Mistel Barocco MD600 Review

Written by Dave Alcock

April 7, 2017 // 10:14 a.m.

Tags: #mistel-barocco-md600-review

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review

Manufacturer: Mistel
UK price (as reviewed):
£160.00 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $179.99 (ex tax)

Every now and again, something comes into the office that causes a bit of excitement. For me, the latest item to do this is the Mistel Barocco MD600. I am a big fan of keyboards, and I've had my eye on these since seeing them at Computex 2016. Now we've got our hands on one, it's time to see if there are any actual benefits in using a split board.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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First of all, we want to show you the packaging. It isn't often we do this, as, let's face it, boxes are boring, but this one is so small it is worth a mention. On the top of the box is a standard size business card. Such a small box for a keyboard - it is pretty amazing!

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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Inside the packaging there are a further three boxes, and inside two of these are are the separate keyboard parts. In the third you get the cables, spare rubber feet, a key cap puller, and a rather nice orange ISO enter key. There's also a manual which is actually worth reading, as it does a good job of explaining how to use all of the keyboard's features.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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The Mistel Barocco doesn't need to be used as a split keyboard; the way it's been made allows you to push it together to make a standard 60 percent keyboard. This can be useful when you have a very small workspace. Those of you that have used a Pok3r, KBP v60, or similar will recognise the layout; it is quite common. This is great if you are moving to it from another 60 percent board, as the learning curve will not be as harsh. The keyboard has a good weight to it and doesn't flex, while the case is made out of a plastic that manages to repel fingerprints well.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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It's a shame that the Barocco doesn't perfectly align; it is very slightly out. This isn't a massive issue, and it might be our sample, but it does look a bit silly and could have been avoided. If this is the biggest issue we run into, then we think Mistel will be very happy.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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The font for the Mistel Barocco MD600 is very simple and easy to read, and there are side legends on the keycaps to help you understand the functions. You can do just as much as with a full-sized keyboard if you learn all the secondary keys, and although it does take some time to learn, it isn't difficult.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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I am not going to go through all of the function keys, but as you have all of the keys you would expect on a keyboard, you just have to use the FN key alongside the standard key. So, FN + P is a Print Screen button, for example, though there are some more unusual combinations. FN + M, <, >, and ? all control layers, which we will explain more about later.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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On the left side of the Mistel Barocco, there are media controls, and if you have the RGB version (which we don't), you'll also have the lighting controls. There are another few interesting features here; FN + Layout allows you to switch between QWERTY, DVORAK or COLEMAK. When you change to a different layout, there is a small LED down the bottom right of the keyboard that changes colour to indicate the switch.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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Removing the keycaps reveals Cherry MX switches. With our sample we have Browns, which are a pleasure to use. As always, switches are a personal preference, and the Barocco can be purchased with Blue, Brown, Black, or Red switches.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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On the rear side of the keyboard there are five ports: three micro-USB and two mini-USB. From left to right on the picture above, the first micro-USB allows you to attach a numpad, the next port is the dominant connection to your computer, the next two ports allow the keyboards to connect together, and the final port is the secondary connection to your computer (used if you wish to only use the left side).

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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One niggle is that if we plug in the keyboard as shown above, it will not work. If you want to use both parts of the keyboard, you must use the right side's connection.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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As you now know, the keyboard splits apart, and this is for one main reason: ergonomics. Splitting the keyboard allows you to angle and move each side so that your arms are at a comfortable width. Using other keyboards can promote a bad posture, as your arms angle inwards, and this can cause some problems, but being able to move each side of the keyboard independently can stop this apparently. I personally have another split keyboard that I use regularly that feels a lot more comfortable than when I type with a standard keyboard. Pleasingly, the Mistel has the same effect. This is obviously a personal preference, and you might not find the split to be as comfortable as I do.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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Flipping the keyboard over shows us the rubber feet for when you want to use the keyboard flat. There are also flick-out feet, which allow you to set the board at two different angles for added comfort. Still, it would have been nice to see the Mistel Barocco come with feet that allow you to 'tent' it (so it forces a ^ shape, like this). When a split keyboard is in a tent shape, it makes for a very natural position and relieves pronation problems.

Mistel Barocco MD600 Review Mistel Barocco MD600 Review
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Although the wire on the first image is in the wrong place, we wanted to show you some other ways a split keyboard can be used. When using a desktop mic, you can put it central rather than in front of or behind the keyboard (something I have done often), which allows for a far better sound, and if you move it closer to you it doesn't pick up key noise as much. You can also use the left side along with your mouse for gaming; it's very similar to using a dedicated palm pad.

Remapping Keys

Usually, we show you the software for a keyboard, but with the Mistel Barocco there is none. Everything is programmed and mapped using the keyboard itself. It is a little bit daunting at first, especially if you haven't used a 60 percent keyboard before, but after a while you'll be familiar with the process.

Basically, there are three layers as well as a default layer, which can't be changed. If you are unfamiliar with layers, just think of them as profiles; you can change each layer independently, so you can have different layouts for different games or programs as well as a default layer for typing.

There are six main steps to program the keyboard. First, you select the layer you want to change, then FN + Right Ctrl enters programming mode, at which point a blue LED along the bottom will light up. You select the key you want to program by pressing it, causing the blue LED to start flashing, then enter the key sequence you want saved, and stop the recording with PN. You can then program other keys or hit FN + Right Ctrl again to quit the process altogether. You can remap most keys except for the layer keys, the Right Ctrl key, and Fn + A, T, G, and B.

We have only briefly touched on what this keyboard can do, but to put it simply, you are not held back by the size. In fact, it can do more than many full-sized boards.

Conclusion

The Mistel Barocco is one of the first 60 percent keyboards that can be split and carries popular switches. The keyboard does have a few niggles, such as not aligning perfectly, but this doesn't affect how comfortable it is to use and is a minor problem. The main attraction is that it allows for a very comfortable typing position. I have personally been using this board for a few weeks now, and when I went back to a keyboard that didn't split, it felt very strange indeed.

The keyboard isn't particularly cheap; the version we have is around £160, and it has no LEDs or software. There is an RGB version, but I don't personally think it's needed, and if you are buying one of these, generally you are paying for the ability to split the board and enable a more comfortable position rather than to play with the LEDs.

If you are looking for a 60 percent keyboard, want something that will allow you to type with more comfort, or simply want something a little more quirky, then make sure you do check out the Mistel Barocco. The features are plentiful, the typing experience is fantastic, and let's face it, it looks great too.

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