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I have yet to type on a keyboard that feels as good as this one Mode Designs Sonnet. It’s definitely been a few days in the last few weeks since the company sent me a prototype unit to test where the introduction of Sonnet was one of my main motivators to start writing.

With prices starting at $299 without switches and keycaps, it’s not the most expensive custom keyboard on the market (although the price can quickly double when you add a few options), but Mode has almost everything right here, and thanks to its lineup of options, the Boston and San Francisco-based company lets you assemble a mechanical keyboard that’s just right for you. If you want it to feel nice and flexible, something that many mechanical keyboard enthusiasts are aiming for these days, you can go for it – but if you prefer a firmer typing experience, you can opt for a stackable stand, which also offers more muffled sound.

For most people, keyboards are just keyboards — basic equipment that comes with their desktop or is built into their laptop. While he is working, he is never thought of. But for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts, the keyboard is what it’s all about, and there are few rabbit holes that go deeper than keyboards, because the amount of variation for even a single board is never-ending, thanks to the multitude of switches, stabilizers, keycaps, switch plates and other things most people never think of (and how does lubricating that switch with Krytox 205G or Krytox 105 change the sound and feel? How about a Tribosys 3204?).

The basics about the Sonnet are pretty straightforward: it’s 75% board, meaning there’s no numeric keypad, but a full row of function keys, arrow keys, and a few extra buttons on the right side like Home, PageUp, PageDown, and End (or whatever is anything else you want them to be, thanks to Sonnet Via/QMK compatibility). The upper part is made of beautifully machined aluminum in the color of your choice, with several more options for the bottom, ranging from aluminum to polycarbonate, brass and copper. And then you have options – lots of options. You can choose what kind of internal weight you want to use, what type of plate you prefer (which has a big impact on feel and sound), and which accent color you want (which has no impact on feel and sound, but which looks pretty good).

In the version I received, with half plates and no plate foam, the sound and feel was close to my platonic ideal of what a mechanical keyboard should be. In this variant, with a set of GMK White-On-Black keycaps, each keystroke sounds like two pool balls colliding. For me, this is exactly the sound I want to get from my keyboard. I’m also a fan of a bit of flexibility, but without going overboard — and that’s exactly what I got.

It’s a massive board, something usually associated with quality in the world of mechanical keyboards and also something that often surprises newcomers to the hobby. After all, your basic Logitech board is unlikely to weigh several pounds.

The Sonnet is available from Mode Designs, but if you order now, you won’t receive your keyboard until December. That’s a long time to wait, but it’s important to note that this is not a limited group purchase. Mode expects to sell Sonnet in the foreseeable future.

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