Willow is Low-Profile & Mac Compatible

Willow is Low-Profile & Mac Compatible

By Mark Sparrow, Senior Contributor


June 17, 2024

Wombat is an Australian marsupial and happens to be a brand name of KSI Keyboards. The latest model to hop off the Wombat production line is the new Willow Pro keyboard, a slightly different input device that I’ve been using for the past couple of weeks.

The Willow Pro is a professional and mechanical keyboard featuring RGB backlighting offering a host of hues and lighting effects for illuminating the keys. The keyboard also features a hardware switch that moves instantly between Windows and macOS layouts.

This full-sized keyboard has 102 keys in an ANSI layout. It also has a separate numeric keypad and a double-decker row of function and media keys that can work with both Windows and macOS computers. In addition, there is a cluster of eight keys that can be programmed with special macros using the Wombat Pouch customizing software.

There are three different ways of connecting the Willow Pro to its host device. First off, there’s a USB-C port on the keyboard for a wired connection with zero latency, making it an ideal choice for serious gamers.

The second method of connecting uses Bluetooth which provides a wireless connection for up to three separate devices with easy switching between them. Finally, there is a 2.4GHz RF dongle that provides a low-latency wireless connection using a special protocol called REX 2.0, but more on that later. With its ability to connect with up to five different devices at once, the Willow Pro keyboard is ideal for anyone who works with multiple computers, tablets and smartphones. It’s an ideal tool for those who need to drive more than one device, whether that’s for business, personal or a mix of the two.

The 102-key design of the Willow Pro works with both macOS and Windows. There are special modifier keycaps supplied for both operating systems which can be fitted if needed. The layout is preprogrammed with Mac hot keys like Exposé, Siri, Do Not Disturb and the usual media controls. Some of the keys can also be loaded with macros that can save time on multiple keystrokes. All the keys can also be remapped any way you like.

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The keycaps used on this smart-looking keyboard are a low-profile DSA PBT design. The hardwearing keycaps have legends printed on them using a durable and long-lasting dye-sublimation process. The actuation distance of the keys is like a very good laptop keyboard, but with the tactile feel of mechanical switches that makes the Willow Pro fun and accurate to type on. There is also support for NKRO, enabling accurate typing even when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously.

Despite its 102-key layout, the Willow Pro feels more like a traditional 87-key design while still managing to include a full numpad. I usually find keyboards with numpads take up too much desk space, but the Willow Pro feels compact and I appreciated that numpad for entering data into spreadsheets.

There are some thoughtful little touches included with the Willow Pro including a slot on the base for storing the 2.4GHz dongle when it’s not being used. Some ingenious and reversible magnetic feet provide a slightly sloped feel to the keyboard for people who like their keyboard raked a little. I must admit, without reversing the feet, I found the Willow Pro slightly flat to type on but it probably wouldn’t be difficult to get used to, especially if you are used to typing on a laptop.

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The Willow Pro is set up to work with Apple devices but it’s also compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Android, Linux and iOS. The wireless connectivity and RGB backlighting are powered by an internal LiPO battery rated at 1,000mAh. That’s a little low but you can still use the keyboard wirelessly while it’s recharging via USB.

And now back to the Willow Pro’s REX 2.0 protocol that I mentioned earlier. REX 2.0 is Wombat’s proprietary wireless transmission protocol for 2.4GHz RF.  REX 2.0 simplifies the data transmission protocol, providing a robust wireless signal with a higher polling rate and lower latency than Bluetooth.

Verdict:  At first, I wasn’t too sure about the Wombat Willow Pro keyboard. But after a week or two of typing lots of reviews and filling in spreadsheets with it, the profile and tactile feedback grew on me.  I enjoyed typing on the Willow Pro and started to experiment with programming Macros. The software could be a bit more helpful in helping things along, but if customizing keyboards is your thing, it could be very useful.  If you want a great-looking keyboard that’s a dream to type on and feels solid and professional, the Wombat Willow Pro is a solid choice.

Tech Specs:

Compatibility: Windows 8/10/11, macOS 11/12/13, Linux, Android, iOS.

Layout: 102-key ANSI.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, RF 2.4GHz and USB 2.0.

Bluetooth: BLE, Bluetooth 5.0 ready.

Support REX 2.0 "RF EXtremely fast" proprietary protocol design.

Custom software: WB Pouch for Mac and Windows.

Mechanical switches: Linear Red with 50M actuations.

Battery: 1,000mAH LiPO.

Cable length: 1.8m.

Backlight: RGB.

Keycaps: PDT with dye-sublimation legends.

Stabilizers: Factory lubed.

Macro keys: 12+.

Weight: 1,000g.

Dimensions: 367 x 161 x 298mm.

To read the article directly on Forbes, visit:

 Wombat Willow Pro Keyboard Is Low-Profile And Mac Compatible (forbes.com)

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