We Tried the World’s First Analog Mechanical Keyboard: Three Months with the Wooting one

If you consider yourself a PC gaming enthusiast, you've probably carefully selected every component of your build, including your peripherals. Whether you're a fan of slower role-playing games like the Witcher 3 or fast-paced first-person shooters, you no doubt understand the importance of a solid keyboard.

High-quality, clicking mechanical switches, re-assignable buttons and of course unusual RGB lighting can make your gaming experience even more satisfying. However, during my years of PC gaming, I always had a big problem with using keyboards as a controller: variable motion, or more precisely, the lack of variable motion.

If you've played games on a modern console, you probably know that you can control your character's speed accurately by just moving your controller's joystick less than the entire range of motion.

In some games, this hardly contributes to immersion, but in other games (such as Skyrim, Fallout 4, or Splinter Cell), precise control over your character's speed is crucial for stealth sections or maintaining NPCs.

Unfortunately, we never really had this control for PC gamers. Most games force us to either go at a painfully slow pace or to go into a full run. We usually don't have access to one of the "medium" speeds. I can't tell you how many times I've alerted an entire bandit camp in Skyrim during a possible stealth infiltration.

The obvious solution to this dilemma is to connect a controller, but that's far from ideal. If you choose to avoid using the keyboard and mouse, you will lose the many benefits they offer, such as: B. the adjustment of the key assignment and (probably) superior accuracy.

This is where the shooting comes into play.

What is the wooting?

The Wooting One (yes, the lack of capitalization is intended) was, as far as I know about Kickstarter, successfully financed in 2016 and, as far as I know, is the world's first real mechanical keyboard without a key.

It has pressure-sensitive buttons that are specifically designed to give PC gamers the same benefits that console gamers can access. You can move at any speed you want, which is especially useful for racing games, first person shooters and stealth titles.

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… over time, Wooting One has received numerous firmware and software updates that have improved its functionality and added new functions.

At the time of writing, the keyboard has its own customization software (called "Wootility") and RGB lighting for each key with adjustable lighting patterns. In addition, the Wooting One has received numerous firmware and software updates over the course of time, which have improved its functionality and added new functions.

As nice as it sounds, the actual functionality of the device is the most important. To determine how one works, I decided to take one to see for myself.

Analog functionality

Does Wooting One live up to its promise of a console-like move for PC titles three months after my first purchase date? Yes and no.

Before I wrote this piece, I tested a variety of games. I've tried competition shooters like Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as well as single player titles like The Witcher 3 and Metro: Last Light. I don't play a lot of racing games – which, according to Wooting founder Calder Limmen, is ideal for shooting – but I also decided to test driving Grand Theft Auto V.

The overall results of my tests were mixed.

On the one hand, I found that shooters like Fortnite, Overwatch, CS: GO and Metro: Last Light performed flawlessly with the shooting. The in-game speed adjustments were smooth and precise, much like a traditional joystick. The joy I feel when I slowly sneak around a corner to take a headshot cannot be overstated.

Driving Grand Theft Auto V also went pretty well, which was a breath of fresh air given the problems I usually have when managing vehicle speeds in PC titles. The spinning and accelerating was smooth and precise, though I'll admit that it didn't quite match the controls on the game on a console.

On the other hand, when I tried to try out some of my favorite single player role-playing games like Witcher 3, Skyrim and Fallout 4, the keyboard's effectiveness quickly deteriorated. Speed ​​adjustments in these games either didn't work at all or only at times. Since I spend most of my game hours on titles like this, I was disappointed to say the least.

However, according to Calder, these problems are mainly due to the lack of support for in-game shooting technology. "The biggest downside at this point is that not many games have the right support or really use the option," said Calder. "But we are getting there. We have launched the developer portal and we will mainly focus on (indie game) developers."

That may sound like an excellent idea, but for the foreseeable future, we still have to keep switching between walking and running to keep up with certain ruthless NPCs in these games.

Before I go any further, I should mention another feature.

The Wooting One features Double Keystroke (D.K.S.) technology, which essentially allows you to create two separate key press points for a single key press. This feature is particularly useful for MOBAs or MMOs where accuracy of spell alignment is critical.

Instead of tapping a hotkey twice (once to aim a spell or ability, again to release it), you can hold it down lightly to start aiming and press the key the rest of the way, to stop working. Although I have not tested the function myself in detail, Wooting informed me that D.K.S. would work quite well in games like Fortnite as well, since the title's building construction system works.

Processing quality and overall feeling

The Wooting One feels incredibly robust, with an aluminum plate and a solid plastic back. Although I don't get into the habit of dropping or otherwise damaging my keyboards, I feel that this device can withstand quite a bit of punishment.

The keyboard is supplied with Linear55 "Red" or Clicky55 "Blue" switches as standard, which are intended to simulate the feeling of the popular Cherry switches of the same name. In addition, both switch types are designed for 100,000,000 clicks, so they should last for some time.

Personally, I chose the Clicky55 Blue option because I always enjoyed the loud, clicking feedback that other Cherry MX Blued keyboards provide. Regardless of which key set you choose, the Wooting key set is completely modular. Wooting Claims users can swap the device's keycaps, switches, or top plate for other third-party alternatives if they so choose, but I haven't tested this myself.

When it comes to typing, the Wooting keys feel similar to any other mechanical high-end keyboard, such as the Korsair K70 or the Razer Blackwidow. I never felt like I had to press the keys harder, for example to write a news article or chat with my friends on Discord, than would be the case with any other keyboard.

Customization software "Wootility"

The build quality and the key switch are not the only areas in which the device excels. The customization software Wootility is another highlight of the entire shooting experience. The software is attractive to look at and easy to navigate, especially thanks to its simple design.

Wootility comes with four customizable keyboard profiles, three of which are "analog" profiles for games.

The final "digital" profile, on the other hand, effectively disables analog technology and enables normal typing or surfing the Internet.

With Wootility you can customize everything from the controller counterpart of a particular key (you could tie WASD to four joystick directions, for example) to its actuation point (I recommend 2.6mm for most games) and its actuation curve.

As I mentioned briefly, you can also use Wootility to adjust the lighting effects. When I first bought my device, I was limited to static RGB adjustments per key. It was pretty boring. Fortunately, a recent software update saved the day by making numerous lighting effects for users to fool around with.

Effects include waves, rainbows, ripples, and more. I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent hours together playing around with these new options.

As much as I love the software, I have a complaint about it. At the moment it is not possible to assign your keys to other keys. You can only bind them to controller buttons, triggers or joystick movements. This seems to be an oddly restrictive design selection that I would like to tweak later, as many other modern keyboard manufacturers already offer this feature by default.

closing remarks

The Wooting One is an excellent device that is worth its $ 150 price tag. It's not without problems, but the analog technology is largely impressive and effective.

I'm still a little frustrated that the device didn't work with some of my favorite single player games, but the main flaw is the lack of support in the game. Since analog keyboards (or controllers in general) are not a common standard in the PC platform, developers do not include technology support in their titles. However, the device more than makes up for its shortcomings, as it has a first-class design, above-average key switches and user-friendly adjustment software.

The shooting community is great too. When I encountered problems performing certain game tests with my keyboard, I only visited the official Wooting Discord server and several community members were willing and willing to help.

If you'd like to try the device yourself, you can pick it up from Amazon or directly from the Wooting website.

If tenkeyless keyboards are not your thing, Wooting has just started a Kickstarter project for the upcoming Wooting two, which contains a complete number pad (but is otherwise functionally identical to one).

Advantages: Robust, high quality workmanship. The unique analog ability increases the pressure, which works great in many titles. The function with two keystrokes is another plus. Fully mechanical keyboard can keep up with top competitors. Great software, support and community.

Disadvantage: Not all titles support analog keyboard input. Tenkeyless is not for everyone.

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