Getting deep into custom mechanical keyboards can be a costly hobby as you search for the right combination of switches, keycaps, and features. Even more annoying than the cost is the arduous process of simply finding those keyboards. One of the best custom keyboards out there is now available in a new place—Kickstarter. A campaign for the Input Club WhiteFox has gone live with a number of new features and a lower price.
I built a WhiteFox kit from the original Massdrop release last year, which you can read about. I still use this board frequently, even with plenty of other customs in my collection (I have a problem). This time, Input Club is focusing on offering assembled boards with custom switches rather than kits you have to build yourself. There’s still a kit option, though.
The WhiteFox is a compact keyboard with a 65-percent layout. That means it has the alphas, number row, modifiers, arrows, and an extra row of buttons on the right. It takes up much less space than a full-sized keyboard, but it can do all the same things because it’s programmable. This is one of the main selling points of the WhiteFox, because you can modify the key mapping however you want. And those missing physical keys aren’t really missing because you can add them to a function layer. Again, that layer is completely customizable.
The WhiteFox runs Keyboard Layout Language (KLL) firmware, which is unique to Input Club keyboards. Of all the custom firmwares I’ve tried, this one is the easiest to program and flash to the board. Input Club makes everything available via an online configurator and includes instructions on how to push the file over to your keyboard. There’s no desktop software necessary to control your board, so it works the same no matter what you plug it into.
The Kickstarter includes several ways to buy the WhiteFox, but only one layout is available. In the interest of speeding the process along, only the TrueFox aluminum plate is available. The PCB still supports other layouts if you want to buy a third-party plate. So, that’s a change from the previous sales that had multiple options. The key stabilizers (wires the keep longer keys aligned) have also switched to Cherry-style, which are much less finicky than the Costar stabilizers used on older version of the WhiteFox.
Another difference in this round is the option to pick up a WhiteFox with the custom Halo Clear and Halo True switches. These are moderately heavy tactile switches manufactured by Kailh. The WhiteFox also comes with a full keyset manufactured in durable PBT plastic.
This keyboard will run you $ 169, fully assembled with your choice of Halo switches. The kit with no switches is $ 159. That’s not cheap, but plenty of inferior boards from companies like Razer are priced similarly. Input Club expects to have the WhiteFox shipped by the end of the year at the latest.