You’ve tried RGB keyboards, but how about a keyboard with a built-in screen? Finalmouse just teased the Centerpiece, a mechanical monster that hides a screen behind its transparent keys. The screen is powered by a dedicated CPU and GPU, and it plays custom animations through Unreal Engine 5.
This is, frankly speaking, one of the most ridiculous ideas we’ve ever seen. But at just $350, the Centerpiece is sure to attain some level of popularity. Plus, it seems like a pretty effective keyboard, packing custom “autolubed linear” switches made in collaboration with Gateron. (These switches are based on Gateron’s Black Ink linear switch. The typing sound is similar to “soft marble raindrops,” whatever that means.)
It’s hard to see the keycaps in Finalmouse’s teaser video. But from what we can tell, this keyboard uses a 65% layout—it appears to lack a function row and numpad. The keycaps appear to be a bit flat, with legends printed on the shaft of each key, facing the user. If you can’t type without looking at your keyboard, you should probably skip this product.
Anyway, we’re not sure what kind of screen is beneath this keyboard (maybe it’s LCD, maybe it’s OLED). But Finalmouse says that it can save up to three video skins at a time. Each skin is processed locally, without using your computer’s resources (and the whole thing runs on a single USB-C cable). Interestingly, some skins are interactive—pressing on a certain key may trigger an animation, such as a wave of water or an explosion.
New video skins are available on “The Freethinker Portal,” which is a really awkward name for a mechanical keyboard app. Most of the skins appear to cost money, and interestingly, creators can sell their custom skins through the “Freethinker Portal.”
Because this keyboard uses transparent keys (which are backed by a bright screen), I assume that any dust, crumbs, or grease will stick out like a sore thumb. I’m also worried about repairability; how are you supposed to fix a keyboard that contains a display, a CPU, and a GPU?
The Centerpiece launches in early 2023 for $350. Customers also have the option to order this keyboard with Hall Effect switches, which provide an analog input method with customizable actuation. If you want a taste of Finalmouse today, check out the company’s boutique gaming mice.