As someone who builds keyboards daily (check out my stream), the build experience is paramount. If the keyboard is beautiful to look at but impossible to build, I can’t recommend it. Don’t get me wrong, difficult isn’t bad, but if the board is over engineered just for the sake of it, it makes the build not as fun. And that’s the whole point of this hobby, right?
There are no worries in this regard when it comes to the Sonnet. It’s just as easy to build as the rest of the Mode family. Like the new Mode Eighty and SixtyFive, the Sonnet boasts a few mounting styles, all of which work really well with this board. And, with just a few screws, you can swap back and forth to find the one you like best. Or, you know, if you just want to change it up for fun.
The Sonnet offers the following mounting styles: top, stacked, and top with corner sleeves. I built the Sonnet two ways: stack and top-mounted. I was surprised I liked the stack mount in the Sonnet since I was not a fan of this style in the SixtyFive. In the SixtyFive I felt it hurt the softness, but this wasn’t the case in the Sonnet. And, as I often mention, this is pure preference. You simply have to try different methods to find what you like best. Remember, it’s what you like best, not someone else. This is exactly why I love this hobby: you can tweak every board to fit your personal style.
What changes would I make? There are some and, good news, they are already being addressed by Mode. The polycarbonate bottom is beautiful, but a lot of the weights have their finished part hiding face up into case. For example, the multicolor weight only has the finish inside and not pointing where we could see it. Talk about no fun. But, get this: this issue is being addressed in the final variant of the board. How fun.
The reset button is no longer accessible on the top of the PCB. That’s right, you have to disassemble the keyboard to access it. Also, there are no openings on the stabs like we had in the original Eighty. I loved being able to swap out a stabilizer without a complete tear down of the board and it’s one of the aspects I liked so much about the Eighty.
The last item is a request to Mode: Consider adding a gasket mount system. Now, I liked the top mount and didn’t even mind the stack mount, but you all are really missing out on how great a gasket system, if implemented correctly, can be.