ChonkerKeys mechanical keypad gives you control over video calls

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7 min read

More than a year ago, COVID-19 hit us like a meteor from nowhere. Video calls have since became the new normal as people adapt to working from home. After numerous videos of people getting caught with their pants literally down in video calls, ChonkerKeys is a good idea to make sure you and people you’re having a call with don’t get a nasty surprise.

Hands up if you have done with a shirt and pyjamas pants. Keep your hands up if you decided not to bother with pants at all. You’ve got some balls and you’re not afraid to let them hang loose!

It’s not that bad if you get caught in such an awkward situation, right? Padmé asks, “Right?”

You’d only be unable to face the dozen or so people from work or school for the next few weeks, and everyone will forget all about the incident because someone else flashed themselves on camera. It’s not that bad, right? Padmé asks, “Right?”

Then you find out that someone in the call has been recording the calls. And you found out because your aunt’s neighbour’s daughter shared the TikTok video in their family’s WhatsApp group by accident.

If only you had ChonkerKeys. You ask Padmé, “Right?”

What is it

ChonkerKeys is an easy way to control your video calls. It’s a mechanical keypad. A chonky chunky one. The product image did not prepare me for how big the ChonkerKeys is, until I saw it beside a laptop keyboard. These are big buttons to enable or mute your microphone, start or stop your video or screen sharing, raise hands, leave the meeting, and more.

How convenient! Your life is spiraling out of control but your video calls are under control. No need to worry that you will expose your not-so-well-covered lower body by accident. Just click that chunky button to leave the chatroom. You can’t miss a thing that chunky, can you?

To avoid being caught with your pants down, you can hit that big red button to leave the meeting. There are two kinds of people. Those who would readily slap the button like a buzzer on Britain’s Got Talent or X-Factor…

Beat the buzzer
Button struggle

And those that hesitate to push the red button.

Other than being a video call assistant, ChonkerKeys is customizable, too. You can configure the buttons as shortcut keys for actions like copy and paste, Excel functions, screenshots, switch to your favourite smokescreen window, open a website, and more.

Most of those functions can easily be done on a normal keyboard. Moving your hand to a keypad on the side kind of defeats the purpose of trying to speed up the action. Instead of just being a key for shortcuts, ChonkerKeys should sell its appeal as a big, punchable button. I can see ending calls and leaving meetings being a satisfying release after all that pent up anger during a call.

Maybe they should come up with a version for insta-buying stuff from your favourite ecommerce platform. I would insta-buy that. Just make pressing more times make the delivery faster instead of putting in multiple orders.

Instabuy button

The key switches are also hot-swappable. This means you can customise the keypad to how you prefer to sit. It also comes in the Original and the Max version, with the former having 5 keys and the latter 9 keys.

Customise your ChonkerKeys

What problems does it solve

ChonkerKeys helps you avoid awkward situations in video calls that would make you wish you were never born. For instance, you pressed the mute button but your traitorous computer decided it should let your boss know your nickname for him. And his mum.

With ChonkerKeys, you can’t really go wrong with those chunky keys, unless there’s some software issues that made the keys fail to mute your expletives. But, wait! The designers thought of this when they created the product. so they added LED lights on the keypad to give you visual cue of your mute status, your camera status, and whether you are sharing your screen.

Who is it for

People who do video calls or remote lessons will find this very useful. Or if you are into the mechanical sounds it makes when you give the buttons a good whack.

There are also people who have expressed genuine delight at seeing a product that they know would be great for people they know who suffer from Parkinson’s.

Keep in mind, though, that ChonkerKeys is still a product in development. It only supports limited platforms for now. The team is working on trying to expand on more platforms. Check the chart below to know if your favourite app and device are supported.

Apps and devices supported by ChonkerKeys

Is it innovative

Mechanical keypads for custom use are nothing new. We have looked at mechanical keyboards like Keyboardio Model 100 and AZIO IZO. However, ChonkyKeys is the first one I’ve seen that caters specifically to the video call market.

That is an innovative idea. I’m not sure making it so big is, though.

I wonder what gave them to create a massive mechanical keypad for video calls. Must be a massive video call incident that made them wish they were never born.

The chonky keys would appeal to a certain group of people.

Chonk

Is it worth it

Now, let’s talk money.

ChonkerKeys is retails at $75 for the Original and $99 for the Max. The sight of the pricing made me wish I had a giant button called “I’m out.”

This is a ridiculous amount of money for a programmable keypad with just a few keys. Especially when the functions are also on my existing keyboard, and are just a mouse click away. You argue that the Kickstarter prices are more affordable. Yes, they are cheaper during the campaign, but remember, the discounts are ways they make you buy now.

It is a common marketing tactic, and it works. Look at the thousand over backers who pledged more than $70,000 so far. If it is your thing, you’ll jump on it. Just like how you might prefer not to wear pants during a video call. It’s your call.

I’m happy with normal-sized keys and paying half the price for a programmable keypad.

ChonkerKeys Original and Max

What are the alternatives

The best alternative is not to be lazy. Dress and behave the way you would if you were to meet the people in the call in person. Would you turn to whisper your boss’s nickname to your colleague during a meeting?

While there are no products like ChonkerKeys, there are many programmable mechanical keypads that you can custom to work like ChonkerKeys. They just don’t have the chunky keys. If you have paws like me, you might want big keys. But, hey, I’m typing this on a normal keyboards so you have no excuses.

One button to leave the meeting

Conclusion

Thanks to TikTok and other social media platforms, things that you can’t comprehend can still end up trending overnight. That’s how the internet works. That said, I don’t think it would be the case for ChonkerKeys. They are don’t provide increased functionality. It takes up a lot of space on your desktop. And it’s price isn’t too friendly on your wallet.

While it hasn’t gone viral, the product obviously caters to a certain market, judging by the thousand over backers on Kickstarter. But it will remain one of those mysteries that will remain beyond my comprehension. If you are one of those who fell in love with ChonkerKeys, please enlighten me in the comments below.

Anakin/Padme on ChonkerKeys
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