Author Topic: Split with great keys?  (Read 33476 times)

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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Split with great keys?
« on: Sun, 04 November 2012, 17:33:39 »
I have been using Microsoft ergonomic keyboards since they first came out and am typing this on a broken 4000. Because it's broken I need to buy a new keyboard. But I'm not super excited about getting another 4000 because honestly the key strokes kind of suck. I'm a fast touch typist and having to bottom out keys on the 4000 is both slow and not much fun.

My ideal keyboard would have a split design and great keys. But I can't seem to find the two together! Sure there are the Freestyle, Maxim, Goldtouch and even the Microban split but they all appear to use Dome switches. I realize some domes are better than others but I am having trouble imagining them being sufficiently superior to be worth the price (given that the split on the 4000 more than meets all my typing comfort needs). I realize that the Kinesis Advantage uses Cherry's (or at least the LF does although I don't think I would like linear force keys, a MX Brown or Blue sounds like a better fit but not having had a chance to try any of them how can I be sure?) but I really don't want to have to learn another keyboard design. So the Advantage and Truly Ergonomic are out.

As far as I can tell I am out of options. There just don't seem to be split keyboards with awesome keys. It seems like I have to pick either split or awesome keys but not both. I'm seriously thinking of just getting a Das Keyboard Professional Soft but I can't imagine typing on a straight keyboard after almost two decades using a split. A few years ago I had to type on an Apple wireless keyboard for a few weeks and for the first time in my life I actually had wrist issues. Now I must admit that the Apple Wireless is a much narrower keyboard than I am used to so maybe that caused it but it did kind of worry me about using a straight keyboard. Hence my fixation on getting a split.

So now I'm just lost. Is there anyway to get a split and great keys (without using a screw driver, a glue gun, solder, etc. I am NOT a moder) or do I have to pick one or the other? If I pick the great keys can one really have a good ergonomic experience on a straight keyboard like a Das Keyboard or am I stuck with the mushy keys on a 4000?

Offline sth

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 04 November 2012, 17:37:49 »
kinesis, maltron
11:48 -!- SmallFry [~SmallFry@unaffiliated/smallfry] has quit [Ping timeout: 245 seconds] ... rest in peace

Offline Lanx

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 04 November 2012, 18:37:46 »
kinesis,

for fun click my sig, then you'll see even with the modding i chose a kinesis.

Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 04 November 2012, 22:08:56 »
I totally know where you're coming from. I had the same question 3.5 years ago....there was nothing....so I took a Kinesis Advantage and cut it in half, integrated a Trackpoint into the right key well, and added a couple extra keys, converted the rubber top keys to keyswitches, etc. That's what you want. I'd make you one, but you can't afford it :)

My split Kinesis is really fantastic, there's nothing like it, but it's been disassembled and boxed away for almost a year for various reasons...and now I'm about to move so I can't deal with it.

At some point, like most people, with most things in life...you will need to compromise.

Lanx made a great project, and if you're interested, Bluecar5666 split a Kinesis also...use the search feature if it's still on this site.

I have a Kinesis Freestyle (white Mac legends) and it's very decent...rubber domes but are substantial. I'm selling the Freestyle for $70 if anyone is interested :)
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Offline Gerk

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 05 November 2012, 11:11:41 »
I spent a lot of time thinking the same way you are but once I picked up my Goldtouch v2 there was no looking back.  The keys feel MUCH better than most rubber domes and the ergonomics of it are not to be beat.  I personally and not a big fan of Kinesis and Maltron boards ... I don't like the inverse keywells, my fingers just don't work like that.  The goldtouch has a very "tactile" like experience and I can tell you first hand that they feel 200% better than the MS Ergo 4000 keys (which was my old split board of choice).  The v2 at least has a prominent bump when the key actuates (which I've never felt with rubber dome boards before) so you can end up with the same sort of typing experience as with other types of keys ... I rarely bottom out these keys now and I've only been typing on this board for a month or so, and then even when you do bottom out it's a very soft landing.  To get that type of soft landing on mechanical boards I had been adding o-rings to them.  All-in-all I have to say that this is probably the closest thing I've ever found to my ideal split board.  Would I like a version that has mechanical switches?  Probably.  Would I toss this board to the curb because of that?  Certainly not.  I liked it so much that I bought a second one for my other workstation, and unless the keys wear out quickly or die a horrible death I think I've found my split keyboard replacement with these and probably won't bother to try out anything further.  My situation may be a bit different than yours, I have had serious RSI issues here with a lot of pain involved, and this has resolved my issue.  I can also constantly change up the split angle/tent angle which is even better for my needs than any other board I've tried to date.

Moral of the story, don't count out rubber domes just because they are not mechanical switches.  Give them a try for yourself and see before you rule them out.  The goldtouch v2 boards are not that expensive (when compared to Kinesis or Maltron) so I'd suggest giving it a shot and if you hate it then sell it in the classifieds here and move on.  Also another thing to consider is that the goldtouch is very very close to a standard keyboard layout if that sort of thing is important to you (it is very important to me).  Most, if not all of the other split board layouts have tried to reinvent the wheel too much with their key layouts and that's something that has become a show-stopper for me.  I don't want to re-learn how to touch type, I just want a split and tented layout and that's exactly what I get from the goldtouch.

P.S.  No I don't work for these guys, just a fan that spent a long time doing exactly what you're talking about.  I wasted a couple of years and a LOT of $$ in trying to find what I thought I wanted only to realize I was placing way too much emphasis on the mechanical key portion of things and not enough on the actual board's benefits and features.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 05 November 2012, 20:48:25 »
There's a lot of truth to Gerks post. Of course it's vey personal, so there's no right/wrong only what's right/wrong for you.

Trying keyboards is ultimately the only way to know.
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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 06 November 2012, 00:48:50 »
Sth - I'm with Gerk on this, I don't want the Kinesis Advantage or the Maltron because I don't want to learn a new keyboard layout. I regularly need to use my laptop's keyboard and keyboards in other environments so I'd like to stay with a normal layout. That's why I got the 4000 (and it's predecessors) in the first place.

Lanx - You are NUTS! And I mean that in the best possible way. I actually surfed your whole sig thread and it was great!!! However I don't think I'll be following in your footsteps. :)

Nirvana - I have been looking at the Freestyle 2 but I actually do proper 10 key and having to use an overlay just sucks. I realize I can't have everything and I also realize that I can buy a separate 10 key for $60 but what a mess that would make of my desk. A keyboard, a 10 key and my Apple magic touch pad. Sigh...

Gerk - You have the idea exactly and I read your thread on Goldtouch as part of my general research. I'm curious, did you compare the Goldtouch V2 to the Freestyle 2? (And yes, I too would love to see a Freestyle with mechanical keys! =) By the time you add in things like a wrist rest the price for the Goldtouch and the FreeStyle VIP is comparable. I checked your thread on the Goldtouch but I don't remember it saying what pushed you one way or the other.

And thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond.

Offline Lanx

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 06 November 2012, 02:23:13 »
i was in your boat, i was at a point where you could not convince me to change that i went ahead and did that msergo4k mod, then i got the kinesis (halfway through), it took me a week of full dedication and putting away my previous board(another msergo4kk mod w/o matrix), and i prefer the kinesis, with a few "softmods", just giving you opinions.

what i mean by this is that, if even i can be persuaded to tryout and change to kinesis, after modding a msergo4k (cuz there have been many before and after my mod who just do not want to give up the msergo4k, and just wished it came in cherrys), then i think it should be given a try.

Offline Gerk

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 06 November 2012, 05:48:07 »
Gerk - You have the idea exactly and I read your thread on Goldtouch as part of my general research. I'm curious, did you compare the Goldtouch V2 to the Freestyle 2? (And yes, I too would love to see a Freestyle with mechanical keys! =) By the time you add in things like a wrist rest the price for the Goldtouch and the FreeStyle VIP is comparable. I checked your thread on the Goldtouch but I don't remember it saying what pushed you one way or the other.

No I didn't try a freestyle.  I was put off by the need for the extra accessories to setup tenting with it, and then if you don't like the angle another additional accessory to get one other angle, the goldtouch made a LOT more sense to me at that point as it comes with the ability to do every split angle and tent angle as part of the base package.  Lastly as I stated previously it also allows me to constantly change up the angles which is a HUGE bonus for people like me that have issues with RSI.  A simple change of a few degrees can completely change up the experience and alleviate the repetitive stuff because even though it's only a few degrees different it feels that much different.

I also find that with the goldtouch I don't actually need (or want) a wrist rest.  Most people tend to abuse a wrist rest anyway -- you're not actually supposed to be resting your wrists on it while you're typing, you're supposed to be holding your wrists up, so if it's just for "rest" time I honestly don't need it.  When I'm resting I take my hands right off the keyboard and put them down on the desk in front of the keyboard anyway.  Also with my current desk setups I get lots of support for my arms (my forearms rest on the desk).

Lanx:  Glad the Kinesis stuff is working out for you.  My hands just can't handle that inverse keywell curve.

Lastly Input Nirvana is correct, it's a very personal thing.  I just wanted to make sure you don't rule things out because of the switches or you may end up in the same boat as I did, spending a lot of time and money only to realize that the switches weren't quite as important as you thought they might be in the grand scheme of what you want/need from an ergonomic keyboard.
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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 06 November 2012, 10:43:15 »
Lanx - Your point makes 100% sense. One of the folks in my office has an advantage so I can at least try it out. That's one of the big issues with picking a keyboard. There is no 'big store of keyboards' that I know of where I live where I can try these keyboards out!

Gerk - Your point also makes 100% sense. But I think you and I are in different boats. I don't have any RSI symptoms and the fixed tenting of the 4000 has actually worked perfectly for me. My only issue with the 4000 is that hitting the keys sucks. They have a mushy feel and I constantly bottom them out because there is no feedback. Hence my focus on the keys. I know I love the 4000 lay out, what I don't like is the keys. Which is why Lanx's mod is so interesting but I also know myself well enough to know there is no chance I would ever even attempt much less finish such a mod. It's just not my 'thing'.

My own thinking is that I might just say to hell with it and buy a new 4000 to replace my broken 4000. It's not perfect but it's cheap and it seems closer to my right solution than anything else. It has a great layout for me. It has real 10 key. It uses a normal keyboard design. It works just fine with my mac. It's not wireless. The only problem is the cruddy keys. That sucks but I've lived with it for over a decade now so clearly it isn't a show stopper. I'm just bummed. I was really excited about getting a keyboard that doesn't feel like mush. But it seems like the cost for non-mushy keys is a bunch of other compromises that I would probably like even less.

Offline natas206

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 06 November 2012, 11:23:32 »
Lanx - Your point makes 100% sense. One of the folks in my office has an advantage so I can at least try it out. That's one of the big issues with picking a keyboard. There is no 'big store of keyboards' that I know of where I live where I can try these keyboards out!

Where are you located? I can check and see if there are any Kinesis resellers near you with a showroom.

Also, even if there are no showrooms nearby, you can still try the Freestyle and/or Advantage since Kinesis has a 60-day money back guarantee, which is usually more than enough time to decide if you like the keyboard or not (most people will know within the first couple weeks or so). If you buy direct from Kinesis, there are no restocking fees. The only thing you'd have to pay for is shipping. Many other ergo resellers have similar policies as well.

Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 06 November 2012, 22:42:11 »
Quote
... you can still try the Freestyle and/or Advantage since Kinesis has a 60-day money back guarantee..

I checked the fine print, to return a keyboard one has to pay for fully insured return shipping. Which looking at USPS and others seems to run for around $30. Which is a huge chunk of the price of the keyboard!

Plus Side: Kinesis's corporate show room (I just found out) is about a 30 minute drive from where I live.
Minus Side: It's only open M-F 8-5 PM. :(

Offline natas206

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 07 November 2012, 10:19:55 »
Quote
... you can still try the Freestyle and/or Advantage since Kinesis has a 60-day money back guarantee..

I checked the fine print, to return a keyboard one has to pay for fully insured return shipping. Which looking at USPS and others seems to run for around $30. Which is a huge chunk of the price of the keyboard!

I work at Kinesis and it doesn't matter if you fully insure the return shipping or not. It's recommended (in case something were to happen to the shipment) but not an enforced policy at all. Standard USPS should be under or around $10.

Quote
Plus Side: Kinesis's corporate show room (I just found out) is about a 30 minute drive from where I live.
Minus Side: It's only open M-F 8-5 PM. :(

If you ever have the time we'd be happy to show you what we have. :)

Also since you're so close to us, shipping should be pretty cheap and obviously fast.
« Last Edit: Wed, 07 November 2012, 10:22:18 by natas206 »

Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 07 November 2012, 10:28:00 »
Natas206, well at the risk of pushing my luck, any hope of getting FreeStyle2 with MX Cherry Browns?!?!?!?!?!? Tell your corporate overlords that anyone willing to pay over $100 for a keyboard also wants better key caps. :)

Also, am I hallucinating or does the Kinesis Advantage (NOT LF) use cherry browns?

Offline natas206

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 07 November 2012, 10:54:59 »
Natas206, well at the risk of pushing my luck, any hope of getting FreeStyle2 with MX Cherry Browns?!?!?!?!?!? Tell your corporate overlords that anyone willing to pay over $100 for a keyboard also wants better key caps. :)

We're actually looking into a Cherry Freestyle keyboard. Nothing concrete yet but I'll certainly let you and everyone else know once new info comes in.

Quote
Also, am I hallucinating or does the Kinesis Advantage (NOT LF) use cherry browns?

Yep that's right. We've used Cherry browns in our Contoured keyboard for 20 years now.

From my understanding Kinesis is partially responsible for the creation of the Cherry brown switch. 20+ years ago the owner asked Cherry to make a tactile, low-force switch without the "clicky" sound of the blues, and the browns were the end result. Cherry liked them so much they ended up using them for some of their own keyboards and eventually mass produced them.

Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 00:52:53 »
Today was extremely educational for me and I thought what I found might be of some interest to this group.

It turns out that folks in my immediate area of the building have a Kinesis Advantage w/LF keys and a 10 key that uses the cherry browns, a free style and a different keyboard with cherry blues. Playing with all four types of keys was extremely educational and really helped me understand what I want.

First off, the free style. I can understand why it's such a useful design for folks with serious RSI issues. But I don't have any RSI issues. I use a split keyboard because it's more comfortable and the layout of the 4000 allows me to type for hours with absolutely no problem. So while the super duper flexibility of the Freestyle is a huge feature for folks who need it, I really don't. So for me the difference between the 4000 and the Freestyle is just an issue of how the keys feel. And there I can honestly say that while the freestyle is a bit better than the 4000 it's not nearly 'better enough' to justify the price difference for me. Again, this reflects my own needs and isn't an attack on the freestyle. It's just that the things that make it more expensive aren't things I need.

I played around with the Kinesis Advantage w/LF keys for a bit and while the keyboard layout is a bit different it really wasn't that big a deal. The person letting me use the keyboard was actually quite shocked. He said most people who try the keyboard run away screaming but I was able to type on it pretty easily (with the exception of return and shift but I am confident I could get used to them eventually). But what I really learned is - I HATE LF KEYS!! Wow, they were awful. Just all mush. I bottomed out on every keystroke. It was horrible. Now, to be clear, the owner of the board loves the keys but he isn't a fast touch typist.

On the other hand the 10 key add on with browns was awesome! It had a great feel. I loved how it had the mid point push back so I had the tactile feedback that let me know the key had hit without having to bottom out.

I also tried a cherry blue keyboard. Again, I loved the feel! It was awesome. But it was quite loud, although not quite as loud as I had thought it would be and not that much louder than the browns.

But now I actually know exactly what I want. A cherry brown split keyboard with true 10 key (e.g. no overlay). Yes, I could just buy the advantage and the external 10 key addition but good lord that would be north of $320 by the time I was done with everything. And given it's different lay out I pretty much would have to get one for the office and I would probably start having issues with my laptop. So that just doesn't make sense for me. (Again, for me, remember, I don't have any real RSI issues, I just find split keyboards to be more comfortable)

I suspect if Kinesis (or Goldtouch) came out with the Freestyle (or Goldtouch V2) with cherry browns I'd probably just forget about the 10 key in the short term and plunk down my money. But the advantage is just too much money and too much of a change given my personal needs.

So the good news is that I really know what I want and why. The bad news is - what I want doesn't exist.

I'm bummed but such is life. I still have to replace my 4000 because of the broken semi-colon key. At this point I just don't see a real choice other than buying another 4000. Although I suspect I'll dream about the Das Keyboard Professional Soft. Those cherry browns are sweet.

Offline Lanx

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 01:09:10 »
do you need the 10key for accounting or something.

Something you'd learn later on, is that with the matrix layout using the numrow in the kinesis is almost as good as using a 10key (again i was someone who did not want to give up my 10key at all), i don't use the fake numpad built into the kinesis, i just use the numrow.

Offline dorkvader

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 08:28:58 »
I do get the wanting a tenkey, to be honest. I like TKL keyboards as much as the next guy, but I use the tenkey to enter numbers almost exclusively. I am certain I'd be okay with an add-on tenkey, though.

@OP: I don't think you'll find anything that similar enough to the MS ergo 4K than the MS ergo 4K. It's what you've been using, what you know and love, you may be best suited just buying another.

There aren't as many split/bent keyboards with tenkeys, but they do exist. I don't like ALPS, but the northgate omnikey evolution might be good. If you find one, it'll probably be expensive, though. It's somewhat of a rare collector's item. Here's a picture (Courtesy of Webwit at Deskthority) :
Link to DT topic http://deskthority.net/photos-videos-f8/ergonomic-keyboard-parade-t336.html

Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 10:44:12 »
Regarding 10 Key, it's not a make or break. Sorry that my post made it sound like such a huge deal. If I found a split keyboard with cherry browns, a 'normal' key layout (e.g. not like the Advantage), that works well with the Mac, I would probably just buy it. But even that keyboard doesn't seem to exist.

Offline Gerk

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 10:52:48 »
If you get the chance to try out someone's Goldtouch (preferably v2) I suggest you still don't rule them out.  They feel pretty close to cherry brown's in terms of tactile feedback when the key has actuated, and most rubber domes don't so it might still be worth keeping one in the running until you get to play with one.  I think I actually like the feel of these keys better than cherry browns to be honest ... after a while I find that the cherry browns start to feel "gritty" (for lack of a better word).

Awesome that you got to have hands on time with those boards though, that's the only way to make the decision properly and if you don't have to shell out all kinds of $$ to do it then even better!  Good luck with your quest.  And to be honest the _only_ split/tented board I know of that has 10 key built in is the MS Ergo stuff, but if you find anything out please post here and let us know!

I honestly don't understand why there is such a hole in the market, you would think that there would be at least a decent market for split boards with mechanical switches that don't reinvente the wheel in terms of layout ... but apparently no one is willing to risk it :(
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Offline natas206

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 11:31:25 »
Regarding 10 Key, it's not a make or break. Sorry that my post made it sound like such a huge deal. If I found a split keyboard with cherry browns, a 'normal' key layout (e.g. not like the Advantage), that works well with the Mac, I would probably just buy it. But even that keyboard doesn't seem to exist.

As you noticed, the Advantage & the Freestyle have embedded numeric 10-key pads on the right side of the keyboard. Both are toggled by pressing a key (the Keypad key on the Advantage and the "Fn" key on the Freestyle). Some people find this much more ergonomic since you're not reaching over to the right (or left) sides of the keyboard thus it eliminates extra movement. Or of course you can simply use the number row for basic numbering. We also designed the keyboards specifically that way so that user's can have their pointing device closer to the keyboard, which reduces the reach.

Anyways...it sounded like a standard Advantage (Cherry Browns) might work for you, if you can get used to the embedded 10-key (or just use the number row). Other than that possibly a Cherry brown Freestyle, which we may or may not have in the near future (still waiting on the specifics, i.e cost).

Offline Lanx

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 13:46:07 »
kinesis should just copy the ergodox

Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 19:56:59 »
kinesis should just copy the ergodox

Hahahahaha!!!
:)
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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 20:48:01 »
Natas206, regarding the 10 key, when I use 10 key it's typically with a spreadsheet. In that case I need to be able to very quickly switch between 10 key and the normal keyboard so I use both intensively when doing spreadsheet style things. That's why I'm not a huge fan of the overlays because now I have to remember to hit the key to switch back and forth. This is exactly the kind of modal situation I excel (all puns intended) at screwing up. Again, it's not a show stopper and in return for cherry browns I'd put up with it.

But for me the advantage (more puns) of the advantage over the 4000 doesn't out weigh the $300+ price tag and the different keyboard lay out. Now a Freestyle2 with the VIP 3 for say $180 - $200 with cherry browns, that's something I could see myself buying.

Gerk - I have not given up on the Goldtouch. I called OfficeDepot, who carries the keyboard, but unfortunately it's online purchase only. And I checked, I can't return it to my local store. OfficeMax doesn't have any stores even vaguely close to me and Staples doesn't seem to carry it. I'm sure somewhere, someone at work has it. Now I just have to find it!

Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 08 November 2012, 23:45:55 »
I'm gonna throw out something as a value statement, so don't be offended.

Consider all the items you use or things you do. Daily, weekly, whatever. How much do you use a keyboard? On a relative scale to other things you do? I bet it's a lot, a much higher percentage than most things. I bet more than you drive. I bet more than you use your smartphone. That being said....divide the cost by the amount of time you use that item. Seems to me a $300 keyboard is a better value than the other items I previously mentioned. Kinesis keyboards are 20 years old and still working fine with no maintenance costs. That's about $1 a month. Can't say that about a car or smartphone, or the computer you use with your keyboard.

I believe the correct way to value a Kinesis is not relative to what other keyboards cost, but for what you actually receive for the price you pay. It's several times more expensive than other keyboards, but it's 10 times the keyboard, hence, a much better deal.

I think a Kinesis, for what you get, is inexpensive.
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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 09 November 2012, 11:09:43 »
Actually Input Nirvana I think your analysis makes sense. And if the Kinesis Advantage was exactly what I wanted except it was just expensive I would buy it for the reasons you stated.

But the advantage complicated things by not being what I want. I really don't want or need a different keyboard layout. I don't need or want the complications of switching from that layout to my laptop or other people's machines and back again. So the advantage is really asking me to both pay more and be more inconvenienced in return for getting nicer keys. While nicer keys are nice they aren't nice enough for all the other issues the advantage brings in.

But the Advantage isn't for people like me. I don't have any RSI issues as the moment. The person whose Advantage I used absolutely does have RSI issues and his advantage has been a blessing to him. Letting him work where as otherwise he might not.

So the issue isn't just money. If it were I'd probably just buy the thing. But it's money and convenience and for me the Advantage is not convenient. Again, this isn't an attack on the advantage. It's like the FreeStyle. If you need the flexibility it provides then I imagine it's a huge gift from heaven. But I don't. The 4000 layout works really well for me. What I want are better keys because the mushy keys of the 4000 are a bummer to type on. But I've lived with the 4000 (and its predecessor's keys) for almost two decades without real issue. So this is more about a 'want' than a 'need'.

But, that all having been said, if something like the FreeStyle or the GoldTouch was available with Cherry Browns and cost $300 I would probably still buy it (twice, once for home and once for work) for exactly the reasons you state.

But ironically it was my desire for something like the FreeStyle/GoldTouch with cherry browns that brought me to this board in the first place. I was hoping to find out something like that exists and so far it doesn't. I still have some hope that the GoldTouch keys are good enough to buy, I just need to find one to try. But now that I know I love Cherry Browns that's the obvious object of my affections. :)

Offline dorkvader

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 10 November 2012, 14:40:00 »
But, that all having been said, if something like the FreeStyle or the GoldTouch was available with Cherry Browns and cost $300 I would probably still buy it (twice, once for home and once for work) for exactly the reasons you state.

Should I put you down as interested in an ergoDOX?

Offline Lanx

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 10 November 2012, 22:24:44 »
i could spend hours, 14plus hours in my ergo chair typing and stuff, but after 2hours of driving, my back was aching driving back home from ny. i don't drive more than 1hr daily and to go longer, i would be in tears. Why am i saying this? cuz while i was sitting in agony, i kept thinking, what is it about my desk setup that makes it that much easier to deal with, than this car, and it's a new 2012 suburu, so it's not like a 70's car with a lawn chair or nuttin.

and no i believe the assessment that a kinesis is for rsi/cts patients is incorrect, it is also for preventative measures.

Offline hoggy

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 11 November 2012, 06:24:07 »
I'd say get a Kinesis advantage, failing that, wait for an ergodox. 

Or look for a cherry g80-5000.  Split, adjustable and brown switches.   Sadly,they haven't been made for years.  The Kinesis is probably a cheaper option...

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Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 12 November 2012, 08:56:46 »
I love a good split keyboard discussion.  I agree with Input Nirvana about the reassessing the value of your keyboard based on daily use. When I am working and at home, I will be using the keyboard every day. It makes sense that I will make a good investment into the keyboard. I take this same attitude towards most things that I use everyday.

A year ago I was in the same boat as you.  So in the past year, I have bought a Goldtouch, Kinesis Freestyle, Maltron and Kinesis Advantage.  The great thing about ergonomic keyboards in the resale value. I was able to sell the Goldtouch and Freestyle for nearly as much as the purchase price. Plus, Kinesis does have a flexible return.  Getting your hands on a Maltron for cheap, however, is a different story.

The Kinesis Freestyle does have a better key feel than most rubber dome keyboards. But when I used it next to keyboards with mechanical switches, I could feel the difference.  And that modified right shift key on the Freestyle was the bane of my ownership.

Surprised that nobody has mentioned the uTron yet in this thread. I'll be the first. Although it has an abnormal layout and costs a boatload to ship from Japan. Might be way out of your price range. Here is a picture from webwit's keyboard parade on deskthority:  http://webwit.nl/input/utron/utron7.jpg.

The Kinesis Freestyle with Cherry Switches does sound intriguing.  I would like to see that.  Somebody has mentioned the Ergodox.  Can't wait for that to come to fruition.

My personal fave at the moment is the Kinesis Advantage. Did not take that long for me to learn the layout, the depressed key wells really reduce hand and finger movement, which is a huge plus and increases typing speed and decreases mistakes. I'm even typing with the Linear Feel and my mistakes are lower than any standard rubber dome that I have used over the years.

Also, Maltron, whose ergonomic design I prefer over any other keyboard, claims to be releasing a programmable model in the near future.  Now, if they could make a split version of their design...

What an exciting time in the world of ergonomic keyboards!

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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 12 November 2012, 10:46:48 »
dorkvader - I can't tell from the pictures if it's going to support a 'normal' (read: weaker) keyboard layout. E.g. with delete and return in the usual positions instead of in the middle (which I must admit that the Advantage style layout makes a ton of sense). If it will support the standard layout then yes, put me down as genuinely interested.

Lanx - You are saying that the reason to get an advantage is that it might prevent RSI issues. But this is an insurance argument and the way one settles those is with a ton of research that shows the rate of incidence of RSI, what risk factors there are and then shows that in controlled groups the outcomes for those who used the advantage and those who did not. Without that data I would quite possibly be spending $600 (for home and work) and a lot of inconvenience (due to the alternate keyboard layout) for nothing. Given that I've managed to go for more than 2 decades of hard typing without any RSI issues I'm going to have to guess that I'm not terribly prone. Now perhaps the split keyboards I've been using have helped with that and perhaps they have not, I couldn't really say. What I can say is that using split keyboards is more comfortable for me so I tend to stick with them. But none of that leads me to think I need to spend $600 for 'RSI insurance'. $40 for the 4000 might just be insurance enough. So if I do buy a more expensive keyboard it's not for the insurance but rather for the pleasure of typing on better keys.

hoggy - I saw the g80-5000 in my research and it is pretty much my dream keyboard (heck the Maxim if it had cherry browns would do just fine) but I really, REALLY don't want to deal with tracking one down and paying through the nose for it.

prdim2009 - I saw the utron on xahlee.info but I really don't want a 'different' keyboard layout, I'm not sure what kind of keys it uses, I have no idea how to get one and no idea how well it would or wouldn't work with normal English OS's.

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 12 November 2012, 11:09:13 »

prdim2009 - I saw the utron on xahlee.info but I really don't want a 'different' keyboard layout, I'm not sure what kind of keys it uses, I have no idea how to get one and no idea how well it would or wouldn't work with normal English OS's.

You're bringing back haunting memories of my initial grueling search for the proper ergonomic keyboards when I got interested in the concept. Oh, the nostalgia!

Yea, I don't have a clue how to get a uTron either. I think you have work through an agent in Japan.  Cost ends up near $800, some people have said. I am not a huge fan of the layout and I think some users have mentioned the keys are small than usual. Normal keys already are small enough for me. Plus, I am pretty attached to programmable keyboards these days so I can play around with different key layouts.  Once you get the Cadillac, it's hard to return to the Geo Metro.
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Offline Gerk

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #32 on: Mon, 12 November 2012, 16:11:12 »
Still lovin' the "great" keys on my Goldtouch v2 that cost me < $150 shipped to my door that is nearly infinitely adjustable and cost less than the majority of the mechanical key boards I've ever purcahsed. 

Just sayin' :D
Rosewill RK-9000RE (reds) | Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent (browns) | Leopold TKL (browns) | F21-7D "Mechanical Keyboard" (Blue Alps) | Filco Majestouch TKL (blues) | Goldtouch V2 x 2 | Matias Ergo Pro x 2 | Kinesis Freestyle Pro (browns) | Kinesis Freestyle Edge (reds)

Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #33 on: Mon, 12 November 2012, 23:05:24 »
My split Kinesis.....
I'm going to add the extra keys that the Ergodox has, plus the palm keys and the 2 under the shift keys. An absolutely excellent layout.

There will be a split Maltron! A difficult proposition due to how the case is made. Then the controller will be replaced, since the stock controller is of no real value after you've used a Kinesis.
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Offline TotalChaos

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #34 on: Thu, 22 November 2012, 16:28:03 »

Should I put you down as interested in an ergoDOX?

I am interested!!!!

 I have horrible terrible extreme pain!

I designed the ultimate ergonomic keyboard in 2003 but nobody listens to me :(

Ergodox is the closest I have seen.

I don't need the split.  But I need to use my thumbs more and my pinkies less.
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Offline Grimey

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #35 on: Mon, 26 November 2012, 13:46:28 »
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=37739.0

Shameless self promotion.  Better versions are in the works as well as getting a case together for the current model.
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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #36 on: Mon, 26 November 2012, 22:55:10 »
BTW I wrote up a summary of the things I learned in my (unsuccessful) search for a new keyboard at http://www.goland.org/keyboards if anyone is interested. Oh ergonomic MX Browns with a normal split keyboard layout, someday we shall find each other! :)

Offline hoggy

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 27 November 2012, 13:21:11 »
The maltron uses cherry blacks.

Maybe what you want doesn't exist or isn't available.  I benefit from swapping keyboards every so often - you've got some cheap options on your list, why not just take the plunge and buy a few of them?

GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
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Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #38 on: Sun, 02 November 2014, 18:24:42 »
It's almost exactly 2 years since this thread ended and I hope that now I can finally report that maybe, just maybe, there is success in sight! I ran across the Matias Ergo Pro (http://matias.ca/ergopro/pc/) which seems to be exactly what I want.

O.k. not exactly. They moved the right ctrl key (looking at the keyboard layout it's pretty obvious why) but honestly I just don't use the right ctrl key all that often and as it's the only key they moved I can deal with that.

All the reports say that the Matias Quiet Click Keys are sort of like the Cherry Browns (my favorite) but quieter. I like the quieter part. I've never been a fan of a noisy keyboard.

My only disappointment is that it doesn't come with a dedicated 10 key pad such as the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard comes with. But I can just keep my sculpt's keypad if necessary or spend $60 (gulp) on Kinesis's Cherry Brown 10 key (https://www.kinesis-ergo.com/shop/low-force-keypads-for-pc-mac/).

I'm honestly gob smacked that Kinesis didn't come out with a free style that included Cherry Browns, they talked about it as a possibility here on geekhack two years ago, but nothing seems to have happened.

So I just put in my pre-order for the Matias Ergo Pro. Wish me luck!

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #39 on: Mon, 03 November 2014, 20:23:59 »
Talk about a necro.  Holy cow.  Glad to know you found the one.
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Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 07 November 2014, 21:05:55 »
I think its awesome when a thread has been stagnant for a long period of time, and the content is still relevant (as it is in this case) and can be used to a new comparison/rating/update/solution, etc.

And I found your info helpful. :)
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Offline Hairball

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #41 on: Sat, 08 November 2014, 15:34:04 »
I ran across the Matias Ergo Pro (http://matias.ca/ergopro/pc/) which seems to be exactly what I want.

So I just put in my pre-order for the Matias Ergo Pro. Wish me luck!
I'm really watching that one, too.  I'm anxious to see some first impressions and reviews so let us know how it is when you get yours! :)

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #42 on: Sat, 08 November 2014, 17:34:13 »
I think you’re really going to enjoy the ErgoPro, if it’s as nice as it looks in pictures. Matias quiet switches are a treat.

Offline Gerk

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #43 on: Thu, 04 December 2014, 11:17:47 »
I've also pulled the trigger on a Matias Ergo Pro ... let's see if we get us some christmas presents.  I've also heard really good things about the Matias quiet keys.
Rosewill RK-9000RE (reds) | Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent (browns) | Leopold TKL (browns) | F21-7D "Mechanical Keyboard" (Blue Alps) | Filco Majestouch TKL (blues) | Goldtouch V2 x 2 | Matias Ergo Pro x 2 | Kinesis Freestyle Pro (browns) | Kinesis Freestyle Edge (reds)

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #44 on: Fri, 05 December 2014, 19:55:05 »
The Matias Pro is about as close as I've seen to an MS Ergo 4k with mechs.  If only that 6 was on the left-hand side :(

Offline Gerk

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #45 on: Fri, 05 December 2014, 20:24:44 »
The Matias Pro is about as close as I've seen to an MS Ergo 4k with mechs.  If only that 6 was on the left-hand side :(

I totally agree there ... but if that's the only thing I have to suck it up on I guess I will just have to get used to it ;)
Rosewill RK-9000RE (reds) | Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent (browns) | Leopold TKL (browns) | F21-7D "Mechanical Keyboard" (Blue Alps) | Filco Majestouch TKL (blues) | Goldtouch V2 x 2 | Matias Ergo Pro x 2 | Kinesis Freestyle Pro (browns) | Kinesis Freestyle Edge (reds)

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #46 on: Fri, 05 December 2014, 20:35:55 »
The Matias Pro is about as close as I've seen to an MS Ergo 4k with mechs.  If only that 6 was on the left-hand side :(

I totally agree there ... but if that's the only thing I have to suck it up on I guess I will just have to get used to it ;)

I'm contemplating going back into playing WoW.  The 6 on the left hand side becomes pretty critical at that point.  For now I'm holding out to see what comes of AcidFire's keyboard since I really don't want to be spending cash on another board right now.  There was also talk in the GH-122 thread on an ergo version of that.  Now that's something I would most definitely consider!

I've got a 4k at work and a Ducky G2 Pro at home so I'll live without an ergo board at home for the time being.

Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 18 February 2015, 16:12:43 »
I originally put in my order for the Matias on 11/2/2014 and I just got notified that I didn't make their first shipment. So now I'm scheduled for the second shipment which isn't supposed to be finished until the end of March so presumably I won't be seeing the keyboard until April. Wow, 5 months on pre-order. Sigh. Still, I'd rather they take their time and get it right than stick me with a crappy board. They sent along some pictures of the production process and the keyboard looks awesome!

I also saw https://ultimatehackingkeyboard.com/. It's vaporware right now but it's still awesome to now see two split qwerty keyboards with mechanical keys! Although I like the Matias better as it has flexible stands and wrist rests built in.

On a related note I pulled the trigger on an Omega Everest (see http://www.goland.org/sitstandwalkdesk/). It has an awesome keyboard tray but given it's steep angle I have no clue how I'll use the Matias with it. Most likely I'll have to create some custom holder. But oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
« Last Edit: Wed, 18 February 2015, 17:45:59 by 5Uus03mo88G7 »

Offline Hairball

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 18 February 2015, 16:39:39 »
I originally put in my order for the Matias on 11/2/2014 and I just got notified that I didn't make their first shipment. So now I'm scheduled for the second shipment which isn't supposed to be finished until the end of March so presumably I won't be seeing the keyboard until April. Wow, 5 months on pre-order. Sigh. Still, I'd rather they take their time and get it right than stick me with a crappy board. They sent along some pictures of the production process and the keyboard looks awesome!
Man that's a long wait.  I've been following it really close, but I'm waiting for at least a couple of actual reviews of a production keyboard before I pull the trigger.  So far though it seems to be the best one out there for my own wants & needs.

Quote
I also saw https://ultimatehackingkeyboard.com/. It's vaporware right now but it's still awesome to now see two split qwerty keyboards with mechanical keys! Although I like the Matias better as it has flexible stands and wrist wrests built in.
Woah I haven't heard of that one before.  Totally subscribed!

On a related note I pulled the trigger on an Omega Everest (see http://www.goland.org/sitstandwalkdesk/). It has an awesome keyboard tray but given it's steep angle I have no clue how I'll use the Matias with it. Most likely I'll have to create some custom holder. But oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
[/quote]
I haven't switched to the sit/stand desk... yet.  I suspect it's just a matter of time though.

Offline 5Uus03mo88G7

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Re: Split with great keys?
« Reply #49 on: Wed, 18 February 2015, 17:47:16 »
Once I get the keyboard I certainly plan on writing up a review and posting it here. I'm surprised nobody has done that it since I would have expected the folks who made the first batch to already have their keyboards by now.