"There’s not really anything the Pine Pro can’t do..."
That's the word we got from keyboard reviewer John Reppion, one half of the Moore & Reppion team based in the UK. Here's his awesome review of the Wombat Pine Pro, which can also be viewed at https://www.moorereppion.com/wombat-pine-pro/
PINE PRO REVIEW
The Pine Pro is a Full-sized, 108-key board: 17.32″ (44cm21) wide by 5.67″ (14.4cm) deep by 1.49″ (3.9cm) high. If you’ve read my reviews before then you’ll know that I usually prefer working on a smaller keyboard (typically a 68-key), so this is a BIG board for me to try out. I am not used to Fn keys, or to having a Num pad, and I am very, very used to having my Del key right next to my Backspace, so was I going to be able to make best use of all that the Pine Pro had to offer?
The Pine Pro comes in a choice of five colourways, each with a different matching wear-resistant, ergonomic, PBT keycap set. I got the Space Grey board which, aesthetically, is not a million miles away from one of my all-time favourite keyboards: the Durgod Fusion (Steam). This, naturally, made me very pleased as soon as I opened the box. The Pine Pro comes with a choice of Cherry MX linear Red or tactile Brown key switches. I got the Reds, which I really like, and which also just happen to be the switches I chose for my Durgod Fusion a few years back.
The Pine Pro weighs 1.1kg (2.43lb), so it’s a sturdy piece of kit that’s not going to slide around on your desk, no matter how heady-handed you are. The keyboard has an aluminum top (coloured according to which colourway you choose), and a plastic base with a pair of sturdy flip-out feet at the rear.
The Pine Pro connects via standard USB C, or wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.0 or REX 2.0 highspeed RF wireless (RF dongle plus the USB cable in the box, as well as a couple of handy A/C and C/A USB adaptors for different ports or devices). The Pine Pro can connect to up to five devices, switching easily between connections via Fn+1 (RF), 2 (BT1), 3(BT2), 4(BT3), and 5 (USB).
The Pine Pro has an inbuilt 1000 mAH LiPO battery, which takes 5 hours to fully charge (via USB) from empty. Wombat recommends charging the battery for at least two hours, once a month.
FYI: there’s no kaleidoscopic billion-colour backlight display on the Pine Pro for me to play around with and then more or less immediately turn to a solid colour, or set to its least intense pattern. The only lights you’ll find on this keyboard are the three tiny LEDs above the Num pad, but these are pretty important. You see, the Pine Pro has a huge range of inbuilt features and these three little lights are the key to knowing things like which USB channel you’ve switched to, whether you’re in MacOs or Windows mode, whether you’ve paired with a new device successfully, etc.
I should probably point out at this juncture that the Pine Pro is designed for maximum Apple compatibility, with all the Apple hotkeys, but also works with Windows (8/10/11), Android, Linux, and iOS.
Hold down Fn + Tab and the Fn keys become hotkeys giving you media player functions, brightness control, etc. I think this is how Fn/hotkeys stuff usually works anyway, but it’s been so long since I spent any length of time working on a full-sized keyboard I’ve forgotten. I should probably qualify that by saying that, when I do get my hands on a nice full-sized keyboard, it usually ends up in Leah’s office pretty quickly; not because I don’t like them, but because she loves them. Day-to-day, I usually work on a B21 (which, yes, I know, looks like something made by Fisher-Price) which, although it only has 68 keys, also has a volume dial, additional media control buttons, Bluetooth channel select buttons, a Win/Mac button, and a calculator button. As a result, I’ve got very used to being able to control media directly from my keyboard, so it was great to be able to carry on with that pretty much seamlessly and without having to use multi-key shortcuts. Also, the Pine Pro does have a calculator button! Again, I’ve probably just forgotten about larger keyboards having these anyway, but it’s something I have got used to because of using the B21, and which I was pleased to still have direct, easy access to.
Calculator, Calendar, Browser, and Voice Assistant are four Special Function Keys positioned above the Num pad. Fn + these keys can be used to easily alter the keystroke speed of the Pine Pro, meaning that gamers can crank things all the way up to X8, should they wish. I actually found the default keystroke speed slightly slower than I was used to for typing, so I turned things up to X2. These same Special Function Keys + Fn can be used to alter delay times when in Macro Editing Mode (Fn + Ins). However, I don’t really understand macros (okay, I understand them about this much) and I live in fear of accidentally assigning all kinds of weird behaviours and shortcuts to keys so, truth be told, I tend to leave that stuff well alone. Those of you savvier than me can program up to 10 macros and select from four macro delay settings, however.
One feature which genuinely surprised me is that Pine Pro‘s Num pad also doubles as a mouse. Fn + Num switches on the Mouse Simulation Function, which turns 7, 8, 9, 4, 6, 1, 2, and 3 into your direction controls, 5/0 into left-click, . into right-click, and + and Return into your mouse scroll. I was a bit sceptical about exactly how “mouse-like” this would actually feel and function, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Especially once I slowed the cursor speed down a little using ` + 1. For me, I can see this being particularly useful when typing directly into an iPad or Android device, to save me from poking at the screen. Sometimes you want a more portable mini work set-up, and having to pull out a keyboard and a mouse can be a pain, so I can definitely see the advantages.
The Pine Pro is, as the name suggests, is aimed at the professional user; its tagline being “THE KEYBOARD YOU’LL LOVE TO USE EVERY DAY“. The aim is, in many ways, to supply the ultimate workhorse keyboard which does absolutely everything you could possibly want, or need, it to do. So, does it live up to that concept? The short answer is yes. There’s not really anything that the Pine Pro can’t do, and it’s an absolute pleasure to work on (once I got used to my Del key not being where my muscle memory expected it to be). Whilst it has a myriad of functions, the keyboard is very easy and intuitive to use, and its simple four-sided instruction sheet explains everything you need to know.
As I mentioned at the top of this review, I am much more used to working on 65% keyboards, so the Pine Pro does seem big to me. I really don’t mind that on my desk, in fact, I found that I really liked the solidity of the Pine Pro – the fact that my keystrokes did not reverberate through the base as they seem to with cheaper, lighter boards. However, I would say that while its connectivity is fantastic, for me it seems a little on the large side for on-the-go use. Setting up a little temporary office somewhere for a few hours? Yes. Definitely. Pulling it out of my backpack to quickly write something on my phone or iPad? Probably not.
Then again, that’s entirely a matter of personal preference, of course. The Pine Pro is certainly in no way prohibitively large or heavy portability-wise (especially if we consider the likes of the wonderful, beautiful, but undeniably gigantic TEX Shinobi). If you wanted to bring a thoroughly professional, high-end, executive office-type typing experience with you on the go, then the Pine Pro absolutely offers that, and much more.
Here in my own little home office though, the Pine Pro might just have converted me back to full-size keyboard use and, honestly, that’s no mean feat.