I originally was looking at the Anne Pro 2 for it's compact size. I needed a good mechanical, bluetooth keyboard that could go anywhere with me, regardless of what backpack or messenger bag I had on me, and it had to be multi-device compatible connecting to my three main devices: Laptop, Mobile Phone and Tablet.
I've looked at a lot of keyboards in trying to make a decision of which one I was going to purchase. I knew I was going to get one, but I was trying to decide wether to spend a lot of money for a really nice keyboard or go cheap and something inexpensive.
In the end, I decided to go with a keyboard right in the middle.
The Anne Pro 2 is the best compromise between low price and high quality.
While it's more expensive than cheap keyboards, it's affordable for anyone that really needs to get something small and affordable.
With the size being only 60% of a full size keyboard yet still having full size keys, the Anne Pro 2 is perfect for use in coffee shops, on an airplane or anywhere where you just don't have a lot of space to get work done.
One of the primary reasons to get this keyboard if you're not a video gamer is for portability.
While I do play games occasionally, the Anne Pro 2, like many other 60% or 65% keyboards are purchased for their portable size.
You can drop one of these in most bags or backpacks without worrying about it sticking out or taking up a lot of space. In larger backpacks, you'll find that the keyboard can even get a bit lost with all the other things you might have in there.
The Anne Pro 2 can connect to up to four devices via bluetooth. I was kind of sold on this keyboard because all the other ones that I'd looked at can only do three devices. I have a two laptops - one at work, one at home. I also have my mobile phone and a tablet. On any other tablet, I'd have to flip flop the third bluetooth slot between my phone and tablet.
The connection is fairly slow to initiate. It takes the Anne Pro 2 about five seconds to connect to a device. By comparison, the Macally membrane 65% keyboard I also own connects almost instantly, and at the most, two seconds.
Paring on the Anne is fairly straight forward. Press and hold function 2 and the number 1 throught 4 for five seconds to put into paring mode. Look for the keyboard on your device's bluetooth settings and pair.
At work, I often switch between the laptop and my mobile when I need to send texts or respond to someone in Discord. It's really nice to switch back and forth from one keyboard rather than have two keyboards sitting on my desk as I did before I got the Macally and now the Anne.
Technically, the keyboard adds a fifth device if you connect to the device with a USB-C cable. So in all, it can work with four bluetooth devices and the additional computer where you plug the keyboard in via USB. The keyboard has a USB-C port that is used for both charging and if connected to a computer, functions as a wired keyboard while charging.
I've heard some people say that the USB-C plug is polarized and can only be used one way, but I find this not true on my Anne Pro 2. I can use the plug face up or face down with no adverse effects, and I've also used it connected to a computer with a 10-foot USB-C charge and sync cable for my Samsung phone. Both work just fine, but the number of times that I've had to use the keyboard plugged in has been limited to when I'm plugged into the presentation computer in the meeting rooms at work, and at my dad's house when I'm helping him figure things out on his computer (He uses eight year old Mac tower and a split ergonomic keyboard that has raised center keys and a nasty trackball mouse - the whole setup drives me nuts to work on).
I've also tested the keyboard on five different OS's as mentioned in the header. The keyboard worked flawlessly on all of them, which made me happy. I do run a couple Raspberry Pi's. One is used as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) controller, while the other runs TwoStairs Paperwork, a free, self-hosted Evernote alternative.
The Anne Pro 2 is highly customizable. The software offers things like rebinding keys, macros and changes to the lighting, but I really haven't played with it much. I did go into the settings and enable "tap" keys, which was off by default when I got my keyboard. Tap turns the right FCN-1, FCN-2, CTRL and Shift keys into your directional keys. While you can move around a character at a time using Tap, if you want to move whole words at a time, you have to hold the left CTRL, the hold the right FCN-2 and use the WASD keys to move about.
This is probably the biggest issue for most people. Going from a full size keyboard where you have dedicated keys for 90% of the keystroks down to something where you have what initially appears to be just a basic set of alphanumeric keys can be very frustrating and difficult if you're not used to it.
For me, it took about a week to get used to the fact that I had to incorporate two function keys was difficult. For example, in order to do things like insert and delete, you have to hold the function 2 key and then hit the period or question mark keys to perform the action.
If you use the directional keys found on the lower right of most keyboards a lot, you might want to opt for a keyboard that has them in that location. On the Anne Pro 2, the bottom right three buttons and the right shift button serve as the direction keys (when enabled as such).
After a week or two with using the function keys, I found that I could be fairly quick with the keyboard.
I usually can type about 65 WPM flawlessly on a normal keyboard. I average 57 to 59 WPM on the Anne Pro 2 due to having to use the function button sometimes, and having just a different overall feel.
In the past four days I've been using the Anne Pro 2 full time, both at home and at work. I have found that basic typing is easier.
I ordered my keyboard with the Gateron Red switches. I knew I was going to be using the keyboard in my office, which is extremely quiet, and people have been known to complain about mecanical keyboards in the past.
Specs say that the Anne Pro 2 can run for about eight hours on a single charge. I get about four on average when the LEDs are on. I get five to six hours when they're off. I found that during the work day, I always had to plug in around lunch to recharge the keyboard. Initially, I was just recharging the keyboard using a USB wall plug. I got tired of doing this after the first week, and just use the USB-C cable going directly into the computer at work and use the battery when out and about or at home in the evenings.
Let me tell you a bit about the office environment that I work in.
The office that I work in is an open floor office. No cubicles and no dividers. During the work day, you can literally hear a pencil drop across the room. For the most part, the only sounds you might hear is the HVAC system when the heat or air kicks on and people coughing or sneezing. There is also the tapping of fingers on either sissor-switch or membrane keyboards and mouse clicking that is always present in the room. Once in a while, you might hear someone quietly whispering to another person, but that's about it.
All the conversations are held through Slack, and many people have their headphones on all day long.
If you're wondering if it's really necessary for you or anyone else to go to these great lengths to quiet down a keyboard, probably not. Most offices have quite a bit of background noise, and they don't have really bitchy, sitck-in-the-ass co-workers that complain about everything and anything just to make other people's lives miserable.
In my office, one woman raised a complaint that no one should be wearing hats because bacteria can fester in your hair and could spread to others. On another occasion, another female else complained that men and women shouldn't sit next to each other to reduce the chances of inter-office adultery or "misbehavings."
The one that took the cake was a lady that insisted that everyone should turn their monitor brightness down to at least 50% because it was too bright for her when she got up to go to the restroom or retrieve copies from the printer.
The bigger issue is that some of these chronic complainers are in upper management. I get paid very well, so I'll put up with a certain level of inconvenience. It's unlikely I'll receive as much compensation if I were to find another job, so I'm pretty stuck.
A couple months ago, I took a stock 108-key keyboard that had red switches in to work. I thought I was in the clear because it was pretty darn quiet. This lady didn't think it was quiet though. I argued the point and she went as far as to download a decible meter on her iPhone. She stood three feet away and we compared the Dell keyboard to my mechnical keyboard. The Dell came in at 47.2 decibles and my mechanical came in at 58.9. She said it was far too loud. She said the only way I could have a mechanical keyboard at work was if I could prove it was quieter than the stock Dell keyboard at my desk. Since she's my Boss, I had to comply.
Rising to the challenge I began doing the research on how to make the quietest mechanical keyboard possible.
The Anne Pro 2 without any modification was 51.1 decibles over 10 tests.
If I was to use it at work, It needed to be quieter than the Dell on average.
The Red switches are very quiet to begin with, and in most work places probably are acceptable without modification.
Knowing that there are certain people at my job that love to complain about "non-work approved, noisy" keyboards, I needed to ensure that I could prove to anyone that my keyboard is as quiet, if not quieter than the standard one they give us.
I found out that there are a few things that you can do to quiet down a keyboard, in addition to making sure you buy one with quiet switches to begin with.
O-Rings shorten the travel a tad, but also help with noise just a bit. When I put them on the keycaps, I found that the keyboard sound was lowered to 50.6 decibles on average. It still wasn't enough to make my Anne Pro 2 as quiet as a Dell. The o-rings install on the keycap where it sticks on the pole of the switch.
I found a video from Taeha Types on YouTube that shows you how to "lube and oil" your switches. This is something that's probably more of interest to Gamers that want as much performance out of their keyboards as humanly possible, but given that lubing the switches does lower noise noticably in the videos I watched as well, I got some dilithium grease and oil and gave it a shot.
It took me two days (working on the project intermittently, but about eight hours total as this was my first time trying this) to tear down the keyboard and lube all the switches correctly.
Once put back together, I found that the lubing did in fact, help deaden the noise considerably. The keys travel smoother and they just don't rattle around, including the spacebar and enter keys which are natorious for rattling and being loud.
When I checked the noise level on the decible meter app, they keyboard came in at a surprising 42.8 decibles on average, enough to meet the requirements to use my coveted Anne Pro 2 at work!
The last thing that I did was to place the keyboard on a mouse mat to further dampen the sounds. While the sound average was only quieter by 0.2 decibles, and not noticable to my ears, On paper it looks good. When you take the gold standard in quiet keyboards, the membrane keyboard that comes in at 44.3 decibles but you're mechnical keyboard reads only 42.8 decibles, the top-bosses approve your request overriding the bitchy pain-in-the-@ss boss-dominatrix and there's nothing she can do about it.
During the process, I found that customizing the keyboard was a lot of fun. In the end, even though I was doing it to be able to use a mechanical keyboard at work, I was really having a great time working on it and making it just the way that I wanted. I even looked in to some aftermarket key caps to have some fun with the board.