A compact TKL mechanical keyboard geared for productivity
The Professional Typist MK1 from Penclic is a compact, tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard with Kailh Brown switches that the Swedish company has designed "for the professional typist that wants to type fast, really fast."
"Whether you are an engineer writing reports, journalist writing articles, or anyone else who uses a keyboard a lot, you require the best tool for the job. The brown mechanical keys give a distinct feel for when you have pressed far enough and are more responsive than membrane alternatives and the keystroke sound is also suitable for the office environment. These features enable users with extra nimble fingers to type superfast."
A relative newcomer to the PC industry (and one I had not heard of before now), Penclic was founded in 2011 and specializes in ergonomics and "smart, clean Scandinavian design". I can certainly appreciate the clean design aesthetic, which is refreshing after mainly covering products in an industry that thinks PC enthusiasts want RGB lighting on everything and Batmobile-inspired industrial design.
This keyboard may not be targeted specifically at "gamers", (it is called the "Professional Typist MK1" after all) but it could certainly be used in that capacity. Key switches are a personal thing – as is standard vs. TKL (and 60%, etc.) – but Penclic may just have produced a product that can appeal to just about any user.
The supported platforms for Penclic Professional Typist MK1 are all operating systems that support HID 1.1. These include Windows XP or later, Mac OSX version 10.1 or later and most Linux/BSD flavors. No extra software/driver installation is needed.
- Compatible: PC & Mac
- Connection: USB cable
- Keyboard Type: "tenkeyless"
- Switch: Mechanical Kailh Brown
- Weight: 0.91 kg (2 lbs)
- Size: 351 x 169 x 35 mm (13.82 x 6.65 x 1.38 inches)
- Cable length: 175 cm (5.75 ft)
- Warranty: 2 years
Thanks to Penclic for providing the sample for our review.
- Penclic Professional Typist MK1 Mechanical Keyboard: $139.99 – Amazon
The MK1 arrives well-protected, with dense foam surrounding the keyboard for safe transit.
Inside the keyboard includes minimal paperwork as this is a simple HID device requiring no software.
And now we'll take a look at the keyboard itself, which has an interesting font for the key labels (I swear the M is a sideways E!).
The MK1 has a reassuring heft at 2 lbs, and feels very sturdy. The keycaps are slightly concave, and there is a bit of a curve from top to bottom.
On the back there are four rubber pads to keep the keyboard stationary on your desk, and there are two rubber-tipped feet on the upper corners that unfold to provide a tilted surface, if desired.
These feet are quite substantial – far removed from the thin plastic on most keyboards.
Finally, the keys are backlit with blue-ish white LEDs, and the brightness can be adjusted with a simple key combination (FN + arrow up/down), and at the lowest setting the backlight is turned off.
There is also a switchable pulse mode to the backlight (FN + arrow right to toggle, left to disable).
If you've typed on a keyboard with brown switches (Cherry MX or these Kailh switches) you'll be familiar with the feel. There is a springy action that does indeed feel conducive to fast typing, and while brown isn't necessarily a "clicky" switch, you'll certainly make old-school clattering noises when typing on this keyboard. I found the feel – and sound – to be very pleasant, though I wouldn't be able to use this in the room with a sleeping spouse or child.
The key caps in particular feel very solid, and my fingers found the center of the keys instantly thanks to the concave surfaces. It also felt anchored to the desk, thanks to the weight and rubber pads on the bottom. Overall I really liked typing on the MK1, and the compact size was quite nice on my space-constrained desk. I generally prefer a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, but I adjusted quickly to this. TKL keyboards are quite popular, and I'm probably in the minority among enthusiasts with my ten-key preference anyway.
What's left to say about the Professional Typist MK1 keyboard? Penclic – a name I've just learned this week – makes really high quality stuff if the MK1 is any indication. It isn't inexpensive with an MSRP of $139.99, but in the realm of mechanical keyboards (and ergonomic peripherals in general) it's not out of the ordinary. The keyboard looks great, offers premium build quality, and I found myself typing very quickly and comfortably on it. In fact, I hammered out this entire review standing at my test bench using the MK1! Easily recommended.