It's time—after a successful first round, we're excited to launch round 2 of the CandyBar Premium, now in a new selection of colors!
📅 Group Buy open from April 10 to April 24. This is not limited in quantity. Estimated fulfillment is June 2020.
The CandyBar Premium is a compact keyboard with a unique layout: it's a 40% keyboard with a numpad, featuring an optional split spacebar and a lefty and righty numpad option. With some configuration, you can customize the layout to your needs.
CandyBar Premium round 2 colors
For round 2, we're offering the following colors:
- Black Cacao (Black)
- 3 Amigos (Space Grey)
- Cherry Bomb (Red)
- Pop Rocks (Lavender)
- Zero (E-white)
- Rock Candy (Frosted Polycarbonate)
In this blog post, we'll go over some basics about the CandyBar, what kinds of layouts you could have with it, and a brief buying guide.
📚 The topics
- Some brief FAQs
- About the weird, niche CandyBar layout
- CandyBar Premium Kit – what's included? + buying parts + building guide
- Further keyboard reading
CandyBar in Pop Rocks (Lavender) and Zero (E-white), with Infinikey PBT Pastel keyset.
Some brief FAQs
What's a CandyBar?
This keyboard you see here. We're selling it as a kit, which means it doesn't come with all the parts to build a complete, functional keyboard—you'll need to buy switches, keycaps, and stabilizers separately. It'll take a bit of effort to source these, but we're here to help.
Who is this for?
Anyone who likes it. It's a hotswap keyboard, which means you can build it without needing to solder, as you would for many other keyboards. The only tool you need is a screwdriver. If you're new to mechanical keyboards, this is for you!
What's a Group Buy?
A Group Buy (GB) is a pre-order for the CandyBar. There are several months of waiting in between when you place an order and when you receive the keyboard, because it hasn't yet been manufactured.
The weird, niche CandyBar layout
If you're used to using a 'standard' keyboard layout, the CandyBar probably looks weird to you. Why is it missing so many keys? Where's the number row? What's with the two spacebars? We'll explain.
40% + Numpad
The CandyBar puts together a '40%' keyboard layout and a numpad.
A 40% keyboard is a type of very compact keyboard that eschews many of the typical keys you're used to—such as numbers, arrow keys, and most punctuation keys—to give you the ultimate smol keyboard.
To be usable, 40% keyboards rely on using function layers. Think of something like the volume or brightness controls on a laptop, where you might hold down the fn key to access these. On a 40% keyboard, you would toggle layers to access the missing keys.
The numpad gives you access to the number keys again, as 40% keyboards don't have a number row.
With the CandyBar, there are a number of different layouts you could use. The numpad can go on the left or right (make sure you buy the corresponding plate and PCB); you can include or omit arrow keys; you can have a split spacebar or a standard single bar.
Some possible CandyBar layouts
Here are some layout options. The color scheme here is from the keyset Infinikey PBT Græn.
You can configure the layout that suits your needs. The only thing that you can't change once you buy it is the left or right-sided numpad, as that option is built into the PCB and plate. If you want the option of both, you can pick up an extra PCB and plate—the case is ambidextrous and can be used for both.
Why put the numpad on the left?
Maybe a better question is: why is the numpad on the right by default? If it's on the left, the benefits are:
- Shorter distance to move your hand from typing on your keyboard to your mouse
- You can easily type on the numpad and use your mouse at the same time
It comes down to personal preference, so you can buy whichever option works for you.
What does the split spacebar do?
It can be configured to serve as any key, but usually one of the spacebars serves as the function layer toggle, since it sits right under your thumb.
How do you configure the keys?
The CandyBar uses QMK firmware, which means you can customize through the QMK Configurator—no programming required.
CandyBar Premium Kit — Buying Guide
The CandyBar Premium is available as a kit, so you need to assemble it yourself and get the rest of the parts. The PCB is hotswap, which means you don't need to solder switches onto the board, making this a great place to start if you've never built a keyboard before.
Included in the kit:
- Plate – in your choice of right or left numpad
- PCB (printed circuit board) – a hotswap PCB in your choice of right or left numpad
- Cable – a 1.5m cable in black or white
This isn't enough to have a fully functioning keyboard though—you'll have to buy the rest of the parts yourself.
CandyBar plates – black, space grey, red, lavender, e-white, carbon fiber, and polycarbonate
🌟 The complete shopping list
- CandyBar Premium kit
- Stabilizers – these prevent the bigger keys on your keyboard (e.g. the spacebars) from wobbling.
- Group Buy ending tonight: C³Equalz Screw-in Stabilizers
- Switches – these determine the sound and feel of your keyboard. You'll need at most 62 switches. We recommend buying 70 so you'll have some extras.
Keycaps – what your keys look like. The CandyBar has a '40%' layout, so you'll typically need a keyset with a 40s Kit in addition to a base kit. Keyset kits can vary quite a bit, so pay close attention to what's included in them when you buy.
Yes, it's a bit of work to order the different parts of a keyboard, but the end result is a unique keyboard that you won't see in retail stores. We won't be shipping CandyBars out for another few months at least, so there's still plenty of time to source your build and get the parts.
Building a CandyBar
Building a mint CandyBar, with DSA Magic Girl keycaps.
Buy CandyBar Premium
This Group Buy will run from April 10 to April 24. The estimated ship date is in June 2020.
Further reading & watching
Interested in learning more about mechanical keyboards? Read our introductory articles on Keyboard University:
- Keyboard Sizes and Layouts — 40% boards, and also 60%, TKL, full-size, and all these other terms
- Keycaps — what they are and how to pick them
Also: watch the ShortCircuit review of the pink CandyBar Premium from round 1 →
Join us on Discord if you have questions!