What is a Planck Keyboard & How Many Keys Does It Have?

The Planck is a 40% keyboard that is popular with the developer and keyboard enthusiast communities. It has a unique layout that comes with a lot of customization options. This blog looks at the key features, layout, and customization options of the Planck keyboard.

Have you ever tried using a Planck Keyboard? If not, then you are missing out. There are so many benefits to using this revolutionary keyboard that it’s hard to list them all. It’s no wonder why this keyboard has become so widely popular among everyone in the tech industry. The different size keys make typing quick, easy, and satisfying. So if you aren’t already using a Planck Keyboard, then we strongly suggest that you start doing so today because your fingers will thank you later.

What is a Planck keyboard?

A Planck keyboard offers a rectangular layout that looks very different from what users are used to. There is no staggered layout of keys, and the best part is that all the keys are in one single row. So what makes it so special? The primary reason why people opt for Planck keyboards is that they do not offer any printing or lettering on them, giving end users a chance to decorate their extremely minimal input devices with stickers, paint jobs, or by just letting their creativity take over.

What is a planck Keyboard
Planck Keyboard Wallpapers

These keyboards are designed with the needs of typists in mind; they fit the hands of avid mechanical keyboard enthusiasts just right. Plus, they have customizable switches and are rated highly by professional mechanical keyboard reviewers.

Are Planck keyboards good?

The Planck keyboard from OLKB is a fairly small keyboard that packs quite a punch with the features it currently has. What’s most impressive about this keyboard is its all-aluminum build quality which makes for such a durable layout! Not only does this make it aesthetically pleasing. But it ensures top-notch protection which is awesome when you’re on the go.

How many keys of Planck Keyboard?

With 11 rows and 4 columns of single-unit keys in the default layout, the Planck keyboard has a total number of 47 keys, you’re still left with quite a few keys to program with the Planck. Unless you’re using one of the alternative layouts like tmk or grid that allow more ways to space out your single-unit key clusters. But I personally find the stock layout on the Planck to be very comfortable. Even after using it on an everyday basis for months now so I would advise you to stick with it if you buy yourself a Planck keyboard.

The MIT layout is significantly different from the common QWERTY layout because it lets users press a single key and have multiple keystrokes register as soon as it is used. Another unique feature about the MIT layout is that its spacebar comes as a double unit, meaning that typing with this keyboard doesn’t take up much of your desk space. The number of keys on the Planck keyboard can be limiting because they come in a compact size which only offers keys essential to coding and writing applications.

What are the main types of Planck Keyboard?

This is a keyboard by Planck. It’s going to be really useful for the innovative programmers out there who love to get things done fast. This is a 40% keyboard complete with an ortholinear layout which gives one better ease of use as it allows your hands to interact naturally with the keys that are available to you. It’s got 47 keys in total and they are laid out in a 4 × 12 configuration on this device as well as having a 2-unit wide space bar which adds even more comfortability than before.

The board’s microcontroller is programmed through the free/libre Quantum MK firmware. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in implementing keyboard layouts. The keymap is organized into layers that are choosable via user-defined function keys.

Base layer (Colemak):

This is an alternate base layer for the Colemak layout. The default layer can be changed through special actions that can be attached to keys (more on that below). The game of Scrabble is played in our living room where you can see a transparent bug crawling on the window.

Base layer (Qwerty):

The base layer is the default layer. Which is activated when powered on. It allows for easy chording with either hand because I opted for an equal amount of symmetry between the two hands. However, this does not include the arrow keys, backspace, or, other commonly used keys found in most keyboards and as a result, they can be found in other layers instead. For example, parentheses, brackets, and braces need to be pressed alongside modifiers if you want to make them appear. The fn1-5 keys allow you to access other layers as they are held down.

The prominent placement of the Esc key is based on the location of Caps Lock on a traditional keyboard, which I’ve re-mapped to a dual role Esc without having to use the software. Implementing that same logic in hardware for other keyboards wasn’t as simple though; one issue I encountered was that some software won’t recognize the re-mapped keys.

Numeric layer:

The function key in the lower-left corner accesses the numeric layer, which contains F numbers, Numpad keys (with allowances for typing hexadecimal numbers), and unshifted symbols that appear in the US keyboard layout. This layer also contains a backspace function in the spacebar position (mnemonic: hold the function key in front of a keyboard to delete unwritten characters).

Symbol layer:

The sym key, as it’s designated (short for symbol key) not only includes the function keys but also has the numbers on the right side too. Forward Delete is accessible in the spacebar position just like a traditional keyboard because when typing diagonally on the OLKB Planck. You command via your wrists and hands and not your fingers.

Directional navigation layer:

The 60% keyboards that lack dedicated arrow keys tend to place on a function layer in the Qwerty IJKL position. Because I am used to Vim’s characterwise/linewise movement on HJKL, I placed arrow keys there instead. The layer can comfortably be activated by holding the semicolon key with one’s pinky. The conceptually “bigger” counterparts of those directional movement keys are placed symmetrically on Qwerty SDFG.

GUI layer:

This layer is activated with either the pinky (little finger) or even the palm of one’s hand. Since this layer contains a lot of functionality on both sides of the keyboard. It’s important to have access to this layer regardless if you use your right or left hand especially since it sits at the bottom corners and can be awkward to reach.

The bottom row consists of a volume rocker and a power button on the left along with media controls, volume control, and pause/play on the right. On the left, the WASD keys are mapped to mouse controls while on the right there’s an option to snap or toggle full-screen views. As well as switch between which monitor is active.

Build Quality Of Planck Keyboard:

when you start looking into mechanical keyboards, it’s obvious pretty quickly that your budget starts in the $100 range for a good product. At this price point, you’ll likely get one made from plastic with reputable Cherry or another switch and a nice keycap set. If you stay in this budget range, as a Windows or macOS user, you’ll likely only be able to change the WAN and ALT keys individually, along with being limited to tenkeyless (60%) or 65% configurations.

The Planck, from OLKB, contains hot-swappable switch seats, a steel plate for mounting the switches, and an aluminum case milled from a single piece of metal. The Planck is solid and will outlive you if you treat it right. Additionally, if you wish to experiment with different types of switches, you can easily swap them in and out whenever desired, transforming your keyboard with ease. You can also customize the firmware exactly how you want it on your Planck with 16 million different options to choose from. This means that you can achieve the perfect configuration. This growing flexibility empowers you to learn more about the Planck and your needs as they change over time.

Is Planck Keyboard For You?

Ultimately, I understand this is a keyboard that not every individual may be interested in, but it’s worth the exposure as it serves to emphasize how a small factor can have a great impact on our creativity and build better communities through different outlets that allow us to express ourselves. It’s always encouraging when there are products available out there that help one make sense of the world in different ways and the Planck is one of those innovations that I enjoy so much because the parallels seem to be quite similar between what design keyboarding enthusiasts actually do for themselves for example in comparison to us pen people who seek out certain things such as finding rare urushi titles/brush pens from Japan or even trying out new types of amazing fountain pen ink.

If you’re interested in ortholinear layouts. The Planck is most certainly your best option. This is because there are many other options. But they vary greatly from that of a normal keyboard. Most other options out there are either too different from the standard keyboard layout or they cost too much and often require that one get some soldering experience before making them their own.

If you want to save a few bucks and think it would be fun to put your own keyboard together, the DIY option is excellent. If you’d rather buy the keyboard and get going immediately, the Planck EZ is a great pick. They’re essentially the same keyboard. So you can’t go wrong with either one.

If you want to ease yourself into the key layout of an ortholinear keyboard, you might try the OLKB Preonic. It’s the same layout as the Planck with one difference – it has an extra row of keys on to all the numbers. The Preonic is only available on Drop but it’s well worth looking at if no other Ortholinear BT keyboard takes your fancy (including pre-orders).

Conclusion:

The Planck Keyboard is a fantastic device that has been designed to change the way we type. Basically, simplicity and ergonomics are usually sacrificed in favor of having beautiful visuals with different features. However, the Planck comes with zero visual clutter and still maintains minimalism while keeping its functionality as the top priority. It is definitely worth it for people who love to maximize their typing experiences.

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