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Meet The Pearl

Meet the Pearl. It's more than just another boring 40% keyboard. In fact, beyond its stunning good looks, this tiny little board is quite the package. Break free from the sea of boring 40%'s, or awkward, compromising layouts, into what is the most complete 40% yet.

What Is The Pearl?

Well I already pretty much summed it up, but for those that need a little extra help: the Pearl is a unique 40% keyboard. Its tiny layout and minimalist style makes this board sit right in that perfect valley of aesthetics and usability.
For those wondering what the heck a 40% keyboard is, well it’s probably the tiniest keyboard you can get that still has the full functionality of a standard sized board. The whole idea behind 40% keyboards, and the Pearl specifically, is the idea of minimalism -- less is more.
And the name Pearl describes exactly what this board is: a small precious gem. If you ever thought even a standard 60% was too big, then you'll most likely feel right at home with the Pearl. Its unique layout was even designed to specifically address the most common pain point of 40%, a lack of compatible keys. But we'll get to that bit in a second.
So the Pearl is the 40% you never knew you wanted, and comes packed with a number of features that help it stand out from other tiny keyboards on the market:
  • Available in 12 different colors to fit your personality made out of high quality Alu 6061
  • Three plate options in aluminum, acrylic or brass to fit your desired feels
  • High profile case design with blocked corners for the best typing feels
  • Indicator LEDs, a completely unique feature not found on any other 40%
  • A unique staggered layout to combat the annoying issue of keycap compatibility
  • Bootmapperclient firmware for super simple programmability
  • USB-C connection
  • RGB and Top LED support
  • Top mounted plate
  • Brass weight
But lets go even closer, and break the Pearl down to really find out what makes it special.

The Inspirations

The idea behind the Pearl is to stand as the best entry keyboard into the 40%  world. There are a number of other 40's that already exist, and all have their own unique charm, but nothing really hits the nail on the head directly. There is always a compromise with a 40% keyboard currently.
Some boards come in boring colors, just silver or black. Other 40's are plagued by compatibility issues with keycaps, and most have awkward layouts that make using them require a painful adjustment. There really wasn't a solid 40% keyboard that checked all the boxes, including comfort and style.
That's where the idea for a Pearl came from: a portable, aesthetically pleasing, minimalist, and overall simple introduction to 40% keyboards. The ultimate 40% keyboard to rule them all. Styling cues come from the shape of the JD45, the RGD under glow of the Mechmini, and the cherry/alps PCB of the Minivan. Combined with some unique additions, the Pearl truly is the best 40% out there that does it all.

Customization Is What You Need

Something truly unique about the Pearl is the absolute level of customization available on this 40%. Plagued by the sea of black and silver boards, the Pearl stands out as a shining beacon of personality. Beyond availability in 12 different colors, (which are Black, Cyan, Blue, Gray, Pink, Purple, Red, Silver, Green, Orange, Yellow and Rose Gold by the way) the Pearl offers the option of three different plates, in aluminum, brass or even acrylic.
For the ultimate customization, the PCB will also support both Cherry style and Alps style switches, so you won't have to compromise with just Cherry style.
But even beyond that, the Pearl offers something truly unique in the 40% world: a custom engraved brass weight. There really isn't any other board on the market, even larger than 40%, that offers this level of customization! Its your Pearl, build it your own way!

What's With The Layout?

So, after hearing about it a few times, you may be wondering what's so special about the layout of the Pearl. After all, at first glance it looks fairly normal. Well, to understand why the layout is different, we first need to understand the most common issue with 40% keyboards. This is your standard keyboard layout:
Now generally, 40% keyboards require the use of two 1.75u sized keycaps, this is the size of a standard "Caps Lock" key. Now the issue here is that most keycap sets will only include one single 1.75u, and that is the Caps Lock key. This requires users to purchase a second key, or "compatibility set" to fit their favorite keycaps on their 40%.
But not with the pearl. To avoid this annoyance, the second row of keys is move a bit to the right, and the stagger of the keys is slightly altered just a hair -- this allows for the use of ANY ANSI keyset with the use of both the "Tab" and "|\" keycaps. Isn't that something special, huh?
The Pearl is the first 40% that you can use your favorite keycaps with, no more hunting for compatibility sets!

Why BootMapper?

Of course, beyond the overall design of the keyboard, the second most important aspect will be the firmware. This is how users will directly program their board and create custom layers, and functions using Fn keys.
Because the goal of the Pearl was to be a simple, easy and unique introduction to the 40%, the existing BootMapper firmware fit exactly with the goals in mind. BootMapper offers an incredibly simple GUI programming experience for anyone to customize their own board. No programming required, no tricky clients required, and no complicated firmware flashing process at all.
For those that do want something a bit more complex, QMK is in fact being ported over to support the Pearl, but with simplicity in mind, BootMapper will come pre-installed on all Pearls.

The Pearl

That pretty much sums it up! If you are a fan of minimalism, a fan of mechanical keyboards, or just want something different in your life, then The Pearl is probably for you. With its unique layout and simple programming, even the mechanical keyboard novice can jump into the wonderful world of tiny, clicky keyboards.
Now that you've officially met the Pearl, the Pearl is waiting to meet you! This truly unique 40% is only available through our Group Buy, and will only be running until December 1st.  Get yours now!

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