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Ultimate Hacking Keyboard splits in half, is fully programmable

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If you want to go a step beyond mechanical keyboards, you'll inevitably end up looking at the wild variety of ergonomic options. Now we have a new challenger: The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard by the Hungarian startup Ultimate Gadget Laboratories. It's a mechanical keyboard that can be split apart for better ergonomic placement on your desk, and, true to its name, it also lets you completely remap the keys as you see fit. The company even included mouse support within the keyboard (which also lets you mimic touch gestures on smartphones and tablets). The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is launching today on Crowd Supply with a funding goal of $200,000, and it'll start at around $200. It's slated to begin shipping in the second half of 2016.

Gallery: Ultimate Hacking Keyboard hands-on | 7 Photos

Laszlo Monda, the founder and lead developer of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard project, says he focused on making the device portable when it's in one piece. In a brief hands on time with a prototype unit, it didn't feel as heavy as most mechanical keyboards, and it's also compact enough to fit into most bags. The actual keys felt pretty great too, with just the amount of feedback you'd expect from a solid mechanical keyboard. Monda notes that the keys will be durable enough to last 50 million presses. You'll also be able to choose from a variety of different mechanical switch options once the keyboard starts shipping.

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard feels just as sturdy split apart, as it does when it's joined together. Its metallic connectors give it a particularly satisfying click when it comes together. Both halves are connected by a standard telephone cord along the top of the keyboard -- you can also switch that out with a longer cable if you need any more room.

While I didn't get to spend any time with the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard's configuration application, Monda describes it as something that will let you create application-specific key layouts, complete with fully customizable layouts. For the most part, the keyboard is targeted at people who just want to be more productive. It's not exactly something meant for gamers, since it doesn't have a dedicated row of function keys (they're alternate options for the top number keys). That could make it tough to play games that rely heavily on function keys (though it'll be just fine for most shooters).

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