In Search of The World's Best Computer Keyboard - Part 2
Update: 24 Sept 2011: I've since switched to using a MacBook Pro as my main computer - and despite previously thinking that the ThinkPad Keyboard was the world's best computer keyboard - I think the MacBook Pro backlit keyboard on my early 2011 MBP is simply the best keyboard I've ever used. The mini Mac keyboard is nearly as good - just a shame they don't make a backlit USB version (only bluetooth now).
Update: 09 Oct 2008 Well - I needed a decent mouse - and the Logitech G9 Laser mouse totally rocks. Downside.. couldn't work out how to swap the mouse on the Kensington Slimblade set.. since the wireless USB dongle reports both a mouse and keyboard. Luckily I'm warming up to my IBM SpaceSaver II and so that's the combination I'm using now.. SpaceSaver II and Logitech G9. Also received a Luxeed LED keyboard from the manufacturer in Korea.. err.. they were very kind and helpful in getting a keyboard to me, so it pains me to have to report that there are some quality and manufacturing issues with this keyboard. I was getting phantom carriage returns, and the 'F' and 'G' keys were sticking down, so no go here. A real pity because the keyboard layout is perfect. Illuminated LED keys with separate colors assigned to control keys and letter keys - was the closest I've come to the perfect keyboard setup. Sigh.
Original post... This is officially part two in my never ending quest for the worlds greatest keyboard. Part one is here - In Search of The World's Best Computer Keyboard
My IBM SpaceSaver II arrived today. Not sure what to say. The keyboard layout is perfect; compact but not too small. Everything is in the right place. No number pad which is important for me (as I mentioned in the first post) and helps to keep the keyboard square with the screen. Pros: It just works; with no special drivers it works fine in Vista (apart from an active PS2 to USB converter) - the track-point and the middle button scrolling option also works. I'm actually able to use track-point and built in mouse buttons quite well - which was a little bit surprising (although I will use a dedicated mouse). Looks nice too (the picture doesn't do it justice) and fits well with my black theme. Cons: Hmm.. key action feels very cheap compared to my ThinkPad T61p keyboard (ThinkPad keyboards are still the greatest keyboards in the world). Key height, action, spacing and travel also aren't nearly as comfortable or as refined as the Kensington Slimblade. Verdict: Good but disappointing key action - so not the world's greatest keyboard I'm afraid.
Pictured left - my current top of the pile choice - the Kensington Slimblade Media Set. My only recommendation here would be to ditch the mouse. The track-ball is too small for day to day use. Bummer. Still it's the closest there is at the moment... however...
...there's another candidate out there - one to check out for sure.. the Luxeed LED Keyboard. This one will be fun try. Amazingly - they've gone for nearly the same keyboard layout as the SpaceSaver II (and not as mad as the Maximus Optimus - which I would also have gone for had they made the number pad detachable) . CTRL-Windows-Alt - are just the way I like them all on their own to the left of the space bar (no pesky function key). If the key action is as smooth or even close to the feel of the ThinkPad or the Kensington - this could be the winner. Will report back in Part III if I manage to get hold of one... :-)