Returning readers are sure to know that I have a bit of a thing for keyboards, especially smaller 60% keyboards. In the past we have covered them multiple times including a few custom made products made specifically for the keyboard enthusiast market like custom leather wrist rests and an all oak Poker case. What I’ve learned is that when there is a gap in the market from the bigger companies people from all over step up and start selling products that they originally designed for themselves. A great example of this is 1UP Keyboards. A year ago I reached out to them about us covering their sleeves because I had been following them and because keyboard sleeves are a perfect way to protect your expensive keyboards when taking them to and from LANs or work. Well they declined at the time but recently reached back out to us about it. Given we are in the middle of the LAN season I couldn’t turn down a chance to protect my Pok3r like my wife’s Poker 2 is protected.
Product Name: 1UP Keyboards Pok3r Sleeve
Review Sample Provided by: 1UP Keyboards
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
|Sizes Available||40%, Pok3r aka 60%, HHKB, Leopold, Keycool 84, TKL, Full Sized, Model M, and Ergodox|
|Outside||Spill-proof PVC-coated polyester exterior|
|Inside||Soft fleece lined interior|
|Drawstring||Stitched buttonhole with USA made paracord drawstring closure|
|Tested Size Dimensions||Pok3r/60% 5.75" x 14"|
No big surprises here, when you are buying custom products that are handmade you can’t really expect full color printed boxes right? The 1UP Keyboards sleeve came in a nice zip lock bag. This is simple and to the point, it kept it clean and untouched. Inside the bag, in addition to our bright orange sleeve they also slipped a cool 1UP keycap (they don't come with a sleeve, you have to pick them up separately).
The keycap is double shot and will fit your standard DCS or OEM profile keyboard. In other words, you can show off your new keycap on any standard keyboard including the Vortex Pok3r that this sleeve was designed to fit.
The sleeve also came with a 1UP Keyboards card attached to the drawstring. It has the Made in America stamp on it and on the back they have written down all of the info on our sleeve order as well as a thanks!
Photos and Performance
So the way 1Up keyboards works with their sleeves is you can pick from the sleeves available on their website and anything listed other than the custom order options is available to ship right away. You can also contact them directly and order any of the sizes as well as custom sized in any of the materials available on THIS page. For our testing I am testing out a sleeve designed for the Vortex Pok3r, their third 60% keyboard. I seriously considered the ErgoDox sleeves but my Pok3r gets dragged to and from every event that we go too and it desperately needs the protection.
So before we jump into everything I do want to point out that this is a keyboard sleeve, not a motherboard with 1000 features we need to run though so I’ve combined our photos and features section with the performance section to keep things simple. So the Pok3r sleeve is 5.75 inches by 14 inches. This when read two dimensionally seems a lot bigger than the keyboard it needs to fit. But the Pok3r is 11.6” x 4.01” x 1.5” so the extra width and height give the sleeve room for the thickness of the Pok3r, especially a Pok3r with tall SA profile keycaps. The outside material is made from PVC coated polyester and feels a lot like canvas but a little lighter weight.
The sleeve does have a drawstring opening at the end so you can secure your keyboard inside. The drawstring is made of black paracord and they use a basic plastic clip to keep things tight. The cord is run through a stitched buttonhole rather than a cut for additional durability. Seriously they did a great job on all of the stitching, it’s hard to get a good photo of it but everything is perfectly straight and on point. When really the sleeve is only made of a few materials sewn together it’s very important that its done well.
I love that inside the opening they have a 1UP Keyboards tag inside. It’s a small touch but it looks great to have a little branding, especially with that kickass logo. Plus, I’m sure having small tags with the logo made is no small thing for custom made sleeves.
Inside the sleeve they have put a black fleece coating for that soft touch without dropping weird fibers onto your keyboard. It is just as soft and fuzzy as the photo below implies!
So I busted out our Pok3r, tossed the 1UP keycap on it next to our last LanOC event keycap, and checked out how well it fit in the sleeve. For starters I was a little concerned that the tall (and expensive) KeyKollectiv paw keycap might give us issues due to its height but it wasn’t an issue at all. The Pok3r slide right into the sleeve and even sliding it in I could feel how soft the fleece inside was. The sleeve still had a little extra room but fit the keyboard well.
To keep the keyboard in and to lower the chance of dust, dirt, and water getting in the sleeve has its drawstring on the opening. I gave it a hard pull and it closed up enough that I knew my keyboard wouldn’t be able to come out. The opening wasn’t completely covered so keep that in mind. You can’t run off and toss your keyboard in a lake or anything. If I pulled harder I might be able to get it to bunch up better but while the outside material is more flexible than canvas it is still a little stiff and this does keep it from bunching up a little. I sat trying to think of a better solution, a zipper would work but could scratch things up so that’s a no go. I think a Velcro flap would be perfect though and would add additional protection. Maybe it could be something 1Up Keyboards could consider as an upsell item on custom orders, I know I would be interested.
The sleeve is made of a PVC-coated polyester. The material feels a lot like a standard canvas to the touch. Like Canvas the PVC coated polyester is spill proof but it handles it a little differently than canvas. The way canvas works is it absorbs water then the fibers swell and prevent the water from getting through. This works great for a tent but for a keyboard bag it doesn’t work well at all, who would want to carry around a soaked bag. The polyester with a PVC coating completely resists the water. In fact as you can see below from when I tested by pouring water on the 1UP Keyboard sleeve the water actually just beads up and runs right off. It’s completely un natural, a little freaky, and exactly what I want to happen to any bag or in this case sleeve that has my expensive components in it.
Sadly in my testing I didn’t really have the chance to take the sleeve to any LANs. But I did spend a little to much time in the office taking my keyboard in and out and also tossing it in my LAN bag. For one I have no doubt that the construction is going to hold up to anything you throw at it. But more importantly I felt like it did a good job of keeping my expensive keyboard safe, somewhat water proof, and the padding is going to prevent it from getting banged up. Honestly it’s a little on the excessive side, but I’ve seen a lot of people boxing up their monitors and other hardware into the original shipping boxes to go to LANs, this is simpler and most likely more protective. Plus for some reason something bad happens, like to this keyboard enthusiast on Reddit, you are going to be happy its one less thing you have to worry about.
Overall and Final Verdict
So like I said in the opening, I’ve been looking forward to checking out what had everyone so excited with 1Up Keyboards. Well now that I have had a chance to check their keyboard sleeve out in person I can see exactly why they have been very popular in the keyboard communities. The thing is, a lot of people make keyboard sleeves, but I doubt that most would be able to put out a product of this quality. I love that the sleeve is spill proof but it was the overall build quality with the stitching that I was most impressed with. The fleece liner inside makes me a little jealous of my keyboard when its tucked away inside and it helps give it a touch of padding for additional protection. The drawstring not closing up all the way was the only issue I had with the sleeve and it wasn’t a deal breaker at all.
I almost need 1Up to make a cover for my open air LAN rig case, especially with it raining when I’m unloading or loading up at LANs more often than not. So is a 1Up Keyboards sleeve a good pickup for LAN goers? Well I for one am loving it for my Pok3r but I think it really depends on your setup. At most events I see a lot of people walking in with their new mechanical keyboards tucked up under their arm, the 1Up Keyboards sleeve would benefit them a lot, but most people who already have a big bag for everything it might be a little overkill. What about the price? Well at $40 I can’t really call it a high value product, but I do think it is priced about where it should be given the high quality and that it is custom made. With 1Up actually having the same price across all of their sleeves it actually goes up in value for the larger keyboards like the full sized and Model M sleeves. All in all, if you love your keyboard or keyboards a little more than you should like I do, then why wouldn’t you tuck it away at night in a cozy 1Up Keyboards sleeve!