In late 2013 I started thinking about switching to an ergonomic keyboard. I did not have wrist pain or other health issues – although preventing them is a good reason as well, I mainly wanted to improve my productivity.
The key layouts on typical keyboards are vastly suboptimal: the alphanumeric keys are staggered (a carryover from mechanical typewriters), and important keys (modifiers, Backspace, Return, arrow keys) are too hard to reach. Although this is often worked around in software (e.g. hjkl movement keys in vi, Colemak remapping Caps Lock as Backspace), it is much more effective to fix the keyboard instead.
I was looking at three options:
- The Kinesis, possibly the most well-known ergonomic keyboard.
- The Workman Layout recommends the TypeMatrix.
- Finally, there is the Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard (TECK).
I ruled out TypeMatrix due to keylock (I think lack of NKRO is not acceptable for a high-end keyboard), and the Kinesis struck me as overly bulky – I wanted something I could take with my laptop (the TECK’s hand rest is removable).
Truly Ergonomic’s customization choices basically boil down to whether you want one big button (Model 227) or two small ones (Model 229) on the bottom corners of the keyboard, whether you want blue, brown or clear Cherry MX switches, and whether you want blank or QWERTY keycaps. My selection was Model 229 with brown switches and blank keycaps (using Dvorak for a decade, and I planned to reprogram the keyboard anyway). I ordered it on 2014-02-02 from The Keyboard Company and received it on 2014-02-06.
I’m writing this on 2015-05-25, so it’s been about 16 months. Here are my notes so far: Continue reading