Planck vs Preonic vs Subatomic (Keyboards)

I ended up cancelling my Moonlander order as I think it’s just going to be a bit too bulky for me.

I think the Planck and the Preonic (or Subatomic - whenever it surfaces!) are going to be much better for me, here’s my pros and cons of each - have I missed anything? What are your thoughts?

Planck

  • 40% Keyboard (4 x 12)
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Very ‘cool’/futuristic looking

OLKB Planck vs Planck EZ

OLKB Planck is available from Drop and the Planck EZ is available from ZSA, they have some differences:

OLKB Planck (from Drop)

  • More case choice (other cases also available, or order with none)
  • More switch options (sold without so order your own)
  • More keycap options (order without then buy your own)
  • QMK Firmware
  • Self build (tho only takes 15 mins and no soldering required)
  • Bit taller, think with keys it’s 33mm
  • No RGB lighting (keys)
  • 1 year warranty
  • Slightly cheaper (unless you buy ‘nice’ keycaps/switches etc, which makes it more costly)

Planck EZ (from ZSA)

  • Plastic casing
  • RGB lighting
  • QMK Firmware
  • Can use Oryx to configure your keyboard
  • Shorter, at only 28mm tall with keys
  • Less ‘bezels’ around side = smaller footprint and arguably cleaner look
  • Some might say better built
  • Pre-built
  • 2 year warranty
  • Less customisable at purchase (no keycap options, limited switch options)
  • More expensive compared to stock Drop Planck with same switches

OLKB Preonic (from Drop)

  • 50% keyboard - has an additional number row (5 x 12)
  • Created by same person as the Planck
  • Same casing and switch options as Drop’s Planck

Subatomic

  • First mentioned a few years ago but still not available
  • Created by same person who created Planck and Preonic
  • Same as Preonic but will offer 2 additional columns (5 x 14)
  • Currently not available and no updates on when it will be

Reviews

Planck EZ

Planck Drop

Can’t find one atm, but here’s the build guide…

Preonic

Why 40% (/50%)

Plastic vs Metal case sound

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@AstonJ these are all great options! I really appreciate a smaller board as well. I love my Keyboardio Atreus which is tiny.

By the way if you want another option to consider, the Keyboardio Atreus is on sale right now. It says through Nov 30th, but as of posting it’s still marked down.

I’m partial to the Planck EZ myself because of my experience with ZSA’s Moonlander. I’ve even been considering purchasing one (I may have a keyboard problem :sweat_smile:). Using Oryx has been great! However, if you prefer some of the physical features of the other boards there are other tools out there so that you don’t always have to edit the QMK firmware directly ( online configurator, QMK Toolbox).

And of course if you prefer to dig into the firmware you can still do so with Planck EZ.

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Ah nice one Law - that’s a great price on the Atreus! Thanks also for the additional info about the other configurator tools.

I am leaning towards to the Planck, as I think I would prefer the Subatomic over the Preonic and am guessing the Subatomic will be my second MK - I think I may be getting into a bit of a MKB problem too! :laughing:

I am also leaning towards the Planck EZ as it’s slightly lower and has RBG lights which I think may help with the transition.

I have also seen the keycaps I want - they are due for a group-buy this week but won’t be delivered until October next year!!! :rofl: They’re also going to be over $200!!! ($110 core kit $50 forties kit and $45 geometries kit- then there’s postage and tax), That’s really insane!! But I think they will look stunning. I will post a separate thread about them :nerd:

Are you going to order the Planck EZ soon? Have you thought about getting the version from Drop? Any thoughts on how they compare? (Is the Drop version really that much taller?)

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Have just ordered a Planck EZ :see_no_evil:

White, RGB (Glow) with MX Browns (think I’ll prefer tactile switches on this keyboard).

I went for the EZ as I think the RGB lighting will help me get used to the layers (as I’ll set it to illuminate whichever keys are active on each layer). Once I’m used it, I would love to get either the Serika (v1) keycaps:

Or the MATT3O MT3 /DEV/TTY

From Drop. Btw, that’s on a Planck EZ^^ :nerd_face:

I do prefer the Serika keycaps… but I doubt they will be available again :cry:

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I love the look of these sets. I also seen a lot of reviews that say they are very comfortable to use. I’ve been eyeing the /DEV/TTY set as well.

I’m resisting buying another keyboard for now. But I don’t know how long I can hold out :laughing:.

I’ve considered it, but I’m really happy with the quality of ZSA’s hardware and software. So for me that’s the biggest factor.

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That’s why I went for the ZSA Planck too :blush:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

I think this might change your mind, imagine these on a Planck!

Edit: I’ll post this in a separate thread… done: BIIP MT3 Extended 2048 Custom Keycap Set (Drop) (let me know what you think @foxtrottwist!)

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Ordered a Planck EZ today, fingers crossed we can get our hands on them soon @AstonJ :nerd_face:

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Nice one Svilen!!

Will you be ordering a keycap set too? :upside_down_face:

These are hot off the press if you’re interested - currently available to pre-order via a group buy…

I wish the Serika 2 offered a Colevrak kit as well (even better if they brought back the MT3 Serika which is my absolute fave - it’s the one I posted here :orange_heart:).

We’ll have quite a few Planck owners here once you and I (and hopefully @foxtrottwist!) gets one! @Dusty, @hauleth and @dasdom already have one :laughing:

I like the keycaps that come with the Planck EZ, but I might be tempted to change them one day. I went for the Glow version, and I like how the letters light up with the RGB LEDs underneath :slight_smile:

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Yeah they are pretty cool, and I think (hope) they should be really helpful while getting used to all the different layers.

Just don’t look at keyboard videos or photos or customised keyboards… it’s surprising how it sucks you in!

Although I must admit it’s not just about looks, different keycaps have different feel (to touch) and sound too. This is why I am tempted to get that GMK set as well so I can compare for myself then just sell the one I don’t want - that seems to be one good thing about such keycaps, you can usually sell them as they are often sold in restricted numbers.

Let me know when you get an email saying yours is in transit! Wonder who will get it first…

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That’s great advice :laughing:

I already started playing with the Oryx configurator. The mouse control actions could be useful, and I just discovered the Auto Shift feature, which I can’t wait to try. There’s a lot you can do with that little keyboard!

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What is the auto-shift feature? :see_no_evil: :rofl: I haven’t had a look at Oryx yet so hope to discover all that soon.

Will you be sticking to qwerty btw? Or trying a different layout?

They have a video, which is also accessible in the Advanced Settings, watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1rj9ZSBggg

Nah, I’ll stick to qwerty. I’m quite comfortable with it, and I see no reason to change.

I’d definitely make one change in the layout though: swap the Enter key with the quotes key. I’m used to the Enter key being right underneath Backspace :laughing:

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The prototype was posted in 2018 but zilch after that, so vapourware or not idk ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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Nice find :+1:

Looks neat, I’d use the top row for medal controls (audio controls, display brightness etc). Not sure what I’d use the two middle rows for - I need to look into what can be done with those dials!

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What can you actually use them for?

Well, a rotary encoder twists clockwise and counter clockwise. It lends itself to actions that you’d otherwise need to repeatedly press a button for, and to actions that have both a forward and a reverse direction. For example:

  • Audio control, to turn the volume up or down;
  • Scrolling, to scroll up or down a page or document with Page Up and Page Down;
  • Tabbing, to go to the previous or next browser tab with for example Control Tab and Control Shift Tab;
  • Window movement, to go to the previous or next window with Alt Tab and Alt Shift Tab;
  • History scrubbing, to perform undo and redo;
  • Scrolling horizontally by word, with Control Arrow Left and Control Arrow Right (if you hold down shift while turning the encoder, you can select words too!);
  • Scrolling through search results, with Find Next and Find Previous when you map the encoder actions to your text editor’s shortcuts.

Of course, you can program them to do anything. I’ve seen people program common text snippets so you can enter text with the simple turn of the encoder.

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Ah thanks - that looks very cool!

No idea if this is real but…

:laughing:

Seriously tho, Dusty’s article (posted here) is worth a read, here’s an excerpt:

So here we are, on a layout that—no matter how you look at it—was not designed for the modern computer typist. Should we try to fix it? What would be some possible advantages? Here is a partial list:

  • typing speed
  • avoiding repetitive strain (RSI)
  • ergonomics
  • typing comfort and enjoyment
  • efficient processes feel better than inefficient ones, even when the end result is the same—they improve our emotional well-being and quality of life

Haha… I’m sure your customisations won’t stop there :rofl:

Thanks Smithy!

I quite like the look of where one is place in the keyboard in this post. I wonder if PlanckEZ’s can make use of them actually…

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I have both the Preonic and the Planck. Between the 2, I prefer the Preonic mostly because I didn’t want to access my numbers with a layer (that was just personal preference). I bought the Preonic with a polycarbonate case which was not available with the Planck. I would recommend a super quiet switch like Bobas U4s due to how load the plank case is: https://www.rgbkb.net/products/rgb-silent-tactile-switch

I’m more partial to split boards since I find them far more comfortable, so neither one of my one piece boards will be my daily drivers.

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I almost went for the Preonic, but to use the top row for media controls (think I would prefer the numbers on a layer in traditional num-pad form) however I went for the Planck in the end as I got the feeling that having that additional row might get in the way of touch typing because by not having it you are forced to use just those 3 / 4 rows.

I also get the feeling that the Preonic may soon be replaced by the Subatomic, as Drop only has a few different case options now (not sure if that’s a good indication or not tho!).

Which keycaps have you got on these keyboards Lee? I will take a look at those switches too :smiley:

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