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Alternatives for long time Maltron user?

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granola bar enthusiast:
i got my kinesis advantage 360 pro today and am typing on it right now, if you like keywells and bendy curve curve with some minor tenting this has that but other then that kind of overpriced for a plastic dactyl manuform with tenting

zmk is fine, you can program it with zmk or use kinesis's visible zmk programer that does the annoying stuff for you, with the kinesis software its kind of like white mode qmk. you have to flash everytime you aer done. idk does what you want

Since you mentioned Glove80, this could be of interest to you


--- Quote from: Findecanor on Wed, 26 October 2022, 06:59:23 ---Welcome to Geekhack!

- Advantage2 and the wired Advantage360 do support remapping and macros on the keyboard itself. The wireless with ZMK is programmable in the way that you could modify its source code.

- The outer and "north" keys in the thumb clusters on the ErgoDOXen can be hard to reach because the cluster is not angled.
- The ErgoDox EZ is a commercialised variant of the original ErgoDOX, which is Open source. The original but not the EZ supports the option of splitting the 2u keys to get 8-key clusters, but as I wrote above, only four of them would be much usable. For the DIY:er, components have been available from many vendors, but many have gone away.

You could also check out the Dygma Defy, which has 8-key low-profile thumb clusters. It is only on pre-order with shipping expected in January, so there are no reviews yet.

There is also a large DIY scene... with people having designed their own keyboards and released as Open Hardware but most of the have had much fewer keys than an ErgoDox.
I think the most active forum for that is on Reddit:

--- End quote ---

Thanks everyone for the additional feedback. The Glove80 does indeed look interesting but I ended up getting a Keyboardio Model 100. The Glove80 wasn't available to order and I've had reliability issues with bluetooth before.

1. totally solves my pinkie issues, with the shift key mapped to the thumb cluster

2. the reduced number of thumb keys versus the Maltron isn't a huge issue once I changed ctrl and shift to only act as modifiers on hold.

3. the thumb keys really do seem to follow a natural arc, at least for me

4. programmability via the chrysalis UI is pretty easy.

5. programmability and layers means I can make some often used punctuation characters and sequences much more comfortable.

6. linear keys are very smooth, albeit they are rather light so I find it a bit hard to avoid bottoming out. Still, it doesn't so far seem to give me joint pain like a non-mechanical keyboard would so it might be a non-issue.

7. individual led lit keys is very handy for layers, especially when tuning the layout and accessing less often used keys.

1. I haven't found the octostands very useful. Due to the way they work, where you can only rotate them and doing so adjusts both the tenting and tilt simultaneously, there's really only one 'neutral' tenting position which I don't find comfortable. For now, I've swapped to a couple of small desktop speakers stand wedges instead but it's a stop gap measure because they're too narrow to be completely stable and I'm not sure if the angle is quite right, either. I'm having a hard time finding a comfortable position for my forearms. In contrast, I have zero forearm issues on a Maltron. This could also be due to the way the palm rests on the Maltron are angled.

2. Despite the thumb clusters being easy to reach in theory, I find touch typing with the thumb clusters to be hard and tend to have a lot of typos with them. I think there are multiple factors:
   - The bump on the home keys are very low on the key, below where my thumbs would naturally sit so it's odd and slow to try and find them. At some point I might try sticking something on them.
   - Dual use keys are potentially a bit unreliable, resulting in the opposite of the function I intended. However, this is potentially a PEBCAK issue because I'm not exactly sure when it occurs.
   - Every thumb key is almost too easy to reach: there is maybe too little tactile difference in how they feel versus the keys on the Maltron. However, this could just be because I've used the Maltron for so long and it's so ingrained in muscle memory now.

3. if your desktop usage means it's hard to leave the keyboard in the same position everyday, the split nature is a bit fiddly because the position and orientation will change frequently. This is potentially a contributor to my forearm discomfort as possibly I'm using a poorer positioning on some days. Compounding this is I'm not sure exactly which position is the best.

4. it's the first layer based keyboard I've used and I underestimated how hard it is to get used to switching layers, learning to sequence instead of chord and to work out the best key mapping. I'm not yet convinced it's 100% better than a full sized keyboard for me. It seems like there's tradeoffs both ways. I do appreciate why some would prefer it, though, since overall travel distance is decreased in exchange for longer sequences of key presses and given sequencing works very naturally when typing text, it probably should work well for everything else too, given sufficient practice. Also, layers do mean I can map some punctuation characters to better positions and reduce pinkie usage.

5. I think I've experienced the keyboard getting into a weird state and I had to unplug it but again I'm not 100% sure because it's not reliably reproduceable.

Overall, I'm at a productive speed now and the engineering quality to my naive eye seems pretty high.  However, the forearm discomfort is still unresolved so I'm tending to alternate with the Maltron. I'll see how it goes longer term.

Pros of ErgoDox EZ:

Programmable with powerful features like layers and tap/hold distinction.
Ability to choose your own switch type and replace switches easily.
Good community driven lineage and open source.
Supports flexible height, tenting and tilting.
Can distinguish toggled layers with shine model.
Cons of ErgoDox EZ:

Not contoured, which might not be as ergonomic as the Maltron.
Arbitrary shoulder separation might not be ideal and could result in the mouse being further away.
Wrist rests might not be ideal with tenting and tilting.
Only 6 keys per thumb cluster vs 8 on Maltron.
Pros of Kinesis Advantage 360:

Contoured and programmable.
Adjustable tenting and arbitrary shoulder separation.
Long history in the market.
Cons of Kinesis Advantage 360:

Limited switch and keycap options with the signature series.
Limited to wired connections and ZMK programming engine only available with Bluetooth model.
Key switches are not easily replaceable.


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