Author Topic: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)  (Read 14051 times)

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Offline AlphaEta

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Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 13:20:45 »
I feel like its difficult to identify one "best" ergonomic keyboard. So I was hoping to get some details on who chooses what and why?

For example. I like the xyz keyboard because I mainly code and I don't game. I find this keyboard good for coding because of a, b, c. It also helps with my carpal tunnel, etc. It is great except for etc, etc, etc.

I think this would help people looking to get into ergonomic keyboards and want to know the pro and cons to each keyboard and for what purpose people find them useful for.

Offline Oobly

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 16:13:03 »
I use my own design DIY ergo board because it's awesome. /post

Okay, pros: For typing (and coding), it feels great, I can keep my hands in "home" position at all times, all modifiers are accessible and all important keys are at most 1 key position away from the natural resting position of my fingers or thumbs. The hands are tented and splayed, the thumbs press inward instead of down and the pinkies aren't overworked. Good ergonomics for better long term health of my fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders.

I game on it for mostly the same reasons.

Cons: It takes time and practice to get used to the character and physical layouts.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline SonOfSonOfSpock

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 16:51:02 »
There are several bad wrist/shoulder/hand positions that most keyboards either force you to do or make it really easy to do. Instead of focusing on specific models of keyboards, it might be more helpful to learn those bad wrist/shoulder/hand positions. Then it'll be a lot easier to look at ergonomic keyboards.

Kinesis has a page on their website that explains these issues better than I can: http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/awkward_postures-c.htm


Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 16 December 2013, 18:10:03 »
The only Cons to the ergodox, that I can think of is that the first thumb button is 1 centimeter too far inwards..

It is superior to every keyboard in every way outside of that.

Offline hoggy

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 17 December 2013, 01:34:34 »
Best for me is probably slightly different to best for you.  We can help you more if you tell us why you are looking for an ergonomic keyboard.

What I like about this subforum is that we don't roll our eyes everytime some one asks for a recommendation.  I'd rather attempt to give advice based on their needs, rather than my preferences.  If we created a ranked list of keyboards, the danger is that someone will fall between the cracks.

« Last Edit: Tue, 17 December 2013, 01:38:24 by hoggy »
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline hoggy

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 17 December 2013, 01:38:51 »
That said, there are some bad ergo keyboards out there...
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline SonOfSonOfSpock

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 17 December 2013, 09:50:44 »
I agree with hoggy, there is no single solution that will work for everyone.

Other factors:
Price - not everyone can or wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a keyboard. For some people, the expensive options are the only thing that will allow them to continue using a computer.
Retraining to a new layout - some people just want a simple change, other people are up for larger more drastic changes.

Offline daerid

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 20:02:53 »
The only Cons to the ergodox, that I can think of is that the first thumb button is 1 centimeter too far inwards..

It is superior to every keyboard in every way outside of that.
Show Image


Pretty much this, except for me the thumb cluster is in the perfect location.

Offline Proword

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 20:56:05 »
For my money I wouldn't go past Maltron.  Converting from QWERTY to the Malt layout was pretty easy, especially considering that I was working in two different jobs, only one of which let me use the Maltron.  In 1990 I trained as a court reporter and spent my time since then (semi-retiring in 2008-9) using the Maltron to transcribe audio recordings at the speed of speech (ie 150-180 wpm) for hours on end.  I started initially using a QWERTY, but then I was able to use the Maltron, and the difference was quite marked.  I'm now 63 years old, I've been using a keyboard (manual typewriter then computer) since 1967, and although I suffered a sporting injury to my right wrist such that I had to change my mouse hand, I've never had any problems with symptoms of keyboard related injury using the Maltron.  The Malt key layout reduces considerably the amount of travel/reaching that my hands/fingers do compared to the QWERTY distribution.

This video shows the Maltron keyboard with the QWERTY layout.


This video shows the same physical keyboard but using the Malt layout


Also notice how much time the QWERTY typist spends with her hands hovering over the keyboard, using major muscle groups in the arms and shoulders, whereas the Malt layout means that the hands can rest on the built in platforms.

The keys are not staggered, so there are no microshifts to left and right to strike keys.

The keytops themselves are individually angled for the optimum finger flex.

The Maltron can be ordered with a built in track-ball set between the two thumb keypads, which reduces the amount of arm movement to operate the mouse, and gives a smaller footprint.

The central numeric/navigation/function keypad can obviously be operated by either hand.

The only con I can think of relates to only one of my keyboards (second hand) and that is the Windows function key impedes my little finger in each hand, but since I never use it, I simply removed the key cap.  But Maltron is able to offer a fairly comprehensive degree of customisation of key distributions when you order.

This keyboard is not cheap initially, but since my first keyboard I bought in 1986 is still useable (depending on the plug in the computer - no USB) it's been going without problem for 27 years.  It works out at roughly $20 per year.

For a more detailed explanation of my views, my blog might be of use to you.

http://mostergonomickeyboard.blogspot.com.au/

Further, this link is to a series of academic papers presented by both Lilian Malt and Stephen Hobday detailing some of their research and findings.

http://www.maltron.com/keyboard-info/academic-papers

Maltron 3D Dual Hand (x4)
Maltron 3D Single Hand (x2 - L & R)

Many people think their lifestyle comes at a cost - but they are quite cool with that as long as somebody ELSE pays it.

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 08:48:50 »
I have tried nearly every ergo keyboard currently on the market except the µTron, which is a split Topre board for all those not familiar.  http://deskthority.net/wiki/%CE%9CTRON

My usage is not the size of some of the other members on this board, but I have gotten a good feel for the different styles of ergo out there.  Here are the ergo keyboards I have tried/owned:
  • Kinesis Freestyle
  • Kinesis Advantage
  • Maltron Dual Handed 3D
  • Truly Ergonomic
  • Goldtouch Split Adjustable
  • Ergodox
  • tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Generally, I find the keyboards that are most ridiculously, like Maltron and Ergodox, to be the best keyboards to use.  The best layout I have used is the Maltron.  I like the layout so much that I have no desire to change the location of any key, except maybe quotation marks key.  The redesign to what a keyboard should be are the finest designs.  They take some time and effort to make the transition, but a normal keyboard is like an ancient machine after getting adjusted to an ergo keyboard.
Wish I had some gif or quote for this space, but I got nothing

Offline yasuo

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 08:54:40 »
I have tried nearly every ergo keyboard currently on the market except the µTron, which is a split Topre board for all those not familiar.  http://deskthority.net/wiki/%CE%9CTRON

My usage is not the size of some of the other members on this board, but I have gotten a good feel for the different styles of ergo out there.  Here are the ergo keyboards I have tried/owned:
  • Kinesis Freestyle
  • Kinesis Advantage
  • Maltron Dual Handed 3D
  • Truly Ergonomic
  • Goldtouch Split Adjustable
  • Ergodox
  • tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Generally, I find the keyboards that are most ridiculously, like Maltron and Ergodox, to be the best keyboards to use.  The best layout I have used is the Maltron.  I like the layout so much that I have no desire to change the location of any key, except maybe quotation marks key.  The redesign to what a keyboard should be are the finest designs.  They take some time and effort to make the transition, but a normal keyboard is like an ancient machine after getting adjusted to an ergo keyboard.
buy datahand
Logitech MK220 Colemak DH
SplitSyml by Moz BlacksMx fuk blacks

2/3 8.5pm                                          in de la my september month ya da all get my fukka "fake message"

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 09:39:27 »
I have tried nearly every ergo keyboard currently on the market except the µTron, which is a split Topre board for all those not familiar.  http://deskthority.net/wiki/%CE%9CTRON

My usage is not the size of some of the other members on this board, but I have gotten a good feel for the different styles of ergo out there.  Here are the ergo keyboards I have tried/owned:
  • Kinesis Freestyle
  • Kinesis Advantage
  • Maltron Dual Handed 3D
  • Truly Ergonomic
  • Goldtouch Split Adjustable
  • Ergodox
  • tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Generally, I find the keyboards that are most ridiculously, like Maltron and Ergodox, to be the best keyboards to use.  The best layout I have used is the Maltron.  I like the layout so much that I have no desire to change the location of any key, except maybe quotation marks key.  The redesign to what a keyboard should be are the finest designs.  They take some time and effort to make the transition, but a normal keyboard is like an ancient machine after getting adjusted to an ergo keyboard.
buy datahand
Show Image


We'll see how that datahand resurrection project goes.  But I am definitely not planning on buying any that pop up on Ebay.

Although I love ergo boards,  I sometimes get lazy and type with one hand.  So I like to keep a traditional buckling spring on hand for those moments.
Wish I had some gif or quote for this space, but I got nothing

Offline Input Nirvana

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 10:23:35 »
DATAHAND:
I had a Datahand new, and I didn't have the time to get into it. Sold it summer 2012 during my "trauma time" for $1000 just as they started to skyrocket in price. Very, very neat item but I didn't care for the side-to-side movements of the fingers. But again, I never really got into it or 'past the learning curve'. I would not buy one from ebay.

The Dodohand project is fascinating on several levels, and I'll probably kick in some $ to the project this summer if it's requested (just to be a good guy and further things along), and also maybe contribute if possible in the project. Depending on the final outcome and the price I may purchase a unit as well. I'd push for a couple small improvements over Datahand.

KINESIS ADVANTAGE:
Kurplop and I briefly discussed having the thumb cluster adjustable. This was over 6 months ago and I've been quite a bit flakey, but if the thumb cluster were to be adjustable on Kinesis, Maltron, Ergodox, the ergo aspect would be near 100%. Think about it. I have an older Kinesis that's ready to be shipped if this were to be a project to be worked on.

ALPHAGRIP:
I mention this because of the "gripping" aspect. With a next generation design the WPM could increase and could also drastically reduce movement for RSI/carpal tunnel victims. It's an idea waiting to happen. Big time.
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak
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Offline yasuo

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 10:48:38 »
DATAHAND:
I had a Datahand new, and I didn't have the time to get into it. Sold it summer 2012 during my "trauma time" for $1000 just as they started to skyrocket in price. Very, very neat item but I didn't care for the side-to-side movements of the fingers. But again, I never really got into it or 'past the learning curve'. I would not buy one from ebay.

The Dodohand project is fascinating on several levels, and I'll probably kick in some $ to the project this summer if it's requested (just to be a good guy and further things along), and also maybe contribute if possible in the project. Depending on the final outcome and the price I may purchase a unit as well. I'd push for a couple small improvements over Datahand.

KINESIS ADVANTAGE:
Kurplop and I briefly discussed having the thumb cluster adjustable. This was over 6 months ago and I've been quite a bit flakey, but if the thumb cluster were to be adjustable on Kinesis, Maltron, Ergodox, the ergo aspect would be near 100%. Think about it. I have an older Kinesis that's ready to be shipped if this were to be a project to be worked on.

ALPHAGRIP:
I mention this because of the "gripping" aspect. With a next generation design the WPM could increase and could also drastically reduce movement for RSI/carpal tunnel victims. It's an idea waiting to happen. Big time.
I think datahand better than all :) apparently..
this thumb cluster
http://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/just-share-fly-thumb-for-ergo-board-t7027.html :))
i don't think alphagrip that like gamepad
Logitech MK220 Colemak DH
SplitSyml by Moz BlacksMx fuk blacks

2/3 8.5pm                                          in de la my september month ya da all get my fukka "fake message"

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 10:49:20 »
I have tried nearly every ergo keyboard currently on the market except the µTron, which is a split Topre board for all those not familiar.  http://deskthority.net/wiki/%CE%9CTRON

My usage is not the size of some of the other members on this board, but I have gotten a good feel for the different styles of ergo out there.  Here are the ergo keyboards I have tried/owned:
  • Kinesis Freestyle
  • Kinesis Advantage
  • Maltron Dual Handed 3D
  • Truly Ergonomic
  • Goldtouch Split Adjustable
  • Ergodox
  • tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Generally, I find the keyboards that are most ridiculously, like Maltron and Ergodox, to be the best keyboards to use.  The best layout I have used is the Maltron.  I like the layout so much that I have no desire to change the location of any key, except maybe quotation marks key.  The redesign to what a keyboard should be are the finest designs.  They take some time and effort to make the transition, but a normal keyboard is like an ancient machine after getting adjusted to an ergo keyboard.
buy datahand
Show Image


The problem with the data hand is the horizontal finger movement.

You can do this in 1 of 2 ways.. and they are all bad.

stiffen finger, move wrist
stiffen wrist, move finger

they could've fixed this a bit by using 3x  pads at the bottom, one at -45*, -90*, -135*

instead of the side ways pad @ 0* and -180*

nonetheless fingers do not have enough horizontal freedom.

Offline yasuo

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 21 December 2013, 10:55:19 »
I have tried nearly every ergo keyboard currently on the market except the µTron, which is a split Topre board for all those not familiar.  http://deskthority.net/wiki/%CE%9CTRON

My usage is not the size of some of the other members on this board, but I have gotten a good feel for the different styles of ergo out there.  Here are the ergo keyboards I have tried/owned:
  • Kinesis Freestyle
  • Kinesis Advantage
  • Maltron Dual Handed 3D
  • Truly Ergonomic
  • Goldtouch Split Adjustable
  • Ergodox
  • tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Generally, I find the keyboards that are most ridiculously, like Maltron and Ergodox, to be the best keyboards to use.  The best layout I have used is the Maltron.  I like the layout so much that I have no desire to change the location of any key, except maybe quotation marks key.  The redesign to what a keyboard should be are the finest designs.  They take some time and effort to make the transition, but a normal keyboard is like an ancient machine after getting adjusted to an ergo keyboard.
buy datahand
Show Image


The problem with the data hand is the horizontal finger movement.

You can do this in 1 of 2 ways.. and they are all bad.

stiffen finger, move wrist
stiffen wrist, move finger

they could've fixed this a bit by using 3x  pads at the bottom, one at -45*, -90*, -135*

instead of the side ways pad @ 0* and -180*

nonetheless fingers do not have enough horizontal freedom.
yeah,true datahand for lazy fingers :)) RSI maybe
Logitech MK220 Colemak DH
SplitSyml by Moz BlacksMx fuk blacks

2/3 8.5pm                                          in de la my september month ya da all get my fukka "fake message"

Offline hoggy

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 14 February 2014, 07:40:11 »
Kinesis Advantage

Pros
  • 60 Return option
  • I find the hand position to be very comfortable
  • Dvorak support
  • Programmable - Each key can deliver a single key or multiple key presses.  You can program ctrl alt layers too (eg ctrl alt X can be programmed, leaving X untouched)
  • Layout shifts some load from the pinky's onto the thumbs
  • Beeps - fantastic training tool to help learn to avoid bottoming out
  • Pedal support (to be fair I didn't get on with the pedal)
  • USB hub

Cons
  • Poor quality function keys
  • No numpad (but you could rest a small numpad in the center)
  • Adaptation time
  • Difficult to replace the keyset
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline kod

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 14 February 2014, 08:56:30 »
Kinesis Freestyle

Pros
fully adjustable split / tenting
normal layout, short adaptation time
decent rubberdome
cheapish

cons
it's still a rubberdome
non-replaceable components
left hand extra row of keys isnt very useful and increases the overall width

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 14 February 2014, 09:10:38 »
tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Just in case someone reads this later and doesn't know what it is, prdlm2009 is referring to the Cherry G80-5000 ErgoPlus keyboard.

For me personally, it was the closest mechanical equivalent to the Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 which I loved. The angle and tenting fit my hands very nicely.

I've tried a Kinesis Advantage and a Maltron, owned by prdlm2009, which I didn't like since they layouts and actual physical setup didn't make sense to me. I've also tried an ErgoDox which I did like. The layout made much more sense to me, and I liked the two split halves so I can adjust them to each of my hands.
« Last Edit: Fri, 14 February 2014, 09:13:26 by CPTBadAss »

Offline yasuo

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 14 February 2014, 09:20:28 »
tried the Cherry split keyboard at a meetup

Just in case someone reads this later and doesn't know what it is, prdlm2009 is referring to the Cherry G80-5000 ErgoPlus keyboard.

For me personally, it was the closest mechanical equivalent to the Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 which I loved. The angle and tenting fit my hands very nicely.

I've tried a Kinesis Advantage and a Maltron, owned by prdlm2009, which I didn't like since they layouts and actual physical setup didn't make sense to me. I've also tried an ErgoDox which I did like. The layout made much more sense to me, and I liked the two split halves so I can adjust them to each of my hands.
maybe,you suit with symm sgg
Logitech MK220 Colemak DH
SplitSyml by Moz BlacksMx fuk blacks

2/3 8.5pm                                          in de la my september month ya da all get my fukka "fake message"

Offline nomaded

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 14 February 2014, 13:04:29 »
ALPHAGRIP:
I mention this because of the "gripping" aspect. With a next generation design the WPM could increase and could also drastically reduce movement for RSI/carpal tunnel victims. It's an idea waiting to happen. Big time.

I loved the idea of the AlphaGrip. It seemed very natural to me to hold a keyboard like a game controller. My issues with the AlphaGrip/iGrip was the flakey trackball, a few of the button locations for the thumbs, and the lack of key programming. The lack of programming could be worked around with AHK (assuming Windows, and no need to remote control other keyboards), but the flakey trackball made it really hard for me to use. I wished they had aimed for a slightly higher price point, so that it could be programmable, and had slightly better components. But I do understand the realities of trying to develop a very different keyboard interface at a non-mass market price point.
Dvorak
ErgoDox fullhand (MX Clears) w/Nuclear Green Data SA || Infinity ErgoDox (Zealios 78g tactile) w/SA Retro || Atreus62 (MX Clears) w/Chocolatier || TECK 209 (MX Browns) || TouchStream ST
Kensington Slimblade Trackball || Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman || Apple Magic Trackpad
Current Dvorak-based ErgoDox layout || Current Dvorak-based TECK layout

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 14 February 2014, 16:44:58 »
Looks like this got resurrected.

I would just add that consider the mouse you are using as well.  That affects the wear and tear on your hand, fingers, and wrists.  Heck, the mouse can have effects all the way up to your shoulder.

Personally, I found that the mouse actually was the cause of more of my RSI problems than the keyboard.  I just keep the keyboards around as a sort of RSI insurance.
Wish I had some gif or quote for this space, but I got nothing

Offline nothing4me

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #22 on: Thu, 16 June 2016, 13:01:59 »
Looks like this got resurrected.

I would just add that consider the mouse you are using as well.  That affects the wear and tear on your hand, fingers, and wrists.  Heck, the mouse can have effects all the way up to your shoulder.

Personally, I found that the mouse actually was the cause of more of my RSI problems than the keyboard.  I just keep the keyboards around as a sort of RSI insurance.
I've seen quite some mice before. Vertical mice, rolling bar mice, trackballs, trackpoint etc. Lots of choices nowadays.

Offline cryptokey

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 16 June 2016, 13:07:09 »
Looks like this got resurrected.

I would just add that consider the mouse you are using as well.  That affects the wear and tear on your hand, fingers, and wrists.  Heck, the mouse can have effects all the way up to your shoulder.

Personally, I found that the mouse actually was the cause of more of my RSI problems than the keyboard.  I just keep the keyboards around as a sort of RSI insurance.
I've seen quite some mice before. Vertical mice, rolling bar mice, trackballs, trackpoint etc. Lots of choices nowadays.

I've tried a vertical mouse before and it helped with my RSI, but all that I've seen are very low quality.  Personally, I absolutely love my Kensington expert mouse and would highly recommend it.  It's the most comfortable and functional mouse that I have tried.  Before that, I used the Kensington Orbit which was a nice mouse as well. The scroll ring is sensual.
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Offline ryahirv

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 17 June 2016, 11:31:41 »
Does anyone have any comments on vertical keyboard set ups particularly as they pertain to a standup desk?

I'm considering mounting my ergo pro halves in a vertical position on something I am building but I'm not quite sure how high the keyboards should be...

Is it bad if they are slightly lower than your upper body and down more around the waist height?

I feel like that gets closer to keyboard tray heights which always felt comfortable to me

Offline jacobolus

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 18 June 2016, 01:07:26 »
Personally I find a totally vertical keyboard to leave my wrists supinated more than my preference. I like about a 35–50° tent angle. YMMV.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any particular height, though the lower you put the keyboard, the less bent your elbow will be. The important thing is to adjust all three degrees of angle freedom based on the keyboard position. Try to keep your wrists in as neutral and relaxed a position as possible.
« Last Edit: Sat, 18 June 2016, 01:09:18 by jacobolus »

Offline localredhead

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Re: Ergo Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 01 July 2016, 14:24:32 »
edit:

surprised to see so much support for maltron in this thread
« Last Edit: Fri, 01 July 2016, 14:40:40 by localredhead »