Redemption Keyboard Review

keyboard by: Space Cables
Photos taken in House by alex

So, What Is The Redemption?

The Redemption is the pseudo older sibling to the Salvation and it’s here to redeem some of the bumps in the road that the Salvation had after their success with their group buy. Hence the name Redemption. So what’s new about this thing? Well, it’s now a 65% board that uses a sort-of different layout that removes that small block near the arrow key similar to the TOFU 65%. Internally, there are a few tweaks, but nothing too wild compared to the Salvation. It’s still rocking that unique mounting style with leaf springs for that cozy typing feel.

The Redemption is all about smoothing out the bumps in the road that the Salvation faced when it came to getting keyboards into people’s hands. Let’s talk about it: The Salvation? It hit some snags after its massive success. I’m talking over 3000 units sold, way more than they ever anticipated. That threw their timeline off big time, which wasn’t great news for the folks waiting on their keyboards. Keep in mind, Salvun, the ones making these boards, is a small crew from Belgium. And then there were the issues with their anodizer, causing further delays. It was a domino effect of setbacks, making for a less-than-ideal delivery time. Total bummer for everyone involved. But hey, they got the boards out eventually, after making some adjustments to the process, including the delivery date.

Disclaimer: For clarity and transparency, Space Cables is a sponsor of my Twitch streams, but that does not impact my thoughts or opinions about this board. No one had any say in how I wrote this article.

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The Redemption keyboard.

Redeeming the Process Now

I sat down with the US Vendor for this board, Space Cables, to figure out how this process was going to change for this board. Honestly, if the process wasn’t going to change I was going to be very skeptical about taking a look at this at all. But there are a lot of changes. Here are some of the list of items I got from SpaceCables:

  • Production has already started for the Redemptions and material has been sourced.
  • 500 unit cap to avoid major timeline upsets.
  • In house coatings which will all be similar to what the Salvation ended up having, and what the Event Horizon has.
  • Approximately 6 month delivery time

These are good changes, and I was happy to see problems being addressed.

Let’s Talk About the Board

This is a tray mount board with a really fun mounting style. So here’s the deal, typically tray mount boards get a bad rap for being rather stiff to type on and they just don’t usually sound the best. This is usually the result of having mounting points for your plate/pcb assembly directly on the aluminum of the board, leaving no room to absorb impact, resulting in a very rigid typing feel. Just like the Salvation, the Redemption uses a leaf spring style mounting solution as its way to make the tray mount board unique. Instead of directly screwing the board on the case. They act like little shock absorbers, soaking up impact, vibration, and that pesky case ping. Nice touch, right?

So, big news—the board’s now sporting a 65% layout! But here’s the thing that got me thinking during my initial unboxing: Would it still be compatible with those universal 65% PCBs? You know, like how the Salvation could handle most 60% ones? Turns out, there are some universal 65% PCBs that can supposedly fit in here. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it’s good to have that option, right?

Now, the guts of the board are pretty much the same, still rocking that WILBA.TECH PCB. But here’s where things get interesting: They super sized the internal weight. It’s massive compared to the Salvation. It really feels like you’re getting more bang for your buck, you know? Oh, and check this out—the leaf springs now attach to the weight instead of the aluminum case. This should do wonders for the acoustics. And let’s not forget about those finishes—seriously, they’re something else. Electro coatings done in a unique way, with some killer color options. And don’t even get me started on the polycarbonate version. Yes, please.

But here’s the thing: They’re not really reinventing the wheel here, which is kinda both good and not-so-great at the same time. Let’s dive into that in our next section.

The Build Process

So, nothing groundbreaking in the build process. You’ve got your pick: plateless, half plate, or full plate for the Redemption, all with their stock polycarbonate plate. Gotta say, I’m loving the options they’re throwing our way. Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to put together the PCB/plate setup. But hold your horses—we’ve gotta install those leaf springs first. Now, this is where I was hoping for some tweaks.

The leaf springs are crafted from FR-4, which is a composite material blending woven fiberglass cloth with an epoxy resin binder, boasting flame resistance. Now, PCBs are made of the same stuff, no problem there. Except for the fact you are forced to snap these pieces off of a frame made of the same material and then file them down so they slot perfectly into their designated areas. This is problematic. Not only is this tedious, but it’s dangerous as you really don’t want this stuff in your lungs. Honestly, I really wish they hadn’t gone this route and I wished they would have done these differently than the Salvation. I’ve already raised my concerns with SpaceCables, and they assured me they’ll address it early on. They mentioned they’ll have them pre-clipped and filed down, which is a much-needed improvement. Big win.

While the assembly of the leaf springs can be a tad tedious, it’s also incredibly rewarding and, dare I say, fun. It’s a nostalgic nod to what draws many of us to this hobby in the first place: the joy of tinkering! If you’re someone who revels in putting things together, this board will definitely scratch that itch. That said, these leaf springs can be a bit finicky. The key is to slot them into the case without them knocking against any surrounding walls. It’s a delicate dance, but once you get the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing.

The next step is to carefully lay down the PCB onto these leaf springs. For those curious, the leaf springs are equipped with a silicone dome on the end to ensure the PCB rests comfortably. During my testing, I noticed a minor issue: the screws of the leaf spring on the left side of the keyboard seemed to be causing a slight rattle by impacting a component on the PCB. However, after a virtual sit-down with Salvun and Space Cables, it was determined that it wasn’t the hotswap socket as I initially thought. Instead, it was a matter of the screw holding down the PCB being just a tad too long, causing it to vibrate against the standoff in the extra space caused by the screw. Rest assured, this issue will be addressed in the final production run according to the team behind it.

Once the PCB is gently in place, secure it with a few screws, and you’re good to go! One small gripe though: currently, the PCB can shift around a bit, but this will be resolved when they address the aforementioned screw issue but I wanted to mention it here for good measure.

Overall, while it’s a slightly more involved build process, it’s an enjoyable one, especially assuming these minor hiccups get ironed out. I quite liked it!

But How Does It Feel & Sound?

I decided to go with NovelKeys Cream+ switches for my build initially, and I quite liked them. However, I ended up swapping out the spacebar switch for a Milky Yellow. Why? Well, this keyboard leans toward the brighter end of the sound spectrum, and the Milky Yellow provided a more balanced sound for the spacebar. Even with the PCB plate, I was surprised by how bright the sound was. There was minimal resonance, which made for a pleasant typing experience overall.

Speaking of typing experience, it’s quite unique. The typing feel is soft, and there’s a distinct sensation of the board as you type. It’s hard to put into words, but if you’ve ever typed on something like a Geon F1-8X, it’s somewhat reminiscent of that, in my opinion.

The board does have a 20mm front height which is on the tippity-top of my scale of what I find comfortable. Anything taller and I would have to float and raise my wrist and I would find it not comfy.

My recommendation of switches for this board would be something more tame, I would suggest Milky Yellows or even EF Curry switches.

Who Is This For?

This section is usually my shortest, where I offer comparisons and alternatives, but this time, it’s a bit challenging.

At $349.99 USD before shipping, this board comes with a hefty price tag. It’s definitely on the higher end for a single-piece case with a substantial weight. So, what justifies this cost? Well, it could be the exceptional typing experience, the unique aesthetics thanks to its special coatings, or perhaps it’s the fact that it’s crafted by fantastic individuals who are actively engaged in the community. Of course, it’s also possible that none of these factors matter to you, and you’re simply looking for something different at this price point—and that’s perfectly okay! However, personally, for a price like this, I’d expect all the issues mentioned earlier to be thoroughly addressed and resolved.

Comparing this board to others is a bit tricky due to its unique mounting style. Most of my usual recommendations would offer a completely different typing experience. Currently, something with a similarly unique mounting system that also comes in at a lower price point is the Mode SixtyFive, depending on your configuration. However, it might not give you that same soft and bouncy feel as the Redemption. If you’re looking to save even more cash, you could check out options like the Luminkey or Neo series. But hey, when it comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference—there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here.

The bottom line is that the Redemption offers a fun, soft, and distinct typing experience, coupled with some impressive finishes and crafted by passionate people in the hobby. Sure, it’s got a few quirks to iron out, but overall, it’s a blast to use, much like its predecessor, the Salvation.

Let’s be real though, the keyboard market is no joke these days—it feels like everything comes with a large price tag. But hey, at the end of the day, these are just keyboards! They’re a luxury indulgence meant to bring joy, so please, don’t break the bank for them. I highly recommend getting involved in the community side of the hobby too—chatting with fellow enthusiasts can be just as enjoyable as typing on these wonderful blocks of aluminum. Remember, be savvy with your spending!