Author Topic: Initial impressions: Esrille  (Read 3407 times)

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Offline Sciurid89

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  • Posts: 26
  • Location: Wisconsin, USA
Initial impressions: Esrille
« on: Mon, 05 February 2018, 11:23:12 »
Hey gang! Recently got an Esrille, and will post some initial thoughts. I've used Kinesis Adv, TEK, uTron for prior ergo comparison.

Just day three -- I'm still getting adapted to the layout and trying to not bottom out on blacks, so I am experiencing some additional tension as a result. I have some damping rings somewhere that I might put on the thumb keys...

1. Layout + Customization
The stock layout is excellent, and there are a few modifier key layout switches (and included keycaps) from the website. Shift on the thumb is what I've been rocking for a while, and here that's the default.
Being geared toward a Japanese market, the less-used Space key is not quite in the natural position for R thumb by default. It wasn't too hard to customize the firmware per instructions on the site, once I found that you've got to use the indicated prior version of the XC8 compiler. I might make further tweaks (I think that I want ctrl and enter on thumb keys, and potentially a bunch of FN layer stuff on the left hand), but for now this layout is working quite well.

2. Geometry + Ergo
  • Yay tenting!
  • The positive slope looks a little funny, but I think it actually puts the keyboard perpendicular to the natural direction of force from the fingers.
  • The thing with the number keys not being in the letter key columns is an advantage. I never hit 1 or 0 with a pinky; always with ring -- so this reduces the stretch.
  • For my average hand size, the center key of the thumb arc falls perfectly under the natural thumb position with the fingers on the home row. The rest of the thumb arc angle feels great too, and is far superior to the clusters on a Kinesis (and, I'd imagine, on ErgoDox et. al)
  • The profile on the innermost three thumb arc keycaps might be a bit too high. I may swap for lower profile caps at some point.
  • Would be nice if the pinky key columns were vertically offset instead of aligned.
  • Dye-sub keycaps are awesome!

3. Appearance
It's either whimsical or ugly, depending on your taste+mood. I'm probably going to remove the red faceplate and render it matte white with spray paint. I already swapped out that awkward looking Big Red Button of an ESC key.

4. Build quality
Feels like a tank. Heck, looks like one too.

5. Price to value
Wicked expensive, of course. As a 14 hr/day computer user these days, I think I'm getting the value out of it. (Well, I'm probably keeping the TEK at work and using this at home. It's not so much of an improvement that I'd buy two!)

Offline ergonaut

  • Posts: 21
Re: Initial impressions: Esrille
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 14 February 2018, 12:58:46 »

thank you for your write-up on the Esrille. It's high on my favourite keyboards list and information about it is hard to come by, so I really appreciate your effort.

You also confirm some of the points I already suspected about it, like the thumb arc being superior to the Kinesis (and basically every keyboard out there).

I would love to get one myself, but can't really justify the expense at this point. Maybe some day if and when I have a higher salary and/or the price comes way down.

Did you get the standard version or the one for small hands?