Orée Board is the perfect hipster keyboard


— 6:00 AM on July 9, 2013

Modern keyboards come in a multitude of flavors, but I've never seen one quite like the Orée Board. This compact, chiclet-style design is milled from a single piece of wood that may or may not have been harvested using an artisinal axe. It's European, too; the Orée Board is assembled, polished, and oiled by hand in the south of France.

Orée offers a handful of customization options. You can choose between several fonts for the laser-etched key caps or ditch the lettering entirely. The top of the frame can be left blank, lined with custom text, or filled with one of two artistic illustrations. Customizing the keyboard doesn't cost extra, but the €150 initial asking price is pretty steep. That works out to $193 USD with a straight exchange-rate conversion.

The Orée Board looks an awful lot like a chunkier, wooden version of Apple's Wireless Keyboard. It wouldn't feel out of place in an Ikea catalog. The keyboard connects with PCs, Macs, and mobile devices wirelessly via Bluetooth 3.0. Power is provided by a pair of AAA batteries that is supposed to last for "several months of continuous operation."

Surprisingly, Orée's website doesn't detail the switch mechanism underlying the keys. According to The Verge, which got its hands on the keyboard at a pop-up workshop in Tokyo, the Orée "is solidly built, surprisingly light, and feels great to type on for anyone used to something like Apple's typical chiclet-style setup — key layout, spacing, and throw are all reminiscent of what you'd find on a MacBook." Apple's MacBook laptops use a scissor switch mechanism, and I suspect the Orée Board is similarly equipped.

Although the Orée Board certainly won't appeal to everyone, I hope the company can carve out a niche for itself. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Plastic and metal have been done to death, and there's something to be said for the warmth of a wood finish.

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