on her store for 1-2 months before being retired; always added something new.
  • In-stock keycaps are already created and ready top be packed and sent out with a 2-5 day processing time).
  • Raffle: with limited quantity but ready-made keycaps.
  • For more you should check out the FAQ for the latest must updated information.

How to Buy

Head over to the online store and make your purchase. It really is that simple. There is no need to create an account. Just add to cart and checkout. She recently updated her site so it accepts PayPal, but when I was getting my deskbuds payment was via Stripe - so credit (or debit) card or ApplePay of your choice. Either way to process was simple and straight forward.


teeny.snug  announces the creations or updates on her Instagram. She also is working an interesting keycap edition short reel series, so do check her page out! 😍

Artist Info

  • Style:  πŸ±Animals🐢
  • Pricing (per keycap)an average of US$58 to US$98+ (S$78-S$132+)
  • Shipping (Singapore): Depends on whether there are keycaps in the order and ranges from USD$2.5-$4 (S$3.50-S$6)
  • Shipping Internationally: Depends on your country and if the order has keycaps or not. For non-keycaps orders it ranges from USD$7-$11 (S$20-S$50). For orders with keycaps it ranges from USD$11-$14 (S$20-S$50). However, it is alway best to check the shipping & delivery page to get the latest pricing for shipping.
  • Wait Time: In general, about 2-5 working days for ready stock orders and 3-5 week processing time for pre-orders. Do check out the FAQ  and T&C sections for the latest updates.
  • Material: Clay (Hand sculpted)
  • Location:  Singapore
  • Payment Method: PayPal, Stripe or ApplePay 
  • Social Media: 

πŸ’— Loves

πŸ’— The variety of products and ease of navigating the online store. 
πŸ’— Adorable and sweet designs for keycaps, deskbuds and other upcoming products.
πŸ’—Auto currency conversion, making it easier to know the final cost while adding items into the cart in local currency.
πŸ’— Has personality and unique. 
πŸ’— Love the backstory of the origin story for teeny.snug  and her little kitty mascots! 
πŸ’— Responsiveness with any questions and really nice.

Have you gotten any keycaps from teeny.snug ? 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]


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.


Get from Amazon



Get from Shopee




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🠈😊


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 worth 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.



Get from Amazon



Get from Shopee



Get from Lazada




Have you tried 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!