Let’s start from the top. Here’s a Mistel Barocco Mechanical Keyboard Overview:
- Cherry MX mechanical switches.
- Unique split keyboard design.
- Media control hotkeys.
- Programmable layers similar to the Vortex Pok3r.
The Mistel Barocco is a new mechanical keyboard featuring a split-keyboard design for increased ergonomics. The design appears to be based around (if not copied) from the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, which likely won’t ship until near the end of 2016.
Update: When we originally reviewed this keyboard, we were unknowingly reviewing a sample unit which wasn’t consistent with the finished production models. Mistel has since sent us an updated production model that doesn’t show the same issues as the previous unit, so we are updating our view and basing it off the production model.
Mistel Barocco Unboxing
We were pretty excited when we received the Mistel Barocco. The box was a small cube, obviously so much different than any other keyboard’s box. The back of the box claims this keyboard is “Made in Taiwan, Designed in Finland”.
The keyboard comes with 2 USB cables, one short and curly to connect the two halves and the other longer, which runs to the computer. A keycap puller and dark gray Enter keycap were also included as well as a small user guide displaying how to use the programmable layers.
The above photo shows what the keyboard is supposed to look like once it’s all setup.
This is a pretty awesome looking keyboard! The split is interesting and allows you to place each half of the keyboard in the most ergonomic position that suits your body.
The keycaps are laser engraved PBT which look very similar to the Pok3r keycaps. The orange Enter keycap is a really nice touch as well.
Due to the unique split space bar keys, you won’t find custom keycaps to fit them if you want to replace the set.
The inner edges of the keyboard are designed as such that it can be pushed together to form a normal looking 60% keyboard if desired. There’s nothing about the design of this keyboard that really “locks” the two pieces together, however. If you were to pick it up by one-half, the other would fall away from it.
The Mistel Barocco comes in a variety of Cherry MX switches – Brown, Black, Red, Clear, and Blue.
There is one mini-USB port on each half of the keyboard, allowing you to run the USB cable from either half of the keyboard to your computer. This could make things easier for organizing on your desk if you prefer the cable to come from one side versus the other.
Each half of the keyboard has flip-out feet if you prefer to tilt your keyboard towards you. There’s also a diagram on the bottom displaying how to set up the keyboard, but it’s pretty straightforward.
As you can see above, the braided USB cable runs from the keyboard to the PC and another curly cable that connects the two halves of the keyboard.
On the left side of the keyboard, you’ll see there’s an empty USB port that allows you to move the PC cable to that side if you wish.
Does the Barocco Work Well?
The split design of the Barocco is a big ergonomic upgrade over your standard keyboard. Being able to play your hands wider is much more comfortable for long-term use.
One thing you’ll need to be aware of is that you need to have perfect typing technique to really get the most out of this keyboard. For example, if you’re used to hitting the “Y” key with your left hand, you’ll have to learn to type it with your right hand instead since it’s on the right side of the keyboard.
As long as you’re willing to go through this, you’ll actually become a better typist because of it.
One issue we had a few times is having to unplug and re-plug in the end of the curly USB connector that connects the second half when waking the computer from sleep before it would work. It’s not a huge issue, but something that is a bit annoying to deal with.
Mistel Barocco Mechanical Keyboard Overall Verdict
If you’re looking for a 60% keyboard, the Mistel Barocco should definitely be one you consider. The ability to split your keyboard apart makes it super portable as well as ergonomic.
Our only concern is that based on the pre-production sample we received, the manufacturing quality might be an issue. It could also be that the pre-production sample isn’t at all indicative of what their production units are, we will keep an eye or reports and see what other people are saying.