It took little more than a year from concept to production but MTNU is finally out! All sets have been shipped to vendors and a few lucky EU customers already got their copy! It’s time to review what we’ve done so far and see what is left to do for the near future.
Let’s start with the first real-life not-rendered not-studo-shot pictures:
I’ve been typing on MTNU since a few days now and I’m glad to report that my experience has been absolutely delightful. I’ve never actually typed on a full MTNU set until last Wednesday. All I had was prototypes and 3D printed caps for the missing key sizes. I knew the profile was going to be great but it was relieving to finally test it first hand.
If you follow my work you know that I’m not shy of criticism if something is not done to my very high standards, so let’s review how this MTNU actually is.
First of all the ergonomics, the tactility and overall typing experience. Those are the things that I value most. Texture is nice and smooth. Hitting area wide and welcoming. The profile is not aggressively angled but I find the ergonomics to be pretty good. I didn’t need any “break-in” period coming from other profiles which is quite impressive. It really feels like you can’t miss a key even if you try. So I’m happy to report that –at least in my book– the profile ticks all the right checkboxes.
The look. Well, that is subjective I guess. It’s my creature so I can’t help but love it. All three batch-1 sets look lovely. The colors are incredibly vibrant and don’t forget this is PBT.
WoB is incredibly elegant. The black background really enhances the look of the fine texture. The Beige one is a classic and I especially like the orange accent (I’m typing on it right now). And Susu… well… finally it was made with the right colors! We weren’t able to color match properly with MT3 but this time it’s just perfect, I’m keeping it for a new keyboard that I should receive shortly.
The typeface is just the perfect match for the shape. The double-shot job GMK was able to do is absolutely fantastic. I examined the keys under the microscope and I’ve never seen such injection-perfection before. I’m extremely pleased… but… (you know this was coming)
What can be improved
Before I go any further let me stress on the fact that 3-full-sets in 100% PBT for a completely new profile were manufactured in just 5 months (from first mold to delivery). That is absolutely mindblowing if you think at the difficulties GMK had in the past and it sets a really good pace for the productions to come.
When quality is already so high every little detail is important though. Legend alignment –especially when they are in the center of the keycap– is very important and even a small shift to any side is noticeable.
Due to GMK production process it can happen that the same legend has to be repositioned for a new injection (ie: for a new color). Considering the amount of unique legends and the incredibly small tolerances we are dealing with (we are talking even 0.2-0.3mm), errors can unfortunately happen.
I’m happy to report that 99.9% of the legends are aligned almost to perfection, but there are just a few that could have been better. Fortunately none of the “important” ones, but still this is something I talked to GMK, they are well aware and working on perfecting the production process.
The other thing is the spacebars. Don’t get me wrong they are nice and functional, but can be improved.
The problem here is that you have one mold but a limitless number of colors and pigment changes the characteristics of the resin. I’ve noticed that black (and dark colors in general) shrinks more than light colors. The beige spacebar is almost perfect for example, but on the 7U black one you can certainly see some bent on the far ends.
It’s nothing to be alarmed of, but GMK is aware and working on optimizing production.
The future is bright
I’m happy to see that some designers and vendors already started working on MTNU sets (like MTNU 800 and the Seneca) even before the profile was released… so a huge thank you for the leap of faith. (Contact me if I missed your project).
I’m working on icon modifiers for any future set to use freely and I’m also pondering the feasibility of an MTNU Space Cadet if I find the right partner.
I’m looking forward to hearing your impressions about MTNU, please let me know in my Discord server or just post anywhere and send me the link. I hope at the very least you’d appreciate the openness I always keep during the whole process. I’m first and foremost a keyboard enthusiast and I would never release something I don’t like or just to flood the market with new fancy gimmicks. MTNU is filling a gap in the market: medium height, spherical top and sleek as hell. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.
We had a quick unfiltered unboxing last week if you are interested it’s still on YouTube.