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Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard? 452

An anonymous reader writes: After five years of service, my keyboard is dying, and I'm starting to look for a new one. Since it's for my primary machine, and I spend a lot of hours there for both work and leisure, I'd like to invest in a high-quality replacement. What do you recommend? I've been using a Logitech G15, and it worked well enough — but not well enough for me to buy another. (I've also heard Logitech's build quality has been on the decline in recent years — has that been your experience, those of you who own their recent hardware?) My use cases include coding and gaming, so durability is a big plus.

I'd prefer something a bit less bulky than the G15, which has a raised area at the top for media controls and a tiny screen. I don't mind a thicker bottom bezel so much. I'm not a huge fan of ergonomic/split keyboards, but if you know a really excellent one, I wouldn't rule it out. Same with mechanical keyboards — love the action, but the noise is an issue. I don't need any particular bells and whistles, but don't mind them. As for a budget... as I said, it's for a heavy-use machine, so I don't mind investing in great hardware. (That said, if I'm spending $150+, it better automatically make sure all my semicolons are in the right place.) So, what keyboard has served you well?
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Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

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  • Ergo! (Score:4, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:21AM (#49273489) Homepage

    You only want an ergo suggestion if it is awesome? As a software engineer, I've been using the Microsoft Narual 4000 for longer than I can remember. Before that, I had an earlier generation Microsoft ergo keyboard. Yeah, this thing is clunky, but honestly it is the most comfortable thing I've ever used for long term typing. Being a software engineer, ya'know that is an assload of typing!

    • Re:Ergo! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:37AM (#49273549) Homepage

      irony isn't it: we don't like what microsoft has done in the software world, but the microsoft natural keyboard is absolutely awesome. *but*, butbutbut, you *have* to get the right one! the one i find is amazing has a tip-up at the *front* not the back, allowing the hands to droop downwards onto the keys rather than being stressfully pulled upwards, and also you want the one with full-sized cursor keys. there was a while when microsoft foolishly tried to make one with half-sized cursor keys: it's utter rubbish.

      other than that: the keyboard i have seen which people absolutely swear by is - don't laugh - the old IBM AT keyboard! apparently you can still get them. they're noisy, but people who use them don't care. that tactile response - the click - appears to be crucial to ast and wrist-stress-free long-term usage.

      • *but*, butbutbut, you *have* to get

        does your keyboard have a name? Microsoft is a bit vague...

      • Re:Ergo! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @08:58AM (#49274547) Journal

        other than that: the keyboard i have seen which people absolutely swear by is - don't laugh - the old IBM AT keyboard! apparently you can still get them. they're noisy, but people who use them don't care. that tactile response - the click - appears to be crucial to ast and wrist-stress-free long-term usage.

        IBM Model M keyboards last forever. Sure, they're noisy, and they're heavy, but unless you go out of your way to break one, they last decades. In fact, you are more likely to replace the keyboard because it's input port has disappeared on your new computer than because it has stopped functioning.

      • by armanox ( 826486 )
        Microsoft Keyboards are pretty nice across the board. And I love the mice even more. At work I'm using a Sun Type V keyboard, which I love, with a Wireless Intellimouse.
    • Re:Ergo! (Score:5, Funny)

      by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @07:13AM (#49273991) Journal

      You only want an ergo suggestion if it is awesome? As a software engineer, I've been using the Microsoft Narual 4000 for longer than I can remember. Before that, I had an earlier generation Microsoft ergo keyboard. Yeah, this thing is clunky, but honestly it is the most comfortable thing I've ever used for long term typing. Being a software engineer, ya'know that is an assload of typing!

      Are you a software engineer by any chance?

    • The Natural 4000 is the only keyboard I'll use these days. It's big, but it's comfortable and it's got a numpad, which is an essential for me. The hotkeys are unobtrusive (to the point I forget they are there 90% of the time. I've been using them for 10+ years.

      If someone made a good clone of the 4000 with cherry switches, I'd be all over that (used to be a IBM Model M user). As of now, the 4000 is the best keyboard I've found.

    • Voice activation. Sure it's not perfect but ergonomically you won't be getting any carpal tunnel problems that way. Drawback is that you end up shouting at your computer a lot because it can't understand you however that does help improve your lung capacity.

  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:23AM (#49273495) Homepage Journal
    I got the "Royal Kludge RC930-87" from Massdrop and love it. Not too loud for a mechanical keyboard and it is extremely responsive. It's also not taking up my whole desk with the numeric keypad, which I love. Very fine-grained control over LED backlighting as well. Since the OP is so detailed on these requirements, I'm sure she'll love the control over the LED backlighting.
    • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @07:23AM (#49274039)

      Whether Royal Kludge has mechanical switches or not is debatable.
      The switches are copies of those of Topre, but with a different stem which accepts Cherry MX-compatible keycaps.

      The switches of Royal Kludge (what a name...) and Topre are actually rubber dome switches but not the regular kind: they bottom out distinctly and the keys are sensed in a capacitative manner which has faster response time than most other keyboards.

      I would say that the Topre Realforce line has the highest quality of any rubber dome keyboard, and not just for the switch type. The key action is very smooth and the materials and build quality is top notch. Enthusiasts who like them often liken the experience as "typing on a cloud of boobs" ...
      If you can get old of one, I would suggest Topre Realforce with variable weighting (similar to the classic Key Tronic ErgoForce), and a Type S version for silencing also on the up-stroke.
      These are really comfortable and silent, with a luxurious feel, but they are also pricey. Part of the price is because they are made in Japan.

    • by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @10:41AM (#49275357)

      On the topic of quiet mechanical keyboards, the G710+ is excellent and fits what he needs perfectly. I did a similar move to the OP, moving from a G11 and looking for a new keyboard. The rubber dome replacements from logitetch for the excellent G11/G15 are crap, the space bar barely works, keys don't register hits well, and apparently there's a backlight issue with most. I had to return the G510 within a week because I couldn't stand the spacebar issue. G710+ is a trooper though, and while it took a week or so to get used to, I'm very happy with it.

  • Unicomp Keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by martok ( 7123 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:24AM (#49273503)

    from www.pckeyboard.com - based on the IBM model M. You will not need a new keyboard again for a good many years. I prefer the buckling spring types but the silent ones have excellent travel as well.

    • Yup, the only two keyboards I've ever liked are the unicomp model-M copies or the (abandoned) Dell L100.

      The model M also has the advantage of doubling as a PDW and generating sound effects for building demolition.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:20AM (#49273769) Journal

      based on the IBM model M. You will not need a new keyboard again for a good many years.

      Model M keyboards do not 'die'. On occasion, one will be called to Valhalla to feast with the heroes of legend for eternity; so replacements aren't out of the question; but that's pretty much the only failure mode.

      • based on the IBM model M. You will not need a new keyboard again for a good many years.

        Model M keyboards do not 'die'. On occasion, one will be called to Valhalla to feast with the heroes of legend for eternity; so replacements aren't out of the question; but that's pretty much the only failure mode.

        Not the only one. I have one that has several non-functional keys because enough of the plastic rivets that hold the metal plate to the internal plastic board have failed, producing a warp. There is probably some technique to re-attach it, but I haven't found one yet. 30 years ain't bad for plastic rivets, but clearly they have a limited lifespan.

      • by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @09:31AM (#49274779)

        They don't die, the connector becomes obsolete.

    • I use the UniComp SpaceSaver at home and at work. They're excellent keyboards, but for my taste the springs are just a tad stiffer than I'd like.
      I have fond memories of my mom's first computer, which was an early-'80s no-name cheap PC clone. That machine had a buckling-spring keyboard, with medium-to-long travel, and very light action. I would pay a pretty penny for something like that.
    • by jvp ( 27996 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @08:10AM (#49274287)

      from www.pckeyboard.com - based on the IBM model M. You will not need a new keyboard again for a good many years.

      The Model M (and descendants) are truly *the* only keyboard to ever consider. For anything:
      Writing emails
      Hammering nails
      Cracking concrete
      Cracking someone's skull

      And for what it's worth, Unicomp dumped the pckeyboard.com domain, but are still reachable via http://www.unicomp.com./ [www.unicomp.com] :-)

  • In particular the sidewinder X6 keyboards.

    I also like that it has an adjustable red backlight.

    http://www.microsoft.com/hardw... [microsoft.com]

    • Personally I like Microsoft Hardware

      I do too; Microsoft have never (to my knowledge) produced bad hardware. I'm sure they probably re-badge a bunch of stuff from other manufacturers, however if so they do it seems that decent gear is all they will put their moniker to. The efficacy of their designs may well be up for debate but the quality of their hardware has never been in doubt for me, even if their software isn't necessarily deserving of the same praise.

      I've always found this dichotomy a little hard to reconcile. :)

      • The closest to bad I can think of was the time they produced keyboards in the Natural line with the cursor keys in a + instead of inverted T. Had one at work many years ago and hated it enough to buy my own different one.

        • You mean the "Elite" line, which were absolutely atrocious. I just checked, and I can't believe they're still selling those. Someone apparently had the idea that they needed to scrunch the size down to fit in standard keyboard drawers or some nonsense. It was also terribly lightweight and flimsy. My experience at work was similar to yours. I asked for a Microsoft Natural keyboard and they got me one of those instead of the older model I was used to. I had a hard time saying "no, this one is terrible,

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        I have a Microsoft mouse on my main work workstation. The irony is that it has never been connected to a computer running Microsoft's software, and I've been using it now for years...

  • by hooiberg ( 1789158 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:28AM (#49273517)
    Essentially, any Cherry keyboard has served well. Many manufacturers of keyboards do it beside their main thing. However, Cherry has keyboard manufacturing as their main thing. And by now, the resulting keyboards are very good and still affordable.

    My best one so far is the Cherry CyMotion Master Linux keyboard. And the only 'linux'-thing is that is has a picture of Tux on the button that on traditional keyboards displays the Windows logo.
  • This again? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zedrick ( 764028 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:34AM (#49273545)
    IBM Model M.

    Slashdot should have a permanent banner saying "need new keyboard? IBM Model M".
    • Model M is cheap spongey rubbish compared to the model F.

    • Yes. You can pry my Model M from my cold dead fingers.

      Useful as a weapon (heavy). Sound is great at annoying your neighbors, and it FEELS great!

    • Re:This again? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @08:56AM (#49274525) Homepage Journal

      The Model M is nice but isn't the be-all and end-all of keyboards. In this case the OP specifically complained about some models being a bit bulky, and considering how you are likely to break your foot if you drop a Model M I'd say that probably rules it out for him. The Model M and Unicomp clones also aren't available as wireless versions, and I'm not that keen on the Japanese layout.

      Cherry MX based keyboards come in a variety of shapes and styles. They make quiet ones that still have a good tactile response. Otherwise maybe a Lenovo keyboard modelled after the old Thinkpad ones would be a good bet. Good feel but low impact and travel.

      Fujitsu made some good keyboards back in the day too. There are plenty of options other than the Model M and Logitech shite.

  • I've got this gamer keyboard although I'm no gamer, and I like it pretty much. It's mechanical (Cherry MX) but noiseless (rubber O-rings), backlit, with multimedia keys. The only drawback is the strange inverted decoration on some keys, but as I don't look to much at my fingers when typing it's OK for me.
    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @07:26AM (#49274059) Homepage Journal

      So far my favorite keyboard has been the ~$20 Dell SK-8135 . Quiet keys, modern minimalist design around a full 104 keyboard layout, but has fairly ergonomic multimedia keys that are easy to find in the dark, and a USB hub which I find convenient for minimizing wire clutter.

      My aunt bought me a nice Logitech G510 keyboard, but... I don't really care for it all that much. Uh... you can change the backlight color, and there's a little mono LCD panel that you can download apps to display extra things on. There are a bunch of programmable macro buttons on the side, but I don't find them convenient to use in any of my games compared to keeping my fingers near the WASD home row with the default keyboard layouts, and maybe using an autohotkey macro where necessary. It also has a built-in USB audio headset/mic jacks, which I guess is nice for eliminating system noise from your mic if you don't already have something better. The G510 looks damn impressive, but if I really needed its features, I'd have optioned for the G13 and a normal keyboard.

    • Seconded on this. I type a lot for work and I love my G710+. There's also a newer version, oddly called the G710 that replaces the Cherry MX Brown switches with the Blue, but I have not used it so I can't really judge.

      I find the inverted decoration good; remember it's a gaming keyboard so the decoration is to highlight gaming keys (like W,A,S,D etc.). While you might not need it, it is nice. I also like the fact that it's lit; not because I ever really look at it, but seeing the keyboard lights at the botto

  • CODE Keyboard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by heypete ( 60671 ) <pete@heypete.com> on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:41AM (#49273569) Homepage

    I've been using a CODE Keyboard [codekeyboards.com] for several months now. I really like it.

    It's a mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX Clear switches, so it has a good tactile response without being super clicky. Certain settings can be changed using a DIP switch on the bottom. The keyboard uses a standard, detachable micro USB cable: cables have always been a weak spot on my keyboards, so it's nice to know I can replace it if needed.

    The keys are mounted on a steel plate (not as heavy as the Model M, though) so they keyboard feels very solid.

    • Re:CODE Keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @11:42AM (#49275989)

      I've got one as well, and I've really liked it. I also replaced my aging G15 with this.

      My only complaints are:

      1. To use the LED backlighting -- and you'll want to because the keys are not easy to read without it on -- you have to flip a DIP switch that disables the context button (between the right OS key and right Ctrl) and turns it into the modal button for the backlighting. You rarely need to use this key, but I have missed it once or twice since nothing replaces it. I don't understand why they didn't pick something truly useless, like Scroll Lock, or let the button continue to function normally on top of the additional buttons. I like to be able to turn the light off, so I leave the DIP on.

      2. The left shift key squeaks once in awhile. I tend to depress the far right of the key and it's a pretty wide key. It makes a squeak if I'm not careful. It's entirely my typing and I mostly don't do it anymore, but it did annoy me at first.

      Otherwise it's easily the best keyboard I've used. For a mechanical keyboard, it's very quiet.

  • My fingers having a very hard "hit" upon individual keys, laptop keyboards tend to not survive my hands for much more than a year. I have been using a Mech CM Storm for some time now, with the added benefit that the aluminum plate, on top, can be taken off in order to clean the insides ( you'd be amazed at what falls out of a keyboard after some months of intensive use ! ). The keyboard has Cherry MX blue switches, and is - hence - loud and very "clickety-clickety". The thing is already heavy out-of-the-bo
  • Logitech K750 (solar) is the best in my opinion. I WISH IT WAS NOT SOLAR THOUGH AND HAD A REAL WIRE INSTEAD.

    Long story why. I used original IBM clickly keyboards (still have 2) also used cheap plastic clones of these and wore out keys on 2 such keyboards because they are from regular plastic material. Also tried Microsoft "Natural" - there's really nothing natural - they all suck and slow.

    In the end, I came across that keyboard on display at FRY's and it felt amazing. Bought 4 since then. They are
    • The Logitech K800 is an absolutely awesome keyboard.
      - Wireless, but charges via microUSB.
      - Accepts regular rechargeable NiMH AA batteries.
      - Has a proper numeric keypad
      - Has just the right set of media keys
      - The keys are low-profile, slightly curved inwards and slightly soft, making for very pleasant, silent, light and accurate strokes.
      - Proximity activated variable intensity backlight
      - Bog-standard layout (large enter key, 2x3 normally sized insert, del, etc.)

      But again, mainly: the typing experience is the

  • by louic ( 1841824 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:49AM (#49273605)
    I have one of those noisy DAS keyboards (with the blue switches). It is indeed noisy but absolutely brilliant for both typing and gaming. http://www.daskeyboard.com/ [daskeyboard.com]
    • I have the Model S Ultimate with the brown switches (so a bit quieter / less clicky than yours) and I love it. Best keyboard ever.
  • by digitalderbs ( 718388 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:55AM (#49273645)
    I'm not sure you have to spend a lot of money to get a great keyboard. I've been using an Adesso keyboards for about 5-6 years (Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B)).

    I haven't had to replace one of these, and they're truly ergonomic. I switched to an ergonomic keyboard after writing my dissertation gave me pain in my wrists using a standard keyboard. Getting used to an ergonomic keyboard makes a world of difference for wrist pain, and it's completely natural to switch back to a conventional keyboard. I'd also be careful in buying Microsoft ergonomic keyboards. These tend to separate the left- and right-hand keys, but do not slant the keys to match the natural angle of your hands when typing. The above Adesso keyboard (and keyboards from other manufacturers) have angled keys that more closely match the natural orientation of your hands when typing.

    Another great input interface is the trackball. I use the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball. I've found that keeping your mouse arm stationary goes a long way for wrist and arm pain too. These take a bit of getting used to, but they're well worth the commitment. The only drawback is that I have to clean my trackball once every couple of days.
  • LIK = Logitech Illuminated Keyboard. (that's what they themselves call it, LIK)

    Scissor-action, good feedback with minimal noise, key dip is about halfway between a laptop and a model M IBM. Adjustable backlit keys.

    I have two, one for work one for home. Both were bought 2007 from local retailers. Trouble is, both initial purchases (from two different stores) had keys that would fail to strike about 20% of the time, so back to the retailers both went.

    The replacements have been good. Still using both dail

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      I would also recommend the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard K800.

      The type of scissor switches is branded "PerfectStroke", and they are also found in the (no longer made) Logitech DiNovo Edge.
      These are my favourite scissor switches.

  • Mine was built in 1989 and still works as-new. Great tactile feedback, just rock solid. A bit noisy, that's all

  • by engun ( 1234934 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:01AM (#49273687)
    I'd recommend a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards often tend to be solidly built, have a reassuring clickety-clack (you can choose switch types with different characteristics btw) and just plain feel good to type on.

    Your primary tasks when selecting one will be to choose the switch type (mx-brown, mx-blue etc), any additional features you need (shortcut keys, n-key rollover) and decide on the manufacturer itself.

    I have a Ducky Shine 2 [duckychannel.com.tw] and it's an absolutely fantastic keyboard. I'd recommend something of a similar nature - solidly built and has all the features I need. For example, one of the features I specifically looked for were shortcuts to a calculator, and other programmable option keys. A lot of mechanical keyboards tend to be minimalist in nature, and fortunately, the Ducky was an exception.

    The model I have has the ability to turn off the backlighting, which is great, because I don't need a christmas tree on my desk. I noticed that some of the newer Ducky models are starting to look a bit silly though, with all sort of logos and stuff which are undesirable. I can vouch for the model I have without reservation however, having used it for a couple of years.
  • by Noughmad ( 1044096 ) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:07AM (#49273717) Homepage

    You say you're not a great fan, but from my experience split keyboards really do wonders for your wrists. You don't have to bend your hands outwards for typing, just holding them naturally over the keyboard is perfect. I have a MS Natural Ergonomic 4000, simply because it's the cheapest split keyboard. You may want to buy a more expensive one, such as one of those that really detach into two separate parts, but the MS thing is already great.

    • Re:Split (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @07:26AM (#49274061)

      That's only true for people with broad shoulders (such as myself). If you're shoulders are more narrow, a split keyboard design can actually hurt your wrists. Like anything with ergonomics, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution... sadly. What I hate being in the broad-shouldered gamer crowd is that I can either get a good mechanical gaming keyboard or an ergonomic keyboard. I've never found one that has both functions. I would love a MS Natural Ergonomic 4000 (the keyboard I'm typing this on) with the Cherry MX brown switches... no such luck. I guess there aren't enough of us to warrant making it.

      • You do raise an interesting point. As a broad-shouldered guy I never really considered that smaller people might like the normal keyboards. I guess you're right there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Never ever buy a keyboard with a shutdown and/or sleep button on it.
    You'll only press it when you have forgotten to save your progress because your mind was too busy maintaining the solution to your problem. Probably a fun problem, one that stretches your capabilities. Exactly the cases when you really don't want a shutdown crashing your train of thought.

    Dunno if the things are still as common as when my last keyboard broke.

  • There was a time when non-mechanical keyboards were durable, but having had Microsoft, Logitech, and no-name brands die on me in 6-9 months of purchase for the past five years, I finally ponied up for a cheap mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Black switches a little over a year ago. There is no way I will ever go back to a non-mechanical keyboard. As it has survived the lifespan of the previous two keyboards already, I figure I've already saved $30 on it's $90 purchase price compared to the $60 each for

  • Kinesis (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:24AM (#49273783)

    If you are even considering an ergonomic keyboard, look at the Kinesis Advantage [kinesis-ergo.com]. It takes a fairly short time to get used to, but it's worth it. My only complaint is that you need to toggle the right side keys for the number pad, or buy one separately.

    I don't do much gaming or any serious coding anymore, but I found it to be excellent for gaming. And the keys can be remapped and you can create macros. I think I paid an extra $10 to have keys with both Qwerty and Dvorak labels as you can toggle between them. I still haven't gotten around to learning Dvorak, but I keep telling myself that I will.

    • by Hulfs ( 588819 )

      Yeah. I'm going to second the split and elevated keyboard design.

      I had an MS Natural Ergo keyboard but had been considering a truly split keyboard due to hand cramping and general tiredness feeling in my wrists and fingers at the end of the day. After a recent scare w/ finger numbness which I thought might be the onset of carpal tunnel (turns out it was some inflamation in my back pressing on a nerve), I got the Kinesis Advantage. About 2 weeks after switching I noticed all of the soreness, strain and c

    • One for for the Advantage. I've been using this model of keyboard for around 15 years now. When I wear one keyboard out, I buy a new one. I have them at home and at work.

      If you work in emacs (or really anything that requires a lot of modifier keys), it's unbeatable.

      But honestly, beyond the curve, THE killer feature is that backspace and return are thumb activated. Your thumb simply doesn't get tired the same way your pinky does. Considering how much I have to hit those two keys during the day, there's reall

    • I have a 6 year old Kinesis Freestyle (original) that I love. It is the best keyboard I've ever owned, and I've tried many. I have a nice-ish Microsoft ergo style thing at home, but the keys are just yuck compared to the Kinesis. I do technical support, so I type quite a lot and don't need a numeric keypad. Other keyboards made my hands hurt. This one has not. It's logged several hours of WolfET. I like it's smaller footprint. It also fits on my keyboard tray leaving me room for a nice old Logitech G
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:26AM (#49273789)

    If you're the old-school type, it's hard to go better than Das Keyboard [daskeyboard.com].

    However, if you're willing to experiment, I'd recommend trying out the current Apple Keyboard. I was squarely in the Model M demografic and for my life wouldn't have guessed that I like the Apple Keyboard and it's flat keys, but ever since I got one I've been using them almost exclusively. My typing speed has increased and I've come to like the laid-back lightweight and minimalist approach these take.

    I recommend you try an Apple/Slim Keyboard [apple.com] for a few days before you decide what to buy. Could be that you're suprised just like I was.

    • +1 for Das Keyboard. A Model S Professional with Cherry MX Red switches strike a nice balance between firmness of action and volume. I also like the feel of the Microsoft Natural 4000, especially with the wedge installed to raise the front - it feel strange at first, but so comfortable once you get used to it! Sadly I found the quality of the mechanism lacking, too spongy and unsuited to long-term sustained use.

      One day someone will make something with the shape of the 4000 (including wrist-rest and raised f

    • by putaro ( 235078 )

      I second the Apple Keyboard, though I use a Mac so all of the keys make sense.

  • I tried many keyboards in a shop in Akihabara : there were a nice sample of different styles of switches : various Cherry MX, Topre, high quality rubber domes, etc... The Topre was clearly the one I prefered, even though I didn't know about these at the time so it was like a blind test. I didn't buy it back then : it was a Japanese layout and I didn't want this + the outrageous price.
    I finally bought it years later, in my native layout. Considering how my previous keyboard (a Keytronic KT2001) outlasted thr

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:34AM (#49273819)

    Still the best. If you want an audible mechanical click, use blue. (Not suitable for shared office-space.) Not quite a Model-M, but closes approximation today. For silent, use one of the other colors as to taste. The one I am writing this on is a 12 years old Cherry G80-3000, daily use, gaming, but even the WASD keys still work fine. You can get quite a few other keyboards with Cherry MX switches.

  • I'm very happy with my Saitek. Although a few keys are polished clean of character identifiers and the finish has been rubbed off on the edges, I have never had any mechanical issues over many years. It is heavy with large rubber feet to grip my desk so it stays steady while I slam my head against it.
  • by Roodvlees ( 2742853 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:48AM (#49273879)
    https://www.trulyergonomic.com... [trulyergonomic.com]
    Not only is it more ergonomic than most keyboards, it's mechanical and a huge improvement in typing.
    Sure it takes a few hours to get used to, but like with languages, learning your second one is much easier than your first and does not reduce your ability to use the first.
    It finally gets rid of the backward and stupid staggering of keys, that was needed 70 years ago, do you still live in that time? Or in the future?
    It allows the mouse to stay much closer, which is great for gaming and the main reason I got it.
  • I really like the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic. Marco Arment has a nice review [marco.org] from 2013. He recently compared it to a Matias Ergo Pro [marco.org].

    Note that I'm a Mac user (yeah LOL Apple, I know right?) but with the right freeware [pqrs.org], you're able to map, for example, the Caps Lock key to Escape. I used to work on an awesome Sun keyboard that had the escape key right there, for vi and all that good stuff.

    • I recently bought the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop (the keyboard-only model isn't available locally, down here in NZ) to replace my old Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, and I think it's been one of the worst purchases I've made in some time. In their defense, the main keyboard is actually very nice to type on, and the separate numeric keypad is nifty.

      But. You're stuck if you want the standard cursor + home block keys layout. And I hope you like having substandard buttons (which wobble, and sometimes need to
  • I would go for one of these:

    http://keyboardco.com/ [keyboardco.com]

    I've never actually bought one of their products, but I have been keeping their address lying around. The story behind that is, that I got fed up with keyboards always being cheap, with a rather rubbery feel to the key action and no proper click; I'm old enough to have worked with - and loved the feel of - the original IBM PC keyboards, that appeared to be made from cast iron and concrete. It seems this company makes keyboards with proper keys, each fitted o

  • My ideal keyboard would be the general design of the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 with the Cherry MX Brown switches and anti-ghosting features. Sadly, I've never found a keyboard even close. It seems that I can either have a comfortable ergonomic keyboard or one that actually works well, not both. Are there even enough people interested in a keyboard like this to have a chance of it ever being made?

    • It seems that I can either have a comfortable ergonomic keyboard or one that actually works well, not both. Are there even enough people interested in a keyboard like this to have a chance of it ever being made?

      When Jeff Atwood couldn't find exactly the keyboard he wanted, he had the CODE Keyboard designed & marketed. So you just need to start a massively successful community website, cash out, and build one.

      I'm actually using a CODE keyboard.. a few minor complaints; I wish it had dedicated media keys but for all in all it's been great (not ergonomic though).

  • IBM Model M keyboards last BUT THEY ARE VERY NOISY.
  • by jokkebk ( 175614 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @08:25AM (#49274347) Homepage
    There have been nice suggestions for buckling spring (IBM Model M and Unicomp) and Cherry MX switch (Das Keyboard and dozens of others) mechanism keyboards, but personally I think Topre keyswitches are superior to both of them. Granted, they are among the most expensive, but the price is minimal when compared to rest of the rig, and they last a lifetime.

    I have been using Happy Hacking Keyboard 2 Professional (I did a review of it a while ago: http://codeandlife.com/2013/10/12/hhkb-professional-2-keyboard-review/ ) for two years, but recently switched to Topre Realforce 88UB (US version is 87U). It's probably the best keyboard money can buy, the feel is superb and I even like the black-on-black color a lot. Details: http://codeandlife.com/2013/10/12/hhkb-professional-2-keyboard-review/

    I think the switch type and layout are the primary factors, so I'd advise you to read a bit of geekhack forum and decide what you'd like to try. A word of warning: Mechanical keyboard can be addictive!
    • I think the switch type and layout are the primary factors, so I'd advise you to read a bit of geekhack forum and decide what you'd like to try. A word of warning: Mechanical keyboard can be addictive!

      Going to geekhack.org would be my advice as well. It's a great site for keyboard fans.

  • Hey we live in the year 2015, since year 2000 we can eat only a pill everyday for all our nutriment needs, we have flying car, we are in a leisure society and we have brain wave interface. [wikipedia.org]

  • There is no other choice. It's heaven on the fingers...and will annoy your cube neighbor as well! (always a plus!)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Spacelord ( 27899 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @09:08AM (#49274617)

    I'm a bit of a mechanical keyboard nerd, I collect keyboards with all sorts of form factors and switches. I know it can be quite challenging to find your first mech, and to make sense of all the terminology, so I thought I'd write down a short guide to help you through your selection process.

    First of all, you need to decide on a form factor. Generally speaking mechanical keyboards come in 3 form factors: full size, tenkeyless (or 87%) and 60%.

    Full size keyboards of course have all 104 keys as defined in the ANSI keyboard standard. You should always look for a standard key layout [wikimedia.org] without a weird shaped enter key or other weirdly placed or shaped keys.

    Tenkeyless keyboards are like full size keyboards but with the numpad removed. This makes them more compact, meaning they take up less deskspace and more importantly, you can place your mouse in a more ergonomical position closer to the alphanumerical section of your keyboard where your hands will be most of the time, so when you grab the mouse, you have to reach out less far. This is by far my favorite form factor, and unless you do a lot of data entry and really need your numpad, I can heartily recommend this form factor. Most mechanical keyboards that are available in full size, also have a tenkeyless variant by the way.

    As the name implies, 60% keyboards are ultra compact. They lack navigation and function keys that are found on a full size keyboard, but the functionality of those keys can be accessed via a second layer and an Fn modifier key. Some examples of 60% keyboards are the Happy Hacking Keyboard, the Poker II and the Ducky Mini. Given the fact that you are coming from a full size keyboard, I am hesitant to steer you towards a 60% keyboard.

    Now once you have decided on a form factor, it's time to think about what kind of keyboard switch you like to type on. There are 3 major types of switches: the most common by far are Cherry MX switches. Less common and more expensive are Topre switches. Finally you have the classic buckling spring switch, as found on the Model M.

    I'll start with the buckling spring. They are the grand daddy of mechanical switches. They were originally found in the iconic IBM Model M keyboard of the late 80s and early 90s. IBM has stopped making them long ago, but a company called Unicomp has acquired the patents and tooling, and they now produce Unicomp branded Model M's that are virtually replicas of the original IBM keyboard. This type of keyboard really is a typist's dream. Pressing the keys gives very solid tactile feedback and a loud (and I mean LOUD) thunky click. It sounds like a machine gun if you are typing on it at speed. If you share an office with other people, I would not recommend them. They are also not very good for gaming. This doesn't mean that you can't game with them, I have and a lot of people do, but other switch types just work better for that purpose.

    Cherry MX switches are by far the most common. They come in many variants: linear, tactile, clicky, stiff, soft, ... The color of the switch indicates the type. For a first timer, I would recommend that you only look at MX Blue and MX Brown switches.

    • MX Blue switches are clicky and give tactile feedback, a bit like buckling springs, but lighter and less loud. The same advantages and disadvantages apply: good for typing, bad for gaming, noisy.
    • MX Brown switches are a good jack of all trades switch: they don't click, but they do give some tactile feedback in the form of a slight bump that you feel when you press down a key. I've never found noise to be an issue with them, they're effective to type on even if it's a bit less satisfactory than a clicky switch, and gaming works well too.
    • MX Red is another common switch you find. They are a so called linear switch, which means that they are not tactile and n

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