• Finding a good keyboard

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    #2533509

    One thing I’ve noticed lately when buying a new computer is that they EXPECT you to buy your own keyboard. The one that ships with a new desktop compu
    [See the full post at: Finding a good keyboard]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2533511

      yes indeed a good keyboard is hard to find today. I went shopping for a laptop in Sept 2022 and all the keyboards are awful ( that I tried, costco, best buy…). .the Cheap Dell is awful ( had to buy Win 11 for work- testing software- it works but never goes on line except to see if MS update breaks things)….

      I like my Lenovo Thinkpad E530, feel is good and stroke is excellent, Still it is not as good as a old mill (real typewriter ie IBM , old Royal or Underwood)….so I will keep my E530 running using Linux , I do have an E570 for a backup it is ok. IMHO the older laptops had decent keyboards….in todays’ throw away/planned obsolescence society nothing is designed to last or be decent. welcome to terrible temporary stuff as most folks will accept second rate.

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      • #2533766

        The keyboard on my HP business class laptop is great.  Alas, I mostly use the laptop on a desk with a wide-gamut monitor and a leftover keyboard from a consumer desktop.

        The keyboard that came with the wife’s Lenovo desktop is very nice.

    • #2533512

      IBM Model M.  I have about dozen or so of them from back in mid 90’s when I worked at IBM.  When we sent old machines to be scraped or resold we always kept the great keyboards.  I got to take a few home over the years…. I just had to ask.

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    • #2533523

      From the PC purchases that I have either made myself or helped others with in recent years, I’ve noticed that computers billed as business-oriented come with much better keyboards, while computers aimed at the “home” or “gaming” markets are of much lower quality. Especially the “gaming” ones: The PC vendors probably figure that gamers will typically want to select their own specialty keyboards anyway.

      The keyboards I’ve seen bundled with business PCs lately tend to be full-sized and sturdier, with the keys offering a satisfying amount of both tactile and audible feedback.

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    • #2533527

      You can find a great keyboard for your needs here.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2533531

      I use a laptop but from past experience the best keyboards are mechanical.
      Example : Das Keyboards

    • #2533542

      My daily driver is a desktop and I prefer a touch pad keyboard.  I also use a lot of keyboard shortcuts.  This keyboard has a touchpad and lots of single keys as handy shortcuts-to-the-keyboard shortcuts.  I have two of these.

      My-keyboard

      https://www.adesso.com/product/adesso-tru-form-450-ergonomic-touchpad-keyboard/

      Custom desktop Asus TUF X299 Mark 1 16GB RAM i7-7820X
      Four 27" 1080p screens 2 over 2.
      Laptop Clevo/Sager i7-9750H - 17.3" Full HD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM Win 10 Pro 22H2

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    • #2533551

      My current keyboards are first a wired Ducky DK2108SZ with solid blue light illuminated keys to match the case illumination. It is the key characters only lighting and not backlit between the keys. IIRC, the WASD keys “might” be mechanical.

      The other one on a Linux desktop build is a wired HyperX mechanical gaming board with red lighting of the key characters to match the case lighting. It too is a solid red, no pulses or wave effects that make me literally seasick. Both are traditional keys (NOT lozenge keys) that have a tactile feel and you can rest your fingers on them, although the Ducky is a bit better for that. Both also can have the lighting turned off and you still see the labels on the keys as a light gray. The HyperX also has USB 3.0 ports. I bought the illuminated keys due to eye issues, now resolved.

      My backup, that was purchased pre-2011, and frankly just as good, except for no lighting, is an older wired Kensington “Keyboard for Life” that cost about $12-15 back circa 2008. It has the 2 row tall enter key which I like but that feature is rarely seen anymore. It is supposed to be spill proof, but I have not and do not intend to test it. They still sell them for under $20 with the lifetime gurantee. I have not experienced any lag with any of them.

      All three of them are full keyboards with a number pad, and have various media keys which I rarely if ever use.

      I also have a wired Gigabyte illuminated keyboard that was incompatible with my ASUS motherboard on the Linux PC. I would have returned it but did not want to spend the return postage.

      I learned to type on an IBM key typewriter, and when I started work used a IBM Selectric (it had great key feel). The first computers I typed on were a Wang system and we had a standalone Wang mini with a Winchester drive that was so slow you could be typing and the monitor would always be at least 2 sentences behind.

      I think the reason I do not really enjoy my laptops are the lozenge keys, although the Lenovo will tolerate resting.

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    • #2533566

      Found this noppoo choc on geekhack.org back in the day. Had to cut some of the cord out at one time, to stop it from disconnecting and probably should replace it eventually. Works great for now.

      From reading r/LogitechG, the new ghub software is bad, but never tried it and still on lgs. Also had to replace switches in their mice because of double clicking.

    • #2533590

      I have a FUNC keyboard that is no longer available to the best of my knowledge. (It was an early version of a gamer’s keyboard.)

      I like a keyboard with keys that have some resistance (a bit of click). Yes, the original IBM PC keyboard was exactly how I wanted a keyboard to respond, having come from many years in a mechanical typewriter environment. The correct descriptive word for the keyboards shipped with new computers is… well, I don’t want to be that impolite!

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    • #2533609

      My current keyboard is my best in my years of using keyboards:
      This is for my Desktop which is in a large roll top desk with keyboard drawer.
      Seenda Model IWG-DHXKB01 (which I don’t think they sell any longer)
      Wired (no batteries to charge or replace)
      Backlit (I work in low lighting where the keyboard is.)
      Waterproof (coffee on my desk all the time – lost 2 keyboards before switching to waterproof. This also also makes it very easy to turn over and blow out any debris that falls between the keys.)
      Keys are normal size and just enough resistance to know that the key has been struck but not so sensitive that your resting fingers cause unwanted key strokes.

      HTH, Dana:))

    • #2533618

      Ortek MCK-101SX. Loved that keyboard back in 1990, where it was the one I bought to go with my first PC, which was also my first self-built PC.

      Now my desktop’s keyboard is a Corsair K68. I don’t use it much anymore, though.

      My Dell XPS has a passable keyboard. My Xenia 15 has the best one I have felt on a modern laptop.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

    • #2533647

      I am not a touch typist. I hate black keyboards. Even though my eyesight is excellent since cataract and eyelid surgery, I have always preferred beige or white colored keyboards.  Every time a friend I helped was e-cycling an old computer, if the keyboard was light colored, I grabbed it. I’m using a Dell Quiet Key.  I have a spare Dell QuietKey, a light colored Gateway, a yellow EZ Eyes keyboard and an IBM keyboard stored.

      Even the bluetooth laptop size keyboard I bought for my android devices is white.

      Got coffee?

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    • #2533650

      Years ago I used a Keytronic but have not been able to find them any more. I now use a “daskeyboard pro” and find it to my liking. Rather expensive but very well made, should last many years.

    • #2533675

      My go-to is still the hardwired Logitech K120: the layout, the tactile feel/feedback, the durability, and the lack of lag (vs. wireless). I even take one on the road during consulting gigs so I can type at maximum speed on my laptop. To ensure that I have have at least two on-hand (for three PCs plus travel), I usually buy one whenever Office Depot or Amazon puts them on sale.

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    • #2533683

      The Northgate OmniKey.  Now THAT was a keyboard!  To be frank, I haven’t really been happy with ANY keyboard since some blankety-blank decided to move the CTRL key away from its position to the left of the “A” key, “where God intended it” as Jerry Pournelle used to say.

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      • #2533992

        That’s my biggest gripe about modern keyboards, is the location of the mostly-useless CapsLock key.

        Years ago, I had a Northgate, and I really liked its ability to swap CapsLock and Ctrl.  To me, the problem with the older keyboards like the OmniGate and the IBM M is that they don’t support a Windows Logo key, and I’ve become pretty dependent on that.  Enough that I passed on an opportunity to pick up an old OmniGate.  Plus that the OmniGate still had the old original IBM PC connector that doesn’t fit into my current equipment.

         

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    • #2533692

      PAY ATTENTION to KEYS … I returned a Logitech K845 because I failed to note online THAT they put Symbols ( @  # ! ) NEXT TO Numbers on the keys, making smaller Fonts and a dizzy-making read.

      I Replaced my Corded, back-lit Ltech G610 with Same from Amazon as its layout, keys, etc.,  was perfect to my eyes. Took 6 years to read online that No Software needs installing to manipulate Back-lighting – No colors (ie) Hold top-Rt Lighting Button and Press 0 for Steady White, which is all I want. Press same Btn to Dim in stages.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CDYB8AG/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza?th=1

      W10 Pro 22H2 / Hm-Stdnt Ofce '16 C2R / HP Envy Desk-Ethernet - SSD-HDD/ i5(8th Gen) 12GB / Macrium Pd v8 / GP=2 + FtrU=Semi-Annual + Feature Defer = 1 + QU=0

    • #2533696

      I still use my old HP wired keyboard and buy new stickum letters as the  print deteriorates.

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    • #2533697

      We have found Nuance’s Dragon Professional v15 to be a good alternative to using a keyboard. I use it to dictate Word documents, fill-in Excel spreadsheets, compose email, search the Web, enter text directly into AskWoody replies, etc.

      Dragon Professional is impressive because it learns over time. I have been building my Dragon profile over the last 15 years.

      My Dragon profile has captured the nuances of my:

      • Computer microphone interface;
      • Vocabulary – including technical terms, proper nouns, and jargon; and
      • Patterns of speech.

      Dragon takes advantage of “Deep Learning” technology to maximize accuracy.

      In fact, only yesterday, I copied all of my AskWoody posts from the last year and pasted them into a Word document. Then I had Dragon “learn” from the document.

      Think about it. My reply to this topic was completed using Dragon Professional – with no help from a keyboard.

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      • #2533777

        Kathy

        Dragon takes advantage of “Deep Learning” technology to maximize accuracy.

        Does that use an internet connection to learn??

        BTW some dark stuff in Dragon’s past.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #2533984

          wavy

          According to Nuance, Dragon Professional Individual version 15’s system requirements include, “Internet access required: Yes for Activation” and digital downloads.

          No mention of AI related activities.

          The best that I can tell, all of Dragon’s AI related activity take place within the host PC. The AI process is CPU, Memory, and Disk intensive as well as taking a significant amount of time to complete.

    • #2533686

      Adapters: Need suggestions on reliable connectors that “convert” the round 6(?) pin connectors to usb as most newer pcs do not have the round pin connectors. I have looked on Amazon, but users seem to have problems with them – some apparently causing pc crashes. I have a 20+ yr old Dell keyboard, although not as good as IBM, is better than many new ones.

      Thanks for any suggestions.

      • #2533695

        Unicomp is the company that IBM spun off for their keyboards.
        They may not be exact ‘M’ model, but pretty close.
        Prices are not too high either.

        Based in Kentucky, so American assembled, with chips etc. being created overseas like many items these days.

        I’m always surprised they are never mentioned in keyboard reviews.

        https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/SFNT

        One thing I can’t stand is the chic let keyboards that Apple introduced many years back, these have the old IBM buckle-click feel.

         

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        • #2548623

          Yes, Unicomp all the way. The “new” Model M is the way to go.

          It’s a bit noisy but cured what I thought might be an incipient case of carpal tunnel syndrome. I’m not a doctor, but whatever was hurting stopped after I switched to the Unicomp.

      • #2533774

        Need suggestions on reliable connectors that “convert” the round 6(?) pin connectors to usb

        There have been (at least) two types of round connectors in the past — the 5-pin DIN plug and the 6-pin PS/2 plug:

        keyboard-plugs

        (Dime shown for size reference.)

        If it’s a 20-yr old Dell, it’s almost certainly a PS/2 plug. For that, I’ve had very good results with this Monoprice PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse to USB Converter Adapter. This is my favorite adapter for using an external PS/2 keyboard with a laptop.

        Though I use a wireless mouse, note this adapter has connectors for both a keyboard and a mouse. IMHE, I’ve had less satisfactory results with adapters that are keyboard-only or mouse-only, so I prefer this adapter and just leave the mouse connector empty.

         

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        • #2534789

          The connector is PS/2 (6-pin). I will order the connector you suggested as it seems to have many good reviews on Amazon. This keyboard was made in Thailand before everything moved to China so it is probably 20+ years old. I do not think it was ever used.

          Thanks so much.

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          • #2548638

            dg1261,

            I ordered the connection that you recommended from Amazon and have been using it since mid-February with no problems at all. Mouse is not connected as I use wireless mouse.

            Thanks for your recommendation. A decent keyboard is saved from the trash.

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    • #2533761

      Comes down to what kind of switch you like.  When Cherry was the only one out there you just had a couple colors to decide between, but now there are so many Cherry knock-offs it’s hard to know which way to go.  I like green switch, but that’s just me.

    • #2533792

      That Logitech keyboard looks great, but $225 is a lot of money to pay for a keyboard. If you want to go retro, get the original feel (and sound) of the old IBM PC/XT/AT keyboards, and save some cash, go to unicomp.com and look at their keyboards. I read a review of them several years back on one of the big computer magazine websites (PC Mag, I think), and they praised it to the heavens. I took a chance, bought one, and LOVED IT! Bought one immediately! It worked like a charm, built like a tank until something got spilled in it (grandkids…) and messed everything up beyond even MY abilities to fix. I’ll be buying another one shortly (depending on funds, I’m retired on fixed income). They run for just over $100 (the new Model M is the one I’m looking at, price is $104). No backlighting, but I have a desk lamp that takes care of that!

      //Steve//

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    • #2533793

      A spill should be cleanable and repairable. Take it apart and give it a bath

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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    • #2533796

      For twenty-five years and counting I have only used Microsoft Natural Keyboards like the one shown here on my home computers. The F and J keys have tactile bars for touch typing location sensing. Entirely mechanical magnet driven wire-loop sensors for the keys–no electric contact switches what-so-ever. Hands-down the best keyboard I have ever used. Easy to clean and keep clean!
      Microsoft Natural Keyboard

      HP Compaq 6000 Pro SFF PC / Windows 10 Pro / 22H2
      Intel®Core™2 “Wolfdale” E8400 3.0 GHz / 8.00 GB
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    • #2533947

      I use an Amazon Basics keyboard which works well enough for my purposes. As the name implies, it’s basic, but it’s also functional. It was purchased three years past. (There are other Amazon Basics keyboards available.)

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005EOWBHC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&th=1

      On permanent hiatus {with backup and coffee}
      offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender
      offline▸ Acer TravelMate P215-52 RAM8GB Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1265 x64 i5-10210U SSD Firefox106.0 MicrosoftDefender
      online▸ Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1992 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox116.0b3 MicrosoftDefender
    • #2533973

      IBM Model M keyboard is the best ever made.  I have 3 I got off eBay.  If you want a slightly modernized version, a company called Unicomp makes them new, they bought the tooling from Lexmark who bought it from IBM, and they are a pretty true reproduction of the original.

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    • #2533995

      In Steve Gibson’s forums, there have been some recent discussions on keyboards, and I find it interesting that there are a few that still prefer function keys on the left side of the keyboard.  I had forgotten about those.  Gibson also prefers ESC next to the numeric 1 (and above the TAB).

      I know that it’s possible to reprogram things to do preferred layouts, but that’s not something I really want to do, because I share my keyboard through a KVM switch, and where I have 2 Windows machines, as well as a Mac and  a Linux desktop, and I want the same layout regardless of which computer that I’m using.

      From further up in the discussion, I agree that keyboards designed for home use are the worst, as they’re the cheapest you can get.  I disagree on gamer keyboards.  It’s true that some are junk, but there are some very good gamer keyboards out there, as well.

      In the course of this discussion, I have not yet seen mention of Cherry switches.  There are a variety out there, to allow for different need and preference.  One with the right switches can really make a difference. See https://www.cherrymx.de/en/cherry-mx.html  and https://switchandclick.com/cherry-mx-guide/  Another good source of info (and links to specific keyboards) is https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/

      Personally, I’m using a Logitech G keyboard with Cherry MX Brown.  It’s perhaps not as clicky as I would like, but I’ve found that the depth of travel enough to make it comfortable enough.

      Ultimately, if you’re particular about the keyboard that you want, then you probably need to be prepared to pay money for that, and I’m going to suggest that $75 is is a baseline entry price for a new keyboard, and where ones with specialized switches (Cherry or otherwise) that aren’t mass-produced (or available off the shelf consumer electronics stores) may run well above $100, especially depending on layouts.

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      • #2548642

        I agree…the Cherry brown switches are outstanding. That’s what I ordered for my dasKeyboard keyboard. The feel, throw, and lack of hugely loud clacking fits my needs perfectly with my desktop.

        Laptops are another whole world. The current Lenovo Thinkpads have “better” keyboards that feel close to right and work well. My older laptop, a lenovo Yoga that comes with a stylus for the touch screen, also had a horrible cheap keyboard. I’m glad to be out of that one, because my computing world is focused on writing, not all the many other things that are possible.

        Anyway, Cherry switches!

         

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    • #2534125

      I am still using the keyboard that came with my 10-year old Dell desktop.

      For the most part, the shape of the keys and the layout are mostly like the Keychron Q6 you referenced but it has none of the special features that were touted in the ad at the link you gave.

      For me, the touch and key-spacing are much to be preferred compared to the “chicklet” keyboard that came with my new (Acer) desktop.

      Just saying,

      Scott Mills

       

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    • #2535489

      This thread totally rings a bell here, since I came to essentialy the same conclusions back in late 2021, when I was looking to replace an aging (anche cheap) membrane keyboard with something better. There is a wide range of mechanical gaming keyboards that are actually perfectly suited for non-gaming activities and the most difficult thing for me was to actually find one without RGB lights (which I don’t like) and looks that be acceptable in an office.

      In the end I picked a Logitech G413 in the black variant with red back lighting. Its looks are, shall we say, “mundane” compared to your average gaming keyboard, but that means it will not look odd or out of place in an office environment. Frankly, I would have preferred no back lighting at all, but I have been using this keyboard for more than a year now and admittedly its red backlighting is unobtrusive once you get used to it. Besides, it is possible to reduce or switch off the light entirely and that without installing any additional piece of software (albeit without software the keyboard does not save this setting once the computer is turned off).

      Honestly I thought all the talk about mechanical keyboards allowing for faster typing was purely for the sake of advertisement, but I was surprised to realize I’m actually typing faster with this keyboard. It did not occur me immediately, at least not until I was back working from the office a few days every week, where we are issued with regular membrane keyboards. A quick typing test with the office keyboard and the G413 at home showed the mechanical keyboard really allow me to type faster.

      As far as my specific Logitech keyboard is concerned (G413), the only – not necessarily minor – drawback is that after around 1 year of use some keycaps are “peeling” and the keycap for the “A” key in particular now looks mostly transparent. Logitech keyboards use their own type of switches (so-called “Romer-G” switches), so finding good replacement keycaps is not the simplest of things: there seems to be few providers of keycaps compatible with the Romer-G switches, as opposed to e.g. the more widely used Cherry switches mounted on mechanical keyboards from many other manufacturers, and those making quality keycaps rather than cheap stuff that will peel off faster than the originals seem to be even fewer.

      Still, I don’t think that I will go back to a membrane keyboard if I need to replace my G413. On the other hand, I will likely pay more attention to the material the keycaps are made of for my next keyboard and pick something more durable.

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    • #2548524

      I’ve just discovered this thread, and surprised no one mentioned Matias. I use a Matias Pro 4, and OK their keyboards are not cheap, but I can see mine lasting 20+ years, no problem.

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    • #2548541

      Here’s a thread I started on this very topic:

      https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/where-to-buy-an-original-ibm-model-m-clicky-keyboard/

      I just found out that Clicky Keyboards, the company that refurbs and sells IBM Model M keyboards, has gone way up on the price. Expect to pay almost US$300 for a refurbished IBM Model M keyboard if you buy it from them.

      I have two Model M keyboards that I retrieved literally from the trash at a company I used to work at. They were still shrink-wrapped, never used, and they were about to be thrown out. I volunteered to “take them to the trash”.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
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    • #2548543

      Speaking of setting the colors on a gaming keyboard: I had a gaming mouse that kept changing colors. And I could not change the color scheme, because my computer is Linux, not Windows; and they didn’t have any program for Linux Mint that allowed you to set the color scheme. The constantly-changing colors drove me up the wall.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
    • #2548590

      I don’t know how I missed this thread.

      Reading all the enthusiasm for mechanical “clicky” keyboards, I bought a restored Northgate Omnikey a few years ago.  If I had not previously committed to something else, I might have made it my standard.  As a one-time musician, I found the audible feedback very useful.  I was faster and more accurate, for I could hear missed keystrokes and typos.  I sold the Omnikey with some regret.

      I still use the keyboard I started out with thirty years ago, the Gateway AnyKey, manufactured 1991-1997 by Maxi-Switch in Mexico.

      Gateway-ANYKEY-Keyboard

      As the photo shows, the AnyKey is a so-called “battlecruiser” keyboard, with two rows of function keys on the left side.  Windows 3.1 and a Gateway computer turbocharged my consulting practice starting in early 1993, and when I took a management job in late 1995, I married an AnyKey keyboard to the computer at the office.  I knew I was in trouble the first time an employee asked me to use her computer momentarily–I couldn’t get used to the smaller keyboard or the layout.

      The AnyKey has certain objective advantages.  As the name suggests, it is completely hardware-programmable, including macros.  My programming has been limited to killing the Caps Lock key and some other minor changes.  The other big factor for me is touch.  The AnyKey has better action than the typical mushy rubber-dome keyboard, but not as “clicky” as the IBM Model M, Northgate Omnikey, and other mechanical keyboards.

      Thirty-year-old keyboards fail in several ways including capacitors drying out and/or swelling, printed circuits breaking, and the consequences of hard falls and other abuse.  The action may go mushy from hard use or exposure to dirt.  The EEPROM memory sometimes goes bad.  I had one newly-purchased AnyKey that had the best touch of any that I had owned, but which malfunctioned.  I saved it by swapping the EEPROM memory board with one from a parts unit.

      After that, I decided to keep one AnyKey sub-model, the 211, manufactured during 1991 and 1992, and sell the 212’s in my little collection.   I have found the 211’s and 212’s more likely to have crisp action than models manufactured from 1994 onward.

      If a nice clean model 211 popped up for sale during the last ten years or so, I bought it.  About half of those I purchased proved worth keeping, but in time I ended up with only A+ keyboards.  Their number is limited by the need to rotate units to keep the electronics viable.

      The AnyKey comes with either an AT or PS/2-style plug.  Cheap adapters will connect AT to PS/2.  My computers have PS/2 ports, but three computers ago I used the AnyKey with a consumer-grade HP that only had USB.  Conversion from PS/2 to USB can be a little tricky.  Here again, there are cheap adapters, which may or may not do the job.  I found that I needed an “active” adapter.  My experience, which matched what I read online, is that it may necessary to try a few adapters to find the one that works.  An Adesso active adapter worked for me.

      Susan’s point about gamers and good keyboards is well taken.  I am not a gamer, but anyone who wants fast, don’t-have-to-think-about-it typing is looking for some of the same things.  I have read many posts by gamers who value the programmability and quasi-clicky action of the Gateway AnyKey.

      I offer no justification for continued use of the AnyKey keyboard other than the points made above, and sheer familiarity.  Photographers like to say that you should come to know the camera so well that it “gets out of the way” of making great photographs.  The same is true of the user interfaces for desktop computers.

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      • #2549969

        I forgot to add that an important consideration for me was the Gateway AnyKey’s oversize reversed-L Enter key.  After being spoiled by it, I was totally unable to relate to a one-row height Enter key.

        The Northgate Omnikey and Avant Stellar also had the larger Enter key.

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    • #2548596

      I love mechanical keyboards.

      Here’s a few opinions based on my research on the subject and my personal experience. There might be something better out there, but it is a good start for someone who doesn’t want to go to the trouble of researching the subject and wants a great keyboard.

      Those with Cherry MX brown keys have a great feel and are good for a mix of gaming and typing while being not too loud. They are a bit like Cherry MX blue but quiet.

      I actually love the loud clicky sound of the Cherry MX blue keys, which is best for typing according to many. I would rate those as the most satisfying in terms of feel.

      I just bought one keyboard with Cherry MX red keys. Those are linear, not bumpy, faster keys, apparently better for gaming, but more prone to errors while typing. They seem to be the best mix between speed and not accidentally triggering a key during gaming. There are other keys like black or silver, but none seemed to be actually worth it vs red. I wanted to try the red to see the different feel and see if I can actually type faster without making more errors. Some people do. I think I prefer the feel of the brown and blue, though, even if red might be faster for typing if you are good at avoiding errors. Maybe I just need to get used to the feel.

      As for other brands of keys than Cherry, I didn’t research them because I did most of my research a while ago and what was good is still good, although there might be some better keys now. Durability is a more important factor for me and I know Cherry MX keys are durable. Some high performance keys might not be as durable.

      N-key rollover means how many keys you can press at the same time. I indirectly learned what it was by playing World of Warcraft a long time ago and being unable to play properly because I had too many keys to press at the same time and a lot of keyboards are limited to registering not that many keys pressed at the same time. Full N-key rollover might be a desirable feature for you. Sometimes it might only be available on the PS/2 connector if the keyboard supports both PS/2 and only supports 6 keys on USB. Check carefully.

      As for looks, I strongly prefer a very neutral, no frills, professional looking keyboard with no RGB lights and no gaming look. I don’t need programmable keys or media keys and I want 3 lights to know if numlock, caps and scroll are activated, all of this at a reasonable price.

      I got a Rosewill RK-9000 v2 in the past the fit that bill. It was a great price for a good quality keyboard with full n-key rollover on PS/2, although the caps are ABS and not PBT. ABS keycaps can become shiny and get erased faster than the double shot PBT keys, which are textured and more durable. My keycaps are shiny in many places, but I still can see all the letters very well. Unfortunately, Rosewill now seem to only make more gamer looks keyboards, although maybe the RGB can be turned off.

      My last purchase is the new Filco Majestouch 3 which has PBT keys, full N-key rollover on USB, wired (I didn’t take the bluetooth version). It is an upgrade to the Rosewill at a reasonable price and fits all my criterias above.

      Those two keyboards are full-size keyboards. Many people now and ergonomics specialists will say to get a smaller keyboard (tenkeyless) so your mouse is closer to you and it strains your wrist less because it stays straighter to your body. I am of the school of thought that you should avoid using your mouse as much as possible while working (learn those keyboard shortcuts, you will work so much faster) and I use the numpad a lot, so my choices of keyboard are full-size ones. If you game a lot or use your mouse a lot, you might be better served with a tenkeyless keyboard.

      While we are on the subject of keyboard, I might add a comment about mouses. I researched mouses after being mad spending money on gaming mouses for first person shooters that stopped working after 6 months because they double-click when you click once. I found out most recommended gaming mouses have “performance” switches that don’t last and start double-clicking even if they brag about a high number of clicks. So I bought inexpensive Steelseries Rival 3 and 5 for gaming that doesn’t have these keys and they still work perfect after more than 2 years.

      Last, I only buy wired products. They cost less and they, at least when I researched a while ago, offered better performance for time-sensitive gaming. You might have good reasons to avoid wires so the models I suggested here might not be for you, but I hope it gives you a better idea what to get. The Filco has a bluetooth version.

       

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    • #2548593

      One thing I’ve not seen mentioned here is after you have found the perfect keyboard, how do you clean it?

      My solution is NOT RECOMMENDED for anyone else to use: I run it through the dishwasher!  You might think twice about doing this with your high-end model, but I’ve used it on a wide variety of keyboards, and I don’t mean the crappy ones that used to be sold with a desktop.

      What I do (and not what you should do), is remove batteries and anything else removable (e.g. cords), place it on the top rack, keys facing down.  I have not resorted to removing the keycaps, but I would consider that if I had much intra-keycap detritus.  I load up with dishes and the other usual dishwasher items, and wash away.  After the dry cycle, I am looking at a keyboard as clean as when I bought it.  It still has water inside, so I stand it on a corner, preferably in a window with sun exposure, back facing the sun with a towel underneath, and wait a few days for it to drain and dry completely.  Of course, this means I need to have a spare keyboard to use while I wait.

      This method has never failed me, starting with lovely old Model M keyboards.

      As I do not recommend any one else clean their keyboard this way, I don’t have to ask you to keep an open mind and be gentle when responding.  On the other hand, comments on how crazy I am are most welcome.

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      • #2548601

        The instructions that came with the restored Northgate Omnikey that I bought sternly warned not to use canned or compressed air to blast stuff out from between the keys, as that would only jam it into the keyswitch mechanism.

    • #2548597

      I have been using Das keyboards for several years. I have (2) Das Keyboard 4 Professional keyboards at work with the Cherry MX Blue (“clicky” keys). I recently bought a Das Keyboard 6 Professional that has illuminated keys. These keyboards feel like the old IBM Selectric Typewriters from the seventies.

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    • #2548637

      Just happened upon this and out of curiosity had to take a look, figured I’d see some familiar old relics. I never really learned typing skills, my schools didn’t offer it to the math/science oriented back in the dark ages. I never even had a really good typewriter, just something to get me by to type out reports in college so I learned a hunt and peck style that worked for me. So, I never got into any keyboard feel “groove”. My first was whatever came with the original IBM PC at work in mid 80s. Personally I did originally have the gateway anykey someone posted above, but it got stolen due to a theft event long ago. When usb became a thing, I eventually bought a Microsoft kb, not the natural which my wife liked but I never liked the wrist positioning, so got a standard Microsoft kb, sadly squishy keys that I’m not even fond of using. About 10 yrs ago as I transitioned to consulting and part-time jobs, I started using a laptop regularly which my employer at the time bought for me. They normally used IBM/Lenovo T series which I find have decent keyboards. My wife still uses the T series with num pad and a fairly normal layout and seems to have a decent tactile feel. My predecessor at the company left behind a Logitech k750 solar rechargeable wireless, so I started using it. It’s been great for my needs. The low profile travels well, the keys feel decent for such a low profile, actually a mechanical feel to me, the original battery lasted 7 yrs and was easy enough to find and replace so the kb is still working like new, plus for my preferred wrist positioning, I like the very flat low profile so my wrists can remain neutral when I sit at the desk. We bought this model kb for most of the laptop users and most really like it. My wife types well and she finds this kb has a nice tactile feel and has become her go to kb, plus travels well for her as well. I’m sure an old school mechanical aficionado would not be impressed, though, so not recommending it. Just relaying personal info in case there may be other less fussy or non-typists like me stumbling upon this thread who would like a decent feeling wireless kb.

    • #2549768

      If you are really fastidious in your requirements for what constitutes a good keyboard, you will know that they are all pretty much CRAP in recent years, and that there is no adequate substitute for the Real McCoy.  Avant Stellar was the (sadly discontinued) successor to the NorthGate OmniKey design, and for certain demanding preferences arguably the best there ever was.  That is why a used specimen in very good condition can command $400. or more on eBay.  I got super lucky in finding an unopened box of one for sale, from Hawaii of all places.  I pray that I never need to attempt to source another one !

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    • #2549813

      I’ve just discovered this thread, and surprised no one mentioned Matias. I use a Matias Pro 4, and OK their keyboards are not cheap, but I can see mine lasting 20+ years, no problem.

      Thank you, thank you, @<span class=”bbp-author-name”>WSbxcfilm</span>!  I work on sit-stand hardware, and the ones I use have pretty small spaces for the keyboard & mouse.  My solution has been to get tenkeyless keyboards, but the only decent mechanical ones I’ve found are for gaming.  I’ve never heard of Matias (https://www.matias.ca/products/); they have a gamut of mechanical keyboards, including “quiet” tactile versions, and several tenkeyless-type designs.  I’m going to try one out.  And they’re made in Canada!  What could be better?

    • #2549902

      For a long time it has been possible to get laptops with a fingerprint reader incorporated in the keyboard and with the emergence of Windows Hello in Windows 10, I soon expected a variety of keyboards to be available with this incredibly useful feature, that has transformed mobile phone usage (and is helping edge Windows towards obsolescence for consumers).

      I am still waiting. There is the hideous Microsoft Modern Keyboard, but not much else. I have had to resort to a separate device at an eye watering price (great with RoboForm, not so good with Keeper where the fingerprint window is often not “in focus” when it is launched, spoiling the convenience).

    • #2549955

      I forgot to include a few important mentions in my post from yesterday.  The first of those was the assembled-in-America Unicomp keyboards, noted above in posts starting with one by <span class=”bbp-author-name”>jniffen</span> dated 2/12.  Besides my own well stocked home office, I try — as best I’m able — to cover the IT needs for a satellite office that we maintain in another nearby town.   For both locations I have purchased a few of the original Unicomp Model M.  What I found is that they seemed to be pretty good, and notably better than what else was still generally available on the market, but that they proved to be not nearly as durable as the NorthGate Omnikey (of which I’ve gone through a few over the course of many years), nor certainly as compared to the aforementioned Avant Stellar, which was even better in that regard.  At some point, within a couple years of use, something can give out on the Unicomps.  I’ve had one or two specific key failures (but not of the same key) on two of the Unicomps.  In one case they repaired this, I think for a nominal fee plus shipping.  However, the fix did not last.  With another of these keyboards, I was going to send it back for such repairs,  but never got around to it . . .  and then the extended pandemic intervened.  I have to contrast this limited longevity record for our Unicomps with the NorthGate Omnikeys, which survived several years of daily hard use, and with the Avant, of which I’ve yet to have one fail in any way.

      Unicomp now seems to be selling a “new Model M”, with some different components and a production backlog being noted on their website.  I would not hesitate to try one of these, our past experience notwithstanding.  Here are some of their links, always assuming that website info remains viable:

      https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/NEW_M

      https://www.pckeyboard.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=UB40B5A

      https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/category/IBMKBD

      https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/CTUS

      For other, quite different circumstances where a wireless keyboard may be beneficial, I think the choice would come down to a Logitech model.  I’ve found Bluetooth to be rather flakey (with frequently dropped connections), so I favored an RF or an IR based model.  This was to provide keyboard input to particular items in a video gear stack.  Of course, this requires the use of a receiver dongle, which would connect to the compatible item via a USB port.  And there are some handheld, remote-style alternatives.

      I was not previously aware of the suggested avoidance of using compressed air to clean out dust etc. from certain keyboards, having done that for years.   In the event that indeed happens to be a bad idea, what I’ve more lately taken to doing is to turn them upside down for a good shaking, then to go over them with a long bristle keyboard brush, followed by a good vacuuming.  There are smaller portable vacuums with good suction that are promoted for use in office situations.  I got one from the Vermont Country Store catalog, but there are others.  If you happen to have a more dusty environment, there are probably still some vinyl keyboard covers on the market.

      Finally, there was a firm that specialized in repairing NorthGate keyboards.  I don’t know if that extended to Avants as well, or whether they are still in business, nor can I vouch for them based on any personal experience.  But if anyone is interested, I will scour the archives for that info and see whether they are still around.

    • #2549975

      versize reversed-L Enter key

      I miss those.

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