Author Topic: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?  (Read 1109 times)

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Offline Azurewrath

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Hello.

I couldn't find a discussion about this topic that is really generic, so i thought i'd start one. Since i still can't wrap my head around these tiny boards people seem to like.
About myself and my background, i'm in my thirties and work in IT - which means i type a lot. Both normal text and a lot of CLI stuff in ssh/terminal emulators and so on. I also game a lot at home.
In the office i've been using an IBM Model M for about 12 years now and at home i was using a Cherry G80-3000 with MX blues for about 10 years until a few weeks ago. At the moment i use a GMMK (full iso 105 layout) with Kailh Box Navy Switches and some pretty nice PBT keycaps from some AliExpress seller at home. (Yes, i also game with the Navy switches :D)
That's also what started my journey down the "custom keyboard" rabbit hole.. a few weeks in and i already have stuff for a few hundred euros in the mail. Send help. ;D

Maybe i'm just to old and/or used to the full layout, but i really don't get this small form factor hype. In my opinion you just give up valuable keys you can use for stuff and that are really useful sometimes, even if you don't use them all the time. Especially when you're using text editors a lot (nav keys) or have to enter numbers from time to time (numpad). Something without real arrow keys is completely unusable imho.

I've seen people claiming that it's more ergonomic since they can place the mouse further to the left. But .. just why? I mean, yeah, i'm a pretty big guy with broad shoulders, but my mouse usually rests at least 20cm from the right end of my full size board. If i wanted to make use of the space e.g. a TKL frees up i would have to move the mouse 30cm to the left.. you'd have to be a 5 year old to have shoulders that narrow (or a really tiny woman maybe).

So, what is your personal opinion on this topic? Why do you like the specific layout you use? Why don't you like other layouts? And so on. :)
« Last Edit: Wed, 18 March 2020, 21:11:06 by Azurewrath »

Offline Sifo

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 18 March 2020, 21:15:59 »
i like using keyboards that has the keys i actually use and doesn't have the keys i don't ever use
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Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 18 March 2020, 21:32:32 »
To me my 1800ish is the optimum size - the arrows and mouse are closer to my hands resting on the home row and it's only missing a couple of keys compared to a fullsize board.  I'm an average sized guy and my mouse sits just 5cm to the right of my board, adding in the spaced arrow section would more than double that...

Here's the layout for reference:
238072-0

If you're really that wide and have desk space to spare before your mouse you should probably look into a split board, it should be more comfortable.
                               
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Offline typo

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 18 March 2020, 21:59:01 »
At first I was all on the 65% thing. Coming from 104+. Now I see what the OP is saying. I am bigger than NBA size. So it is honestly just uncomfortable. It is crammed. My track ball is still 10 inches away from it. I do not care for it very much. Lost a fortune. I should have tested a cheap one first. My own fault. Sometimes being big dictates different things. My hand is honestly nearly the size of the entire board. I am not overweight.

Offline walie

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 18 March 2020, 22:21:42 »
Lol cmon dude

Offline phinix

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 04:13:01 »
At first I was all on the 65% thing. Coming from 104+. Now I see what the OP is saying. I am bigger than NBA size. So it is honestly just uncomfortable. It is crammed. My track ball is still 10 inches away from it. I do not care for it very much. Lost a fortune. I should have tested a cheap one first. My own fault. Sometimes being big dictates different things. My hand is honestly nearly the size of the entire board. I am not overweight.

I'd like to see a photo of your hands on the keyboard  :D
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Offline envyy24

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 05:13:19 »
Aside from the reason that quite many people find 65% 60% aesthetically pleasing, another reason is that many people into keebs nowadays are not IT professional. I am a researcher in social science, so I type relatively a lot but I dont need the function keys like, at all. In fact I can make do with just 40%. Some of my friends are just regular office worker, they just get into mech keyboard because well you spend 8hrs a day in the office anyways may as well treat 1/3 of your life time nicely by using something that feels good. In this case, mechanical keyboard feels real real real good. And I have friends that are accountant so basically they have one 60% with separate num pad.

Offline hotlikedimes

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 06:23:07 »
I rarely used the numpad, if I was doing data entry (did manual inventory one summer with counts and prices, kill me!) and I'd die if I didn't have a dedicated numpad, but overall it just took up more space than necessary.  Downsized to a TKL 8 or so years ago, when I don't recall much in the way of 65/60% boards being around,  I remember when the pokers came out or started to get popular and that was a real big deal.  Now I'm back into it, and really just didn't need the full TLK, but like the arrow keys, so 65% is perfect for me provided it has a dedicated delete key.  Outside of that, I don't have an issue with multi-key shortcuts for stuff like home / end / page up / page down, or function keys.  The only F key I use is F5 which is rare, but I can also just Control + Shift + R for web work. 

At the end of the day I like the 'minimalist' layout for my needs, and I'm not banging my mouse against the keyboard.

Offline rxc92

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 06:30:51 »
You responded to all your points, so it's funny that you can't seem to grasp it. You pretend to ask a question and then attack people who don't do the same thing as you, is this some kind of fragile masculinity? *hurdur anyone who doesn't do this thing I do is a woman or tiny and abnormal hurdur*

Offline bananasplit_00

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 06:41:43 »
My fave size is 96 key / navless but smoler boards are cute and thats why i like them

Offline yui

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 06:46:06 »
You responded to all your points, so it's funny that you can't seem to grasp it. You pretend to ask a question and then attack people who don't do the same thing as you, is this some kind of fragile masculinity? *hurdur anyone who doesn't do this thing I do is a woman or tiny and abnormal hurdur*

i actually do not see anyone attacking anybody, there is legitimate uses for larger keyboards as there is for smaller ones, some even get 3 keyboards to act as macropads (and not the 101 size, the bigger ones), and some can do with only 40 keys total, no need to go on crusades about that, you would not try to put a nail in a drywall with a jackhammer. as an it guy i have a 122 at my desk and a tkl for gaming and i am going to try next a 65% for when i am neither at home or work(that project has been somewhat slowed down by an overzealous cold lately)
when you need the keys you get them if you do not smaller keyboards are cheaper and more adapted.
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Offline typo

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 07:19:21 »
Was that to me rxc? You know I am self conscious. walie, you joker. I do not play at all but I can palm a basketball. People always said I should play but honestly I just don't dig sports. I guess I am just a sissy. Certainly not in the Navy. They would literally kill me there. I mean just wear me out until I quit. Well, I am sticking with the Korean. Obviously no matter what you do to the Topre RGB the Korean with some mods is a better board. The huge problem is two more lights gone. I do not feel like taking it apart now. SMD is clearly superior. The through hole LED's and switches always quit on me. No matter the board. I would take HS over through hole any day. Even though I soldered my HS.

Feasibly a 9 level backlit LED on level 1 can last 75 years 24/7. Unlikely but I would bank on 25 years easy. Of course there is always a dud though. I have lights around my home from 2003. I should replace them just because the new ones are much better. 25 years 24/7 for a low power LED is no feat now though. Just keep the forward voltage low. Put it on 9 and you get 3-5 years.  I know this is off topic but I was speaking of the reason I am sticking with 65%. I am in management but I insist on coding. So I have a cool thing. It is a tiny mini keyboard with numpad and F keys. That covers everything for me. Since my Trackball is 10"+ away anyways. I do not see how people can put their pointer right next to a 60-65%. Too crammed.

It is in fact coders that had driven the 60-65% market AFAIK. Which is indeed odd with no F keys or num pad. However I am reasonably sure it was all coders behind this. When I walk in the rooms with 300-800 cubicles they are all using mini keyboards. Although that may be due to the very cubicles themselves. Not a lot of room in there. Someone said in another thread it is all open concept. that is higher levels here. The $11 to $18 an hour is all cubicles and comprises the majority of the workforce. Upper levels are a minority.

Anyways, nothing is wrong with my board. In fact a lot of people would dream of it I bet. It just feels small to me. It is all I have at the moment and I do not feel like spending more money. In fact I do not even know a high end backlit 104+ keyboard. I do not wait forever in group buys and pre-orders either. To the OP, if you don't like it, don't use it. No one is forcing you. Get a full size if you so wish. As to why others are using it, who cares what other people do. Do your own thing. I think that pretty much answers that. In 1000 words or less. :)

Offline Azurewrath

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 07:47:43 »
You responded to all your points, so it's funny that you can't seem to grasp it. You pretend to ask a question and then attack people [...]
Uh, what? I wasn't attacking anyone. English isn't my first language, maybe it wasn't completely clear.
I was simply thinking about the ergonomics point some people claimed and couldn't think of any adult where that (maybe!) could be true. Then the only person who came to mind is a really thin, petite and small female friend of mine. I'm pretty sure that the amount of tiny female mech users wouldn't cause a hype.  :))
« Last Edit: Thu, 19 March 2020, 08:10:10 by Azurewrath »

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 08:19:32 »
In my opinion, when working regularly in spreadsheets, the numpad and dedicated arrow keys are essential, along with F2 and F5 keys. And while I never touch the Insert key, Delete is on of the most-used keys on my keyboard.

Fortunately, my desk is large and I have room for a 122-key terminal with mice both left and right. There is one problem in that when I need to write something on a pad of paper with a pencil, that input device must, by necessity, be pretty far away.
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Offline el_murdoque

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 09:11:29 »
The keys I could easily give up are not that many.
The three keys in the top row of the nav cluster I could do without.
The Win keys, the Num Lock key and the right ctrl.
And maybe caps lock.
Those are the ones. The rest is in frequent use and it's good that they are where they are.

I see less ergonomics in layers than in actual keys.

I think that those little keyboards are eye candy, though.

Offline Aerizu

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 09:26:47 »
As a SW engineer who uses an HHKB for work, I find it more comfortable and easier to use. I often use navigation and function keys as well, and I'm more comfortable typing numbers using the number row rather than the numpad cluster.

It wasn't easy to use at first coming from TKL boards, but I found it simpler and a lot of layout design choices made sense to me.

Offline shadowku

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 11:02:53 »
For me, it's mostly ergonomics. Full size keyboards with a mouse is less ergonomic since the keyboard is too wide.

I generally recommend TKL for most people as it's not a significant change for non-keyboard enthusiasts.

I, myself, use a HHKB for coding and a 98-key for gaming.
Aside from that, I think a large part of these keyboards is aesthetics. I've never seen a full-size keyboard that I thought looks amazing. I rarely find TKL all that pretty as well.
65% and smaller have better symmetry so they're generally more elegant.

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Offline subluxe

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 12:30:21 »
i like using keyboards that has the keys i actually use and doesn't have the keys i don't ever use

This is basically my reason as well. Never really used the numpad and only used half the nav keys. It also clears up a lot of my desk space and for me that's very important.

Offline typo

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 20:05:38 »
See. The coders have spoken. That is exactly what HHKB and the MX equivalents were designed for. Don't you think these companies researched their demographic first? Us coders prefer it. I do not even have to code. I insist on doing so. I have no problem whatsoever with the layout or fn. To me it just seems small because I am so large but that is a unique situation. My hands are huge as I mentioned. It is just an illusion with the F keys. That is it. It is the same darn thing and quite frankly faster at coding. If this was around when I got paid by the line I would have made more. Oddly enough my WPM drastically increases on a 65% than a 104+. So I really just forget the size of my hands. It is not like it is uncomfortable or anything. It does not even feel odd. It just looks odd. I am the only person in my office so who cares. I guess I will say I prefer 65%. Especially since my 65% keyboard is by far the nicest board I own. I mean, no one needs a board like this just to type on but I might use my best one. It is a MX(not Cherry) and now overall I prefer it to my HHKB Pro 2 S. It just took some getting used to the different type of switch. The main thing is I hate bottoming out. With Topre you must. These switches I can just "bounce" them. Probably explains the WPM increase. Well, bottom line: count me in for mini keyboard.

Offline naasfu

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 19 March 2020, 23:37:56 »
smaller boards gave more room on my desk for my cat to lay around.
a cute stray cat combination that comes out happily when you look at your face is cute

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Offline typo

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 20 March 2020, 07:52:52 »
naasfu. Amen! We have 17 kitties. This is by no means a small home though. 8 bedrooms 9 full baths 4 half baths. I love cats more than anything in the world. TBH, they do not care what is on the desk. They just lie down on it anyways LOL. BTW, they are all exotics too! We are not hoarders either! We take splendid care of them and have the financial means for regular vet visits for everyone. In fact they all eat Orijen and drink Voss water out of fountains. All 22 litter boxes are cleaned daily by our staff. Yes, I know this sounds nuts as well. Well Eventually one begins to realize I am not the "usual". I swear I love cats more than anything on this earth. I will trade every last one of my luxury goods to keep just one cat.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 20 March 2020, 09:05:02 »
SMD is clearly superior. The through hole LED's and switches always quit on me. No matter the board.

I don't know how you keep having LEDs die on you. At least one of my K70s has been used just about daily since I got it 5 or so years ago, it has through-hole LEDs, and I leave them on on the max setting. My motherboard even powers the LEDs while the computer is off sometimes if I accidentally brush a key (they're Cherry MX red, so a gust of wind could actuate one) and I'm often too lazy to care to worry about it and continue on with my day and/or go to bed, so they might be on 10-24+ hours straight from time to time.

Even though I never use anything particularly small on a regular basis (I did use a TKL for a time) I really would like to get a 65-75%, or so, that I actually like, with dedicated arrow keys, just to save space on my desk for working on laptops, since they stack up high, and may be in pieces all over the entire free space of the desk while they come in and out (I work an IT help desk). I have no use for F keys, and don't see any actual need for a number pad. I did data entry myself for a year straight and never once used the number pad, I prefer just using the keys in the alphanumeric block, but that could also be partly because I have yeti hands.

Other than desk space, having dedicated keys for what I use most, and maybe portability, I don't care at all about keyboard size.

Offline walie

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 20 March 2020, 09:30:52 »
naasfu. Amen! We have 17 kitties. This is by no means a small home though. 8 bedrooms 9 full baths 4 half baths. I love cats more than anything in the world. TBH, they do not care what is on the desk. They just lie down on it anyways LOL. BTW, they are all exotics too! We are not hoarders either! We take splendid care of them and have the financial means for regular vet visits for everyone. In fact they all eat Orijen and drink Voss water out of fountains. All 22 litter boxes are cleaned daily by our staff. Yes, I know this sounds nuts as well. Well Eventually one begins to realize I am not the "usual". I swear I love cats more than anything on this earth. I will trade every last one of my luxury goods to keep just one cat.

I wonder how tiny is your bachelors apartment.

Offline shadowku

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 20 March 2020, 10:40:01 »
See. The coders have spoken. That is exactly what HHKB and the MX equivalents were designed for. Don't you think these companies researched their demographic first? Us coders prefer it. I do not even have to code. I insist on doing so. I have no problem whatsoever with the layout or fn. To me it just seems small because I am so large but that is a unique situation. My hands are huge as I mentioned. It is just an illusion with the F keys. That is it. It is the same darn thing and quite frankly faster at coding. If this was around when I got paid by the line I would have made more. Oddly enough my WPM drastically increases on a 65% than a 104+. So I really just forget the size of my hands. It is not like it is uncomfortable or anything. It does not even feel odd. It just looks odd. I am the only person in my office so who cares. I guess I will say I prefer 65%. Especially since my 65% keyboard is by far the nicest board I own. I mean, no one needs a board like this just to type on but I might use my best one. It is a MX(not Cherry) and now overall I prefer it to my HHKB Pro 2 S. It just took some getting used to the different type of switch. The main thing is I hate bottoming out. With Topre you must. These switches I can just "bounce" them. Probably explains the WPM increase. Well, bottom line: count me in for mini keyboard.

No matter the size of your hands, the size of keys and the spacing between them are always constant.. So I don't think that affects much.
Another thing is that, 95% of software developers I know just use whatever keyboard they happen to have at work and/or at home or even just the laptop keyboard. And 99% of those who do have a "mechanical" keyboard just have a consumer keyboard like a Razer, Logitech, Corsair, CM, etc.

I don't believe there's any actual advantage to having a mechanical keyboard in terms of productivity, but I do type happier when I'm on my HHKB.

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Offline Findecanor

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 20 March 2020, 19:39:34 »
Custom 60% mechanical keyboards got popular partly because the KBC Poker set a standard for interoperable parts.
Larger keyboards don't have such a standard, and custom CNC-milled aluminium parts cost more the bigger the block it was made from is.

Several smaller keyboards came out of Japan, where they tend to like smaller everything.

Also, I have met at least one professional who needed to use a three-row ergo keyboard because of medical issues. He can't stretch his fingers.
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Offline typo

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 20 March 2020, 23:46:48 »
Maledicted, bad luck I guess. Only possible answer really.

Some boards have smaller keycaps but that is not the norm. 65% is just missing keys and different layout. It is all there with fn.

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Why do people (or why do you) prefer smaller boards over full size?
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 22 March 2020, 09:32:29 »
Hello.

I couldn't find a discussion about this topic that is really generic, so i thought i'd start one. Since i still can't wrap my head around these tiny boards people seem to like.
About myself and my background, i'm in my thirties and work in IT - which means i type a lot. Both normal text and a lot of CLI stuff in ssh/terminal emulators and so on. I also game a lot at home.
In the office i've been using an IBM Model M for about 12 years now and at home i was using a Cherry G80-3000 with MX blues for about 10 years until a few weeks ago. At the moment i use a GMMK (full iso 105 layout) with Kailh Box Navy Switches and some pretty nice PBT keycaps from some AliExpress seller at home. (Yes, i also game with the Navy switches :D)
That's also what started my journey down the "custom keyboard" rabbit hole.. a few weeks in and i already have stuff for a few hundred euros in the mail. Send help. ;D

Maybe i'm just to old and/or used to the full layout, but i really don't get this small form factor hype. In my opinion you just give up valuable keys you can use for stuff and that are really useful sometimes, even if you don't use them all the time. Especially when you're using text editors a lot (nav keys) or have to enter numbers from time to time (numpad). Something without real arrow keys is completely unusable imho.

I've seen people claiming that it's more ergonomic since they can place the mouse further to the left. But .. just why? I mean, yeah, i'm a pretty big guy with broad shoulders, but my mouse usually rests at least 20cm from the right end of my full size board. If i wanted to make use of the space e.g. a TKL frees up i would have to move the mouse 30cm to the left.. you'd have to be a 5 year old to have shoulders that narrow (or a really tiny woman maybe).

So, what is your personal opinion on this topic? Why do you like the specific layout you use? Why don't you like other layouts? And so on. :)

The numpad is unnecessary.

65% is perfect