In Search of The World's Best Computer Keyboard - Part 2

15
Sep
2008

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 Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

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.

  Kensington_01

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...

Luxceed_01

...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...  :-)

Category: 
Tags: 

Comments

I used to swear by the IBM type M (clicky) keyboard. Those were built to last (rock solid) and you felt darn productive typing on them. I miss you, IBM type M. http://www.clickykeyboard.com/ibm_chrono_gallery.htm After a few years of logitech I switched to Mac and used to various apple keyboards. My main issue is they have too many diff kinds. MB, MBP, Old White, New Metal, etc. Its a right pain changing from one kind to another. I like the new ones but I'm stuck with a MBP which has the outdated plastic one. Ugh. The most exotic (and expensive!) keyboard I have tied is the TypeMaster (seen in post below). Its quite a change, and should be used with Dvorak layout. I was getting the hang of it and can see its probably faster but the problem was switching between it and standard laptop keyboard when I left my desk. Its still on my desk. http://nubyonrails.com/articles/the-mechanics-of-programming So I'm stuck with the MBP keyboard for now. Which is a bit shit really. Poor hands.

Hi Luke Do you meant the TypeMatrix? Yeah - if you look around - you'll see quite quite a number of blog posts on the topic. Really don't understand why there haven't been better keyboards around from the beginning. Microsoft and Logitech are starting to improve. Theres' even a new Logitech LED keyboard on the way. But... I really have noticed a difference in terms of improved posture and reduced repetitive strain by having a separate number pad; pulling in the mouse that little bit closer and being able to keep the keyboard square with the screen does make a difference. Have seen the clickykeyboard stuff before as well. There is even an IBM Model M with the same layout as the SpaceSaver II - but no windows key (although it's a doddle to map the right CTRL-Key). I've got my hopes up for the Luxeed LED keyboard - the Koreans make some pretty good gear, so fingers crossed this is a good one - the keyboard layout is perfect.

There is Microsoft Sidewinder X6. It's gaming keyboard but it has detachable numpad and looks nice.

Thanks for that - the Sidewinder X6 looks good - the layout looks just right and it's backlit - will give it a try :-)

While the mini-keyboard above may be perfect if and only if you dont touch type for those of us who do there is a much better way. In form it is called a Kinesis advantage keyboard and it too will keep your keyboard directly square with the computer screen. And, as above it also lacks a numeric pad. The numeric pad is built into the right pocket and you have the option of buying anywhere from one to three footpedals that you can program to perform some basici functions. It is programmable to perform macros such as your entire address, name, or any other often repeated entry with a keyboard shortcut. Yesterday I figured out a way to make one of these keyboards produce possibly as much as 10kw of electricity as you type. The information can be found on my homepage which you should be able to access by clicking on my name above. That is provided that this forum operates in the same manner as most. If not just type lightoftheworld into your address bar and hit control and enter at the same time. You will find the post under the cover of my book: Ronald Reagan anti-Christ.

Have you tried the Kinesis Freestyle Solo? http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/freestyle_pc.htm It looks interesting, I'm thinking of taking an old cheap keyboard and sawing off the numberpad and see how that works.

I think logitech's keyboard is the best.