Keyboard for Writers?

#1

Hi all,

Any recommendations on keyboards for writers/programmers? It just occurred to me as I pound away on my boring generic Dell keyboard that there might be something more comfortable out there (and more aesthetically pleasing!)

Thanks

Adam

#2

I’ve never used one, but the big thing in keyboard land is apparently keyboards with mechanical switches. Here’s a short guide.

(jkj yuio) #3

Yes! It amazes me that people who use computers all day don’t bother to upgrade to quality keyboards and mice.

Get a Filco Majestouch 2 (i type on this now), or for better value for money get a Gigabyte Force K83, which is nearly as good and half the price.

(Hanon Ondricek) #4

If you like your keyboard to click, look for a mechanical keyboard with cherry blue switches. (Cherry is the brand, the color after is the switch action…whether it’s audible, tactile, smooth, resistance… blue is the clicky ones, red is the quiet smooth ones.)

I have bought two keyboards, one mechanical, that I love in retail. They were sold as “gaming” keyboards but don’t have ridiculous paint jobs or weird extra keys - they’re just black keyboards.

My favorite is a HyperX Alloy FPS found at Best Buy for $80. It’s heavy, compact, and has a very nice fabric-wrapped cord. It clicks with genuine cherry blue switches and is very satisfying to type on.
hyperxgaming.com/en/keyboar … g-keyboard
amazon.com/HyperX-Alloy-FPS … B01LWMXIRY
It’s also cool in that the keys have backlight options. My favorite that I use is each individual key backlights red after being struck and then fades slowly. It’s very cyberpunk. It also came with a case, so is meant to be transported if you prefer to keep it with you. It also has two usb-plugs in the back, the extra is used to supply more power to the usb-charging port built into the keyboard. Also, they include a “key puller” which is nice if you want to pop the keys out and clean under them, but you can also do it by gently prying the keycaps with a paper-clip. They supply specially textured alternate WASD keycaps you can swap in if you do use it for gaming and that’s nice to find the movement keys without looking. I just left the default black ones on since I don’t usually FPS.

My other favorite is a $30 Steel Series Apex 100 Illuminate Gaming KB from Walmart. It has silent “mechanical feel” membrane keys (not mechanical, but they have a nice throw and a tactile “give”) The backlighting is blue - the actual letters don’t light - only the cracks between the keys are constantly on which was a bit distracting in my lower peripheral vision when used in a dark room. I’m using this on my work computer and it’s much nicer than the default Dell my company gave me with it. It’s a good affordable nice-feeling keyboard if you don’t want to jump to an $80-100 mechanical model right off the bat.
walmart.com/ip/Steel-Series … /197738272

Oh, and both of these have “Windows” keys, but do work properly on both my Mac and PC - on Mac the “alt” key is the Option key. Both also have dedicated number keypads on the right and arrow keys.

I actually once did order an expensive Mac “Das Keyboard” which is one of the brands some people really like, but it was way too big to fit on my keyboard shelf. I liked the action but could never type on it comfortably where it would fit.

#5

Most of those keyboards use “gaming” designs that look like Transformers toys. It was quite difficult to find one that looked normal. Das Keyboard is good in that regard, but for something that doesn’t cost 200 bucks and doesn’t look silly, I went for this:

coolermaster.com/peripheral/ … uickfirext

The key caps aren’t very good though (the letters started to fade out,) so not sure I can recommend it. I think the safest bet is a Das Keyboard, either the “Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate” or the “Model S Professional”, even though they’re more expensive.

Note: even though the “blue” switches are best for typing, if you need to type while others are sleeping nearby, you should probably go for “brown” keys.

(Andrew Plotkin) #6

I used Matias for years. They feel really nice, but they don’t have a terrific lifespan; after a year and a half, two years, there’s a stuck or flaky key somewhere.

I haven’t gone hunting for other brands.

(Hanon Ondricek) #7

Just be aware of the size dimensions if you go for a Das - as I said, mine had a height of about 2/3 inches with the tilt feet up which made it not fit into my standard keyboard shelf (the thing may have weighed four or five pounds as well, it was all metal). And the two “gaming” keyboards I recommended weren’t giltzy in the way RealNC describes. Nothing like those razer black widow boards with rainbow LEDs and all the other weird lighting effects and “turbo eXtreme design froufrou” which aren’t necessary so long as you are just wanting to type on it.

#8

I’m a big fan of Thinkpad keyboards: I have a Lenovo Thinkpad external keyboard, with builtin trackpoint – the little red button which is a love/hate alternative to the mouse. The great thing with this is that you don’t have to keep moving your hands away from the keyboard to reach for a mouse or trackpad.

(That said, at the moment, I’m just using my Macbook keyboard, and have an external Mac slimline keyboard and Magic Trackpad),

Neither of these options are mechanical keyboards, but are pleasantly “clacky”, attractive, and compact on your desk.

#9

For me, anything that leaves off the number pad so the “writing keys” are lined up with the middle of the monitor is a plus.

I really enjoy the keyboard on the Alphasmart Dana which can also double as a USB keyboard, or with a keyboard-to-bluetooth adaptor it can work as a bluetooth keyboard as well. With modern rechargeable AA batteries, it can even be used as a simple, distraction-free word processor away from the computer with hours/days of battery lifetime. You can get an Alphasmart Dana on eBay for less than $30. Since “uploading” your documents is as simple as hooking it up via USB and letting it pretend to be a keyboard while it retypes your words onto the computer, it has a long lifespan as “compatible” hardware for every computer (even had it work on some Android tablets/phones).

Like typing on silk. Smooth, with just enough bounce.

dana.jpg

#10

Thanks - i’ll check them out!

Adam

#11

Much appreciated!

Adam

#12

I started responding individually but that would have extended the thread by quite a bit due to the number of responses…

… So instead i’ll just say “Thanks!” to all for responding. Time to take a look at what’s been suggested.

Cheers

Adam