Author Topic: Choosing a split keyboard  (Read 6471 times)

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Offline Mr. Glass

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Choosing a split keyboard
« on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 11:20:04 »
Hello,

I am experiencing increased carpal tunnel issues lately and would like to purchase a split keyboard. I have heard good things about ErgoDox, Kenesis, and Matias. Can anyone point me towards which is the "best" [doesn't need to be on the above list]? I know that preferences come into play here, but am curious to hear your thoughts.

I am seeking mechanical switches and for it to be as quiet as possible. My current daily driver is a 2011 Das Keyboard Model S Silent and people regularly complain about the noise when I take notes during conference calls. If I need to make modifications to whatever new keyboard I buy to decrease noise (I am a bit inexperienced when it comes to modding), I am happy to do so.

If it makes any difference (though I am not too concerned about the cost), I plan to purchase at least 2 of whatever I end up with.

Also, has anyone had success getting their insurance company (in the USA) to provide reimbursement via a doctor's prescription for durable medical equipment?

Best Regards

Glass

Offline seva1385

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 11:37:11 »
I root for Kinesis Advantage (better yet, Advantage2): though not technically split, the two keywells are separated far enough for me; it prevents bending wrists in the vertical plane, too.
MX Browns will be definitely heard during conference call (how can anyone complain to a pleasant mechanical chatter is beyond me though :) );
perhaps you might consider MX Reds.

Kinesis offers 60-day warranty, so you can order from them and return if it does not work out.

Kinesis Advantage became inexpensive on eBay these days. Advantage2 (and the new Freestyle2) is so much easier to program though, with SmartSet.

Of equal importance is pointing device; what are your considerations regarding that?

Have you considered using foot pedals to ease things like modifiers?
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Online algernon

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 11:54:59 »
I own a pair of ErgoDox EZ keyboards, with Gateron Browns. Love them dearly, but they aren't the most silent thing when you bottom out (I do). O-rings may help there, I didn't try, my colleagues are okay with the sound the EZ makes at work. Comes with a graphical configurator too, which is neat.

On the other hand, the Keyboardio Model01 is my daily driver at home now, because it is quieter than the EZ, and much more comfortable too, not to mention that the Model01 has better tenting support too (as in, I can tent it higher than ~15 degrees).

You can't go wrong with either of these.

Mind you, the Kinesis Advantage is nice too, but it isn't split, and while you can reprogram it, it is much more limited than the ErgoDox or the Model01. You can't put oneshot modifiers on it, for example, even though those are lovely when you want to reduce the load on your fingers. But the bowl shaped keywells are very nice.

Offline Mr. Glass

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 12:06:08 »
Thank you for your prompt and detailed reply.

I root for Kinesis Advantage (better yet, Advantage2): though not technically split, the two keywells are separated far enough for me; it prevents bending wrists in the vertical plane, too.

Cool. I have been leaning towards a full-split design. Do you have any thoughts on the pros/cons of a design like the Advantage 2 vs something loose like the ErgoDox? Depending upon how wide the arms are on my office chair (while working at my sitting desk), I like the idea of adjusting the angle.


MX Browns will be definitely heard during conference call (how can anyone complain to a pleasant mechanical chatter is beyond me though :) );
perhaps you might consider MX Reds.

Yes, I have just learned about Reds today and they look like a good choice for what I am seeking.


Of equal importance is pointing device; what are your considerations regarding that?

Yes, definitely, for years I have been using the wireless 3M ergo mouse, small size, with great success. I even use it with my laptop on the tray table while on an airplane.


Have you considered using foot pedals to ease things like modifiers?

It is interesting that you have mentioned that, as I am typing this from a treadmill desk while slowly walking, so foot pedals may be a challenge :-)



Offline Blaise170

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 12:10:58 »
I personally find Reds to be louder than Browns.
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Offline Mr. Glass

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 12:14:57 »
On the other hand, the Keyboardio Model01 is my daily driver at home now, because it is quieter than the EZ...and much more comfortable too

Hmmm. I do like the look of the Model01. Unfortunately it looks like the date of availability is a bit unclear :-(

I am interested to hear more about the ways you feel the Model01 is more comfortable than the EZ. Can you please elaborate?

Offline Mr. Glass

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 12:17:48 »
I personally find Reds to be louder than Browns.

Thanks for this. I am specifically looking at the Silent Reds not the regular Reds. Do you feel that the Silent Reds are still louder than the Browns? I am open to adding o-rings to either.

Offline Blaise170

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 12:49:01 »
Never had silents so I couldn't tell you.
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Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 13:38:55 »
I personally find Reds to be louder than Browns.
I don't see how that's physically possible.

MX Brown is basically the same as MX Red, except for the tiny bump on the stem. If anything, MX Brown would be louder, because of the extra friction against the bump or leaf return after the bump (and yes, I've experienced this, mainly with Gateron Brown, though).

Some people may, however, bottom out more with a linear switch.

Thanks for this. I am specifically looking at the Silent Reds not the regular Reds. Do you feel that the Silent Reds are still louder than the Browns? I am open to adding o-rings to either.
[MX] Silent switches have internal damping on the stem. Therefore, they'll be quieter on bottoming out and switch release, assuming the same kind of usage.

There's no point in using o-rings with them, unless you want to reduce travel, in which case bottoming out would be damped by the o-ring and not the internal damping, because it wouldn't hit the switch bottom at all.

You can achieve similar effect to internal damping by using QMX Clips.

Offline seva1385

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 15:26:50 »
Cool. I have been leaning towards a full-split design. Do you have any thoughts on the pros/cons of a design like the Advantage 2 vs something loose like the ErgoDox? Depending upon how wide the arms are on my office chair (while working at my sitting desk), I like the idea of adjusting the angle.

I considered going with Ergodox, but more than a couple of times heard people complain of the last vertical row been a tad too far; which is not an issue with Advantage because of its shape, curved in two dimensions. But then again my relationship with keywells goes beyond rationale.

Advantage is definitely much bulkier for use of the plane and just for transportation. And it comes only in MX Brown or Red.

The best of two words is Dactyl (pausing to wipe off drool), but that is a DIY.

Yes, definitely, for years I have been using the wireless 3M ergo mouse, small size, with great success. I even use it with my laptop on the tray table while on an airplane.

Oh, interesting, I read about in my search for a perfect mouse but never tried. You still move your wrist though using it, don't you? And carpal tunnel does not mind it, seemingly?
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Offline Phenix

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 20 April 2018, 19:21:16 »
I root for Kinesis Advantage (better yet, Advantage2): though not technically split, the two keywells are separated far enough for me; it prevents bending wrists in the vertical plane, too.
MX Browns will be definitely heard during conference call (how can anyone complain to a pleasant mechanical chatter is beyond me though :) );
perhaps you might consider MX Reds.

Kinesis offers 60-day warranty, so you can order from them and return if it does not work out.

Kinesis Advantage became inexpensive on eBay these days. Advantage2 (and the new Freestyle2) is so much easier to program though, with SmartSet.

Of equal importance is pointing device; what are your considerations regarding that?

Have you considered using foot pedals to ease things like modifiers?


I would snag a used Kinesis and install a Stspleberg mod kit which makes it run QMK which is imho the best firmware available.

There is a GB for those kits right now bta
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Offline nevin

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 09:15:17 »
as for the quieting.... the GMK QMX-Clips are great, they quiet the bottom out as well as the return and the latest design is now compatible with plate mounted switches. great way to quiet switches that do not have internal dampening.

i have the original QMX clips (pcb mount only) on MX browns in a GH60/Pure, and i'd bet that i'm quieter than most people on rubber domes. i've been using them since nov. '15.

Zeal also has silencing clips but they are more expensive & i haven't tried those.

i think thicker caps help as well, not to silence the sound but they do "ring"? at a lower frequency/sound. example... play with a set of thin tai-hao oem/abs caps (or similar) and then play with a set of thick caps (pbt, spherical, old apple keyboards m0110/a or similar). the thinner caps "ring" at a higher pitch than the thicker caps. i guess they resonate differently when the switch bottoms out or returns due to the thickness of the cap.

matias has also carried on apple's old dampened alps switches. i have not tried the matias version but the older boards that had these were decent as well. (i used an apple extended II for a period of time back in the day...)
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Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 09:34:56 »
Zeal also has silencing clips but they are more expensive & i haven't tried those.
They're worse than QMX Clips in my experience. Much more expensive and less efficient, especially for damping the upstroke.

matias has also carried on apple's old dampened alps switches. i have not tried the matias version but the older boards that had these were decent as well. (i used an apple extended II for a period of time back in the day...)
Yes, there are Matias Quiet Click/Linear switches. I don't think they're nearly as nice as Alps SKCM Damped White/Cream, though.

They're about as loud/quiet as the average office rubber-dome plastic keyboard, but the springs in them may *ping* in some cases, which is annoying.

There are also only two factory-made ergonomic keyboards with them: Keyboardio Model 01 and Matias Ergo Pro. Either is good, though.

Offline nevin

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 09:55:53 »
davkol, thanks. good to know. i've been eyeing the matias switches since they were announced. might have to hunt down an old exII or granite instead.
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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 11:16:08 »
as for the quieting.... the GMK QMX-Clips are great, they quiet the bottom out as well as the return and the latest design is now compatible with plate mounted switches. great way to quiet switches that do not have internal dampening.
The keyboard you put them on need to have the switches in the right orientation for silencing clips to work with thick keycaps.
Judging from the pictures I have stored of Kinesis' various contoured keyboards, they should be compatible though.
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Online scud80

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 13:10:52 »
I personally find Reds to be louder than Browns.
I don't see how that's physically possible.

it's certainly possible if the different switches cause you to type differently.  the bump on the browns could reduce a tendency to bottom out, and bottoming out is probably noisier than hitting the brown bump.

Online scud80

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 13:18:53 »
for the OP: "best" is obviously relative.  one thing to keep in mind, is that the ergodox, kinesis, and keyboardio are all ortho layouts, so it will take some time before you'll be able to use them at the same speed.  particularly if you're not using them all the time (eg, ortho at home/work and staggered at the other).  the mistel barocco has a normal staggered layout and would be easier to use immediately.  there are also a number of smaller (and cheaper) kit keyboards, like those sold by keeb.io, but you'd need to either build them or pay someone to do so and they're not as user friendly at first.  definitely try the silencing rings/clips if noise is an issue.

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 13:57:32 »
I personally find Reds to be louder than Browns.
I don't see how that's physically possible.
it's certainly possible if the different switches cause you to type differently.  the bump on the browns could reduce a tendency to bottom out, and bottoming out is probably noisier than hitting the brown bump.
(a) Did you read the rest of my post?
(b) Yes, but then the switch isn't louder, your typing technique is louder.

ergodox, kinesis, and keyboardio are all ortho layouts
They have columnar layouts.

there are also a number of smaller (and cheaper) kit keyboards, like those sold by keeb.io, but you'd need to either build them or pay someone to do so and they're not as user friendly at first
Hmm, I'm not sure how that would work outÖ

Also, has anyone had success getting their insurance company (in the USA) to provide reimbursement via a doctor's prescription for durable medical equipment?

Offline Duckyreddy

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 15:13:35 »
I personally find Reds to be louder than Browns.

Thanks for this. I am specifically looking at the Silent Reds not the regular Reds. Do you feel that the Silent Reds are still louder than the Browns? I am open to adding o-rings to either.

Hello Glass

I've been using Silent Red's, also known as pinks for a while now, using alongside many other switches including browns and in terms of switches by itself, it is definitely quieter and feels smoother and softer when bottoming out when compared to regular reds and browns.

Hope this helps :)

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Offline Mr. Glass

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 16:16:21 »
Thank you all for your replies. I think that I have mostly narrowed down to the Kinesis Advantage 2 or the ErgoDox EZ. It seems that for ergonomic keyboards with the requirements I am seeking, there aren't too many with silent switches, off the shelf. It seems that the Advantage 2 only has the option of Browns and regular Reds.

I have two local friends with the ErgoDox Infinity and both are really struggling with the layout. I'll probably see if I can test out one of theirs. I do like the free desk space of the EZ though and am a bit intimidated by the Advantage 2's huge footprint.

What do you all think? I am still open to other suggestions, but it doesn't seem like too many options include silent switches and non-staggered layout (which I am told is better for ergonomics, but am still very new to all this). Are there any immediately available options that I may have overlooked. The Model01 seems cool, but I don't see a definitive shipping date.

If I spend the $360 or so on the EZ and it doesn't work out, does anyone have a ballpark of the international shipping costs to get it back vs resale value? I live in FL, USA.

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 16:35:02 »
Again, you can put QMX Clips on most keyboards, including Kinesis Advantage. The hollow Kinesis shell has the downside of reverb amplifying keystrokes, though. If you don't want to open it and stuff it with some damping material, it's gonna be relatively loud.

I don't think it's the best reason to disqualify a keyboard with interesting ergonomics, though; the keystroke technique is substantially different from a flat keyboard and should be evaluated on its own.

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 16:54:59 »
shipping the ergodox back would cost $50 or so.  a bit more if you also get the palm rests.

Offline Mr. Glass

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 19:30:20 »
Isnít there disadvantage to the Advantage 2ís static components vs. the ability to move the two halves of the ErgoDox into different positions and tent them to a greater degree?

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 22 April 2018, 03:01:34 »
Isnít there disadvantage to the Advantage 2ís static components vs. the ability to move the two halves of the ErgoDox into different positions and tent them to a greater degree?
Unless you have abnormally wide/narrow shoulders, want to tent the keyboard aggressively or plan to mount it on chair armrests, it's no big deal. OTOH, the single-piece shell enables placing the keyboard on ones thighs.

The main difference, really, is the keystroke technique.
  • On a flat keyboard, you should be generally moving your whole arm/hand a bit to strike keys at an optimal angle.
  • Those aggressively contoured ones assume that you'll anchor your wrists in fixed spots on the case and then only extend your fingers to reach for keys, even though the angle isn't as efficient (thus only low-force switches in stock Kinesis Advantage).
I actually sold my first Kinesis Advantage because of this, as I didn't want to modify the newish keyboard (raise the wrist rests higher at least).

Online algernon

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 07:19:47 »
On the other hand, the Keyboardio Model01 is my daily driver at home now, because it is quieter than the EZ...and much more comfortable too

Hmmm. I do like the look of the Model01. Unfortunately it looks like the date of availability is a bit unclear :-(

I am interested to hear more about the ways you feel the Model01 is more comfortable than the EZ. Can you please elaborate?

The Model01's thumb arc is much more accessible for me than the EZ's thumb cluster. On the EZ, I can reach three keys with my thumbs comfortably: the two big keys on the thumb cluster, and the innermost keys on the bottom row. That leaves 8 keys fairly useless on the thumb clusters, which could be put to better use. On the Model01, I can easily reach all four keys on the arc, and lower big key on the inner sides, so I can use my thumb for 4 more keys - quite a win! On top of that, the columnar layout of the Model01 is different. In particular, on the EZ, I have trouble reaching the Dvorak L key (QWERTY P, I think?) with my pinky, because I have short pinkies. On the Model01, that column has a smaller offset, and I can reach everything fine. And if this wasn't enough, the palm keys are amazing. And if that is still isn't enough, individually sculpted keycaps are superb. I understand that might be a big no-no for keycap collectors, but thankfully I'm not one of that particular club, so I'm very happy with them.

And this was only the keys... you can tent the keyboard better (I'm using a roughly 50 degree tent), and the wood feels great to rest my hands on, better than the EZ's wrist rests (which are also good, by the way).

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 07:32:37 »
I actually have a problem with the M01 thumb arcóit's too "low" for me, because I don't rest my wrists while typing: I guess I'd have to get used to resting them again on the M01. (I'm coming from a compact ErgoDox.)

OP is  looking for a pre-built keyboard, thus I suppose there isn't much of a point in bringing up the 80key ErgoDox layout, unless they get a custom build (from FalbaTech, profet or someone else), but I have to say I'm very happy with mine.

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 09:55:34 »
the wood feels great to rest my hands on, better than the EZ's wrist rests (which are also good, by the way).

Though to be fair it wouldn't be difficult to get wooden palm rests for the ergodox, if that is a preference.

Offline MatchstickMan

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 10:05:16 »
I have two local friends with the ErgoDox Infinity and both are really struggling with the layout. I'll probably see if I can test out one of theirs.

How long have your friends had theirs? I've been daily driving one for about 7 months now and I know the learning curve is fairly steep, it took me a good 6 weeks to be even reasonably proficient with it (moving the "b" key between "x" and "c" made a huge difference, as well as moving "esc" to the left of "1"). It has done WONDERS for my wrist strain (with about a 70deg tent), but I'll never say it was an easy switch.

Basically, what I'm getting at is that if you're frustrated with how it goes from the start, don't give up. If you can hang on to the ErgoDox for a month, that may give you a better idea of how it will work.

Below are the tablet stands that I've been using for my Ergodox (they also work well for displaying records, too!).

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 16:22:25 »
the wood feels great to rest my hands on, better than the EZ's wrist rests (which are also good, by the way).

Though to be fair it wouldn't be difficult to get wooden palm rests for the ergodox, if that is a preference.

It's not just the material, but the shape too. But then, this is a pretty subjective opinion.

Offline mkozlows

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 21:52:27 »
I have two local friends with the ErgoDox Infinity and both are really struggling with the layout.

So a thing I'll say is that every split keyboard is weird in a way, and will require some adaptation. The Kinesis Advantage 2 has a lot of the same weirdness as the Ergodox -- it's columnar; there's only one key to the right of 0 and P, not three; and only one to the right of semicolon, not two. Which means that at least five of -, =, [, ], \, ', and enter needs to be relocated to an unusual place. In my experience (had an Ergodox EZ for a few days now), that's the most difficult part about adapting to an Ergodox in the first place, so I don't think the Kinesis is going to be a big win there.

But like I say, they're all kind of weird. Even the most conventional split keyboard has its unique things to learn: The Mistel Barocco has no F-keys or arrow keys, so you need to get its Fn-key into play pretty heavily. The Kinesis Freestyle Edge is maybe the absolute closest to "normal", but it puts 6 on the wrong side of the keyboard (if you learned to type in the "correct"/standard way), and has kinda weird placement for Esc and arrow keys.

The benefit of the Ergodox is that it is super, super-customizable in a really painless way, thanks to QMK firmware and the excellent online Ergodox-EZ configurator. I set it up initially with a layout that I thought would be sensible and low-adaptation for me (I never tried the default, out-of-box layout even once), and then as I used it and found awkwardnesses, I kept tweaking it up. I've still got changes to make (I'm not happy with where I've got the bracket keys; not a big deal for a lot of purposes, but super-essential for programming), but between adapting to the keyboard, and adapting the keyboard to me, it's getting there pretty quickly.

By comparison, the Barocco's more-awkward programmability was a source of constant frustration to me: I couldn't make every key do what I wanted it to do, and some built-in stuff kept getting accidentally triggered (Fn-A changes your layout from QWERTY to Dvorak/Colemak, for instance, so if I meant to press Cmd-A to select all, but pushed the Fn modifier instead, now my keyboard was in a wacky state; the first time that happened, I didn't even know what I'd done, and even typing in the URL for the manual was painfully awkward).
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 April 2018, 22:18:20 by mkozlows »

Offline mkozlows

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 22:16:03 »
And if that is still isn't enough, individually sculpted keycaps are superb. I understand that might be a big no-no for keycap collectors, but thankfully I'm not one of that particular club, so I'm very happy with them.

I'm not a collector, but I will say that the non-standard nature of the keys, combined with them having a painted-and-laser-etched finish, was a big negative to me. Because every laptop I use has that painted-and-lasered finish, and every one of them has keys worn smooth, and keys where the paint has been worn right off, leaving big gaping empty voids on the keycap. And sure, the upside of the Model 01 vs. a laptop keyboard is that the keycaps are replaceable, so you can just buy a new set of them every 1-2 years rather than having a junked-up keyboard forever; but still and all, I'd rather have some good solid PBT that I won't need to replace on the regular (especially since those replacements are proprietary enough that they're only available from one company, so you're relying heavily on their continued support/existence).

Still, I agree with you that the layout is better, and obviously having custom keycaps has its plusses to go along with those negatives; and the Kaleidoscope firmware looks great (for a programmer, anyway; not sure if it has a friendly configurator). It's definitely a tempting option.

Offline seva1385

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 23:32:33 »
Isnít there disadvantage to the Advantage 2ís static components vs. the ability to move the two halves of the ErgoDox into different positions and tent them to a greater degree?

There is only one way to know, try it our. For me, the degree of separation and tenting is adequate

  • Those aggressively contoured ones assume that you'll anchor your wrists in fixed spots on the case and then only extend your fingers to reach for keys, even though the angle isn't as efficient (thus only low-force switches in stock Kinesis Advantage).
I don't think this is universally true. Kinesis does fit the keyboard with adhesive palm rests (which are redundant in my view,) seemingly to accommodate the typing style you describe, yet I heard some people let their palms hover above the keyboard while typing.
On the other hand, I tried single-handed Maltron; there is hardly a space to perch one's palm, and thumb cluster in particular needs to be stubbed with the tip of the thumb, rather than its side as Kinesis. Without hovering, it's hard to reach the top row (there are eight.) It also features MX Blacks, with 60g activation force, not exactly low-force.  By the way, Mr. Glass, I think you might like one to play with, but I'm not convinced you will settle on it. I did not, and I really tried to like it.

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Offline seva1385

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #32 on: Mon, 23 April 2018, 23:49:10 »
So a thing I'll say is that every split keyboard is weird in a way, and will require some adaptation. The Kinesis Advantage 2 has a lot of the same weirdness as the Ergodox -- it's columnar

I object. Columnar is normal and natural, staggered is weird; the sole purpose of the later was to accommodate hammers placement in a mechanical typewriter.

there's only one key to the right of 0 and P, not three; and only one to the right of semicolon, not two.

That's because we only have five fingers, not seven; and strongest of them the thumb, which is all but neglected in conventional keyboard. Placing keys in "unusual" places only poses a problem for a week till you learn new layout.
Kinesis Advantage2

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 24 April 2018, 02:08:31 »
  • Those aggressively contoured ones assume that you'll anchor your wrists in fixed spots on the case and then only extend your fingers to reach for keys, even though the angle isn't as efficient (thus only low-force switches in stock Kinesis Advantage).
I don't think this is universally true. Kinesis does fit the keyboard with adhesive palm rests (which are redundant in my view,) seemingly to accommodate the typing style you describe, yet I heard some people let their palms hover above the keyboard while typing.
So did I in the end, but the point still holds: you aren't _hammering_ keys with fingers at an optimal angle;
the keystroke technique is different. You can move the whole arm forward to press an upper-row key (instead of only extending the finger), but it doesn't really work for bottom-row keys (that I ended up not using) and the innermost columns of the key wells (TGB and YHN on QWERTY), where you have to extend your index finger to the side.

On the other hand, I tried single-handed Maltron; there is hardly a space to perch one's palm, and thumb cluster in particular needs to be stubbed with the tip of the thumb, rather than its side as Kinesis. Without hovering, it's hard to reach the top row (there are eight.) It also features MX Blacks, with 60g activation force, not exactly low-force.  By the way, Mr. Glass, I think you might like one to play with, but I'm not convinced you will settle on it. I did not, and I really tried to like it.
Well, single-hand Maltron is different, though, in terms of sculpting and the amount of keys in key well.

Also, Cherry MX Black is a medium-force switch, but Maltron has been using it since the early days, when MX Brown/Red didn't even exist and MX Black was relatively low-force compared other products in the market. They've made hardly any changes in the last ~20 years AFAIK, though.
« Last Edit: Tue, 24 April 2018, 02:10:10 by davkol »

Offline JohanAR

  • Posts: 71
  • Location: Sweden
Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 24 April 2018, 03:45:41 »
the "best"

Buy an Advantage 2, saw it in half and stick a ProMicro in each side. Replace the switches with silent reds. Mod it to add a thumbstick mouse. Fill the case with foam rubber to reduce reverb and seal the cut edges. Raise the front of the keyboard so the wrist rests become almost parallel with the desk surface. Put wedges under the keyboard to achieve 15 degrees tenting or whatever you prefer.

Though a stock Advantage 2 is also pretty good if you fill it with foam rubber (I really didn't like how it sounded before) and reprogram the layout a little. I put a thin box under the front of mine because it felt like it gave me a more relaxed wrist angle

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 24 April 2018, 03:50:17 »
Or build a Katy80/Dactyl/Manuform in the first place.

Offline JohanAR

  • Posts: 71
  • Location: Sweden
Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 24 April 2018, 05:52:31 »
Yep, those look like pretty good boards, would love to try one. Only got photos of girls when trying to find more info about the Katy80 though

Offline davkol

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 24 April 2018, 05:54:16 »

Offline hoggy

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Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #38 on: Fri, 27 April 2018, 06:48:38 »
My suggestion would be to get the Advantage 2 as you could return it within 60 days.  (I don't know if you could do that with the Ergodox EZ).

That gives you a low risk option to look before you leap.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline Omniscently

  • Posts: 1
  • Location: Bothell, WA
Re: Choosing a split keyboard
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 10 May 2018, 18:44:33 »
Feel free to email me  at Tsullivan@kinesis.com if you have questions regarding our split designs/Advantage2

I use the Freestyle Edge at 4 of my workstations. Some people say the Ergonomic of the Advantage2 are better specifically addressing carpal tunnel and I am inclined to agree. But I find great ergonomics in my elbows and shoulders with the Edge; and have experienced less discomfort in my wrists.

I find the versatility of a true split to be better for me. But any ergonomic focused kb will be better for you regardless. I also prefer the programming on the Edge. The UI is nice.