Stack Overflow has announced The Key v2, a three-key keyboard with Ctrl, C, and V keys (which can, of course, be configured to do anything you like). The Key v2 now has RGB lighting, a translucent base, and hot-swappable mechanical switches.
If The Key v2 seems like something of a joke, that’s because its predecessor, the original The Key was an April Fool’s joke on April 1, 2021. But the joke caught the zeitgeist of people bored while working from home in lockdown — there was so much demand for an actual three-key copy/paste keyboard that the original The Key went into production and was on sale by Q4 last year. The original The Key has sold over 10,000 units to date.
The new The Key v2 ‘macropad’ (it’s really too small to be called a keyboard) features changes to the original design inspired by community comments and requests. According to a blog post about the new device, it has been redesigned to include “the most requested features.” These features appear to be RGB lighting, a translucent chassis, and hot-swappable solder-free switches.
The translucent white acrylic base of the new model immediately sets it apart from its black-based predecessor. Plugging in and powering on provides RGB frills courtesy of two LEDs under the keys. The included white keys with black lettering don’t let any light shine through — it’s just under-lighting, which isn’t typical for backlit keyboards. This visual issue is easy to remedy — just grab some keycaps with the lettering in transparent plastic and some switches with transparent stems.
As for switches, the device comes with Kailh Black Box switches (linear non tactile, non click action). These can be replaced with the switches of your choice from a different brand, such as Cherry. The Key v2 lets you swap switches without heating up your soldering iron.
Once you buy The Key 2, you’re free to make it into any kind of macropad you like. You can change the keys to other, more meaningful symbols for your workflow, reconfigure what the keys do, and adjust the RGB lighting using the QMK open-source keyboard firmware.
Drop will be limiting The Key v2 to 4,900 units. It’s listed for $29, which is the same price as its predecessor. Stack Overflow will again be donating a portion of the proceeds to digitalundivided, a nonprofit that works to catalyze economic growth in Black and Latino communities through female entrepreneurs.
The Key v2 is available to pre-order now, and is expected to ship around June 30, 2022.