The Lofree Dot Is One Funky Keyboard [A Review]


[typing]
[jazz music] I’m a bit of a keyboard guy. Maybe more than a bit.
I’m told that I have a fetish. But I can’t help it, man.
Mechanical keyboards just do it for me. So when Lofree got in touch to see
if I was interested in their retro-styled mechanical wireless keyboard, I was all in. This is the Lofree Dot, which was made available through
an Indiegogo campaign for $79 and retails for $99 after that. They sent me this review unit
with no strings attached and bearing that in mind, let me tell you, this keyboard drives me crazy! And not in a good way.
It is the epitome of style over substance. Beauty over functionality. And while there is a place for
funky keyboards in my life, as someone who enjoys funky things, this one does not cut it as a daily driver. But let’s back up a bit first because
there’s definitely some stuff to like here. For starters, just look at it! It’s eye-catching,
compact and even a bit cute. Set this thing down on a table next to
your sustainable fair-trade doohickeys and locally-sourced organic whatzits and you’re sure to attract at least 2.5 hipsters. Lofree says the idea was to
marry a mechanical keyboard with the design of old-school typewriters, hence the rounded keys. But they also wanted a tenkeyless layout familiar to users of Apple’s Magic Keyboard because of course they did. The Dot was the result and I must admit
that it has an aesthetic that I superficially dig. Not just the retro futuristic design language but the glossy white-on-
matte black color scheme itself. It pleases my brain. Although it does come in
some other color schemes as well and in the future, it’s supposed
to have some swappable key colors. And yes, it IS backlit! Featuring white LEDs with three brightness levels. I was pleasantly surprised with the heft as well, weighing in at 820 grams,
or a little less than two pounds. And combined with these non-adjustable rubber feet, underneath its thick, plastic casing, it is super sturdy. Now, on to the keys themselves,
which is a bit of a mixed bag. Falling from the good part of the bag is
that Lofree uses Gateron blue switches, which are nice and clicky. (CLICKY KEYBOARD GOODNESS) They’re just a tad heavier to press down
than my preferred Cherry MX Blue switches. So it didn’t take long for me at all to get
used to them in terms of input response. You’ve also no doubt noticed that the keys
themselves imply macOS compatibilty, but… it has a sultry switch selection
on the side for swapping between Mac, PC, iOS and Android devices. This is also where you plug in a micro-
USB cable to recharge the internal battery, or use it without Bluetooth at all. And yeah, that’s the other big thing
that drew me to the Lofree Dot. It is a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard, which is something of an uncommon thing. It even lets you switch between up to three
different Bluetooth devices using a key combo, like right here where I’m going from
Windows to Android to macOS with ease. Granted, I can hardly think of a
situation where you’d need to this quickly but… it’s nice that it remembers
multiple host devices regardless. I also like the fact that the keys are concave, with the logical exception of Escape and the spacebar, which makes it quite pleasant to
sink your fingers into it while typing. Or gaming. I had no problem gaming on this thing either. At least, when it comes to the Doom test. However, while it’s aesthetically and
technically sound, and it plays Doom, there’s a huge problem with the Lofree keyboard
that makes me want to toss it out a window. The keyboard layout itself. It’s full of odd decisions that makes it
uncomfortable and unfriendly to use. Even after nearly a week of constant use. Just take a look at the space between keys… or lack thereof. Notice anything strange? While the physical measurements are
the same as a typical full-sized keyboard, most other keyboards feature a key
design that tapers off towards the top, making it easier to feel out
individual keys while touch-typing. But the Lofree doesn’t have that. With the circular keys right on top of each other, it makes hitting neighboring keys a constant problem if you’re used to other keyboards. And it’s even worse if you have
fingers bigger around than a Sharpie. Then there’s the board layout itself, which is just… I don’t even know what they were thinking! Those misplaced arrow keys are gonna
give me post-traumatic stress, man! And good luck hitting that tiny
Right Shift key every time you want to. Then there’s the number row, which I never got used to. Again, let’s refer to a typical keyboard layout. You see how normally the “1” is
angled to the top-left of the “Q”? Well, not on Lofree’s keyboard. I assume this was for aesthetic reasons but all of the keys in this row are shifted to the right. So I was constantly hitting the wrong key in this row. And finally, there’s the shape of keys like
Tab, Backspace, Right Shift and Caps Lock. They’re all the same size as regular numbers and letters so hitting them while touch-typing often leads to a moment of hesitation or a missed keystroke. And while the Left Shift and Enter keys are nicely sized, it’s executed in a bizarre way. Underneath these keys are
TWO switches instead of one, something I have never seen before. And this means that not only is it
twice as hard to press these down, but every time you do, it clicks twice, leading to a gummy, awkward feeling each time. Using this keyboard makes me feel
cramped and unconfident in my typing, and I just can’t recommend it
for any serious writing or work. Yes, it has a rather unique look,
but if that’s your main concern, there are things like the Qwerkywriter
and the Hellboy Steampunk that appear mighty similar. Or even the Nanoxia Ncore Retro which I received just as I was wrapping up this review, and, man, is it instantly ten times more usable to me! It may not be wireless, but it has a board layout that actually makes sense. And the keys are spaced out and shaped in such a way that I don’t get that claustrophobic feeling I do with the Lofree Dot. It IS $20 more expensive than the Dot, but even a lower price point is not enough of a positive when it fails at its number one
goal of being excellent at typing. For a hundred bucks, you can do a whole lot better when it comes to comfortable, accurate keyboarding. (GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS) And if you enjoyed this video on this thing, then perhaps you’d like to see some of my others. I do more of them every single
Monday and Friday here on LGR. So… that’s a thing! And as always, thank you very much for watching.