This is the Jelly Epoch, a 75% custom keyboard from OwLab. Back when it went on sale in April as an in-stock drop – though I’ve only received my unit yesterday – only 900 units were offered. 150 were reserved for SEA regions, 50 for the Korean market, and 700 for the rest of the world.
I managed to get one of the 150 units for SEA, and so did 24 other Malaysians. That’s right, there are only 25 units of this keyboard in Malaysia.
Now, the sheer rarity of the Jelly Epoch is not its main appeal. Rather, it’s the sound profile of the keyboard: it is easily one of the deepest, “thockiest” custom keyboard around.
Paired with a price tag that isn’t astronomically high – it retailed from $389, which comes up to about RM1,615 – and you’ve got one of the most sought-after keyboards in the enthusiast scene. Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the Jelly Epoch, shall we?
The Jelly Epoch is a 75% keyboard, so it has a similar layout as a 65% keyboard, but with the addition of an F-row. It also has a unique gasket mounting system that uses eight “jelly” gaskets, which are (essentially) just sleeved to the plate itself instead of having to use adhesives. This makes for a much, much easier installation process.
Aside from that, the Jelly Epoch has three different foams in its construction too. They are all optional, but the combination of these foams, the unique gasket mounting system, a polycarbonate plate, and the flexible PCB – it has five flex cuts; not something you typically see – lend to the deep, thocky sound profile of the keyboard.
Just give the sound test below by Alexotos a listen.
Doesn’t sound like any pre-built keyboards, does it? Rest assured, we will be doing a video review of the Jelly Epoch too very soon, and we’ll do our own sound test as well. Speaking of which, I’ve built my unit with an aluminium plate instead, just to see if it’s possible to change the sound profile to be more “clacky.”
With that in mind, I have also opted to use SP-Star Luminous Cyber switches for my Jelly Epoch. SP-Star switches are known to be pretty clacky, and paired with a set of GMK keycaps, I was…surprised with the results! This setup definitely gives the keyboard more of a clacky sound profile, but it’s more of a…deep clack, if you will.
Granted, I did lube the SP-Star switches with Krytox 205g0, and I also filmed them with Deskeys switch films for a cleaner sound profile.
However, aside from its incredible sound profile, the overall design of the Jelly Epoch is…well, an acquired taste. Truth be told, the main reason I got this keyboard is for its sound profile. If I were to judge the Jelly Epoch based purely on aesthetics, I wouldn’t have joined the in-stock sale at all.
There is also one other issue with the design of the Jelly Epoch: the front height is…quite tall. Because of this, the typing angle is quite a bit higher than your usual keyboard, which can be uncomfortable for some folks. This is even more so if you’re using a tall keycap profile such as SA or MT3.
But I do have to admit one thing: the Jelly Epoch looks very unique, especially the brass weight on the bottom of the keyboard. I’m not thrilled with the “Jelly” lettering on the weight, but it’s certainly the centrepiece of the keyboard’s design.
Oh, the brass weight also makes this a very hefty keyboard. Completely built, the Jelly Epoch weighs a whopping 2.6kg. There’s absolutely no way the keyboard will move around when you’re furiously typing or gaming with it.
As for the building experience of the Jelly Epoch, it’s actually quite fun. The build guide is easy to follow, though I’m not thrilled by the fact that it requires pretty specific screw bits to assemble. In fact, I had to buy a new screwdriver set because of this.
Nonetheless, I do enjoy building the Jelly Epoch, and its sound profile is just…unlike any custom keyboards I’ve built. To some folks, I reckon it can even be an “endgame” keyboard, though some enthusiasts would argue that there is no such thing as an endgame in this hobby.
At the moment, OwLab has no plans to do another run for the Jelly Epoch, though the company will be offering new keyboards in the near future. Even though the “in-stock” sale wasn’t handled particularly well – as mentioned, I only got my unit two months after the initial sale – I’m still very excited to see what the company has to offer in the future.
After all, OwLab has proven itself to be able to produce a keyboard with a fantastic sound profile at a reasonably good price point. Hopefully, the company will be able to improve on its shortcomings from this sale in the next one – I absolutely cannot wait.