The Wombat Pine Professional Keyboard Is A Full-Size Mechanical Model With Great Typing Action
Mechanical computer keyboards have boomed in popularity over the past couple of years, eating away at the market for the cheap and spongey membrane-style keyboards that are bundled with many desktop computers. The boom in mechanical keyboards is due to their popularity with people who type all day and want a more enjoyable experience. Many of us working from home and using our laptops don’t enjoy typing long documents on most laptops’ uncomfortable and short-travel keyboards.
What started as a niche product used chiefly by gaming enthusiasts has become a preferred choice for many people, especially those working from home where the louder key sounds won’t bother colleagues in a busy office. The sound is produced by the physical switches used in mechanical keyboards. These switches create more tactile feedback and some keyboards can even have their switches swapped out for a different type that offers even more of a click or greater travel.
The Wombat Pine Professional keyboard is a mechanical, full-sized model that works with Macs and PCs and many other systems such as Linux and Chrome. The Wombat Pine Professional is an ideal alternative to Apple’s Magic Keyboard and includes a full numeric keypad for spreadsheet jockeys. It also has a complete set of macOS media keys and special keys that can be programmed using the Wombat Pouch software.
The keycaps on the Wombat Pine model that I tested had a combination of light grey, and dark grey, with the important Esc and Enter keycaps in bright red. The keyboard ships with Mac and PC keycaps, so whichever system you want to use it with, you’ll be at home. Other keycap colors are available, including Light Blue, Light Green, Pink, and Silver.
There are three ways to connect the keyboard to a host computer. You can use a USB cable, an RF dongle or Bluetooth LE. The Wombat Pine Professional can connect and switch between three different Bluetooth devices with just a quick key press. Included in the box is a USB-A RF wireless dongle, which offers an alternative for anyone with a computer without Bluetooth. If you choose to use the USB connection, the critical latency is reduced even further, which might be something gamers would like to consider.
To get the keyboard at the ideal typing angle, the Wombat Pine Professional has two heights of flip-out feet on its base, offering two rake angles. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard flat with a wrist rest. The heft of the Wombat Pine is considerable; thanks to its sturdiness, it won’t wander across the desk as you type. Overall, this is a classy keyboard that would grace any working space.
The Brown MX Cherry-style switches under the Wombat Pine’s keycaps have a click or detent that kicks in halfway down. The switches have quite a lot of travel and if you’re used to a shallow laptop keyboard, the Wombat Pine may take a little while to get used to. The pitch between keys is also quite wide, but once your muscle memory adjusts, the layout promotes faster and more accurate typing than most scissor membrane keyboards offer. All the switch stabilizers are pre-lubricated at the factory with a superbly responsive feel.
For gamers who want a quieter switch, the Wombat Pine Professional is available with Red switches that are quieter and don’t have the halfway click. Incidentally, the keycaps are made of PBT and the legends are printed using dye-sublimation technology. This means the legends are applied with heat and, with the combination of the hard-wearing PBT material so they are unlikely to wear off in a hurry and the keycaps won’t turn shiny after just a few weeks of heavy use.
What the Wombat Pine Professional offer is any LED backlighting for the keys. This might be a dealbreaker for some people and the dark grey keys with their black legends could benefit from some shine-thru keys. Backlit keyboards are helpful in a dimly lit room like an edit suite. However, if you must have backlit keys, the Wombat Pine Professional is not for you.
The Wombat Pouch software can be downloaded for free from the Wombat website and it’s a superb piece of software that lets you apply keystrokes or macros to some of the keys, particularly the four special ones above the numeric keypad. Those keys are marked with legends for handy tasks like launching a calculator, diary or browser, but you must program those using Wombat Pouch. Fortunately, the Wombat YouTube site has good tutorial videos showing how the keys can be customized.
Verdict: The Wombat Pine Professional is a beautifully made, full-size keyboard that’s a joy to type with. If you want backlit keys, look elsewhere, but if you can manage without them, this keyboard will reward you with excellent tactile feedback. It takes up quite a lot of desk space, but I particularly like the three different typing angles for a more comfortable typing experience. The built-in rechargeable battery seems to last for weeks between charges, mainly because it doesn’t have the drain of LED backlights. If I have any criticisms, it’s the power switch on the keyboard’s underside. It would have been better to have it on one of the edges so the Wombat Pine could be turned off without turning it upside down. However, with minor criticisms aside, this is a competent keyboard that should provide many years of service.
Pricing & Availability: The Wombat Pine Professional keyboard is available direct from Wombat with a choice of Red or Brown switches and with keycaps in Grey, Light Blue, Light Green, Pink, and Silver. The cost is $159.99.
More info: wombatkeyboards.com
- Compatibility: Windows 8/10/11, macOS 11/12/13, Linux, Android, iOS.
- Layout: 108-key US.
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, RF2.4GHz and USB 2.0.
- Switches: Mechanical Brown or Red with 50m key life.
- Power rating: 50mA 5VDC in USB mode.
- Battery: 1,000mAh LiPO rechargeable.
- Cable: 1.8m detachable.
- Keycaps: PBT wear resistance.
- Keycap colors: Grey, Light Blue, Light Green, Pink, and Silver.
- Legends: Dye-sublimation.
- Stabilizers: Pre-lubricated.
- LED backlights: No.
- Weight: 1.1kg / 2.43lb.