Author Topic: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?  (Read 5748 times)

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Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #50 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 19:22:21 »
There's definitely a generational difference.

Offline funkmon

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #51 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 19:57:03 »
The Boomers here grew up using full size keyboards, and thus prefer them.

The Zoomers here did not grow up using full size keyboards and thus do not prefer them.

Interesting hypothesis. I wonder if millenials are split down the middle.

Offline atarione

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #52 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 20:40:17 »
umm.. I like 80% keyboards or full sized because my hands are too big to deal with little tiny 60% boards.... I can't really use those small keyboards at all..

I am Gen X for the ageist theorists out there.

Offline jamster

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #53 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 21:02:36 »
When I made the original post, I hadn't really intended to kick of a discussion about fullsize vs everything else, thought it seems to be going that way.  Personally, I think that fullsize and TKL are practically the same for most people when it comes to usability- I have noticed that the majority of fullsize keyboard users didn't even use the numpad (though I sorely missed it when moving to TKL).

I was really more interested in whether portability is a major factor behind keyboards these days. The factors were that for sub-TKL, you've got to learn new key locations or rely much more on function layers. And nowadays there seems to be a big deal with Bluetooth connectivity, and I just noticed another group buy for keyboard cases* kicking off yesterday.

So... anyone here actually carry their keyboard around on a regular basis and use it outside the office/home? So far there's a resounding lack of support for portability, but lots of comments about ergonomics or aesthetics.


* The small number of times I've carried a keyboard around with me, I've just wrapped it in a t-shirt. My TKLs take up enough room in my bag, I don't want a padded case making it even bigger. And the bonus of using a t-shirt is that I now have an extra shirt in case I need to get changed :)
« Last Edit: Sun, 31 May 2020, 21:12:27 by jamster »

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #54 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 21:05:12 »
There's definitely a generational difference.

I don't think so at all...In fact, older gens didn't actually have FULL size keyboards early early on.  Of course they did after awhile and practically everything was full size after that...

It really falls into more of how you use it. 

I think most people that get into keyboards have a better understanding of what their needs are when it comes to keyboards and what they're willing to tradeoff when it comes to functionality.  Most people that have actually used TKL will prefer it over full size simply because the extra space for your mouse feels tremendous but will they be willing to trade that for no numberpad?  Some will, some won't. 

Once you've gone TKL you're looking at what else you can do to make things more efficient...but beyond that and it becomes more and more niche. 

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #55 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 22:03:31 »
Fair enough. But there seems to be higher support for 65% boards in Discord, which is a younger cohort. Full-size is uncommon there.

I agree with jamster that portability has not come up in this thread as the main factor behind 65% adoption. But when I hear about people taking their keyboards around, they tend to be 65% or smaller. Relatively more carrying cases being made for <65%. It's considered awkward to bring something as large as a TKL to a cafe or library.

Most of these 65% boards are photographed in home settings, but a good number are used for commuting.


Offline funkmon

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #56 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 22:16:25 »
When I made the original post, I hadn't really intended to kick of a discussion about fullsize vs everything else, thought it seems to be going that way.  Personally, I think that fullsize and TKL are practically the same for most people when it comes to usability- I have noticed that the majority of fullsize keyboard users didn't even use the numpad (though I sorely missed it when moving to TKL).

I was really more interested in whether portability is a major factor behind keyboards these days. The factors were that for sub-TKL, you've got to learn new key locations or rely much more on function layers. And nowadays there seems to be a big deal with Bluetooth connectivity, and I just noticed another group buy for keyboard cases* kicking off yesterday.

So... anyone here actually carry their keyboard around on a regular basis and use it outside the office/home? So far there's a resounding lack of support for portability, but lots of comments about ergonomics or aesthetics.


* The small number of times I've carried a keyboard around with me, I've just wrapped it in a t-shirt. My TKLs take up enough room in my bag, I don't want a padded case making it even bigger. And the bonus of using a t-shirt is that I now have an extra shirt in case I need to get changed :)

The only time I do it is when I go to my mom's house for an extended period of time. Then I bring the keyboard and mouse, because otherwise I'm using their POS stuff.

I will also say that I've been shopping for a 60% board with Alps switches that isn't the Matias, though I think it's a fine keyboard, for that express purpose. Matias is supposedly developing a 65% that's wireless but they've been doing it for 5 years and I don't trust them. I might pick up Unicomp's SSK when it's released, since it seems to be a lot closer to being done than the Matias. Or, I've been considering just dropping one of my Models M off there for my usage in the basement.

I think that by and large, that's what people do. I have a Dell AT101W with black Alps for "quiet" typing at the office, like a billion keyboards at home, and I'll just drop off some random board off with my mom that I like to type on and maybe an old mouse.

My dad went all wireless a few years ago, but my mom doesn't take care of things like he did. No batteries in the house often, and she uses a laptop. My dad's computer is aging, because he's dead obviously. An AMD A9 dual core APU was great at the time, but it sucks now. I'm to the point where I bring my Netbook over there. It's a Lenovo 11 inch yoga something or other. Here's what portability looks like.



It's actually not that bad. Cheap Razer Abyssus mouse and the terminal board just shove right into the USB ports. So I figure I might just leave those two at my parents' house.

Offline typo

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #57 on: Sun, 31 May 2020, 22:34:57 »
walie, I appreciate that you did not take the liberty to insult me.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #58 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 00:28:35 »
Fair enough. But there seems to be higher support for 65% boards in Discord, which is a younger cohort. Full-size is uncommon there.

Full size is pretty uncommon here...there are some people that like it..but for example, how many group buys and custom keyboards are we seeing in full size?  Not a lot as far as I can tell..

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #59 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 10:42:51 »
This seems to be a huge factor, but I wonder if it's true or if it's the feeling. I think it's the feeling, which definitely must be taken into account.

Earlier today I was trying to come up with things to do with all the keys on my 122 key terminal keyboard. I mapped Left F9 to Windows, Left F10 to Context Menu, and Left F8 to Ctrl+Shift+Esc, and that's all I really came up with off the top of my head. Other things could have been done, but the thing is that I already know how to do most of those things with two character keyboard shortcuts, meaning I don't really see the need to map a new key to something occasional. At that point, I almost saw the 40%ers point of view.

On the other hand, I type 90 WPM, which is fine, using a nonstandard typing form and I'm not glued to the homerow. Hence, I have few issues reaching keys. I'm always reaching keys. No problem. I'd rather have more keys so I can do more stuff. I use the F keys. That's how I do spell check. I control my browser with F keys.

Just because we can use the mouse doesn't mean we have to, or indeed that it's better for most usage. Surely, we here on geekhack, when we're done writing a reply, just hit tab then enter, right?

I was baffled about the whole mouse thing too. Clearly anybody who thinks a mouse is a good stand-in for a lot of the keyboard's navigational tricks must not do a lot of data entry.

So... anyone here actually carry their keyboard around on a regular basis and use it outside the office/home? So far there's a resounding lack of support for portability, but lots of comments about ergonomics or aesthetics.

I have taken multiple full-size Alps, capacitive buckling spring keyboards (including an 8 pound F77), and others back and forth between work, and at multiple locations at work multiple times. I imagine I would take one around to public places, if I had a 60-75% that was relatively portable and didn't suck, and actually went to public places with a laptop.

Fair enough. But there seems to be higher support for 65% boards in Discord, which is a younger cohort. Full-size is uncommon there.

Full size is pretty uncommon here...there are some people that like it..but for example, how many group buys and custom keyboards are we seeing in full size?  Not a lot as far as I can tell..

Yup. How much of that is because there are no alternatives though either? Once something is a trend, it has its own gravity. If there are no good alternatives, then that's what you're going to get if you want any options, regardless of whether or not it was your first choice.
« Last Edit: Mon, 01 June 2020, 12:59:48 by Maledicted »

Offline jamster

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #60 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 10:55:43 »
Yup. how much of that is because there are no alternatives though either? Once something is a trend, it has its own gravity. If there are no good alternatives, then that's what you're going to get if you want any options, regardless of whether or not it was your first choice.

If there was a group buy for a reasonably-priced full(ish) sized board with the bloody numpad on the left I'd be all over it. I was away from the forum when the Southpaw GB started (which I guess turned out to be okay as it went so far over schedule).

Offline ideus

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #61 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 11:59:07 »

By definition, mechanical boards are old technology. But we use new computing power with mechanical boards. Thus, these should adapt to share space and resources with brand new tech.



Offline DALExSNAIL

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #62 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 12:59:13 »
TKL is my go to, I use it almost purely for aesthetics though. 60% would be my go to for functionality, as most of the keys I need are macro'd to keep me on the homerow.

I was baffled about the whole mouse thing too. Clearly anybody who thinks a mouse is a good stand-in for a lot of the keyboard's navigational tricks must not do a lot of data entry.

I'd say this is true, the norm these days seems to be to learn with the mouse, and I think you have to have a specific need to delve into them (or perhaps friends who guide you). I only really moved to using keyboard shortcuts in the past few years, because I pushed myself to learn VIM. Once I was in the swing of that it sort of pushed me more towards more and more keyboard shortcuts.

Although, in my case vim specifically pushed me towards using smaller keyboards as well. It got me in the habit of wanting to stay on my home row for everything haha.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #63 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 13:32:59 »
Yup. How much of that is because there are no alternatives though either? Once something is a trend, it has its own gravity. If there are no good alternatives, then that's what you're going to get if you want any options, regardless of whether or not it was your first choice.

That might contribute but it isn't the reason.  If there was enough demand someone would've made it.  It isn't like this hasn't been tried...simply do an interest check, if there is enough demand someone will do it.  Be vocal about it, polls, etc, etc...

A few years ago there were a number of complaints from a few people about GMK scoops/bars...which was basically there are a number of people who actually prefer bars and adding 2 keys to an overall set wasn't a big ask compared to the number of users that wanted it...vs. all of this other support for 1800, 75%, etc, etc, that actually applied to fewer people...polls started confirming that was at least the general feeling.  Now you don't see too many GMK sets that don't include FJ barred as part of the core set. 

Given the number of polls on this, I don't think Full is in that much demand...I mean, there is definitely enough for some GBs..but enough to be a common GB?  Not so sure.  I think the people that actually need a numberpad is relatively small and in the mech community, a good number would've tried 1800 as a good in between or a dedicated numberpad.  Even if my role was primarily to crunch numbers I'd seriously consider 1800 or dedicated first...feels excessive but the whole hobby is a bit excessive..

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #64 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 13:40:27 »

By definition, mechanical boards are old technology. But we use new computing power with mechanical boards. Thus, these should adapt to share space and resources with brand new tech.

Devil's advocate:

You've got a lot of free space on that keyboard tray. Why not fill it with a bigger keyboard? I still use a full-size K70 with my gaming rig, mostly because it has MX reds in it, and it is what I have always had for that purpose. I'm not using my keyboard tray for anything else, and can't think of anything else I would use it for if I did stick a tiny board there instead. If anything, I would try a TKL or something to see what everybody is saying about moving your hands closer together for gaming. I can't imagine they need to get any closer than that, if I would notice any ergonomic benefit to begin with.

At work, I'm using a 75% Matias board, since this desk predates personal computers and has no keyboard tray. The smaller the better in my case since I have laptop parts strewn about everywhere.

There are very real pros and cons for and against any relatively popular form factor, depending on the application. I don't see making keyboards smaller as an innovation/advancement/progression of any kind, just a popular trend in an otherwise previously stale market. It gives people options. I think those 75% TG3 "cop keyboards" they mount in squad cars are a good example. You need X to fit Y, for Z? Alright, here you go.

If you were to make an argument for a combination of 60-75% board with a separate numberpad for configurability/flexibility, etc, you would have more of a point, but even then, that's not something everybody wants or needs either. I know some parallels that I actually loathe are the obsession with constantly making phones and laptops thinner at the expense of functionality, and making phone screens as large as possible while still just barely, hopefully ... maybe fitting in a pocket.

TKL is my go to, I use it almost purely for aesthetics though. 60% would be my go to for functionality, as most of the keys I need are macro'd to keep me on the homerow.

I was baffled about the whole mouse thing too. Clearly anybody who thinks a mouse is a good stand-in for a lot of the keyboard's navigational tricks must not do a lot of data entry.

I'd say this is true, the norm these days seems to be to learn with the mouse, and I think you have to have a specific need to delve into them (or perhaps friends who guide you). I only really moved to using keyboard shortcuts in the past few years, because I pushed myself to learn VIM. Once I was in the swing of that it sort of pushed me more towards more and more keyboard shortcuts.

Although, in my case vim specifically pushed me towards using smaller keyboards as well. It got me in the habit of wanting to stay on my home row for everything haha.

I used to do a lot of data entry for the website of a local adhesives company myself. When you're copying and pasting some of the same data from/into fields, tables, etc, thousands of times in a given day, and doing the same thing again tomorrow, you start wondering how you can be more efficient at it. Some of the hotkeys associated with the arrow keys in a spreadsheet are really helpful too for quick tweaks and jumping around from start to finish of the non-empty cells that would take much longer with a mouse.

I imagine that all needs, of any kind, could be fulfilled with any keyboard of any size with the right macros, layering, etc. I don't want to stray into the realm of proprietary layout though myself, both because of all of the cool old boards I have, and the hundreds of laptop keyboards I may have to use in a given month.

Yup. How much of that is because there are no alternatives though either? Once something is a trend, it has its own gravity. If there are no good alternatives, then that's what you're going to get if you want any options, regardless of whether or not it was your first choice.

That might contribute but it isn't the reason.  If there was enough demand someone would've made it.  It isn't like this hasn't been tried...simply do an interest check, if there is enough demand someone will do it.  Be vocal about it, polls, etc, etc...

A few years ago there were a number of complaints from a few people about GMK scoops/bars...which was basically there are a number of people who actually prefer bars and adding 2 keys to an overall set wasn't a big ask compared to the number of users that wanted it...vs. all of this other support for 1800, 75%, etc, etc, that actually applied to fewer people...polls started confirming that was at least the general feeling.  Now you don't see too many GMK sets that don't include FJ barred as part of the core set. 

Given the number of polls on this, I don't think Full is in that much demand...I mean, there is definitely enough for some GBs..but enough to be a common GB?  Not so sure.  I think the people that actually need a numberpad is relatively small and in the mech community, a good number would've tried 1800 as a good in between or a dedicated numberpad.  Even if my role was primarily to crunch numbers I'd seriously consider 1800 or dedicated first...feels excessive but the whole hobby is a bit excessive..

Sure, I'm just curious how much of it comes down to that though. Not so much about full-sized boards. Those will always be the least popular for people who aren't crunching numbers all day, but I would say that demand for 65%-75% boards is much higher than the options available would suggest, and that 60% is just good enough, so it will have to do.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #65 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 14:18:01 »
If anything, I would try a TKL or something to see what everybody is saying about moving your hands closer together for gaming. I can't imagine they need to get any closer than that, if I would notice any ergonomic benefit to begin with.
I agree, the difference in ergonomics once you've gone to TKL is minimal....you won't be using that extra space going to 60% provides. 

That said...you can get pretty efficient with 60% if you lay it out correctly..For me, using left thumb for FN + IJKL for arrow keys is really fast if you get used to it...the problem is it doesn't translate to other devices very well and that's where this is a bit of a pain... I had the same problem w/ the HHKB where switching back and forth between the normal backspace and the \ location for HHKB backspace was really bothersome (although CTRL seemed incredibly natural) and I almost sold my board as a result.  Eventually your brain lets you switch back and forth...

If you're constantly requiring the FN layer, 60% can be a pain...F keys, pg up/down, etc, etc..but if you're not using those keys a lot, it is quite nice having that bit of extra space. 

I was baffled about the whole mouse thing too. Clearly anybody who thinks a mouse is a good stand-in for a lot of the keyboard's navigational tricks must not do a lot of data entry.

Proper shortcuts are definitely better..but hopefully the reason isn't because the person has a lot of data entry. 

Sure, I'm just curious how much of it comes down to that though. Not so much about full-sized boards. Those will always be the least popular for people who aren't crunching numbers all day, but I would say that demand for 65%-75% boards is much higher than the options available would suggest, and that 60% is just good enough, so it will have to do.

You're probably right on that..simply because TKL can be had from all over the place..which is why the demand for them is not as high relative to its usage when it comes to customs..

« Last Edit: Tue, 02 June 2020, 08:56:03 by Polymer »

Offline Sup

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #66 on: Mon, 01 June 2020, 16:28:50 »
The Boomers here grew up using full size keyboards, and thus prefer them.

The Zoomers here did not grow up using full size keyboards and thus do not prefer them.

OBJECTION I grew up with full size boards but dislike them since i switched to 60% years ago.
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Offline Tinman39

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #67 on: Tue, 02 June 2020, 10:03:22 »
For me, it all depends on what I am doing. I have a TKL for a music program that I use that uses Function keys to navitgate. I have a couple 60% boards for gaming because I really don't need anything more. Heck, for one I could probably get away with a 40% if I wanted to. That being said, for work where I am constantly typing in numbers, I have to have a full size. I could probably use something like a 65% (need those delete, home and end keys) and a separate number pad, but at that point I might as well get a full size. I cant wait until I head back into work with a mechanical board and confuse everyone.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #68 on: Tue, 02 June 2020, 11:29:42 »
If anything, I would try a TKL or something to see what everybody is saying about moving your hands closer together for gaming. I can't imagine they need to get any closer than that, if I would notice any ergonomic benefit to begin with.
I agree, the difference in ergonomics once you've gone to TKL is minimal....you won't be using that extra space going to 60% provides. 

That said...you can get pretty efficient with 60% if you lay it out correctly..For me, using left thumb for FN + IJKL for arrow keys is really fast if you get used to it...the problem is it doesn't translate to other devices very well and that's where this is a bit of a pain... I had the same problem w/ the HHKB where switching back and forth between the normal backspace and the \ location for HHKB backspace was really bothersome (although CTRL seemed incredibly natural) and I almost sold my board as a result.  Eventually your brain lets you switch back and forth...

I think I would have no problem with 60%, with the right configuration, and certainly haven't had any the few times that I have used my 60% board (It has crappy Ajazz/Zorro switches in it).

HHKB I don't even want to touch, personally. It reminds me of some of those weird late 70s and early 80s terminal boards. I don't personally understand the the preference for control up where caps lock is. Caps lock is a key that I never use, and I have never had any problem pressing ctrl where it is normally, although my fingers are very long so contorting them in strange ways may be easier for me than others. This positioning of ctrl is actually the single most jarring thing to me about using an AT layout keyboard, although I have adapted reasonably well to that.


For me, it all depends on what I am doing. I have a TKL for a music program that I use that uses Function keys to navitgate. I have a couple 60% boards for gaming because I really don't need anything more. Heck, for one I could probably get away with a 40% if I wanted to. That being said, for work where I am constantly typing in numbers, I have to have a full size. I could probably use something like a 65% (need those delete, home and end keys) and a separate number pad, but at that point I might as well get a full size. I cant wait until I head back into work with a mechanical board and confuse everyone.

You don't have a mechanical keyboard at work yet? I have ... 4 currently spread across two buildings, after having brought a few home recently. All different sizes and switches to boot, now that I think of it. lol. I'm using a Matias Mini Tactile Pro, which is basically 75%. I have a full-sized K70 with Cherry blues that was my workhorse for years, now sitting abandoned on a desk, I have a TKL K65 I put box navies into that I used for a month or two, and the other building has an IBM Model F AT at the desk. I evacuated the F77 recently, which is TKL ... ish, since they usually shut off the climate control during the summer and things start to rust. I should probably do the same with the F AT.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #69 on: Tue, 02 June 2020, 14:19:16 »
HHKB I don't even want to touch, personally. It reminds me of some of those weird late 70s and early 80s terminal boards. I don't personally understand the the preference for control up where caps lock is. Caps lock is a key that I never use, and I have never had any problem pressing ctrl where it is normally, although my fingers are very long so contorting them in strange ways may be easier for me than others. This positioning of ctrl is actually the single most jarring thing to me about using an AT layout keyboard, although I have adapted reasonably well to that.

Using CTRL where capslock is, is so much easier...Keyboard that allow you to swap that, I do that immediately.  The \\\ as a backspace is also really convenient I quite like it when it is there but it takes a bit of time to get used to going back and forth...for others it is the arrow keys which also take a bit of time.   For sure the layout isn't for everyone and personally I'd reconfigure a good portion of if it were up to me but I enjoy the board so much I'm ok with that. 
I don't think people have a problem w/ the original CTRL position either but it just feels more logical and easier on the hands putting something useful where capslock is, because like you said, you never use it so why give it prime position on the keyboard?  Outside of CTRL the only other key you might consider putting there is backspace...

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #70 on: Tue, 02 June 2020, 15:10:06 »
HHKB I don't even want to touch, personally. It reminds me of some of those weird late 70s and early 80s terminal boards. I don't personally understand the the preference for control up where caps lock is. Caps lock is a key that I never use, and I have never had any problem pressing ctrl where it is normally, although my fingers are very long so contorting them in strange ways may be easier for me than others. This positioning of ctrl is actually the single most jarring thing to me about using an AT layout keyboard, although I have adapted reasonably well to that.

Using CTRL where capslock is, is so much easier...Keyboard that allow you to swap that, I do that immediately.  The \\\ as a backspace is also really convenient I quite like it when it is there but it takes a bit of time to get used to going back and forth...for others it is the arrow keys which also take a bit of time.   For sure the layout isn't for everyone and personally I'd reconfigure a good portion of if it were up to me but I enjoy the board so much I'm ok with that. 
I don't think people have a problem w/ the original CTRL position either but it just feels more logical and easier on the hands putting something useful where capslock is, because like you said, you never use it so why give it prime position on the keyboard?  Outside of CTRL the only other key you might consider putting there is backspace...

I want my ctrl right where it is. I have spent way too many years using it heavily the way it is. I have been able to somewhat adjust to it being where caps lock normally is though. I don't know that I'll ever like it, and my muscle memory keeps reverting, but I can make it work. ctrl + alt + delete becomes pretty disorienting too though. Backspace being as high as it is makes no difference to me, probably another long finger thing, just like how I prefer just using the alphanumeric block for typing numbers to a number pad. The arrow keys I absolutely need. I'm not doing proprietary macros to make up for having to press modifier keys just to access them when I already use them in 2-3 key hotkeys as it is. I also want my Windows key where the alt/option key is on the HHKB, and for command to be alt.

I wouldn't mind removing caps lock entirely (though it is a default mapping in some games for sneak,etc). You're right though, it isn't easy to say what should replace it. Maybe escape, in my case, since I actually use that key a lot. Even delete would be nice there, for an easy one-handed ctrl + alt + delete. On my F77, ctrl, delete, printscreen, and the arrow keys are literally all I salvaged from outside of the alphanumeric block. Everything else is reserved for media control keys, or omitted, since I have two blank keys I haven't even mapped.
« Last Edit: Tue, 02 June 2020, 15:38:20 by Maledicted »

Offline jamster

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #71 on: Tue, 02 June 2020, 22:52:44 »
I don't personally understand the the preference for control up where caps lock is. Caps lock is a key that I never use, and I have never had any problem pressing ctrl where it is normally, although my fingers are very long so contorting them in strange ways may be easier for me than others. This positioning of ctrl is actually the single most jarring thing to me about using an AT layout keyboard, although I have adapted reasonably well to that.

Switching Control and CapsLock is the single biggest comfort factor for me. Moreso than having the mouse closer to my centreline (which is also pretty noticeable). All of my boards have it enabled. I have pretty average sized hands, and the only way I could stop my wrist from twinging with control in the normal place is by rotating my entire left shoulder back to shift my entire arm lower on the keyboard for control key combinations.

I've mentioned this key swap to others over the years. A couple of people have tried it and had an 'aha' moment, and adopted it. Most others seem fine with the usual place though.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #72 on: Wed, 03 June 2020, 14:29:52 »
I don't personally understand the the preference for control up where caps lock is. Caps lock is a key that I never use, and I have never had any problem pressing ctrl where it is normally, although my fingers are very long so contorting them in strange ways may be easier for me than others. This positioning of ctrl is actually the single most jarring thing to me about using an AT layout keyboard, although I have adapted reasonably well to that.

Switching Control and CapsLock is the single biggest comfort factor for me. Moreso than having the mouse closer to my centreline (which is also pretty noticeable). All of my boards have it enabled. I have pretty average sized hands, and the only way I could stop my wrist from twinging with control in the normal place is by rotating my entire left shoulder back to shift my entire arm lower on the keyboard for control key combinations.

I've mentioned this key swap to others over the years. A couple of people have tried it and had an 'aha' moment, and adopted it. Most others seem fine with the usual place though.

The way you describe that makes it sound absolutely torturous. It makes me wonder if the modern qwerty keyboard, as it came to be, was practically designed for a relatively specific size of hands/length of fingers.

Offline mode

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #73 on: Thu, 04 June 2020, 00:53:57 »
swapping ctrl and cmd for ergo reasons doesn’t hold up when you’re used to cmd on macs. having your main mod next to the space bar and on both sides is significantly more comfortable.

if I used windows I’d probably run ctrl-alt-ctrl as a winkeyless mapping.

Offline Vargr

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #74 on: Thu, 04 June 2020, 11:19:03 »
I just prefer the way they look and they take up less space on my desk.

Plus, as a writer, my first 40% board forced me to create layers with keys like quotes on the second layer in home row. Once I got used to it I wished I had done it a long time ago. Without a small board I never would have tried layers and alternate mappings.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #75 on: Thu, 04 June 2020, 12:27:54 »
swapping ctrl and cmd for ergo reasons doesn’t hold up when you’re used to cmd on macs. having your main mod next to the space bar and on both sides is significantly more comfortable.

if I used windows I’d probably run ctrl-alt-ctrl as a winkeyless mapping.

The discussion is on CTRL and Capslock but either way..

Doesn't hold up for you.  For others it does.  That's why it is good to have the option.  If someone finds a key placement easier for them, it doesn't really matter what other think. 

But specifically around CTRL/Caps, it is a pretty popular switch enough to make it relatively popular within this niche market.  A lot of keyboards support the swap, even include keycaps for it.  Keycap sets often have this support.  So in the least, a good portion of people who have tried it actually like it. 

For others that want it as is...there is still that option and if that works better for you, that's great. 

Offline Learis

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #76 on: Thu, 04 June 2020, 23:33:41 »
I'll say that as a programmer, a 60% keyboard is actually better for me, but this is very subjective. I never use the bottom right shift or the buttons below it. I always use the bottom left for that stuff. Therefore I remapped them to be arrow buttons. So now the arrow buttons are actually closer to me than they normally would be in a regular keyboard. Then I remap function plus those arrow keys to be pg up, pg down, home, and end. Now I have excellent navigation through my code that is much more accessible than where it would normally be on a bigger keyboard! In other words, 60% rocks! No tradeoffs, only benefits for me.

I am absolutely itching though to try out 40%. The main idea is just literally never having to lift your hands to press a button while still having the most fluid experience with typing. Honestly a 60% does that nearly perfectly and I doubt it's worth the trouble of experimenting with a 40%. But it's just fun :P

Offline ideus

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #77 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 08:53:42 »
I'll say that as a programmer, a 60% keyboard is actually better for me, but this is very subjective. I never use the bottom right shift or the buttons below it. I always use the bottom left for that stuff. Therefore I remapped them to be arrow buttons. So now the arrow buttons are actually closer to me than they normally would be in a regular keyboard. Then I remap function plus those arrow keys to be pg up, pg down, home, and end. Now I have excellent navigation through my code that is much more accessible than where it would normally be on a bigger keyboard! In other words, 60% rocks! No tradeoffs, only benefits for me.

I am absolutely itching though to try out 40%. The main idea is just literally never having to lift your hands to press a button while still having the most fluid experience with typing. Honestly a 60% does that nearly perfectly and I doubt it's worth the trouble of experimenting with a 40%. But it's just fun :p




I have a very similar experience. I really do not need all those keys out of the sixty area, when having the navigational and function keys in a layer. I ventured under sixty percent and I was dissapointed by the complexity of frequent keys that need to be layered. In the other hand, there is no significant space saving while using anything under sixty. But, as you pointed is fun and some under sixty boards are just so cute. As a piece of art, they may worth for some. Functionality aside.

Offline frydaja

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #78 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 09:07:55 »
Using my mouse is way more comfortable. Also less hand movements, as everything is really close.  The only keys I kinda miss are arrows. Surprisingly I didn't miss the numpad much, even though I do use the calculator often.

Having other navigation keys doesn't bother me much, as I rarely use them.
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Offline mobileb

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #79 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 13:39:35 »
I do find the smaller formats help with coding efficiency. I do also happen to use Vim as well, but depending on what I'm working on, I don't always have Vim at my disposal. At least on the Mac, depending on the SW, there are also other hotkeys one can use to move around quickly as well.

I actually do not run across a lot of other devs which use the 60/65% or smaller. Most tend to use what their company issues, which tend to be the Apple keyboard which I despise.

I'm the guy that brings their KB to and from the office, when I have to go in. It raises some eyebrows. The other mechanicals (which is very few) I've noticed tend to be ergonomic keyboards and they tend to keep them in office.


Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #80 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 14:09:17 »
I'm participating in this discussion so that I can learn too.

From what I've read, it seems as if the largest factors among people here are space/mousing concerns and ease-of-use.

The 75% and smaller boards give more space for mousing, which is very important for a lot of people. People also seem intent on having more desk-space.

The other thing is that many people work better on a smaller layout, both in terms of speed and ergonomics. You have to train yourself, but you get better results than with 'standard' form-factors.

An opposing view seems to come from people who have both large desks, and keyboard trays. In those arrangements, there is plenty of room for a full-size keyboard. And if your software uses a lot of dedicated keyboard shortcuts, a larger keyboard can be incredibly powerful.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #81 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 16:03:19 »
Using my mouse is way more comfortable. Also less hand movements, as everything is really close.  The only keys I kinda miss are arrows. Surprisingly I didn't miss the numpad much, even though I do use the calculator often.

Having other navigation keys doesn't bother me much, as I rarely use them.

That depends on what you're doing, if you're just talking about slamming tab 30 times to try to highlight a very specific thing on-screen, sure, that would be the case. If you're talking about hitting ctrl + shift + arrow keys to quickly highlight an entire range of hundreds or thousands of cells in a spreadsheet ... not so much. shift + arrow keys/ctrl + shift + arrow keys for precise text highlighting can be more efficient in some situations as well. Just a few examples. If all you're ever going to use again for the rest of your life is a specific 60% with a specific proprietary mapping of your choosing, you can make that work with macros, if not, you can't.

I'm also seeing an interesting dichotomy here where people say they optimize the use of their keyboard by preventing the need to ever move their hands away from the home row, but also that the navigational hotkeys potentially lost as a result don't matter because using a mouse is easier anyway and/or a smaller size has some profound effect on ease-of-use of the mouse ... which requires taking one hand off of the keyboard entirely, negating the previous point. Even if that were not a factor, I can't say that I understand the rigid focus on never diverting from the home row, and I'm the sort of person who doesn't often do so either besides for the arrow keys.

I'm not saying that any specific form factor sucks, of course, everybody has their own preferences and use cases.

Offline mobileb

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #82 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 16:45:46 »

That depends on what you're doing, if you're just talking about slamming tab 30 times to try to highlight a very specific thing on-screen, sure, that would be the case. If you're talking about hitting ctrl + shift + arrow keys to quickly highlight an entire range of hundreds or thousands of cells in a spreadsheet ... not so much. shift + arrow keys/ctrl + shift + arrow keys for precise text highlighting can be more efficient in some situations as well. Just a few examples. If all you're ever going to use again for the rest of your life is a specific 60% with a specific proprietary mapping of your choosing, you can make that work with macros, if not, you can't.

I'm also seeing an interesting dichotomy here where people say they optimize the use of their keyboard by preventing the need to ever move their hands away from the home row, but also that the navigational hotkeys potentially lost as a result don't matter because using a mouse is easier anyway and/or a smaller size has some profound effect on ease-of-use of the mouse ... which requires taking one hand off of the keyboard entirely, negating the previous point. Even if that were not a factor, I can't say that I understand the rigid focus on never diverting from the home row, and I'm the sort of person who doesn't often do so either besides for the arrow keys.

I'm not saying that any specific form factor sucks, of course, everybody has their own preferences and use cases.

Think you hit the nail on the head with usage case. I wouldn't say I'm fanatical about staying locked on the home row. I do touch type, but I don't really think about it. My main use case is typing out code. Most editors devs use are built to help make navigation around the code, windows, etc super easy to do with the keys. So depending on the editor, I really don't need the mouse that often. I also happen to be a fast typer. So there may be some feeling that being able to manage navigation through key strokes is "more efficient" than using a mouse.

This isn't to say I don't use the mouse. When I'm not coding ... I use it quite a bit.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #83 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 17:10:00 »

That depends on what you're doing, if you're just talking about slamming tab 30 times to try to highlight a very specific thing on-screen, sure, that would be the case. If you're talking about hitting ctrl + shift + arrow keys to quickly highlight an entire range of hundreds or thousands of cells in a spreadsheet ... not so much. shift + arrow keys/ctrl + shift + arrow keys for precise text highlighting can be more efficient in some situations as well. Just a few examples. If all you're ever going to use again for the rest of your life is a specific 60% with a specific proprietary mapping of your choosing, you can make that work with macros, if not, you can't.

I'm also seeing an interesting dichotomy here where people say they optimize the use of their keyboard by preventing the need to ever move their hands away from the home row, but also that the navigational hotkeys potentially lost as a result don't matter because using a mouse is easier anyway and/or a smaller size has some profound effect on ease-of-use of the mouse ... which requires taking one hand off of the keyboard entirely, negating the previous point. Even if that were not a factor, I can't say that I understand the rigid focus on never diverting from the home row, and I'm the sort of person who doesn't often do so either besides for the arrow keys.

I'm not saying that any specific form factor sucks, of course, everybody has their own preferences and use cases.

Think you hit the nail on the head with usage case. I wouldn't say I'm fanatical about staying locked on the home row. I do touch type, but I don't really think about it. My main use case is typing out code. Most editors devs use are built to help make navigation around the code, windows, etc super easy to do with the keys. So depending on the editor, I really don't need the mouse that often. I also happen to be a fast typer. So there may be some feeling that being able to manage navigation through key strokes is "more efficient" than using a mouse.

This isn't to say I don't use the mouse. When I'm not coding ... I use it quite a bit.

All good points. I don't think anybody can avoid using a mouse unless they're literally using Unix/Linux with no window manager. lol. I had a math professor who did that. He said the IT department basically just left him alone. I forget what flavor of Linux he was running.

Offline noisyturtle

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #84 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 20:15:20 »
I'm gonna tackle this question less from a practicality or functionality point and more from a mental point.

Some people prefer cute things. If they can get an everyday object that is smaller and cuter, they will. If you go to Japan the entire idea of 'kawaii' is like a national aesthetic.
I also think unconsciously some people think smaller tech means it is more advanced, even though that is objectively not the case across the board.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #85 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 21:14:53 »
I'm gonna tackle this question less from a practicality or functionality point and more from a mental point.

Some people prefer cute things. If they can get an everyday object that is smaller and cuter, they will. If you go to Japan the entire idea of 'kawaii' is like a national aesthetic.
I also think unconsciously some people think smaller tech means it is more advanced, even though that is objectively not the case across the board.

My understanding is that, at least when it comes to computing, the idea is to continually make circuits smaller, decreasing power and thermal requirements at a given level of performance and size. The clincher, however, is that the natural logical conclusion of it all is that at any given technological potential for transistor density ... something larger will always have space for more transistors than something that is smaller, so things that are larger will always have a greater potential for performance than something that is smaller. For that reason, I don't think that desktop computers will ever go away, and the thought of somebody settling for a phone, with inferior performance ... and a tiny, crappy touchscreen as its only main peripheral, is baffling to me.

Pretty irrelevant to keyboards, really, either way.

Offline glazeds0n

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #86 on: Fri, 05 June 2020, 21:46:56 »
Less switches to lube =  :thumb:

Offline funkmon

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #87 on: Sat, 06 June 2020, 03:07:48 »
An opposing view seems to come from people who have both large desks, and keyboard trays. In those arrangements, there is plenty of room for a full-size keyboard. And if your software uses a lot of dedicated keyboard shortcuts, a larger keyboard can be incredibly powerful.

I do not have a large desk, personally. Indeed, I took this photo earlier.



I actually came back to this thread to say something. I switched over to my Model F to make a point to myself, but I also discovered that it's a space saver for me. I typically use a full size Model M, and with that, I sacrifice all spare desk space. Indeed, with my monitors, I already have one hanging off the side of the desk to the right and it's taking up a solid 25% of the mousepad as well. I just don't have the space people seem to.

If I had 3 more inches in any direction, a full size would be great with no compromises. I don't, so I'm really enjoying the fact that I'm not shoving my keyboard into a corner and I'm not cramping my mouse style right now. However, I highly, highly, highly doubt that most of the people with the 75% or smaller keyboards are using a desk smaller than my own. So, to me, unless your monitor is hanging off the desk and sitting on your mousepad, you don't need the extra space from a smaller keyboard.

Anyway, again, I have been enjoying this keyboard, which has been the ideal space saving model for me lately. Here are some reasons:

1. It's got long feet so it goes over my monitor stand in the middle, freeing up desk space.

2. It doesn't have the numpad and nav cluster separated, so I save horizontal space that way.

3. The function keys are on the left, so I can type out in front of me and not smash the mouse.

4. Uh...

Anyway, I've discovered that I've had to make a few compromises that the compact form factor people have to, that is, having a "function layer" for certain keys. I mean I have to press numlock in order to type on the numpad, which is easy, since I typically use it for longish bursts infrequently, that corresponds to my usage. And, considering that was its original design, it's probably fairly normal for it to work like that for people.

I like it.

Now, someone said that people like things small and cute. I think that's true. It's a fashion choice. Look at the mechanical keyboards subreddit. It's essentially a keyboard photography forum where people make their keyboards look as small and as cutesy as possible. That, to me, is what is driving this, not function. They're just rationalizing it to themselves. I mean, come on. You bought a pink keyboard with apple blossoms and a $100 ****ing cable with a pink aviator connection to put on your anime deskmat because you think it looks cool, not because it "saves space."

Offline ideus

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #88 on: Sat, 06 June 2020, 08:44:06 »
It is an interesting reading so far. But, I think that recent posts have been missing the point. It is not really about space available on the desktop; but, about ergonomy. Repetitive movements out of natural resting positions can cause severe pains. So, anything that contributes to have the arms, wrists and hands as close as posible to neutral positions may save most of the stress to the joints and muscles. In this context the battleship style boards and full size ones cannot be centered at their main writing area while allowing a natural position for the pointing device at the same time, making the layout non-ergonomic. Also the main display should be centered to your eyes sight to allow the head a natural position and not cause stress to your neck and backbone. Again, it is not a matter of space, but about relative positions to your body.
« Last Edit: Sat, 06 June 2020, 08:47:03 by ideus »

Offline evilpp

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #89 on: Sun, 07 June 2020, 00:26:41 »
Given that most custom MK are made of material that has some heft...
Would people be interested in these high end MK to be made of exotic lightweight materials for mobility/portability?

Offline jamster

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #90 on: Sun, 07 June 2020, 00:48:07 »
Given that most custom MK are made of material that has some heft...
Would people be interested in these high end MK to be made of exotic lightweight materials for mobility/portability?

If this thread is anything to go by, most people are not really using the supposed portability factor of small boards.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #91 on: Sun, 07 June 2020, 21:44:59 »
It is an interesting reading so far. But, I think that recent posts have been missing the point. It is not really about space available on the desktop; but, about ergonomy. Repetitive movements out of natural resting positions can cause severe pains. So, anything that contributes to have the arms, wrists and hands as close as posible to neutral positions may save most of the stress to the joints and muscles. In this context the battleship style boards and full size ones cannot be centered at their main writing area while allowing a natural position for the pointing device at the same time, making the layout non-ergonomic. Also the main display should be centered to your eyes sight to allow the head a natural position and not cause stress to your neck and backbone. Again, it is not a matter of space, but about relative positions to your body.

I have used full-sized boards at work, I have used TKLs at work, and until I brought the old Nan Tan to work, I was using that 75% Matias for two weeks or so. I can't say that I have noticed any difference in ergonomics. I think I still naturally kept my mouse further from the keyboard as the keyboard's relative width decreased though as well. I imagine that one's shoulder width may factor into whether or not this matters, if it does.

Given that most custom MK are made of material that has some heft...
Would people be interested in these high end MK to be made of exotic lightweight materials for mobility/portability?

If this thread is anything to go by, most people are not really using the supposed portability factor of small boards.

They say that Matias keyboards are made out of polycarbonate, which is relatively light and can actually stop bullets with enough thickness. I can't say that even my mini tactile pro is light overall though. There are polycarbonate enthusiast cases for the kit/LEGO boards, right? There are polycarbonate plates as well.

Offline ideus

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #92 on: Sun, 07 June 2020, 22:34:05 »
I admire this guy that does not care much about the "quality" of the legends but their functionality.



Offline JianYang

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #93 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 01:19:45 »
I only have 10 fingers.

Since switching to 50 keys, I have not missed having more keys...

Offline jamster

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #94 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 01:36:49 »
I only have 10 fingers.

Since switching to 50 keys, I have not missed having more keys...

Ortho or staggered?

I never managed to get the hang of alpha numpads on a staggered layout. Moved to TKL and still miss the old numpad.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #95 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 13:12:16 »
I have used full-sized boards at work, I have used TKLs at work, and until I brought the old Nan Tan to work, I was using that 75% Matias for two weeks or so. I can't say that I have noticed any difference in ergonomics. I think I still naturally kept my mouse further from the keyboard as the keyboard's relative width decreased though as well. I imagine that one's shoulder width may factor into whether or not this matters, if it does.

You are probably on the less common side then because I think that's what most people notice when they move to TKL, that their mouse position is so much better for them than it was with a full sized keyboard.

Have you tried moving the mouse closer?  Does it feel weird because you're not used to it or is it actually restricting movements? 

Either way, you're definitely in the minority here...even if you like to have your mouse further away, there is no doubt TKL gives you options you don't have when using full. 

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #96 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 13:22:30 »
I have used full-sized boards at work, I have used TKLs at work, and until I brought the old Nan Tan to work, I was using that 75% Matias for two weeks or so. I can't say that I have noticed any difference in ergonomics. I think I still naturally kept my mouse further from the keyboard as the keyboard's relative width decreased though as well. I imagine that one's shoulder width may factor into whether or not this matters, if it does.

You are probably on the less common side then because I think that's what most people notice when they move to TKL, that their mouse position is so much better for them than it was with a full sized keyboard.

Have you tried moving the mouse closer?  Does it feel weird because you're not used to it or is it actually restricting movements? 

Either way, you're definitely in the minority here...even if you like to have your mouse further away, there is no doubt TKL gives you options you don't have when using full.

I have not, but I could try once I move the Matias back into rotation. I wanted to get some time in with perfect condition SKCM white Alps. The reason I bring up shoulder width is I have noticed that, even with a full-sized keyboard, my hands are roughly the same distance from each other as my shoulders are when mousing with my left hand still on the home row. I suppose this may even be another one of those paradoxical situations, in my estimation, seeing as your hands are already very close together on the home row when typing, regardless of the type of keyboard used. I can't say I have noticed any difference in ergonomics when just typing vs when mousing. I can't imagine that people commonly do in this scenario either? I wonder what it was that could be so drastically different about mousing with both hands closer together then ... more similar to just typing normally.

Sure, tiny keyboards give you the benefit of space, sometimes weight, and sometimes maybe efficiency in very specific scenarios. I'm still not sold on most of the rest of it.

Offline ideus

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #97 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 15:05:06 »
I have used full-sized boards at work, I have used TKLs at work, and until I brought the old Nan Tan to work, I was using that 75% Matias for two weeks or so. I can't say that I have noticed any difference in ergonomics. I think I still naturally kept my mouse further from the keyboard as the keyboard's relative width decreased though as well. I imagine that one's shoulder width may factor into whether or not this matters, if it does.

You are probably on the less common side then because I think that's what most people notice when they move to TKL, that their mouse position is so much better for them than it was with a full sized keyboard.

Have you tried moving the mouse closer?  Does it feel weird because you're not used to it or is it actually restricting movements? 

Either way, you're definitely in the minority here...even if you like to have your mouse further away, there is no doubt TKL gives you options you don't have when using full.

I have not, but I could try once I move the Matias back into rotation. I wanted to get some time in with perfect condition SKCM white Alps. The reason I bring up shoulder width is I have noticed that, even with a full-sized keyboard, my hands are roughly the same distance from each other as my shoulders are when mousing with my left hand still on the home row. I suppose this may even be another one of those paradoxical situations, in my estimation, seeing as your hands are already very close together on the home row when typing, regardless of the type of keyboard used. I can't say I have noticed any difference in ergonomics when just typing vs when mousing. I can't imagine that people commonly do in this scenario either? I wonder what it was that could be so drastically different about mousing with both hands closer together then ... more similar to just typing normally.

Sure, tiny keyboards give you the benefit of space, sometimes weight, and sometimes maybe efficiency in very specific scenarios. I'm still not sold on most of the rest of it.


Ah. The explanation is simple your are a lefty. The main ergonomics issue is for right handed. Where the nav pad and num pad of a full size keyboard overlap with the proper area for a mouse.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #98 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 15:13:26 »
I have used full-sized boards at work, I have used TKLs at work, and until I brought the old Nan Tan to work, I was using that 75% Matias for two weeks or so. I can't say that I have noticed any difference in ergonomics. I think I still naturally kept my mouse further from the keyboard as the keyboard's relative width decreased though as well. I imagine that one's shoulder width may factor into whether or not this matters, if it does.

You are probably on the less common side then because I think that's what most people notice when they move to TKL, that their mouse position is so much better for them than it was with a full sized keyboard.

Have you tried moving the mouse closer?  Does it feel weird because you're not used to it or is it actually restricting movements? 

Either way, you're definitely in the minority here...even if you like to have your mouse further away, there is no doubt TKL gives you options you don't have when using full.

I have not, but I could try once I move the Matias back into rotation. I wanted to get some time in with perfect condition SKCM white Alps. The reason I bring up shoulder width is I have noticed that, even with a full-sized keyboard, my hands are roughly the same distance from each other as my shoulders are when mousing with my left hand still on the home row. I suppose this may even be another one of those paradoxical situations, in my estimation, seeing as your hands are already very close together on the home row when typing, regardless of the type of keyboard used. I can't say I have noticed any difference in ergonomics when just typing vs when mousing. I can't imagine that people commonly do in this scenario either? I wonder what it was that could be so drastically different about mousing with both hands closer together then ... more similar to just typing normally.

Sure, tiny keyboards give you the benefit of space, sometimes weight, and sometimes maybe efficiency in very specific scenarios. I'm still not sold on most of the rest of it.


Ah. The explanation is simple your are a lefty. The main ergonomics issue is for right handed. Where the nav pad and num pad of a full size keyboard overlap with the proper area for a mouse.

I am not a lefty. I believe I said that my left hand is on the keyboard's home row when mousing. Maybe it could have been worded better though.

Offline Polymer

  • Posts: 1454
Re: Why the popularity of small form factor keyboards?
« Reply #99 on: Mon, 08 June 2020, 17:54:03 »
I have not, but I could try once I move the Matias back into rotation. I wanted to get some time in with perfect condition SKCM white Alps. The reason I bring up shoulder width is I have noticed that, even with a full-sized keyboard, my hands are roughly the same distance from each other as my shoulders are when mousing with my left hand still on the home row. I suppose this may even be another one of those paradoxical situations, in my estimation, seeing as your hands are already very close together on the home row when typing, regardless of the type of keyboard used. I can't say I have noticed any difference in ergonomics when just typing vs when mousing. I can't imagine that people commonly do in this scenario either? I wonder what it was that could be so drastically different about mousing with both hands closer together then ... more similar to just typing normally.

It is more comfortable..considerably more comfortable..that's why people go that way. 

Obviously for you, it makes no difference...fair enough, if it made no difference to me I'd probably have Full sized keyboards because, well, why not?

I basically refuse to use a full size board now....at least not for any period of time..