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NuPhy NuType F1 9
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In 2019, the Apple MacBook butterfly switch debacle taught us one thing: keyboards on laptops matters to users - a lot. NuPhy saw the need in the market, and developed a low-profile and compact keyboard - the NuType F1 that is designed to be carried around by those who take their typing experience seriously.

I happened to be one of those people who takes my touch typing experience seriously. Not that I'm a professional typist, but thanks to the era of instant messengers, which for me started with the ICQ, I've been forced to be proficient at touch typing, and am pretty sensitive to both good and bad typing experiences.

So, I decided to give the NuType F1 a try, and here are my findings:

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Smallest footprint possible

The first thing that made an impression on me was the footprint of the NuType F1. It has a 64 key arrangement, forgoing any keys that it can. This allows a keyboard that fits exactly in the MacBook's keyboard area minus the function keys - which is small enough to be easily portable.

For me the keyboard arrangement meant that there is some learning curve for me, especially with the arrow buttons cutting the right-shift key to a square key. It means when I started out, I accidentally hit the 'up arrow' a couple of times when trying to type a '?'. But as with any new laptop/keyboard I get, I quickly got used to it and my muscle memory caught up.

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Built like a mechanical beast

Not only was the NuType built compact, it was built strong. The base is not plastic, but fully metal and feels extremely solid.

As for the key switches - which are the main feature of this keyboard, NuType uses a low-profile mechanical switch that is much lower than typical mechanical keyboards - more than 40% lower. This makes the overall thickness of the keyboard is also much thinner than a typical mechanical keyboard.


I can hear some people thinking: "Going thinner is exactly what got Apple's butterfly keyboard in trouble!" But I can say after using the NuType for a few months that it is extremely pleasurable to type with. Though the profile is low, the travel is very decent and each key is very clicky. The feeling actually reminds me of a good mouse button - except it travels much further. What you get is a very satisfying click for each key, which registers very quickly and bounces back very quickly too. After using the NuType keyboard for a while, normal keyboards that uses silicon mechanism for rebounding the keys feels slow and mushy.

The key strokes being satisfying is one thing, but what I realized is that my overall typing speed also became faster with the NuType. I feel like I can type as fast as I can and the key switches can react and register each key press just as fast. Speed typing on this keyboard feels amazing, and it's extremely satisfying to see the words flying onto the document - at a level that even ThinkPad keyboards cannot come close to.

Fair warning must be given though: the keys are kind of loud (So my neighboring colleagues say). It's something like a loud muffler on a sports car: the sound is only satisfying to the driver and not to the rest of the world. So if you have noise-sensitive workmates, you might need to go for a quieter version of the NuType (There are three types of switches: clicky, gentle and quieter).

I would say that they are not louder than the butterfly switches, so if you are able to stand the finger punching sounds from those particular MacBooks, you will be a-okay even with the white, clicky version of the NuType.

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Connectivity options, options and options

With my wireless peripherals, I generally demand to have a wired option as well. The Logitech MX Master mouse was the first accessory that set the precedence for me. I was extremely thrilled to find that the NuType uses a USB-C port for both charging and connection (#USBCEverything).

The NuType of course can also be used without wire. It has a neat trick to pair up with 3 devices via Bluetooth, and can easily switch between devices with a press of two keys. I found myself using the switch between the wired connection to the laptop to the Bluetooth connection to my phone every day, which allowed me to write many long texts that would have taken much longer to type out with two thumbs alone.

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Foldable stand included

A nice icing on the cake is the inclusion of a foldable stand, which can wrap around the keyboard when travelling, or be a nice tablet/phone stand when set up. This is another feature that I use every day that lets me stand my phone in front of my docked laptop, and enables me to use both devices neatly and productively.

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The inside lining of the keyboard stand is made of something that I'm guessing is Alcantara that is both soft and durable. After months of use, there is no visible sign of wear at all.


A travelling RGB light show

This is actually quite an obvious feature of the NuType that got my teenage kids salivating as soon as they saw it. But from a standpoint of a travelling businessman, it doesn't add all that much for the productivity. I do have to confess though; I did spend a fair bit of time enjoying cycling through the 20+ lighting effects in the lit-up keys.

My favorite has to be the one that lights up only when I hit the key (Think floor tiles in Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' MTV). It's fun, looks pretty, and gives you something to look at when you're bored. Why not?

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Who is the NuType F1 for?

I know, not everyone appreciates or needs mechanical keyboards when on the move. Perhaps your built-in keyboard is enough. But for those who type faster than 60 words per minute where the keyboard's responsiveness matters; or those who are stuck in butterfly switch purgatory and wants out; the NuType F1 is your savior. It's as compact as mechanical keyboard will probably ever get, while offering a top-notch typing experience in clickiness, in speed and even while offering a RGB light show that makes your Christmas tree look monotonous.

Sam is a production engineer turned tech writer who specializes in seeking out gadgets that enhances productivity while still looking sharp. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travelers.

You can find out more about NuPhy's NuType F1 on Indiegogo