Long-Term Review of Keyboardio Model 01

Last updated on April 3, 2019
Tags: Keyboards

This is a long-term review of the Keyboardio Model 01, written after a year of usage, from the point of view of a long-time Kinesis advantage user. During this period the Keyboardio was my secondary keyboard, the Kinesis remained my primary keyboard.


The first thing to notice is that the keyboard has a flashy “designer” look — likely to attract attention at the office. The Model 01 displays excellent build quality, which is enhanced by no-less-excellent boxing. During the first hours of use, the keyboard finish was leaving a bit of sticky residue on the hands; but this improved quickly with time.


Right after connecting the keyboard I went into the layout configuration process, so that it would roughly correspond to the layout that I have on the Kinesis. I was expecting that configuring the keyboard would be difficult (one has to flash the firmware), but it was in fact nice and easy, even though the procedure might rebut non-programmers.


Keyboardio have decided to use Matias switches instead of Cherry switches. During the weeks of use, Matias quiet switches that I got had a poor feel compared to the Cherry MX browns that I’m used to. More specifically, they gave a “grinding” feel, as if some fine dust had come into the switch mechanism. I believe that it was due to poor lubrication: after a while the lubricant spread itself and the grind was gone. In fact, during this period, some switches also developed chatter. Following Keyboardio’s advice, this was fixed by removing some lubricant with isopropyl alcohol. (BTW Keyboardio offered great support. Right away they offered to replace the keyboard — but this was entirely unnecessary.)

Comparison with the Kinesis Advantage

Let’s look at the pro and cons of either option:

The Keyboardio Model 01 wins in the following areas, in order of importance:

Kinesis wins in the following areas:

Areas where I declare tie:


I applaud Keyboardio for putting together such an impressive product. However despite the Model 01 ticking most of the boxes I feel that the Kinesis wins in ergonomics, and that is what counts for me — even after padding the keyboard with wrist rests. The main functional advantage of the Model 01 is its portability, so I might be bringing it on travels. It is a shame that it does not come with bluetooth connectivity though.

Recommendations for Keyboardio Model 02

In case Keyboardio would work on a Model 02, I am offering some tips to them. As I see it, a Model 02 could either be a bigger keyboard with improved ergonomics, or a smaller keyboard with good ergonomics but focused on portability.

If going for improved ergonomics, keyboardio should use a keywell instead of custom keycaps. In the build process it seemed like custom keycaps were a major source of difficulties. Furthermore, replacing keycaps becomes difficult (involving 3D printing), or purely dependent on Keyboardio. A shame for an “heirloom grade” keyboard.

If going for portability, keyboardio should work a bit on the footprint. Another idea would be to get rid of the backlit keys. Save power, save weight, cut costs, simplify the config.

In either case, I would recommend to: