Author Topic: First ergonomic keyboard  (Read 2416 times)

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Offline RandomUser145

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First ergonomic keyboard
« on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 06:25:56 »
Hi,
I'm looking for advice about my first ergonomic keyboard. I have been a full time software developer for over a year now. I have been looking for a new keyboard in general, but I'm interested in getting a ergonomic keyboard.
First thing: I'm little bit afraid to get a mechanical keyboard, because I would like to use it in office and I don't want it to be too loud. I have not ever use any mechanical keyboard before, so I really don't know how is the experience.
Second thing: I'm thinking to get one of these split keyboards. I understand, that there is a learning curve, but I'm afraid I won't be able to get used to it at all.
Now let's say, I would decide to get one. Which one would you recommend for budget around 100? (Euros) I was looking in my local stores and I could find these:
- Kinesis Freestyle2 - non-mechanical, in case I could get use to the split, I could just 'unsplit' it
- ErgoDelta Split - non-mechanical (I think), same as Kinesis, I could 'unsplit' it; it seems to come with vertical alignment options out of the box (I think you have to buy extra for Kinesis)
- Penclic Professional MK1 - this one is also listed as 'ergonomic', but this one is mechanical and it's not split

If possible, I would like to avoid numpad. Are there any reasonable options for my budget? Also, could you maybe describe the experience with split keyboards?

Thank you.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 07:45:15 »
ErgoDelta Split looks like an updated variation of an old Fujitsu-Siemens keyboard also known as "Kinesis Maxim". The old one did not have good key feel. Did you have a chance to try this one out?

The PenClick keyboard looks like a rebranded generic mechanical keyboard. Lots of things are listed as "ergonomic" that aren't really, and that applies to this one too IMHO. The exact same keyboard is probably available with some other brand-name printed on it, or none at all, for a lot less.

BTW, You could also check if your employer could supply you with a more expensive, more ergonomic keyboard at your desk at work. There may be laws or union-agreements that would require your employer to do it.
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
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Offline nevin

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 08:15:48 »
yes, budget is doable. you could do a budget build right around that number, depending on what parts you pick. (i've done a couple)

if you are just starting to dip your toe in the ergo pond..... (as well as mechanical).... welcome, the water's great!

mechanical is definitely the way to go, the biggest difference is on rubber domes you HAVE to bottom out to activate the key press. with mechanical, the actuation happens when the key is depressed about half way, BEFORE you bottom out. letting you type lighter and not banging on the keys as much. (though you can still bottom out as you normally do, it won't affect anything)
   - some mechanical keyboards are actually quieter than most rubber done keyboards
   - handful of different switch styles - clicky, tactile, linear (if you want quiet, obviously avoid the clicky ones)
       - there are also dampened versions of tactile & linear switches (even quieter)

split is definitely the way to go, getting hand separation is probably the biggest improvement you can make.
   - tenting can also help, but it can feel very awkward till you get used to it.
   - consider thumb keys - why the most used modifiers (ctl, shift, tab, etc..) are on the outside edge used by your pinkies is NOT the most convenient or ergonomic.
ortholinear (usually all 1u keys, no large keys) they are not as difficult to get used to as you'd think. i thought the same thing when i was switching from staggered to ortho. but the transition was easy & now i don't know why i was even worried about missing the larger keys.

since you are coming from a standard staggered 104 type layout. i'd suggest a larger 5x7 ortho board. (keeb.io - viterbi, ergodash, or similar)
   - this allows you to keep a normal number row with minimal movement of key placement compared to a standard staggered layout that you're used to.
   - most ortho boards are grids of 5x6 or smaller
      - the smaller you go, the more layers you have to use to get all the keys you have on a full size layout. (look at the corne keyboard)

my suggestion would be to play with keyboard-layout-editor.com and replicate some of the keyboards you're looking at, put legends on the keys and decide what you can & can't live without. doing this will quickly show you how many keys you want and if you have any layout requirements.
- do some searches for ergo keyboards, split keyboards and see what strikes your fancy
- there's a pretty good list on https://golem.hu/boards/

for parts/kits:
i would start with keeb.io. they have a bunch of budget options for split ergo boards in both staggered & ortholinear styles. you can build up your board however you like with whatever switches & caps you want.
   you'll need
   - pcbs - diodes, controller (promicro or similar), probably a TRRS cable (4 conductor audio cable)
   - case - probably a simple spaced plate design (switch plate, pcb, bottom plate
   - switches
   - keycaps - if you can touch type, go with blanks, it's a lot cheaper.

switches, caps, etc..
- novelkeys
- kbdfans
- kprepublic
as well as many others

when looking at kits, look for PCBs that are either already populated with components or use a promicro as the controller. (you don't want to have to track down & try to solder SMD components for your 1st board, stick with all through hole components)

most kits are super simple to build. keeb.io's stuff, ergodash, let's split, etc.

couple questions for you...
- do you touch type (not look at keys at all)?
- are you handy? have you ever soldered before?
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline RandomUser145

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 12:55:14 »
ErgoDelta Split looks like an updated variation of an old Fujitsu-Siemens keyboard also known as "Kinesis Maxim". The old one did not have good key feel. Did you have a chance to try this one out?
I haven't. And I don't have a chance to (at lease not something convenient, I'm not travelling to another state for that).

BTW, You could also check if your employer could supply you with a more expensive, more ergonomic keyboard at your desk at work. There may be laws or union-agreements that would require your employer to do it.
I could try, but right now I'm working from home and it seems like I still will be in the near future. I know, that once my colleague had asked about a ergonomic chair and he needed doctor's confirmation.

couple questions for you...
- do you touch type (not look at keys at all)?
- are you handy? have you ever soldered before?
Yes, I don't look at the keyboard while typing.
I used to work at PC repair shop, so I can assembly or disassembly like computers and laptops. Does that count as handy for in this situation? :D I haven't ever soldered.




Offline nevin

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 18:03:15 »
Quote
Yes, I don't look at the keyboard while typing.
I used to work at PC repair shop, so I can assembly or disassembly like computers and laptops. Does that count as handy for in this situation? :D I haven't ever soldered.

yeah, that counts.
soldering isn't hard. you'd be able to do it easily.

so the next question is, do you want to buy a prebuilt/off-the-shelf keyboard or build a kit with parts of your own choosing.
- you can build a WAY better keyboard for the same price you could buy one off-the-shelf at that price point.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline jamster

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 15 August 2020, 21:41:49 »
If you want an ergo board for health reasons, rather than hobbyist reasons, just get a Kinesis Freestyle with the tenting raisers and see how that goes. KISS principle applies here.

Don't go mechanical. I say this as an ardent fan of mechanical boards, who has been using them my entire adult life- Mechanical switches are great to get into, but I don't think they offer any ergo advantage, they just feel different (longer travel) and sound different. Bottoming out is a recurring, but irrelevant issue. For some weird reason, there's some quasi-myth that you shouldn't bottom out when typing, but again this is personal preference, and as far as I can figure, most typists do bottom out. Maybe it's relevant to some small number of people with RSI finger pain (vs carpal tunnel), but if this was an issue with you I guess you would have mentioned it.

Again, keep it simple if you just want to type, unless you are looking for a new geeky hobby to take up your time. Go off the shelf, available boards. Don't dive off into DIY with obscure silenced switches (I have done this lately out of curiosity, but I source very fast direct from China). They are relatively hard to get, and no pre-made boards will come with them.

A split board with traditional layout is incredibly easy to get used to. I did within a day. Getting used to ortho took several days. Getting used to radically rearranged thumb clusters is taking me weeks.

Edit: I looked at the penclic online just now. From a quick glance, I can not see anything 'ergonomic' about it.

Just get the kinesis. Well established, split with tenting. There's your biggest ergo gain right there. Relatively quiet as it's rubber dome. Inexpensive (good quality silenced switches alone will probably cost you fifty euros). And available now vs the three+ months it would take to source the parts and diy a silenced ergo board. It's an instant and painless intro to see if you want to continue further down the path.

Go DIY if you're really looking for a new hobby, vs a single new tool. Be prepared to pay a lot more and/or incur months-long waiting times for parts, if you want to take this up as a new hobby.
« Last Edit: Sun, 16 August 2020, 02:56:45 by jamster »

Offline RandomUser145

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 16 August 2020, 04:38:00 »
so the next question is, do you want to buy a prebuilt/off-the-shelf keyboard or build a kit with parts of your own choosing.
- you can build a WAY better keyboard for the same price you could buy one off-the-shelf at that price point.
I feel like a built kit would be an overkill for me. I have been using classic keyboards my whole life, so even a prebuilt is going to be a big change for me. So I would start with a prebuilt.

If you want an ergo board for health reasons, rather than hobbyist reasons, just get a Kinesis Freestyle with the tenting raisers and see how that goes. KISS principle applies here.
As far as I understand, the tenting raisers cost extra money right? When I take the price from the closest official reseller, it would be 170 with the raisers.

Offline jamster

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 16 August 2020, 05:12:45 »
If you want an ergo board for health reasons, rather than hobbyist reasons, just get a Kinesis Freestyle with the tenting raisers and see how that goes. KISS principle applies here.
As far as I understand, the tenting raisers cost extra money right? When I take the price from the closest official reseller, it would be 170 with the raisers.

USD25 for tenting, and $100 for a Freestyle.

Of course, YMMV once you start looking at European suppliers (I just order stuff direct from the US and there are no customs duties).

If geography is a concern, keeb.io is EU based and have split kits that look pretty simple to put together. But they always seem to be out of some vital part of whichever kit, so lead times are a real problem. I've been waiting a couple months for them to restock the 75% kit. This is probably something to do if you want to pursue this hobby after you've already set yourself up with a usable board.
« Last Edit: Sun, 16 August 2020, 05:16:05 by jamster »

Offline RandomUser145

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 16 August 2020, 09:12:39 »
Ok, so I guess I'll go for the Kinesis Freestyle2. Maybe I'll wait a little bit so I can buy it together with the tenting kit.

Thank you all.

Offline dusan

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 16 August 2020, 09:40:38 »
The Freestyle2 is staggered.
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Offline skwrn

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 06:22:45 »
Hi!
It's awesome, that you want to dive into ergo world.

Did you check Ergodox or Redox from https://falba.tech/ ?  It's pre-built and it's ergo.

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 06:59:18 »
If geography is a concern, keeb.io is EU based

Just a minor correction, keeb.io is based in North Carolina, USA

I WISH they were based in the EU, because I've paid some hefty customs bills ordering my Iris' and BDN9 from them :P
     
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Offline nevin

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 07:53:45 »
@-Jerry-, check candykeys, they are Keeb.io's EU Distributor
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Offline -Jerry-

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 08:39:17 »
@-Jerry-, check candykeys, they are Keeb.io's EU Distributor

Yarp, well acquainted with CandyKeys, buy most of my GMK sets through them and several keyboards over the years. Sadly keebio stock is often in very high demand and doesn’t always get restocked on candykeys (Iris parts especially)
     
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Offline jamster

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 08:57:36 »
If geography is a concern, keeb.io is EU based

Just a minor correction, keeb.io is based in North Carolina, USA

I WISH they were based in the EU, because I've paid some hefty customs bills ordering my Iris' and BDN9 from them :P

Huh, I had no idea. Their site must have me pegged as European as I see prices in Euros.

They've got some really neat looking stuff, only some key part of whatever kit I'm looking at is invariably out of stock. Wondering if this is a COVID thing.

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 08:59:11 »
Huh, I had no idea. Their site must have me pegged as European as I see prices in Euros.

I think it's because it's shopify based, there's probably some toggle somewhere telling it to give you EU prices. I still see USD, for some reason.
     
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Offline TonyTone

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Re: First ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Wed, 26 August 2020, 10:19:17 »
There's a ton of options out there for quiet/silent switches. I personally use the Gateron Silent Browns and if you lube them properly the experience is really great. The noise will not be overbearing in the office.