Keyboard Porn

Perm url with updates: http://xahlee.org/kbd/keyboard_porn.html

Keyboard Porn

Xah Lee, 2011-06-08

When i look at computer keyboards, saliva drools from the corner of my mouth.

You know how girls do window-shopping as a life-long regular activity? and some guys do window-shopping of cars? I don't need another keyboard, i already have plenty. But, i look at them, look for them, stare at them for hours, every week. I:

• Compare their sizes, the keys on them.

• How they label their keys. Do they say Page Up or PgUp, Enter or Return? Do they use glyph like ⇧ Shift and Enter ↵? or or ? What glyph they use for Zoom In, Zoom Out, Mute, Web, Search?

• The key's positions, arrangement. Are the arrow keys in inverted T? In one row? In a cross? How's Home/End key cluster shaped? 2×3 or 3×2?

• What are special buttons and knobs they offer. Sound level controller as slider? As rotary knob? disc shaped? Touch sensitive bar? Zoom as seesaw rocker?

What's their functions, the style of the keys, their height, tactile sensations, the differences between them, their ergonomic implications, the implications for Emacs use ….

This page is a gallery of keyboards. I look and think about them.

Microsoft Wired Keyboard 200

This is the cheapest keyboard that Microsoft offers.

Microsoft wired Keyboard 200 2

“Microsoft Wired Keyboard 200” ($15) amazon

If i were to use a non-split keyboard, i'll like this. Plain and functional. Note the standard F keys, arranged in traditional 3 clusters, 4-keys each. This means you can press them without looking. Also, the keys are full-sized. Nice. Some fancier keyboard make these into one continuous row, and as flattened non-tactile buttons.

I'll take this keyboard than the ~$80 Happy Hacking keyboard any day. (See: The Idiocy of the Happy Hacking Keyboard.)

Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600

This is second cheapest from Microsoft.

Microsoft wired keyboard 600

“Wired Keyboard 600” ($14) amazon

Added are some multimedia keys. But as you can see, there's one immediate fuckup already. The function keys now became special buttons, losing the tactile quality of keys.

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 2000

This is new. Seems just came out in 2011. Not available on Amazon, but street price is $21.

Microsoft wireless keyboard 2000

“Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 2000”

As we advanced into the higher-end models, the form gets stylish, yet function seems going downhill.

Notice the F1 to F2 are now one continuous beatific row. You need to look at them to hit the correct key.

Notice that there's no gap between the arrow keys and ajacent key blocks. LOL

Also new is that they replaced the right Windows key with a Fn key. For super emacs users, this means losing a modifier key.

Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000

Microsoft digital media keyboard 3000-s

“Digital Media Keyboard 3000” ($25) amazon

Interesting is that these days they have a dedicated Flip3D button. I think this is a very nice feature. (See: Windows Flip3D, Instant Viewer, Productivity Tips.)

Also interesting is that, a wireless version, with a mouse, is actually cheaper. See: “Wireless Media Desktop 1000” ($22), amazon,

Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000

Microsoft wireless comfort desktop 5000 keyboard 2

“Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000” amazon

Notice the top buttons — one continuous beatific row. You can't feel them, but you must look!

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 6000

Microsoft wireless keyboard 6000

“Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 6000” ($30) amazon

There is a desktop set with this keyboard, named “Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000”. But actually, there are 3 generations of this keyboard+mouse set, all physically different but sharing the same name, with “v1”, “v2”, “v3” on Amazon. The v1 is dramatically different than the other two. Dunno why Microsoft named them the same.

  • “Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 v1 (B7T-00001)” (2004) amazon
  • “Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 v2 (69A-00001)” (2006) amazon
  • “Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 v3” (2008) amazon

They all got very bad reviews. Usually like connection problems.

Logitech K120 Keyboard

This is Logitech's entry level keyboard.

Logitech K120 keyboard

“Logitech K120 Keyboard” ($15) amazon

Notice that Logitech uses these symbols for the arrow keys ◀ ▶ ▲ ▼. However, the up/down triangles are also used for Page Up/Page Down keys. I see inconsistency.

Logitech Wireless Keyboard K250

Logitech wireless keyboard k250 1 Logitech wireless keyboard k250 2 Logitech keyboard k250 m305 fleur set

“Logitech Wireless Keyboard K250” ($25) amazon

This one is beautiful! On Amazon, the product name has “Dark Fleur”. The word “fleur” means flower in French. Apparantly, this is part of a series of Logitech's “Fantasy Collection”. There's a matching mouse.

Logitech wireless mouse m305 dark fleur-s

“Logitech wireless mouse M305 (Dark Fleur)” amazon

Logitech Wireless Desktop MK320 Keyboard

Logitech wireless desktop mk320 keyboard

“Logitech Wireless Desktop MK320 Keyboard” ($30) amazon

Logitech Illuminated Ultrathin Keyboard

Logitech Illuminated fullres-s

“Logitech Illuminated Ultrathin Keyboard” ($60) amazon

This is one rectilinear flatness. Notice, that instead of special extra buttons, now they are merged into the function keys. So, now to play your music, instead of pressing one button, now you have to press 2 buttons: 【Fn+F11】.

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

Logitech created a solar powered keyboard. New in 2011.

Logitech wireless solar keyboard k750

“Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750” ($60) amazon

Really love it, but not for me, because: ① Not ergonomic. ② Lack of extra buttons.

Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 (Cat Keyboard Hero)

Microsoft bluetooth mobile keyboard 6000 Microsoft bluetooth mobile keyboard 6000 3

“Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000”

This comes in 2 versions, with or without number-pad. It seems that this keyboard is also called “cat keyboard hero”, because the images on Microsoft site is named that.

  • without numbper pad. ($40) amazon
  • with numbper pad. ($44) amazon

Logitech Wireless Desktop MK710 (keyboard & mouse)

Logitech wireless desktop mk710 keyboard 1 Logitech wireless desktop mk710 keyboard 2

“Logitech Wireless Desktop MK710” ($76) amazon

Getting fancy. But for a pro typist, this is a quicker road to RSI than the $15 ones.

Microsoft Arc Keyboard

This is new in 2011.

Microsoft arc keyboard 1 Microsoft arc keyboard 2

“Microsoft Arc Keyboard” ($40) amazon

Apparantly, this is intended for those sitting in their sofa watching TV or playing games. Note the newfangled arrow button.

Microsoft arc keyboard 3

I think it's neat.

Smartfish Technologies K2418B ErgoMotion Keyboard

Now comes this smooth bull.

Smartfish Technologies k2418b ergomotion keyboard

“Smartfish Technologies K2418B ErgoMotion Keyboard” ($149) amazon

Quote from Amazon

This ErgoMotion keyboard with its patented pivot-motion design that automatically adjusts to your natural hand and wrist position is the world's first intelligent keyboard that prevents Repetitive Stress Injury. The patented DPC - Dynamic Positioning Controller automatically moves based on your use pattern capitalizing on productivity while diminishing operator hand and wrist fatigue and discomfort.

Supposedly, this keyboard moves slowly, by a built-in motor, so that your hand muscle use is not always the same from the same position, thus preventing you from getting a Repeatitive Strain Injury. But, from its beautiful modern geometric look, like Apple's keyboard, i can tell you right away it's ergonomic garbage.

All Garbage. They Are ALL Garbage!

Ok. Spend 9 hours on this now. I think that's enough keyboard geeking today. None of these keyboards i can use. They all have multitudes of serious flaws:

  • Function keys not as real keys (but lousy buttons without tactile feedback on whether the key is registered; and hard to press repeatedly (e.g. Sound Level Increase key))
  • Function keys in one fucking beatific continuous row. This makes them useless without having to look at them.
  • Multimedia keys and app launcher and other buttons merged into the F keys. This means, you have to press 2 keys, usually requiring both hands, with the Fn.
  • The keyboard is non-split. PAIN follows your typing eloquence or verbosity.
  • Flat shallow keys. Shallowness is not my style. I prefer depth and solidity.
  • I don't want a damn Fn on the bottom right. I want the Menu key and or Win key. Because, i can remap them to Super or Hyper for Emacs for many purposes. Fn key is usually hardwired and hardware-specific. That means a dead-horse squatting on your sofa.

For keyboard that i deem useful for programers or heavy typers, see: Ergonomic Keyboards Gallery.

Note: all prices on this page are from Amazon as of 2011-06.

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