Author Topic: Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard  (Read 6933 times)

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Offline wolfv

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Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard
« on: Mon, 12 June 2023, 11:40:40 »
I am looking for a keyboard with these specific attributes:
- commercial pre-built
- columnar stagger or ortholinear
- fully split (separated sides)
- 60% to 85% size keyboard
  - no number pad (Tenkeyless)
  - function row optional
  - navigation cluster optional
  - Fn optional
- no thumb cluster
- QWERTY
- US ANSI

Something like these keyboards, but with the rows not staggered:
- kinesis Freestyle2
- mistel MD600
- mistel MD770
- Cloud Nine ErgoTKL
- matias Ergo Pro

I haven't found such a keyboard after extensive searching.
There are so many knowledgeable people on this forum.
If such a keyboard exists, someone here would know about it.

Offline moosh

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Re: Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 13 June 2023, 18:47:53 »
What about a Moonlander or Dygma Defy?

Offline wolfv

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  • Posts: 269
Re: Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 14 June 2023, 09:42:53 »
Hi moosh,
Moonlander and Dygma Defy have thumb clusters.
I don't want thumb clusters or layers because I don't want to spend time learning them.

Offline vvp

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Re: Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 14 June 2023, 15:36:18 »
May be you can reconsider.

Thumb clusters are the best innovation of ergonomic keyboards. One can put modifiers on them (and maybe the most common keys like space and back space). It is comfortable to have modifiers on thumbs. It is also easier to press a modifier and a key with the same hand which is useful sometimes. It is easy to get used to modifiers on thumb clusters. Definitely much better than having modifiers in the outer bottom row and shifts in the outer second row from bottom.
Pressing modifiers on standard locations with pinkies is not comfortable. Pressing them with thumbs is not comfortable as well since one must move hand ... because (or course) a big-ass-space-bar is wasting the very useful keyboard real estate (the place where thumbs can easily reach without hand move). These problems are solved by thumb clusters.

Offline wolfv

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Re: Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 15 June 2023, 12:05:13 »
Hi vvp,
After reading your praise of thumb clusters, I decided to try one.
Though, it will have to wait until later this year when I have more time.

From what I understand, it's better to have thumb clusters not on the same plane as the finger keys.
Like the the thumb clusters on:
- MoonLander
- dactyl manuform
- Glove 80
- Designer Keyboard

Thank you all for your suggestions.

Offline vvp

  • Posts: 886
Re: Seeking commercial columnar-staggered split keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 17 June 2023, 06:18:40 »
Yes, it is better when thumb cluster is higher than the rest of the keys. That is because natural thumb position is higher than the tips of fingers. There was a lot of discussion here about whether it is better to press keys with thumbs using mostly a horizontal motion (e.g. Oobly builds an ergoboard) or using mostly vertical motion (e.g. Ergodox or my Katy). My opinion is that it does not matter much. 3D contoured keyboard is nice but not that important. Good thumb clusters and a split keyboard are the most important features.

The keyboards you listed look OK except the designer keyboard. It seems to use an wheel instead of thumb cluster keys. If so than it is a piece of crap.

I posted my opinion on dactyl manuform.

Anyway, I do not think it is critical so that the thumb clusters are in a different plane. The critical thing is that you have a bunch of small(*) easily accessible keys very near to the natural/home location of thumbs. It is very comfortable to put all the shift modifiers on the thumb clusters. If the thumb clusters have some spare keys after all the modifiers are placed on them then add space and backspace and possibly more keys to the thumb clusters. E.g. here is my preferred layout.

(*) Thumb cluster keys should be small so that you can place more of them as near as possible to the natural thumb position. It is easy to precisely hit them when they are near to the natural position.