You can watch the video version of this review here
Some users find a lot of comfort in tenting their split ergonomic keyboard – adjusting the pitch of the keyboard halves to allow a more natural angle between the wrist and where the hand sits while typing.
The Moonlander keyboard from ZSA has some degree of tenting adjustment built in. By adjusting the legs and using the thumb cluster as the other leg, you can get some tenting right out of the box. However there is a slight rub. Adjusting the thumb cluster for tenting isn’t great for people with small hands as it puts the cluster further away. Simon Cowell certainly won’t be happy.
The good news is that with the Platform add-on from ZSA, you can have your cake and eat it. Tenting upto 60 degrees and have your thumb cluster at whatever angle suits you.
Setup and construction
ZSA sent me one to try and when it arrived I did wonder if they had actually shipped me a neutron star because my golly this thing is heavy.
The Platform enjoys the usual high polish feel from ZSA. Nice simple packaging, and inside the two platforms with a pack of screws for each half. It’s hard to mess up installation, you flip over each half of your Moonlander, and attach the platform to the bottom with the provided screws into the Moonlander’s mounting holes. It’s almost as if someone had thought this through!
You might wonder why you can’t get some sort of powder-coated or anodized version in a colour to match your Moonlander. While I’m sure that is possible in theory, it would almost certainly wear off along the slide mechanism and I also think the edges would likely damage quiet easily. That would certainly add to the cost too, and as an accessory that’s $112 already, I think ZSA made the right call there.
Once fitted, you get a slide to set your preferred tenting angle. A great little touch is that there are markers at 10 degree intervals, so it is very straightforward to get each side matching; even if, like me, you find it most comfortable with each side at exactly 31 degrees.
You can thumb tighten the adjuster, but it’s not advised, particularly if you skipped thumb day at the gym, you are supposed to use that nice big allen key or ‘hex wrench’, as some of you are given to calling it, that came with the Platform. It’s the same size as the one that you got with the Moonlander and then forgot about. Again, it’s almost like someone had thought all this through.
If you do need to adjust the angle, it’s remarkably straightforward thanks to a lovely bit of engineering. The tenting angle stays kind of clipped in with a spring loaded clip but when you need to lift the Moonlander out of the way, it just automagically un-clips. Really nice touch.
And with all the setup done, you’re ready to start enjoying it.
What is the Platform like?
If you really bash this thing around it is not always completely silent. I mentioned the clip has a spring in the mechanism, and as you will know from the springs in the switches of your keyboards, moving springs can emit some noise. I wouldn’t say it is rattly, that would be unfair, but I can’t tell you it is completely silent either. But let me explain what I mean.
If I type, at a pace of about 40WPM, with the angle at about 30degrees, from my point of view, it’s silent. The only time I remember it can sometimes make a noise is if I move it around, or bash the wrist pads. So I can’t tell you it is silent but in normal operation it pretty much is.
It is certainly absolutely rock solid in use, unless of course you didn’t use the allen key to tighten it! I can really bash down on this and it stays put. Even if I’m having to trouble-shoot Safari, using their Web Inspector, subsequently coming down on the Moonlander in a more ‘spirited’ fashion, it still doesn’t budge.
In short, it’s tough and fit for purpose.
I love the Moonlander for travelling because it folds up so elegantly and has its own little carry slip. You can still get the Moonlander, with Platform attached, into the pouch, which is great but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Firstly, as I mentioned, this thing is heavy. My Moonlander, with the cables but no Platform attached, weighs 781g. With the Platform added, that brings the weight up to 1600g. So, the Platform more than doubles the weight.
Honestly, if you are putting it in a backpack or cycle pannier, you probably aren’t going to notice. If you are flying and need to be very weight conscious, you might need to factor it in.
The other factor is, it’s a little bit of a faff re-tightening the Platform thumb screws every day when you unpack it and put it away; I just can’t get enough leverage with my thumb to feel completely confident in how tight they are, without using the allen key. But look, you’re the person who rocks up at work and pulls a weird ‘eye roller’ of a keyboard out of your bag everyday anyway, so what’s one more little weird thing you do going to matter?
This is only a consideration if you are travelling each day with it. If you don’t need to travel with it, and you can set and forget, there is really nothing to worry about.
I’ve been using the Platform on my Moonlander for a couple of months now, and had no issues whatsoever. If you are somebody that benefits from a tenting angle on your keyboard, or you suspect you might, this absolutely covers that need. It’s incredibly well built and considered and, while it does add a little weight and bulk if you are travelling a lot, it an absolute no-brainer otherwise.
It extends the already complete package of the Moonlander, even further, by adding significant and stable tenting angles.