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My Dell XPS laptop is very nice, but the keyboard and its trackpad are less than ideal for a full day's work, or a quick gaming session. I'm looking for a keyboard I can put in my bag with my laptop.

Must haves:

  • QWERTY layout
  • Full-size shift keys on both sides
  • Straight layout (i.e. no per-hand section or curved setup)
  • Tactile marks on F and J keys to assist with blind typing
  • Compact but not tiny: between 250mm and 350mm would be ideal, but I'm willing to go a little larger if it helps with the other requirements
  • No trackpad
  • Mechanical switches. I love the Cherry MX Red switches on my K70, something similar would be great
  • Clearly separated function keys: so some space between ESC and F1, between F4 and F5 and so forth

Should haves:

  • Wireless
  • Under $100
  • Basic media keys (play/pause, stop, next, previous, mute, and volume control)
  • Regular section for Insert/Home/Delete/End/PageUp/PageDown keys
  • Cursor keys (This requirement was added after the first answer popped up, until then I hadn't realized there would be options without them. I'm willing to consider keyboards without, but would probably prefer any with those keys.)

Nice to haves:

  • Not too loud
  • Wrist-rest
  • N-Key rollover

Not important:

  • Numeric keypad. That is, I even prefer not to have one because it saves space, but I won't dismiss options that do have one.
  • LED lighting.
  • Programmable keys.
  • Scroll-lock key. Who uses that anways? :D

I have a Corsair K70 gaming keyboard with Cherry MX red switches for my desktop PC, and I love it. Basically I wish I could buy a more compact (e.g. no numpad), non LED lighted, wireless version of that. Perhaps that helps in recommending something?

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This doesn't hit all of your checkboxes, but I like it quite a bit so I'll throw in a recommendation for an Anne Pro mechanical keyboard. I picked one up a few weeks ago because the robber dome boards at work were hurting my fingers. It's a pretty great board, but I'll go through your concerns so you have a decent rundown. For background, I've also got a K70 at home (cherry browns) and I went with cherry reds on my Anne.

Must haves:

  • QWERTY layout = affirmative
  • Full-size shift keys on both sides = affirmative
  • Straight layout (i.e. no per-hand section or curved setup) = affirmative
  • Tactile marks on F and J keys to assist with blind typing = affirmative
  • Compact but not tiny: between 250mm and 350mm would be ideal, but I'm willing to go a little larger if it helps with the other requirements = This board can fit inside the box it was shipped in for protection and prevention of accidental key presses if you leave the bluetooth on, and then that box fits extremely comfortably inside my briefcase. The box is about the same length and height as my compact umbrella, but obviously a bit wider. You could definitely buy a case of some kind that would be more fashionable. I would say this keyboard is definitely smaller than what you stated you were looking for, and I was definitely a bit hesitant to buy it because of the size. That being said I have not found it to be a limiting factor since this isn't my primary board for home use. I probably would not buy it for that kind of use, personally, but it's excellent for portable use.
  • No trackpad = affirmative
  • Mechanical switches. I love the Cherry MX Red switches on my K70, something similar would be great = Comes with genuine Cherry switches in a variety of styles.
  • Clearly separated function keys: so some space between ESC and F1, between F4 and F5 and so forth = Not gonna lie this one isn't so great. It's a compact board, and I'm still getting used to it as I've never had one before. I can definitely say that I'm getting used to the functionality and my speed is getting a lot better as time goes on. If I were using it at home as well as work it'd be even faster.

Should haves:

  • Wireless - Bluetooth 4.0 built in, also has a USB cable.
  • Under $100 - Provided you can find them in stock they usually weigh in around $85.
  • Basic media keys (play/pause, stop, next, previous, mute, and volume control) - Programmable keys covers this
  • Regular section for Insert/Home/Delete/End/PageUp/PageDown keys - Negative

Nice to haves:

  • Not too loud - Depends on the switch type. I got reds, have gotten no complaints at work from people who have never heard of mechanical keyboards before.
  • Wrist-rest - negative
  • N-Key rollover - affirmative

Not important:

  • Numeric keypad. That is, I even prefer not to have one because it saves space, but I won't dismiss options that do have one. = negative
  • LED lighting. = affirmative and it's pretty cool, lots of different modes, etc. Can be hardware disabled via keyboard shortcut.
  • Programmable keys. = affirmative. Pretty useful for this board actually, it's got three different layout presets for different kinds of interfaces and has a fourth that is completely custom. I use a pretty specific database application at work so my preset will be based on streamlining how I interact with that program.
  • Scroll-lock key. Who uses that anways? :D = It's there, I've never used it.

Stuff you should know:

They've got a subreddit with guides for everything to do with this keyboard if you decide to get it. Firmware update and app installation (needed for the custom preset, I haven't done it yet that's happening this week) are a bit of a pain from the looks of things, but not too bad. There is no physical power switch. The company says you can just disable bluetooth and RGB and that will put the board into a kind of sleep mode, but you'll notice on that sub that a lot of people install physical switches to kill power and avoid accidental key presses while carrying the keyboard in a bag and having it connected to a mobile device like your phone. The mod looks easy and I'll probably end up doing it myself, most people say it takes less than an hour.

It's not a perfect board but I'm liking it an awful lot. Amazon has the red switches version in stock here: https://www.amazon.com/Mechanical-Pro-Bluetooth-Backlight-Smartphone/dp/B06XW87X9D/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1498494412&sr=8-5&keywords=anne+pro+keyboard

Feel free to ask any questions if I missed anything.

EDIT: Just going to throw in a quick mention for CODE boards, as those are also highly rated and very popular for programming. They were the primary competition to the Anne Pro among keyboards I was looking at, and while I ended up not going with them they're a respectable company and may have something closer to the form factor that you're looking for, if that's an important enough concern for you.

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  • Wow, awesome answer, very helpful! I'm very okay with it being smaller, although I see it's lacking cursor keys as well to get the smaller size. I had not considered that there might be keyboards without 'em, or else I would've probably included them in the "Should Have" section. I'll add a foot note to my question about that. – Jeroen Jun 26 '17 at 16:46
  • The cursor keys are bound as a secondary function. By default they are Fn+ I/J/K/L, but different presets do different stuff with them (move them to WASD, make them the primary function of the key, etc.) and of course your custom preset can place them anywhere you like. You should be able to see the little arrows on the keycaps but I can take a picture of my own board to show you if you would like. I also added a note at the bottom about CODE keyboards, as another company that could potentially have something which would fit your needs better. – jcam3 Jun 26 '17 at 16:52
  • CODE keyboards are great (I have two), but it's worth mentioning that they are entirely identical to WASD keyboards except that the CODE keyboards have backlighting. When that's not of interest, you can just go with WASD and customize your key colors instead. ;) WASD/CODE keyboards hit every single one of the "must haves" and all of the "nice to haves" except for wireless and price. – Wildcard Aug 21 '18 at 0:04
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The other answer was very helpful, and it opened up a whole set of options I didn't know about. Unfortunately most options are keyboards that are either custom made or have to be ordered internationally. This would mean a lot less favorable return conditions (if at all) should I not be satisfied. So I looked for something I could get in my own country first, where you can almost always return stuff within 2 weeks for a full refund.

So that's for context, and the reason I ended up skipping on the Anne Pro, CODE and WASD, the Varmilo VB87M (which is kinda similar to what I end up recommending), and several others.

Recommendation

I've now bought and am very happy with my CM Storm QuickFire TK (Red), and I would recommend it to others with requirements similar to those in the question. Here's how it stacks up against the requirements:

Must haves:

  • ✔ QWERTY layout
  • ✔ Full-size shift keys on both sides
  • ✔ Straight layout
  • ✔ Tactile marks on F and J keys
  • ± Compact but not tiny (it's 378 x 138 mm)
  • ✔ No trackpad
  • ✔ Mechanical switches. Cherry Red.
  • ✔ Clearly separated F-keys

Should haves:

  • Wireless
  • ✔ Under $100
  • ✔ Basic media keys
  • ✔ Insert/Home/Delete/End/PageUp/PageDown keys
  • ✔ Cursor keys

It actually has a mixed 10-key-pad and cursor keys with Home/etc keys, and the NUMLK key determines which of the two it uses.

Nice to haves:

  • ✔ Not too loud
  • Wrist-rest
  • ✔ N-Key rollover

Basically it's the more compact Corsair K70 I said I was looking for, as you can see in this photo:

comparison between CM Storm Quickfire TK and Corsair K70

Afterthought after a few months

Now, a few months after having bought the CM keyboard, I will mention that' I'd still recommend it for my mentioned situation. However, to mention some downsides that I did notice after a few months of usage:

  • It's really kinda heavy for carrying it along with a laptop (size is okay though)
  • The volume up/down requiring the fn key doesn't feel right, the scroll-wheel on my K70 is far superior
  • The fn key locks after pressing it for a few secs, which happens often when e.g. changing volume, and there is apparently no fix for that

Again though, I'd still recommend it.

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