I. Introduction – TheKapCo. Kyoto Keycaps
New to the keyboard hobby and want to upscale your keyboard’s aesthetics? The easiest way to do that is by replacing your keycaps!
Read on more as we give the rundown TheKapCo Kyoto custom keycaps set!
These keycaps were given to us for an overview by TheKapCo which hails from Malaysia and started their business in 2021. Despite being in Southeast Asia, TheKapCo caters to a global audience! Beginners and seasoned enthusiasts of the hobby will appreciate its vast assortment of keyboard-related ware from pre-built keyboards, wristrests, and even anime-themed artisans and keycaps! One can easily tag them as a one-stop shop for anything keyboard related.
II. Keycap Material and Durability
Now moving on to the keycaps. TheKapCo sent us their Kyoto Keycaps Set from their Featured Collection on their website. If you’re not familiar with the plastics used on keycaps, you usually get to choose between ABS and PBT.
The ones that we have with us are made with PBT or Polybutylene terephthalate that’s a plastic most resistant to wear and really comes in handy against sweat and oil that we give off from our hands during those long gaming or typing sessions.
Another positive thing about TheKapCo set is its dye-subbed legends which, combined with the PBT material, warrants that the keycaps can last a really really long time and I’m inclined to believe what’s stated on their website “These keycaps will last you a lifetime”. Although you should take note that whatever you use to clean your keycaps, it’s made from mild ingredients as stronger solvents can make the prints fade away quicker.
III. Layout Support and Keycap Profile
If you’re new to the hobby chances are you’re using a standard layout which may consist of a 100%, TKL, or one of the most commonly used 60 and 75% layouts. The good news is, with 126 keycaps from the box, these layouts will be fully supported by the Kyoto Keycaps! MX-style switches will also be supported by the set. Their website also indicates which layout these keycaps can fit.
Looking at the keycaps from the side, we can see that the profile is Cherry, one of the most common profiles for keycaps and has been around since the establishment of the OG switch maker, Cherry (1973). The profile also provides good ergonomics and typing feel, and this is why this is the preferred profile for custom keycap creators.
IV. Keycap Legends & Design
Since these keycaps are named Kyoto Keycaps Set the design for it is heavily influenced by Japanese culture, and of course, the city of Kyoto.
When I unboxed the keycap set, I was questioned about what was printed on the Tab key. Apparently,it’s one of those things that’s set on top of Japanese pagodas, a Sorin. Starting at the modifiers, you have different Japanese/Kyoto elements, at the left part of the keycap set you have the To-ji Gojunoto Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in Kyoto.
and on the right part of the modifiers, you have other items that are easily recognizable that it’s from Japan, like the Sakura tree branch, a Torii Gate, a Ningyo or Japanese doll, and those cute Maneki-Nekos.
We also have a printed guy on a keycap; Oda Nobunaga known as a Daimyo who unified Japan, I guess it’s fitting that he’s on the backspace implying that we gotta go back in time.
Onto the alphas, you have English legends and Kanji sub-legends. The dye-sub prints on the keycaps are comprehensible and crisp while the designs and colors on the keycaps are vibrant. These keycaps really sets it apart from the budget options you have from online stores. Remember, you get what you pay for.
The set also comes with an extra function row and shift keys for other layouts.
And if you’re confused about where the keycaps should be positioned on your keyboard, TheKapCo went the extra mile and embossed which row/s the keycap should go! They’ve also indicated the unit/size of the modifiers beside the row number of the keycap. Big props to TheKapCo for doing this, such a quality-of-life feature that’s usually overlooked.
V. Typing Feel
Creating this review, I’m currently typing on the Kyoto Keycap Set and as someone who has another keyboard with a similar Cherry profile, typing on it is second nature. With a height that’s just right which clocks in at 9.4mm, it has a shorter stature than OEM profile keycaps and a gentle curvature at the top, these features lend Cherry Profile keycaps accuracy, speed, and comfort.
Another thing to note would be preferences vary from one user to another, however, if you’re just starting out on your custom mechanical keyboard journey, definitely check out Cherry profile keycaps at TheKapCo’s site and go from there.
If you’re just beginning to be in the hobby and want something that stands out from the cheaper, run-of-the-mill themed keycaps from online shops, the abundance of choices from TheKapCo and its fair-priced keycap sets is where you should set your sights.
The one that we reviewed for this is priced at ₱3,800, less ₱500 off from its original price! The features that make this standout – legends’ print quality, embossed row markers, and PBT material definitely make this a great starter or secondary kit. Its value should still hold, albeit at a tad lower price, in the event that you do decide to let these go when you upgrade.