In case you’re new to mechanical keyboards, you in all probability haven’t heard of the boutique keyboard firm Indignant Miao. The corporate solely presents a few keyboards, however they’re all the time excessive — in each design and worth.
The brand new Indignant Miao AFA (Adjustable Flex Alice) keyboard is likely one of the most over-the-top, unique-looking keyboards yow will discover, and never simply because it has a cut up, ergonomic Alice format. This keyboard searching for its place on our greatest wi-fi keyboards listing takes its outer design inspiration from VF-19, a remodeling mecha (armored robotic) within the anime collection Macross, and its interior design inspiration from the BMW M6 GT3, a race automotive.
It’s not low-cost, after all. The AFA begins at $680 for the bottom package, which doesn’t embrace keycaps or switches; including keycaps and switches brings the full to $795.
|Switches||Indignant Miao Icy Silver Switches|
|Onboard Storage||Sure (7 profiles)|
|Media Keys||With FN or configurable|
|Keycaps||Polycarbonate Translucent Cherry Profile|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||17.55 x 6.16 x 2.22 inches / 445.7 x 156.5 x 56.5mm|
|Weight||5 kilos / 2.27kg|
|MSRP||$795 with keycaps and switches|
|$680 with out|
Design of the Indignant Miao AFA
The AFA is Indignant Miao’s most formidable design but. As you may in all probability guess from its identify, the AFA options an Alice format, which splits the keys (and the house bar) down the center and angles them for ergonomics. (It’s additionally adjustable — on the within — however I’ll get to that in a second.)
First, I need to talk about this board’s end — as it’s stellar.
The AFA is impressed by the reworking mecha VF-19 within the anime Macross. (A remodeling mecha is an armored robotic swimsuit — assume D.Va from Overwatch.) This board doesn’t remodel or shoot missiles, however its modern design resembles a fighter jet — and, at 5 kilos (2.27kg), feels prefer it weighs as a lot as one.
Internally, the AFA is introduced right down to earth (actually). The leaf spring mounting mechanism is impressed by the BMW M6 GT3 and its Ohlins Top Adjustable coilovers. Coilovers are a kind of spring in vehicles that may be adjusted to stop bottoming out and total stiffness. The identical precept applies to the AFA for the reason that stiffness may be adjusted.
The Indignant Miao AFA is a tented-style Alice keyboard, which is designed to cut back stress in your wrists and promote higher ergonomics. The tented design raises every half of the board up by 5 levels, giving the board an precise cut up feeling whereas typing. Talking of typing — the right-shift key on this board is positioned to the appropriate of the up-arrow key, and it’s one in all my greatest gripes. It’s very uncomfortable and oddly-placed for a right-shift key.
Much like the Indignant Miao Cyberboard, the AFA has an enormous battery, which is nestled right into a detachable chrome steel weight beneath the board. The AFA is wi-fi and connects by way of Bluetooth, and I skilled no Bluetooth connectivity mishaps whereas typing. Battery life appears to be fairly good: after about 20 hours of use, the battery life was nonetheless doing very nicely at 47%.
The included keycaps are translucent they usually look good, although I’ve by no means been a fan of translucent keycaps. Nonetheless, the legends are troublesome to see when RGB is enabled. This wouldn’t usually be a difficulty, however I used to be looking and pecking rather a lot after I first began utilizing the AFA as a consequence of its uncommon format.
Whereas the PCB is sizzling swap, the AFA solely comes with one swap choice, that are Indignant Miao’s Icy Silver switches. These switches, that are manufactured by TTC and have an working power of 45g — the identical as Cherry MX Crimson switches — are extremely clean. The stabilizers are manufactured by Gateron, and are wonderful — as anticipated from the corporate.
The AFA comes with a number of equipment: phosphorus copper and chrome steel leaf springs, a screwdriver, a hex key, and just a little spudger to take away the magnet plate on high of the board. It additionally contains two pucks known as “Hover,” that are wrist rests that elevate your fingers as much as the peak of the board.
Indignant Miao features a high-quality screwdriver, which I respect, as a result of the quantity of unscrewing wanted to regulate the gears is… rather a lot. It’s not onerous, per se, however it would take you a minimum of 5 minutes to take the board aside and alter or exchange the leaf springs.
Picture 1 of 3
Under is a video that illustrates how the adjustable flex works.
A video let you already know What’s AngryMiao’s Adjustable Gasket pic.twitter.com/hknE0tlHLNSeptember 4, 2022
The Indignant Miao AFA makes use of an adjustable leaf spring mounting methodology, which is a breath of recent air — there aren’t many leaf spring mechanical keyboards in the marketplace. Leaf spring keyboards work equally to gaskets, as they’re versatile steel prongs that really feel just like the opener tab on a soda can.
The board’s inspiration from a BMW’s suspension lastly takes form relating to adjusting the flex. The board arrived in its softest configuration and it certain is bouncy. The bounce on this board is similar to the Akko Alice, however this sounds and feels significantly better, due to the seemingly hand-lubed linear switches.
Typing and Gaming Expertise on the Indignant Miao AFA
Typing on the Indignant Miao AFA wasn’t as simple as different Alice-layout boards I’ve used, largely due to the board’s peak and the way far aside either side of the board was. The keyboard is 2.22 inches (56.5mm) excessive, which suggests it’s principally unimaginable to make use of it comfortably with out resting your wrists on the included “Hover” pucks.
Additionally, I don’t know what Indignant Miao was pondering after they put the right-shift key the place it’s. This nearly ruined my typing expertise. Significantly, why is the right-shift key behind the up-arrow key? This design selection resulted in quite a few typos on my facet and left me very pissed off.
Gaming on the AFA wasn’t nice, as the peak of the board resulted in untimely wrist fatigue whereas I used to be attempting to get via Name of Obligation: Fashionable Warfare II. Whereas the steel physique of the AFA didn’t end in any connection errors, the keyboard solely options Bluetooth or wired by way of USB Kind-C, not 2.4GHz wi-fi, so the latency shall be too excessive for aggressive players.
Software program of the Indignant Miao AFA
Contemplating the AFA prices nearly $800, I hoped the software program could be environment friendly. Nonetheless, it’s not solely… not environment friendly, it’s by far the largest situation I had with the AFA. The companion software program is horrible. And whereas Indignant Miao shortly responded to the issues I encountered, I shouldn’t have needed to contact them about issues within the first place.
The principle situation with the software program was that it required far too many pointless steps to do comparatively mundane duties, comparable to remapping keys or altering the lighting. Step one was requiring an web connection to make use of the software program, which was fully gratuitous.
To configure the board to your coronary heart’s need, you should go to Indignant Miao’s DIY web site.
Okay, up to now so good. Following, click on on “In-Change LED configuration.”
Then, drag your mouse alongside the PCB — if you need a static shade profile, you’ll must delete the latter 13 frames, which is a ache.
As soon as your key format and RGB design course of is full, you’ll must obtain the .json file and add it to the Cyberboard configurator on the top-left.
For the time being, you’ll must click on “Obtain & Save json (mac) — the Home windows choice doesn’t work.
Open the Indignant Miao software program and choose your .json file and then you definitely’re lastly accomplished.
Picture 1 of 2
Configuring the AFA is a ache, and completely wants work. I might have preferred to see some macro recording, however perhaps that’s asking for an excessive amount of.
The Indignant Miao AFA (Adjustable Flex Alice) is clearly designed for hardcore mechanical keyboard fans, and never the typical consumer. This board is rather a lot, in nearly each means. It’s awesome-looking and Indignant Miao does a very good job of including its identification to the Alice format. And relating to construct high quality, the AFA is, indisputably, one of the best keyboard I’ve seen (and that features Indignant Miao’s Cyberboard).
However whereas I can look previous the keyboard’s peak, I can’t ignore the right-shift key location or the unusable software program. Plus, it’s nearly $800 — if you happen to’re searching for an Alice format, the Akko ACR Professional Alice Plus is a superb keyboard for simply $130. Finally, the Indignant Miao AFA is a keyboard that has the potential to be nice, however finally ends up being… simply okay.
MORE: Finest Gaming Keyboards