There are two types of people in this world: those who like cute things, and those who don't.
The Lofree Bluetooth keyboard was made for the first group. Its adorable design, with rounded edges and circular keys, is reminiscent of a classic typewriter. And as a mechanical keyboard (versus a more pedestrian membrane keyboard), it was made to sound just like a typewriter, too.
There's no shortage of mechanical keyboards with minimalist appeal, yet ones that would actually catch the eye of a hip lifestyle blogger or design nerd are few and far between. If you desire an attractive keyboard that'll take your Instagram-worthy workspace to the next level, or if you want to enjoy the soothing clacking of a typewriter while you work, the Lofree is the perfect antidote to clunky gamer-geared models.
It's currently available internationally via Kickstarter and will be on sale for $129 via Amazon in May. Official UK and AU pricing have yet to be confirmed. Pricing directly converts to £104 and AU$172.
For the design-inclined with a soft spot for nostalgia, the Lofree is love at first sight. It's so stinking cute it almost looks like it's a toy. That's not to say that it looks cheap. For an all-plastic design, it's stylish and feels solid. It's also got some weight to it and four grippy nubs attached to the bottom to ensure it doesn't slide around when typing.
The Lofree keyboard is easy to pair and can pair with up to three devices at the same time. It's compatible with Android and iOS, as well as Windows 10 and Macs. The top row of buttons has the same layout as Apple's Magic Keyboard, making it an easy transition for Mac users. It charges via Micro-USB and includes a charging cord.
Since it's made to sound exactly like a typewriter, the Lofree keyboard is very noisy, though not loud enough to disrupt my co-workers too much (or so they told me). Fingerpads easily slink into the smooth, concave, backlit keys, which are strangely satisfying to press, thanks in part to the sound they make.
Unfortunately, typing on the keyboard takes some time to get used to -- if you get used to it at all. I'm accustomed to stretching out my right pinky finger to hit the backspace and enter buttons without having to look or lift the rest of my fingers off the keyboard.
On the Lofree keyboard those keys are spaced so far away from the home keys; looking down to find them felt awkward. Otherwise I would accidentally press the wrong keys and consistently cause typos. After a few days, I got frustrated of using it. To relieve the problem I returned to my ugly, oversized, wired ergonomic keyboard instead.
Anyone who's ever worn a killer pair of heels in the name of fashion knows that, in certain situations, aesthetics beat practicality. It all depends on which one's more important to you.
For connecting to a TV or casual use, like cranking out quick emails or researching an upcoming vacation, the Lofree keyboard is a fine, uncommon choice for those who like aesthetically pleasing devices. But I definitely wouldn't recommend it for full-time writers or anyone who depends heavily on an efficient keyboard.
Editors' note: This post has been updated to reflect correct pricing.