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Review: Ficihp Keyboard & Screen for Content Creators

Streaming media producer Anthony Burokas demos ingenious keyboard-touchscreen all-in-one for use with streaming and live content creation tools like vMix.

In this review, we'll look at the Ficihp Mechanical Keyboard, a keyboard with a built-in 12.6" LCD touchscreen, and its uses for content creators in their production and streaming workflows. I purchased this keyboard from Amazon and have no relationship with Ficihp.

 

When I first came across this keyboard, I thought it would be a really cool integration of two things that I've been looking to simplify, and so these are my own personal thoughts based on my first few days of working with it.

 

The Ficihp is a USB keyboard that comes with a USB-C to A and HDMI. It works with Mac and PC, and with phones over USB-C, and it is a very capable little tool. The coolest thing is that the LCD screen built into the top half of the unit is a touch screen, so you can put whatever you want up here, and then you can act on it, which I feel is perfect for content producers and video producers who normally use external control surfaces to control vMix or Wirecast or any app you want to control by being able to have that external functionality right here in the top of the screen. And it's all on one little USB-C cable. It's also a USB hub because there are always more things to plug in.

 

Backlit Keyboard

 

With the Ficihp up and running, I have the second display from the computer. I have the vMix control on here, and I am able to use it as a touchscreen and as a regular typing keyboard. Another thing to note is this keyboard has back lighting, so if it's extremely dark where you are producing your show, you can change the backlighting to make sure you can always see the keys. Now I've tested this, and it's not as bright as I would like it to be. The keys are not as see-through as I would prefer. So it's got to be really dark in order for you to see the letters. You'll almost see the glow around the keys more than you'll see the glow through the letters.

 

There are two versions of this keyboard. This version has a very flat, scissor-key kind of thing. There's also a big clacky key, like a gamer type of keyboard. I prefer the flatter keys. I don't like to be making a lot of typing sounds while I'm typing. And I like the shorter throw. Both models have the same screen at the top. Both of them have the same USB-C and other functionality. But again, the marquee feature on this is the touchscreen, and it is 1920 across by 515 pixels.

 

Using the Ficihp as a vMix Control Surface

 

So it's not very tall, but it is tall enough for you to build a custom interface for whatever keys you need to use for your application of choice. And you could have that all as a touch interface at the top, or it could be dials, levers, or sliders. It could be anything you want. And that is the beauty of this. I've tried other control surfaces. I have two Stream Decks. I've tried other Bluetooth numeric keypads and things like that. You can program each of those things and program each of the keys.

 

But the beauty of what I've done here is I have hooked vMix up to the keyboard. And I have to say, it's very interesting. I haven't built a custom panel--and there's lots you can do with custom panels. I've loaded the web controller that's built into vMix, and by scrolling I can see and control all my inputs and overlays individually and cut and fade between them using the touchscreen. But keep in mind that your typing keyboard can only serve as your vMix control surface if the main vMix window (rather than the web browser) is at the forefront.

 

Choosing Settings for the Screen and Keyboard

 

The Ficihp has a power button for turning off the display if you press and hold it, although this does not turn off the keyboard. Your computer will not make a sound saying a screen has been detected or, and it doesn't move the windows that were on this external screen over to the main screen. So as far as your computer is concerned, the screen is still connected, even though the display is off. Press the power button again, and the screen comes back on.

 

Just below the power button, the plus (+) button allows you to adjust the back light up and down so I can make the screen's lighting level appropriate for whatever environment you're in.

 

If you press the power button quickly, you get a menu. Here you can adjust brightness and contrast, put the unit in an eco mode, and adjust sharpness, back light, and color temperature (which, for a control surface, I honestly don't care). But you can go in here and change your red, green, and blue levels. You can put out a cool color temperature or a warm color temperature. That's up to you.

 

You can also change the language that this menu is in, set an on-screen display timer (minimum, 10 seconds), adjust the blue light, or reset all settings to their defaults. And then the LEDs I've changed the LEDs to be let's go in here. You can also choose red, green, blue, and white for your LED colors, although you don't have the ability to dial it in exactly where you want it to be.

 

Second Monitor

 

You also have the ability to adjust audio inputs. If you wanted to, one of the key things is you could use this secondary display for audio and then use your main display just for all of your video inputs, thereby giving you the ability to make use of this second touchscreen for adjusting audio when you needed to with your fingers and then have the main display, able to show you more sources or remote speakers calling in via vMix. This means you don't have to set up a second monitor--it's right here with your keyboard. The flexibility is gives you is very handy; you could use this for audio controls, for shortcuts, for looking at the feed as it or goes to YouTube as a confidence monitor. You're looking at the video you're streaming coming back from the actual destination. And again, it's all coming through that one USB cable that is also your keyboard, your display, your power--everything.

 

This HDMI with dual USB works most of the time. When I tested it with my very basic laptop, I had zero issues. When I tested it with vMix on my gaming laptop, sometimes the USB would disconnect for a moment and then it would connect right back again. It may have been because of extended cabling required in that setup because of where the HDMI and USB ports are located on my 17.8" gaming laptop. If you have a 15-inch or 13-inch, I don't think that's going to be an issue. But be aware of that if you use a very large gaming laptop and your HDMI is isolated from numerous USBs on the opposite side, you may not get as fluid a response to the touchscreen as you would with a smaller (or differently configured) laptop.

 

Now this other laptop does have USB-C, which is also Thunderbolt. And I use Thunderbolt for my interface. So it would be a constraint to use USB-C-to-C, have full power and have full connectivity, but then you would lose the ability to access the Thunderbolt for I/O into this laptop. In terms of having connectivity, A-to-C does work, but in this case, I'm not seeing as smooth functionality as I was seeing with the very basic laptop I just tried for demonstration purposes.

 

Testing and Demo'ing with vMix

 

Watch the video review above to see me put this keyboard-touchscreen combo through its paces in a vMix-based producting setting with multiple in-bound callers, picture-in-picture, multiview, pre-built shows, live cutting and zooming, streaming, and more.

 

All in all, having this functionality is very nice for the price of this unit, which sells on Amazon for $389. A Stream Deck sells for $150. So this is the cost of two Stream Decks plus tax and shipping, and it has the space and the buttons of two Stream Decks. And I have to say, I am very impressed with this capability, and it all comes on one cable. .

 

 

 

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