The WhiteFox Keyboard Returns, Via Kickstarter
Update, 7/12/17, 12:28pm PT: The Input Club added a new version of the WhiteFox to the Kickstarter: The NightFox. The new entrant looks like Darth Vader’s keyboard, with an anthracite black chassis with matching keycaps (plus a few red caps for effect). It’s available via the Kickstarter with no switches ($179) or with Halo True switches ($189).
Also, the Kickstarter is now at $210,403, more than doubling its initial goal of $100,000. It still has 13 days to go.
Update, 6/22/17, 6:48am PT: The Kickstarter made rather quickly. With 34 days to go, the Input Club has gathered $110,600 (at press time) on 617 backers, already exceeding its $100,000 goal. Of note, by far the most popular option available is the WhiteFox with Halo True switches, which has gathered 375 backers. The Halo Trues are the lighter tactile variant of the two Input Club-designed switches you can get on the WhiteFox. 112 people have claimed the model with Halo Clear switches compared to just 39 who have nabbed the Kailh Blue switch version.
In any case, now that the Kickstarter has cleared its all-or-nothing benchmark, the production will move forward. If you want in on this round of manufacturing (there’s no promise that there will be another at this time), you have a little over a month to do so.
Original article, 6/20/17, 8:15am PT:
Disclaimer: Members of the Input Club have written for Tom’s Hardware.
An earlier project of the Input Club (the group recently launched its K-Type keyboard) was the White Fox, a compact, svelte plank that you could buy either fully assembled or as a DIY kit. Now it’s back, via Kickstarter.
Kickstarting Vs. MassDropping
As is often the case with these enthusiast projects, the initial run of the WhiteFox was available in a limited batch. To the pleasant surprise of the Input Club guys, the demand for the WhiteFox far outpaced supply during its first run on Massdrop. They told Tom’s Hardware that there’s a significant waiting list of people who want to buy a WhiteFox should it ever return; and return it has.
So why Kickstarter? Long story short, it was a better deal for the Input Club to work with Kickstarter this time around as opposed to Massdrop–a practical decision, in other words. Further, whereas some Kickstarter projects are about an idea and a prayer, and your money is essentially a gamble, the Input Club needs funds only to, ahem, kickstart the production and calculate how many keyboards to assemble. Specifically, the group said, “Money raised from this campaign will be used to create a keyboard manufacturing line at a new factory for the WhiteFox.” There’s no gamble; if you make a pledge for a given model, you’re ordering that model.
While the Input Club was readying a fresh production run of the WhiteFox, the guys figured they may as well make a few adjustments. Fans of the original (particularly those who wanted one but missed out on the first run) needn’t worry, though; none of the changes are significant enough that the new WhiteFox departs too much from the old WhiteFox.
The PCB circuitry now has slightly better ESD protection, the PCB is LED compatible (but ships with no LEDs), and there are now Cherry-style stabilizers. The plate is now limited to the True Fox layout–which is a little different than, for example, the ISO 65% layout–but the PCB still supports other layouts. There’s also a new keycap set “to better account for the True Fox layout,” the group’s Kickstarter said.
One potential disappointment for some buyers will be the reduced switch options. The initial WhiteFox run had several, including Cherry, Gateron, and Zealio options, but this time around, the Input Club is offering but three: its own Halo True and Halo Clear switches (which are tactile and “tactile firm,” respectively) and Kailh Blue. This is, again, a practical consideration that the group said helps keep the costs down and simplifies the production run.
A Lower Price
Indeed, the group was able to knock the price down, to $169; for $159, you can get the kit with no switches (but you do get keycaps). Basically, that option is for those who want a WhiteFox but don’t want Kailh Blue or Halo switches.
The Kickstarter is live now, so you can go stake your claim for the WhiteFox of your choosing today, or anytime in the next 35 days.