Author Topic: Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?  (Read 2181 times)

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Offline kreative

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« on: Fri, 13 January 2012, 20:55:28 »
Hi All,

I recently decided to give my Microsoft Ergo 4000 a quick clean which seems to have resulted in a few keys not being as smooth/fluid as they once were, so I decided it might be time to invest in a new/replacement board or find some suitable lube.

I've been using the ergo split key style for about 8 years in work and at home and love the comfort. My primary keyboard use is for web development & gaming, I've been doing plenty of reading on these forums the last few days and I've decided I'll take the plunge into the world of mechanical keyboards.

I'm thinking something along the lines of a 10 keyless with cherry mx Brown switches, but would certainly consider blues. PBT caps would be nice as the modding element appeals to me. The max I could spend would be 100 max, recommendations welcome :) I've looked at the more mainstream mech gaming boards such as Razer's Blackwidow but for the money I'm should probably consider all options.

Has anyone else made a similar transfer from split ergo to mechanical, did you find it difficult?

Thanks,
T

Offline eyesnine

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 13 January 2012, 21:28:43 »
The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard seems very interesting.

Offline shrap

  • Posts: 225
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 00:26:16 »
I'd rather have a few $25 Microsoft Naturals than any flat board.

Offline Lanx

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 01:58:06 »
i could not transition from an ergo 4k to a standard 104 mech(cherry) board. My sig will say that i really love the ergo 4k layout, but of course modding is not for everyone or even anyone (just no time). in that regards i've actually found the kinesis a good 90% close enough to great (of course it could be better, everything can be better).

i wouldn't really recommend the kinesis for gaming, i mean i guess if you switch from WASD to ESDF, it'll work (cuz of the concave it feels weird to move it to WASD), but to elaborate on your original question i used the ergo 4k for 5 years, i've had 2 in the closet in case one breaks and from wear and tear (they break with the simplest of water droplet in them, i've since stopped drinking at my desk anyways). I went to a cherry board, i couldn't do it (no split, slant, all that good stuff), i needed the ergo.

Offline bbbbqq

  • Posts: 116
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 02:10:39 »
I switched over, and the biggest things I miss:
1. Position of the Alt key. Seems like every mech board I know has the alt between Z and X, and not X and C like on the MS ergo.
2. The position of the N and the number 7. It lets you index your hands far easier than other mech keyboards
3. The back and forward buttons.

Try the Kinesis Freestyle if you're looking for a change. If you want mechanical, Cherry makes an adjustable split-key, and there's the IBM M15 if you can find one.

Offline hoggy

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 02:46:27 »
If you can stretch to it, the kinesis advantage is worth a try.  Much more comfortable than the microsoft.  Haven't used it for gaming, but then most members here end up buying more than one keyboard, getting the advantage leaves you scope for buying a second board, maybe a filco.

The goldtouch is a good adjustable rubber dome (so is the free style).  No need to write them off just because they're domes.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline Keymonger

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 03:54:30 »
The feel on the MS Ergo 4000 is extremely heavy, IMO. The switches are what I imagine MX Black to feel like in terms of force. I could barely use this keyboard because of how heavy it was... it was awful. I think MX Blue has an almost perfect feel for typing and it's definitely lighter than the ****ty rubber domes on the 4000. MX Brown is also lighter than the 4000 so you should take this into account if you like how heavy the 4000 is.

Offline hoggy

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 06:11:01 »
I'd forgotten how stiff the keys were on mine.  You might want to look to ebay or goodwill to get an cheap mech board to try the switches out before committing too much money.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline erw

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 07:30:32 »
Quote from: Keymonger;490151
The feel on the MS Ergo 4000 is extremely heavy, IMO. The switches are what I imagine MX Black to feel like in terms of force. I could barely use this keyboard because of how heavy it was...


This. I've had a 4000 for some years but I never used it for more than some weeks at a time because of this.

I've since gone the Kinesis way and just ordered my second Advantage.
Kinesis Advantage LF (MX Red), Kinesis Advantage (MX Brown), Colemak

Offline Surly73

  • Posts: 496
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 08:17:59 »
I had been using MS Ergo boards for years too, finally ending up with the 4000 series (both at home and work).  The 4000 series was the most pathetic, uncomfortable, cheeziest MS ergo I'd ever used.  I never liked it from the start, even though it looked much cooler than its predecessors.

Go to anything other than that thing and it'll all be good :)   I went to a Filco w/ browns and Keytronic rubber domes at home.  At work I have a model M, an ALPS board, and will soon have a Topre Realforce.  I don't miss the split design at all compared to the better performance of these mechanical boards.

Now, I should say that I didn't need the ergo boards to solve an RSI problem of any sort, they just used to work well for me.  If you need ergo boards to survive, the Kinesis line is built around MX browns as someone already pointed out.  A heavy power user at work has had a Kinesis in daily use since 1998 I think and it's still going strong.

Offline moogatronic

  • Posts: 36
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 12:30:10 »
I went from MSFT-Natural 4k to Kinesis Advantage about a week ago. It took a few days of frustration and adjustment, but I am forever ruined for non-mechanical keys. The layout of the Advantage makes a lot of sense, and seems to be designed as if humans have a left and right hand, instead of two right hands, like standard keyboard layouts seem to have.

I am already hunting for a second Kinesis board to replace my 4K in my office. Typing on it feels like I'm being neutered, the keys are trash, and despite being 'ergonomic', the 4k still has the "two right hands" design. I would go for the "Truly Ergonomic" if you were not into the 3D shape and key well separation. My perfect keyboard would probably be a Kinesis Advantage that you could move the halves to greater distances than the fixed split they have currently.

Quote from: kreative;490015
I recently decided to give my Microsoft Ergo 4000 a quick clean which seems to have resulted in a few keys not being as smooth/fluid as they once were, so I decided it might be time to invest in a new/replacement board or find some suitable lube.

I've been using the ergo split key style for about 8 years in work and at home and love the comfort. My primary keyboard use is for web development & gaming, I've been doing plenty of reading on these forums the last few days and I've decided I'll take the plunge into the world of mechanical keyboards.

I'm thinking something along the lines of a 10 keyless with cherry mx Brown switches, but would certainly consider blues. PBT caps would be nice as the modding element appeals to me. The max I could spend would be €100 max, recommendations welcome :) I've looked at the more mainstream mech gaming boards such as Razer's Blackwidow but for the money I'm should probably consider all options.

Has anyone else made a similar transfer from split ergo to mechanical, did you find it difficult?

Thanks,
T

Offline moogatronic

  • Posts: 36
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 12:33:13 »
Quote from: Keymonger;490151
The feel on the MS Ergo 4000 is extremely heavy, IMO. The switches are what I imagine MX Black to feel like in terms of force. I could barely use this keyboard because of how heavy it was... it was awful. I think MX Blue has an almost perfect feel for typing and it's definitely lighter than the ****ty rubber domes on the 4000. MX Brown is also lighter than the 4000 so you should take this into account if you like how heavy the 4000 is.

For me it took switching to the Kinesis before I noticed how much pressure my pinkies had to exert to shift on the MSFT board. I am almost surprised that they even call the 4k ergonomic. I would guess that even a standard layout mechanical with browns or blues would be healthier to type on than the MSFT4k.

Online dorkvader

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 13:45:17 »
Quote from: moogatronic;490335
My perfect keyboard would probably be a Kinesis Advantage that you could move the halves to greater distances than the fixed split they have currently.

Like the ergoDOX? ore were you really after the keywells?

I don't have a lot of experience with ergo keyboards, but wouldn't a split one be better than an unsplit, wavy one?
let me put together your keyboard! Nut&bolt mod (many pictures)
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Offline kreative

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 16:44:37 »
Wow thanks for all the replies guys, its great to get such detailed feedback.

The TrulyErgonomic looks really appealing however the ALT & CTRL positioning looks quite awkward for photoshop use. The advantage looks wild, almost too much of a learning curve/adjustment for me. The Kinesis Freestyle Incline looks more along the lines of what I would like, the large wrist rest looks quite comfortable.

I might just grab a standard cheap dell keyboard lying around in work and use that for a week or two to see how I fair - mightn't be such a big deal to switch to a standard mechanical board. Thanks to everyone for their replies, its really appreciated.

-T

Offline Surly73

  • Posts: 496
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 19:31:03 »
Quote from: kreative;490485

I might just grab a standard cheap dell keyboard lying around in work and use that for a week or two to see how I fair - mightn't be such a big deal to switch to a standard mechanical board. Thanks to everyone for their replies, its really appreciated.

-T

Ugh.  "Standard cheap dell keyboards" will lock up my forearms in 10 minutes of typing.  If you're on the fence, you'd be better to pick up/order a Keytronic while you think.  They have variable weight ergo layout and are some of the best rubber domes to type on, especially considering their price.  They aren't built like most mech boards, but they function very well.

Do you *really* need the split layout for an RSI reason?  Or is it just something you got used to?  If you have RSI, do you have "real" RSI (i.e. diagnosed) or have you simply noticed discomfort from some cheap, generic keyboards in the past?

Offline moogatronic

  • Posts: 36
Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 20:45:23 »
Wow, I was unaware of that thread -- at a quick glance, looks awesome. I have to do a bit of reading to catch up on what is going on there for sure.

I think mechanical switches and split is more important than the keywells. I have not really done enough evaluation or testing of 3d keywell, vs flat ergonomic designs.

Quote from: dorkvader;490383
Like the ergoDOX? ore were you really after the keywells?

I don't have a lot of experience with ergo keyboards, but wouldn't a split one be better than an unsplit, wavy one?

Offline kreative

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 14 January 2012, 21:30:30 »
Thankfully I dont have any RSI, it was really just a case that I picked up a split ergo to help me learn to type a bit better many years ago and I just got used to that layout. I happily type away on my macbooks keyboard daily (casual use) so I don't think it would be a huge issue moving to a standard layout.

Generally I'd feel discomfort on a normal keyboard without a wrist rest, which is one of the more appealing parts of the split keyboards I've used in the past (they all tended to have large area's for wrists). With the majority of the mechanical boards not featuring rests its the only thing thats concerning.. but perhaps the discomfort is more due to a cheap keyboard rather than lack of wrist rests?

Offline Lanx

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 15 January 2012, 01:19:26 »
the kinesis wrist rests are actually palm rests.

Offline Surly73

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 15 January 2012, 13:26:02 »
Quote from: kreative;490799
Thankfully I dont have any RSI, it was really just a case that I picked up a split ergo to help me learn to type a bit better many years ago and I just got used to that layout. I happily type away on my macbooks keyboard daily (casual use) so I don't think it would be a huge issue moving to a standard layout.


Sounds exactly like me.  My typing is self-taught and it turned out that "my" home row was off by one.  Switching to a split keyboard something like 15 years ago broke a couple of bad habits.  l really didn't "need" one either.  I don't regret returning to top quality regular keyboards at all.

Quote
Generally I'd feel discomfort on a normal keyboard without a wrist rest, which is one of the more appealing parts of the split keyboards I've used in the past (they all tended to have large area's for wrists). With the majority of the mechanical boards not featuring rests its the only thing thats concerning.. but perhaps the discomfort is more due to a cheap keyboard rather than lack of wrist rests?

Also sounds just like me.  As Lanx says - I use these as palm rests, not wrist rests, and I still usually need something there today.

Offline sordna

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 19 January 2012, 16:05:38 »
My progression with ergo keyboards over the years was sort of like this, every step was a good upgrade from the previous, so you can imagine the world of difference from the MS keyboard to the final destination

MS Natural (the original white ones) -> Goldtouch -> Comfort Keyboard -> Kinesis Classic -> Kinesis Advantage -> Kinesis Advantage LF
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Forsaken

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Recommendations for a MS 4000 user?
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 21 January 2012, 01:56:40 »
I went from a MS 4k to a kinesis advantage after becoming fed up with the 4k's keys sticking and binding, along with the membranes shorting/going open. It's quite an upgrade. I love it, and tout it to people anytime keyboards happen to come up. Of course, they just look at me like I'm a lunatic for spending over $300 on a keyboard. haha

There's something special about the angles of the 4K that I still miss though. I wish I could angle the bowls so that my wrists are turned a bit more towards each other, and rotate the left bowl a little clockwise, and the right one a little counter-clockwise. I would angle the thumbpads up so they face my thumbs more too. But those are minor things compared with how much better the advantage is than anything else available right now in my opinion.