Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

Under the keys of this mechanical keyboard is a flashy, annoying display

Avoid Finalmouse’s forthcoming mechanical keyboard if you find the sight of RGB LEDs bouncing around your keys disturbing. A mechanical keyboard with its own display showcasing moving pictures via the transparent keycaps and switches was revealed as the Finalmouse Centerpiece on Saturday.

Finalmouse’s PC mice are well-known for their elaborate designs and restricted availability. Most of its customers are PC gamers who want a special, distinctive addition to their rig. Finally, Finalmouse has announced its first keyboard, and it’s a doozy.

Finalmouse has been cagey about the screen located underneath the Centerpiece’s buttons. For instance, we have no idea of its precise dimensions, brightness, resolution, or refresh rate. In any case, “interactive skins” built in Unreal Engine 5 are rumoured to be behind the screen’s functionality. Finalmouse’s promotional video for the Centerpiece included a number of different skins, including swimming koi fish that scamper away when you hit a key, a rippling water effect, a lion grazing, and 3D animations, however it was not clear how many skins would be included at launch.

Even while mechanical keyboards like Asus’ ROG Strix Flare II Animate, which features 312 programmable Mini LEDs, are among the most configurable peripherals available, Finalmouse’s Centerpiece is even more dazzling.

While displays near the keys on mechanical keyboards are nothing new, the Centerpiece’s display is positioned front and centre. It’s easy to understand how the animations may be quite annoying, especially for folks who aren’t touch typists or who are trying to focus on a game. Thankfully, the screen’s brightness can be adjusted through a switch located conveniently to the side of the keyboard.

As a side note, Finalmouse claims that the Centerpiece’s independent CPU and GPU mean that it doesn’t drain the resources of the host computer to run the display.

According to Finalmouse’s announcement, creatives will have the opportunity to submit skins for use on the Centerpiece’s screen and maybe earn money from the experience. Unfortunately, further information was not given. According to the announcement, users of the Centerpiece will be able to download designs for new skins and swap between up to three of them via a special button on the side of the keyboard, all thanks to a Finalmouse Steam programme called The Freethinker Portal.

Finalmouse’s Laminated DisplayCircuit Glass Stack is supposedly the backbone of the Showpiece. Glass, as you may guess, isn’t a common component of mechanical keyboards. It’s housed in an aluminium chassis, so it should be somewhat shielded, yet worries remain about its longevity and operational details. Of course, Finalmouse guarantees that the keyboard can survive heavy use.

The glass stack is reportedly placed between gaskets, which results in “typing acoustics and feel unlike any other,” according to the manufacturer. The statement from Finalmouse says the keyboard’s sound profile has been described as “soft marble raindrops,” though it didn’t specify who made that description.