I’ve always been wanting to get a smaller mechanical keyboard to replace my CM QuickFire. After reading up on Anne Pro 2 from Reddit, I couldn’t resist and finally placed an order on Taobao last month.
Review on Anne Pro 2
Anne Pro 2 is a 60% Bluetooth mechanical keyboard. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. According to the YouTube reviews, Anne Pro 2 can also work with the iPad via Bluetooth connection. The keyboard comes in two keycaps (PBT) colors – all Black or all White.
The 60% keyboard is very small – 97*284*40mm, which is really convenient to bring around even in an 11″ Macbook laptop bag. It weighs 635g, which is actually heavier than my QuickFire keyboard. It’s probably because of the battery that’s needed to power the keyboard when it is connected in the Bluetooth mode. Instead of the conventional micro-USB port, Anne Pro 2 uses USB Type-C as its input port.
I bought my set on Taobao for 399 RMB (~S$ 80) excluding the shipping fees. It’s probably the cheapest piece compared to other places like Amazon (US$ 99)
At the point of writing, Anne Pro 2 comes in three different brands of switches. You can choose among Gateron (Green/Brown/Red), Kalih BOX (Green/Brown/Red/Black) and Cherry (Green/Brown/Red). Many might not have heard about Gateron and Kalih BOX but apparently they are quite popular in the mechanical keyboard community.
I opted for Kalih BOX Brown (凯华茶轴) for three reasons. First of all, I’m planning to use my keyboard at work so it should not be as loud as Cherry Blue. Secondly, the old CM QuickFire keyboard uses Cherry Brown switches and I really like the feeling of having tactile feedback. Last but not least, many Redditors recommended Kalih BOX Brown. Anyway, I can’t make any comments on other switches since I have not tested them on this particular keyboard. Furthermore, the preferred choice of switches can be very subjective.
My first impression on the keyboard: Wow this is really compact! It just feels like all the keys that are visible on the 60% keyboards are all the necessary ones that ever need to exist. When I first started using the keyboard, it was hard to get used to some of the keys that I’ve always been using with the 80% keyboard.
First of all, all the function keys are missing from your reach. As a Mac user, I rely heavily on the function keys to reach my Desktop or to switch my workspace to other full-screen applications. What I did next is to switch my key binds such that the function key I used to call Mission Control can be within my reach.
Next, the arrow keys are missing! Anne Pro 2 comes with the “TAP” function. Basically what you can do is quickly tap the bottom right corner and mimic the arrow functions. This might be fine but as someone whos write codes very often, this is very inconvenient especially if I’m using a code editor. I modified my key binds such that I replaced my right shift, two function keys, and the right control to work like normal arrows.
The build quality is really great! It feels very solid and doesn’t feel like it’s gonna break very easily. Most mechanical keyboards ship with ABS keycaps so it’s very rare to find one with PBT like Anne Pro 2. The PBT keycaps are supposed to be more durable and work better if you tend to have oily hands (not literately). I changed my keycaps (also PBT) immediately to a custom set so I didn’t get to test the original ones.
Anne Pro 2 comes with customizable software, which I’m really skeptical about. I gave in because I need to change the key bindings in order to make it work for my daily activities.
The ObinKits software comes with the functionality to modify the RGB lights on the keyboard. I had fun adjusting some it and settled in with the ripple effect. Basically, it will light up a different light and create a ripple effect to the rows beside the key that you have typed. If you type fast enough, the colors will be really amazing hah! I’m not so much a fan of lighted keyboards but this really makes typing a little bit more enjoyable and fun.
1 month in…
The keyboard is beyond good! After I have made the necessary changes to my key bindings, everything is perfect. I realized I didn’t need so many keys to be visible after all. My coding activities can continue smoothly even with a 60% keyboard. It feels lighter to type on Anne Pro 2 than on my old CM QuickFire. After switching to Anne Pro 2 at work, I feel that it’s harder to type on my old keyboard when I do some work at home. Nowadays, I bring home the Anne Pro 2 keyboard every weekend.
I had trouble linking up the keyboard with my Macbook via Bluetooth in the beginning. It works after I tried a few times and it’s almost seamless now. This makes my desk cleaner now since I have one less wire sticking out from my Type-C adapter. I read from online that there might be some delays in sending keystrokes via Bluetooth. So far, I have not experienced any delay in sending my keystrokes to my Macbook. I guess I’m lucky!
I’m not crazy enough over keyboards to buy several other 60% brands or Bluetooth keyboards to do a direct comparison with Anne Pro 2. But based on my day-to-day use over the last few weeks, Anne Pro 2 has made a great impression and it’s attractive for me to get a second one at home so I don’t have to bring back my keyboard every weekend.
For S$80, you are getting a quality wireless mechanical keyboard that can lighten your daily typing activities. Why not, right?