Review: Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2

Recently I took the plunge and purchased a Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2.


The first thing you notice about the HHKP is its small footprint. It is approximately the size of a laptop keyboard, but the keys are full size. I purchased the black version, which uses a dark grey plasic for the board/keys, with black lettering on the key tops. Taken as a whole, it looks very attractive and minimalistic. One thing to note is that the contrast between the keys and labels is very slight, which might make it difficult to see in a darkened room. The textured plastic also seems to attract lint, which mars the overall appearance.


The keys feel great; if you’re used to typing on modern Apple keyboards, the key travel will feel almost excessive at first. I wasn’t sure what I would think about Topre switches, but I think that I like them; they aren’t really noisy, but have a deep, satisfying “thunk” when they bottom out. The keycaps have a textured plastic on the top which is also very pleasant to feel. I think that overall, the switches fulfill the requirement I had for them, which was to provide moderately deep travel and not be too loud for a cramped office space.


Of course, the reason why the HHKP is so polarizing is that the designers made some choices that not everyone will agree with. Probably the most obvious is that there are no dedicated arrow keys; you have to press a modifier key plus one of the [, ;, ' or / keys. If you’re a visual text editor power user, this may very well be a dealbreaker for you. The only other real annoyance I’ve found is the placement of the tilde (~) key, which is on the upper right side of the board, above the Delete key. It’s very commonly used in Unix-flavored systems (e.g. cd ~ will take you to your home directory), and I have not gotten used to its placement yet.


Although it will only appeal to a subset of keyboard enthusiasts, I have enjoyed using the HHKP. If you use a computer professionally, it’s definitely worth your time to investigate other keyboards besides the one baked into your laptop.

Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 on (referral link)