The Mistel Barocco, a split 60% keyboard offering more flexibility for better ergonomics. Is it basically a split POKER?
LAYOUT & SIZE
This is technically a 60% keyboard and has 62 keys. Besides the split spacebar, it's using a completely standard ANSI layout. Being a 60% keyboard, it's absolutely tiny, and even more so when it's split.
DESIGN & BUILD
The outer enclosure is made from plastic, which has a slight texture to it and is satin, which is resistant the fingerprints. And the keycaps are of the same nature, but a bit smoother. The enclosure is very simple looking, but does have a bit of an angular design with the side profiles just for that bit of edge.
At the top right we have the Mistel logo, which again is simple and in chrome. And on the bottom right are some LEDs for layers and programming stuff which we’ll look at later.
It uses a steel backplate which is painted white, but after taking it apart a couple of times, the paint has been damaged a bit, because of the friction fit.
This pretty much works like a Poker keyboard. We can remap keys, set macros, including combinations. And this is all onboard and across 3 different layers, giving you lots of flexibility and functionality.
See video for more detail.
So why a split keyboard? One of the big pros for one is the ergonomic options. First of all in it’s joint state, it’s a 60% keyboard, meaning that it’s small enough that you can drag your mouse closer to the centre of the desk for better shoulder positioning.
But when you split it, it opens many more options. When typing our arms have to cramp inwards. But you can split them for a more natural position. And if you just rest your hands on a table, you realise that your fingers angle inwards, so we can also angle the pieces. And this is seen with many other split keyboards and ergonomic keyboards. Like the Kinesis Advantage, and the popular Ergodox, and even like ergonomic membrane keyboards from Microsoft.
But the hardest thing about this is typing. If you don’t have a proper typing technique it is quite difficult to use this way. And this is the situation that I’m in. I use 3 fingers on my left, and 2 on my right. And I get so many typos with the letters B and Y, just because I’m so used to using the wrong hand for those letters. So it’s definitely something that you have to adapt to and it may take some time depending on your technique.
Also, if you only need one side of the keyboard. Then you can hook up just one side and put the other one away. This is particular useful for gaming, especially with FPS gaming, where you pretty much only use the left side. It gives you so much more space for your mouse, and if you need to do large and quick mouse movements.
So overall, it’s definitely an attention grabbing keyboard with the staggered split in the middle. Ergonomically it opens up so many options on top of the already ergonomic advantages of a 60% keyboard. Although it’s definitely something to get used to, and how long it takes to adapt depends on the user’s typing technique.
The build is solid, and is pretty standard with the plastic enclosure and steel backplate. But it’s pretty light because it’s a 60% keyboard in the first place, but overall, it’s nothing special. The onboard programmability is top notch, so we can basically remap anything to anywhere over a few layers, making it useful for switching between gaming and work layouts.
And there’s not too many widely available split keyboards out there, but one of the advantages of this, is that it can be still used in a traditional way, since it’s basically a split Poker. So if you want to explore different ways in interacting with your keyboard, then this may be an option for you.