The Malaysian Keeb scene is pretty impressive if I do say so myself
My journey into the world of custom keyboards started when my boyfriend gave me a Corsair RGB Strafe with keycaps from Tai Hou two Christmases ago. The click-clack sound my Cherry MX Brown switches made when I cleaned them were addicting and going through r/Mechanical Keyboards on Reddit did not make the itch any better.
Custom keyboards are unique and definitely provide a much more rewarding experience than getting a pre-built version from big brands like Razer, Logitech, and the like. You get to choose every single part of the keyboard that you like - from the base to the switches, keycaps, cables, and so on.
Fun fact: did you know that there are more types of switches other than the usual Cherry MX? Of course, brands like Razer and Logitech come with their own switches as well, but what about customs?
In general, there are three types of switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. And beyond that, there are so many different keyboard switches to fit a typist's or gamer's needs. Personally, my current favourites are the Holy Panda and Moyu Black Switches, otherwise known as the Everglide Dark Jade.
As I fell deeper into the custom keeb (short for keyboard) rabbit hole on TikTok and Reddit, I was surprised to find very few keyboard makers listed on Google for Malaysia.
So, I decided to do my own digging to highlight the local talent we have here!
Based in Malaysia, Elaine started off her custom keeb journey as an enthusiast back in 2016 when she found some YouTube videos back then. The local scene was small and in that time, she became friends with another keyboard designer and maker named Yuktsi who helped her design-proof her first creation.
After some encouragement, Elaine designed her first keyboard under the SINGAKBD brand, which was crowdfunded and was well-received by gamers! From there, she started doing more frequent group buys for her designs.
According to Elaine, one of her brand's crowd-pleasers is The Unikorn custom keeb, which was designed in collaboration with TGR. Another fan favourite is the Polycarbonate version of the SINGA that is "...eponymous with my brand's name and the very first design I made," Elaine said.
SINGAKBD's custom keeb prices are pretty up there, reflecting the premium workmanship the company has to offer. You can check out SINGA's custom products here.
2. Kaler Keyboard
If you're looking for something that’s a little more budget-friendly, Kaler Keyboard should be the brand to look for.
The brand started because they wanted to customise their own keyboards. However, they found that there were no custom keeb makers in the country at the time. From there, they decided to create the brand to serve other keeb enthusiasts in Malaysia.
Their most popular keeb build is the 75% Suprema Keyboard.
Despite being bigger than their 60% Neo Keyboard, it doesn't take up a lot of space unlike other 10-keyless keyboards and full-size keyboards. Cherry MX Red switches are the most in-demand switch right now but clients also have asked for Gaterons, Kailh, and more.
The prices they offer are also very reasonable: starting from RM260 up to RM400 or more, depending on the customisations asked. Custom keycaps are also available with a low value of RM55 and up.
For those who prefer artisan keycaps, prices start from RM60 (these are made by local artists here in Malaysia). You may find Kaler Keyboards here.
3. Eugene Chong
A solo builder based in Malaysia, Eugene Chong has been building custom keebs for over a year. He purchases parts from different manufacturers (including SINGA) and assembles them with care for clients.
His most popular builds are the Axiom Alais and SINGA Unikorn.
You can find Eugene on Instagram and YouTube.
An enthusiast for around three years now, GRexer started his journey into the world of keebs back in 2019 when he had his first hot-swap mechanical keyboard that allowed him to experiment with different parts.
Unlike SINGA and Kaler Keyboards, he doesn't provide fully-built keyboards. Instead, he helps his clients build kits they have purchased. Other than that, clients are also able to provide him with a budget and he will plan builds based on their needs and requirements.
Prices for his services start at RM150 for a 60%-65% soldered build which includes stabiliser tuning and the build process.
His most popular build currently is the Polaris by ai03, and Project Alais by Axiom and SINGA 75 by SINGAKBD. You may inquire about his keeb building services on Instagram and Facebook.
The full article originally appeared on IGN Southeast Asia