Keycap aesthetics and ergonomics are so incredibly subjective, but my absolute favorite are MiTo’s SA Laser set and they’re finally up for order again on drop. The color scheme is very bold, but I fell in love with the mix the first time I saw it and that’s what got me into really custom mechanical keyboards. The SA keycaps feel great to me, though they are tall, and it can be difficult to find a board that really compliments this color scheme.
Like most custom keycaps, the SA Laser keycaps are sold in the “group buy” format where you’re pre-ordering them before they are made. They’re at a special pre-order price for the first 30 days of the group buy. Drop and MiTo have a history of delivering quality, so I am not concerned about recommending them for that reason but it is important to keep in mind that there have been massive delays to all production so the expected shipping date for these isn’t for over a year in March 2022 which is hopefully just building a lot of slack in.
The good news for MiTo’s sets is that he has been working towards making them more available on an in-stock basis, but I suspect that has been hampered by the pandemic as well.
GMK Awaken is a new keycap set from the designer biip and Novelkeys. This one has a bit of a cyber style. There are also matching deskmats and even an Awakened version of Novelkeys’ NK65 65% keyboard in either green or pink (I’m told it’s more of a red by someone with better color vision.)
For me, Awaken is somehow too busy, but it probably looks better in-person and that’s kind of the challenge with these keycap group buy situations, you can’t know how they’ll actually come out or when they’ll really ship, but everyone involved with Awaken is reliable: GMK in Germany making the caps, Novelkeys for the US sales, and biip is a terrific designer who has shipped quality sets before.
GMK Awaken starts at $120 for the base set and the same price for a base kit that has Katakana sublegends.
There is an expansion kit that adds for more boards (notably my beloved Alice and Arisu layouts with split spacebars) for $35
A RAMA keycap collaboration is also available for $65.
The NK65 Awaken Edition keyboards in either pink or green include enough keycaps to cover the board with a few color options, color-matched Novelkeys Silk Yellow linear switches, and are $230 a pop.
Space Cables is also running a matching Awaken cable that’s anywhere from about $40 to $102!
GMK Awaken set is only available until January 31st, and Novelkeys estimates that it will ship in the fourth quarter of 2021.