The UHK Agent Software

Most new keyboard releases suffer when it comes to software – it often is too simplistic, or buggy, or both. This is definitely not the case for the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, as the company has clearly spent a lot of time and resources on the delivery of an excellent software suite.

At first sight, the UHK Agent software appears to be very simple. There is a single toolbar to the left that lists all device, layout, macro, and software settings. The device settings are the most simple of all, allowing the user to manipulate mouse settings (only mouse-related functions while using the UHK, it does not affect the actual mouse), and tweak the brightness of the LEDs. We should once again mention that the keyboard has no backlighting and tweaking the brightness of the LEDs only affects the three-character screen at the top left side of the board.

By default, the UHK has six different profiles programmed into it (QWERTY, COLEMAK, and DVORAK for Windows and Mac). Users can easily generate and save new profiles, the number of which is limited only by the (sizable) memory of the keyboard. Each profile has four layers and every key and button of the keyboard can be reprogrammed, allowing absolute programming flexibility. The software even allows for each key to have both a primary and a secondary role per layout, changing its function depending on whether it is being pressed alone or in combination with another key. Although this function probably is far too complex for regular users, experts could work wonders with it.

The Macro programmer of the UHK Agent software is relatively simple but quite powerful. Macros can be programmed to include anything from simple keystrokes to mouse movements, with the software allowing full manipulation of any delays as well. Note that mouse movements currently are limited to relative movements and not absolute coordinates. There is a workaround for that, i.e. experts can set the sensor to jump at an edge of a screen and work their way with relative movements from there, but including absolute movements directly into the software is always a good thing.

  

The only downside with the Agent software is that, for the time being, it does not seem possible for users to manipulate what is being displayed by the three-character LCD on the keyboard. As such, the LCD only indicates which layout is active (QWR for QWERTY, COL for COLEMAK, etc.).

Introduction & Keyboard Layout Per-Key Quality Testing & Hands-On
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  • ABR - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    This. 60% is popular in the custom keyboard maker community by virtue of being the quickest route to completing project boards with desired components and features. But to voluntarily submit to suffer with modes to save literally 2" of desk space is sheer madness. Reply
  • CSMR - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    The split keyboard design is lazy. So inconvenient to have moveable pieces with an extra cable. The perfect shape is in the MS Sculpt keyboard and a wired (and possibly mechanical) version of that would dominate all these split keyboard clones. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    Nope, the split keyboard works great for a lot of people as you can adjust the distance between the halves, and the angles of each half independently. The one-piece egro keyboards are only comfortable for one specific size range of people. If your hands are too big/too small, or your shoulders too wide/narrow, then the keyboard isn't comfortable at all.

    My keyboard tends to have the left half of the keyboard at more of an angle than the right, which makes it more comfortable for me, and eliminates any angle in my wrists. Having the split in the middle keeps the right half closer to the mouse pad, without having to bend my left wrist/elbow to reach the left half.

    Just because it works for you doesn't mean it works for everyone. :)
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    This is a good point, but the number of people with your level of dramatic physical asymmetry is fairly small when compared to the population at large that only experiences minor differences between their left and right due mainly to muscular usage for left or right hand dominance (something that can even be corrected to a great extent through balanced exercise routines that develop the muscles of both sides). I am not at all saying that the market of asymmetric people shoudn't be served. Everyone, regardless of body form, deserves to have a chance to at effective data entry, but the price to play puts this out of reach of some of those afflicted with severe asymmetry and that does them a disservice by dangling a solution they cannot easily afford in their faces. Reply
  • Voo - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    Really? I used to have the sculpt and the Natural Ergonomic 4000 and I find an actual split keyboard way more comfortable.

    Also if you want your hands in a natural position, the tiny separation those one-piece keyboards give you is by far not enough to keep your wrists straight.. at least for me.
    Reply
  • mondalaci - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    Hi there, and thanks for the review! I'm László Monda, the founder of the UHK. Please let me comment on some of the points metioned.

    1. The price is actually reasonable compared to other high-end split mechanical keyboards. We have multiple competitors who offer more expensive keyboards.
    2. We don't yet offer PBT caps, nor backlighting, but we'll offer them in a future UHK hardware revision along with many other improvements. We don't have an ETA about this yet. Feel free to subscribe to our monthly newsletter at the bottom of our site, so we can keep you updated.
    3. It's a common misconception that Kailh switches are lower quality compared to Cherry switches. Kailh switches actually have thicker metal pins which makes them less prone to bending. Also, Kailh almost always has stock unlike Cherry. These are the reasons we pick Kailh over Cherry, not the price.
    4. The front side printing on the keycaps shows their Mod layer functions, not their Fn layer functions.
    5. The metal plates are actually very sturdy on their own. The plastic shell is not required for sturdiness, it merely contains the electronics.
    6. The three letter abbreviations of the keymaps is easily modifiable in Agent by clicking on them.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    Why is it that your typing style is alarmingly similar to teh doubled up anecdotal happy user comments from the supposedly two different people below? Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, March 13, 2020 - link

    Good eye, but I *do* think that double-post is informative. It would bother me for a poster not to disclose their affiliation, but that would be my main concern - not the content. Reply
  • EmbeddedShire - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    I preordered it some time ago and got it last year, I think. I've been using it at work ever since and I love it.
    I don't type particularly fast, but never having to leave the home row (e.g. for the arrow keys or pg up/down, home, end) has made typing more comfortable than with a standard keyboard. Also having the two halves about 50 centimeters apart feels fantastic while lying back in the chair.

    As to the price, yeah it's pretty high so this must be something you really really fancy, but it's well worth IMO. It's a very high quality piece and maybe the perks are not immediately obvious:
    great repairability, _everything_ is open sourced (PC software, firmware, BOM, schematics, PCB), support for all Linux & Mac, configuration is stored in onboard memory so you can carry it around, endless modding potential (got 2 exposed I2Cs + power connectors on each piece) and it's solid - works perfectly, no quirks, doesn't feel like a flimsy DIY project.
    If you're interested in this sort of thing, you'd be hard pressed to find a similar package.

    I'm obviously biased, but for me it's the best thing since sliced bread :)
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    The double posting of duplicate content with different user names makes it clear you are not a legitimate, unbiased user of this particular product. No one is fooled by two people (randomcommenter and EmbeddedShire) copying and pasting the same statement.

    If you are planning to shill for your company, at least put some effort into it!
    Reply

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