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      I’ve been using keyboardio for over a year now - there’s no going back :^)

      1. 5

        I have not heard if this board. It looks a bit like an Ergodox.

        Could you tell me more about the board and what you like about it?

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          Designed by Jesse Vincent of Perl, K-9, and RT fame. You can read more about the design decisions and their journey on Kickstarter (crowdfunded, yes), and their own web pages.

          To the point:

          • true split keyboard, none of this one piece of plastic with a gap crap ;^)
          • as already mentioned by @twm - columnar layout (why do people still make keyboards like they were typewriters!? No one learns to type on a typewriter any more!)
          • built-in palm rests
          • hardwood body - both pleasing to the eye, and to touch
          • palm modifier keys (who would have thought!?) - no need to move hands away from the home row, I have hjkl working everywhere! :^)
          • open source firmware - not just for making the LEDs doing something useful, but also create your own custom keyboard layout without doing it on each machine/OS
          • uses standard CAT5e cable for connecting both halves so can have them as close, or as wide, apart as you like (very useful if you’re using it with a custom chair-mount, etc.)
          • standard 1/4-20 female receptacle (i.e. as found on most cameras) on the bottom of the keyboard, so the world’s your oyster when it comes to custom mounts
          • a nice travel case became available for it recently
          • last but not least - it’s a true pleasure to type on! :^)
        2. 5

          I have the Model 01 too. The key features for me:

          • Columnar layout
          • Fully independent halves

          I also like the built-in mouse layer. It doesn’t replace a pointing device for me, but it does reduce the frequency I have to reach for one. The default stands work well for me, but you can find more novel mounting strategies on the community forum.

          It doesn’t hurt that the board looks great — between the wood case, custom sculpted keycaps, and RGB LEDs it’s gorgeous. Plus there’s a butterfly key!

          The main downside is that the layout is pretty chording-oriented. That is, many common keys are on alternate layers, accessed via the Fn palm keys. For example Fn + H is ← and Fn + J is ↓. This makes combinations like Ctrl + Alt + ↓ a bit more involved than they would otherwise be. I tend to remap things to reduce chording anyway, so it’s only a minor issue.

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            I also have a Model 01; for me, the best feature of it is the very easy-to-program firmware. In particular, the OneShot plugin really helps with the chording problem you mention: Instead of having to hold down multiple modifers, you can just tap (or double-tap to lock) the modifier, then tap the other key.

            (you can see my layout here)

      2. 1

        Regarding the palm modifier keys, is it common that you press them, thereby forcing you to “hover” your hand (as seen here - left hand : http://www.xahlee.info/kbd/keyboard.io_model_01.html) ?

        1. 1

          No, I don’t hover my hand over the keyboard and never press the palm modifier keys unintentionally. I rest my palms on the built-in ;^) palm rests and press modifier keys only when I need to with my palm - thumb metacarpal bone and 2nd thumb joint, to be precise :^)

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            thank you :)

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              No worries! :^)

    2. 11

      Xahlee runs a pretty good site about ergo keyboards.

      Switching to a mechanical keyboard felt great, but the switch to split was even better. I very highly recommend it. It feels much less tension on my wrists and shoulders.

      I’m currently using the Mistel Barocco which is not too expensive and very portable, but, I do miss dedicated arrow keys sometimes and would prefer full programmability (vs. the self-programmability of the Mistel).

      Also worth mentioning is the (recentish) Kinesis Freestyle Edge, which is targeted at gamers, but, from the looks of it is a great programming keyboard (like the Kinesis Advantage but with mechanical keys).

      Personally, I’m looking forward to see how the Dygma Raise will turn out (they’re about to start production on their preorders). Also targeted at gamers but looks like a very nice programming keyboard, and it is fully programmable (runs on the same stack as the keyboardio).

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        I have a freestyle edge. I like it a lot, but there are some weird key placement decisions on the rightmost edge. I also wish that the split cable was larger or replaceable, but I am pretty wide across the shoulders, it should be plenty for most.

      2. 1

        That site is amazing. Lots of info on trackballs as well. Thanks!

        The freestyle edge looks like it is more than double the price of the normal one and it still has the huge function row on the left which I dislike. It does have programabillity

    3. 5

      Very nice, thank you. I am a long time Kinesis Advantage user, but I’m always interested in finding alternatives. I like the look of the ErgoDox, but I am having trouble with the idea of spending that sort of money without getting finger time in. I wonder if there’s anyone in the Toronto area with an ErgoDox who’d like to try a Kinesis. Hmmm.

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        I’m also a long time Kinesis Advantage user. I’ve tried ErgoDox and Keyboard.io. Both are lovely keyboards, but neither have the bowl shape for finger keys that the Advantage has. I found both of them less comfortable to use than the Advantage due to all the keys being on the same plane.

        On the ErgoDox, I found it hard to reach all of the thumb keys in the cluster. I have pretty normal-sized hands (I think??) but found it a little painful to reach the furthest away ones.

        On the Keyboard.io I liked the sculpted keys but found my fingers slipping off the thumb keys, or pressing the wrong one. Perhaps with time, I could have gotten used to it, but for me, the Advantage is already perfect. I’m not super interested in programmable keyboard layouts, so that side of things didn’t hold much appeal for me either.

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          I switch between a Keyboard.io M01 (home) and a Kinesis Advantage 2 (work). If I had to use just one I’m honestly not sure which I’d chose — both are great keyboards.

      2. 1

        Ooh the Advantage! Touched it once in a Dvorak layout when I was young (read seven years ago). Looks like a tank, quality and sturdy.

        It has a thumb cluster as well I thought,

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          Yeah, the Advantage was the first keyboard I used with the thumb cluster, and it just makes so much sense. Too, the negative camber of the main keys is a crucial feature. If I could design a perfect keyboard for myself, it would basically be an Advantage with better function keys, in a wood case, split like the Ergodox. And then it’d also have Super and Hyper keys and we’d redesign the USB HIID to have fewer golf controllers and more programmable modifier keys.

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            The Dactyl looks pretty great and fits a lot of your criteria, but it’s DIY only at the moment.

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      Thanks for posting this range. I’d like to try an ErgoDox, but not sure I’m ready to invest that much!

      Similar to the range you discussed, I like the GoldTouch keyboards. They’re split and adjustable around a pivot point that joins the two halves. This means you can set a horizontal angle and vertical tilt but can’t change the distance between the two halves: https://shop.goldtouch.com/collections/ergonomic-keyboards/

      I have the desktop V2 and the Bluetooth one.

      The desktop one is not mechanical keyswitches but feels sturdy enough for me.

      The Bluetooth one has laptop-style keyswitches and is less sturdy but I still prefer it over my laptop keyboard when travelling (my laptop is an XPS13 which I think has an above average keyboard for a laptop, but it’s no thinkpad X60).

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        I’ve seen those but I thought they were clones of the Kinesis. Wireless split keyboard would be so esthetically pleasing but I know of none.

        How do you like the goldtouch? How is the quality and layout?

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          There is a MS wireless “split” keyboard[0]. I have it, and it’s fine. It’s a bit laggy sometimes, but it’s not generally noticeable for regular typing, but wouldn’t recommend it for a game or anything “high performance”

          There is also an adapter to convert any wired keyboard to bluetooth [1]

          0: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surface-ergonomic-keyboard/90pnc9ljwpx9/2cf8

          1: http://handheldsci.com/kb

        2. 2

          To be honest I don’t know how similar they are to Kinesis or not.

          I like the Goldtouch but I think I have somewhat different keyboard taste to the “average” fussy keyboard user. I mostly like better quality non mechanical keyboards - not flimsy but not super clicky either. In this regard the wired Goldtouch suits me. Layout is pretty standard, maybe once a fortnight I accidentally nudge the num lock and don’t notice, which is a bit annoying.

          The Bluetooth one is honestly a bit flimsy but like you I don’t know of a better option.

          Unexpected benefit of switching to an unusual layout (for me) has been learning to touch-type “correctly” again. Reaching your hand over to press a key on the other half sends a clear signal that you’ve got a bad habit!

    5. 4

      I’ve used an Ergodox (from a kit version, not the Ergodox EZ) for a few years now. I’m a big fan.

      The biggest downside, I think, is that some of the special characters can’t be in the same place as they are on the regular keyboard. (e.g., there is an extra column on a regular keyboard to the right of the right hand). One of the things that I did to deal with this was to design my own layout. For example, I have the [{ key and ]} key in mirrored places (the 1.5 key on the top middle of the keyboard). That’s what made sense when I was originally designing the layout; it’s what makes sense when I go to type something. If you get a split keyboard like this, I’d highly recommend thinking about what layout makes sense for you.

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        The big advantage of the Ergodox is the programabillity. That’s why I got blank caps. Print out the layout to get used to it and make changes along the way until it’s perfect for you. That key you describe is a layer switch key for me since I noticed I used it infrequently.

      2. 1

        The biggest downside, I think, is that some of the special characters can’t be in the same place as they are on the regular keyboard.

        In russian layout, which I use, these keys are bound to letters: “[” - “х”, “]” - “ъ”, “;” - “ж”, “'” - “э”, and these letters are quite frequent in text. This stops me to try split and/or ortholinear keyboards, most of which don’t have these keys.

        Quefrency looks interesting, but it has standard, “staggered” layout, and it looks not like a bomb from Hollywood movies, unlike UHK. There’s also BFO-9000, which is huge, but only PCB is available: no metal plate and case.

    6. 3

      What I want is a 90s Microsoft intelliwhatever split keyboard with the traditional arrows layout, but mechanical switches. And a detachable cable, so I can simply unplug it on my desk without having to trace the cable back to my USB hub / computer when I want to clean it.

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        I love the Natural 4000, but the switches in it are garbage!

        Nothing else solved my wrist problems. Not ice, not heavy weight lifting, not stretches, not regularly scheduled breaks, and not a $400 Ergodox. Heck even full time pair programming only keeps it mildly at bay. But the Natural, no pain, even if I’m typing full speed all day. Not bad for a $25 keyboard.

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          Yeah it looks close to what I want, but I just can’t give up the satisfying feel and sound of nice clacky mechanical keys.

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      I’m using an ergodox infinity: https://imgur.com/gallery/69stJ6K I use a heavily modified dvorak layout, originally to put all modifier keys under my thumbs, but I added bindings for volume, track control, LED brightness and much more.

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      After my beloved, vintage MS Natural (the original model) died, I switched to a Kinesis Freestyle. I like the split design quite well. It really helped with my shoulder rotation. Before using it, I’d get a serious shoulder pain issue about once a year. To the point where I had to sleep sitting up with my arm propped. That was due to the constant “forward hunch” position that rolls my shoulders forward.

      Never really had wrist problems (so far, at least!) But since going to a split board I’ve had very little issue with my shoulders.

      I did find the Freestyle to be a bit mushy. I recently switched to a Kinesis Edge. It’s their gaming keyboard, also a split design. Much crisper keys. Feels good on the fingers and causes less fatigue than the laptop keyboards.

      The only drawback I see is this: without a fixed distance between the two halves, my typing accuracy has really suffered. If I misplace one half by just a few millimeters, I double-stroke the keys and have to do a lot more error correction. It probably just means I need to learn touch-typing finally. If you learned properly instead of being self-taught, then you might not have the same accuracy trouble.

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        I also moved to a Kinesis Freestyle 2 and then to the Freestyle Edge. The Edge is a bit silly because it’s a gaming keyboard (pulsating blue backlighting, NKRO, other things I don’t really care about) but the keyswitches are nice (I have Cherry MX Browns) and I got a good deal on it because I was an early bird on the Kickstarter. I love it. I have the tent/lift kit and it’s extremely comfortable.

        If you just want the Freestyle layout and mechanical switches without all the gaming BS, that’s the Freestyle Pro, which came out after the Edge.

    9. 2

      Nice writeup! I’m currently considering getting a split KB and the Ergodox EZ is really tempting, but I’ve heard people complain that the Ergodox’s thumb clusters are too big to be comfortable unless you have pretty large hands (I’d say mine are about average for an adult male). Do you have any thoughts on that?

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        It’s true that it’s difficult to hit many of the keys in the thumb clusters, but I’ve found that you don’t really need them with proper layering; even only using the bottom row of the thumb clusters it’s such an improvement over having all that room wasted on an enormous space bar that I can’t find myself caring much that there are a few extra keys I’ll never use.

        In fact, once I got comfortable on a thumb-powered fn layer I found many of the Ergodox’s keys aren’t needed; having the digits in a numpad arrangement with fn is way better than having them across the top, so the top row is unmapped on my current layout. The outer columns don’t get a lot of use either once I moved shift and enter to the thumbs and most of the punctuation to fn.

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          Can you share your layout?

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            I don’t have the full layout image any more but it is basically just the Atreus layout ported to the Ergodox and with the leftover keys unmapped because I never use them: https://atreus.technomancy.us/#layout

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        I have average hands for a male and I have no trouble with the thumb cluster. It is a killer feature for me, on a regular keyboard I have to adjust for a while first otherwise I’m hitting the sidebar like a maniac.

        I do have trouble with the lower outer keys (left and rightmost). I put escape there but my pinkies can’t hit it withouthassle so I rarely use those two keys.

        The placing and the using of your thumbs can take a bit of getting used to, I think because normally we don’t use our thumbs in typing.

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        I’ve been using erogdox ez for last 8 months or so and can confirm that for me most of the keys on thumb cluster are hard to reach.

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    11. 1

      My UHK turned up in June last year after a 3 year wait. I have not received my addon’s yet so I’m not sure how good they will be. However, I have been impressed with it, as a split mechanical keyboard, and would recommend it.

      I cannot compare it to an ErgoDox as I’ve never owned one :~(

      I have not done any configuration with it, so it is just running the default firmware.

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        The add-ons are listed as No ETA yet on the webshop. How do you find the build quality and feel of the board? My co worker days says he finds it feeling not as he would expect for the price. (cheap, plasticy)

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          my UHK feels robust to me - especially with the palm rests attached. It’s not a cheap keyboard but ergonomic keyboards are usually more expensive. I have used both Microsoft Ergonmic and GoldTouch split keyboards in the past, and my UHK is better than both of those keyboards.

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            As the founder of the UHK, I’d like to mention that @raymiiOrg’s colleague is the only person so far who said that the UHK feels cheap. Our customers routinely praise the UHK for its robustness (and other features). I contacted @raymiiOrg, and he tried to connect me to his colleague to explain this, but his colleague didn’t get back to me.

    12. 1

      I’ve been using Kinesis Advantage models for just under 20 years. Many trackpad models fit perfectly in the center area between the keypads. I would try and ErgoDox but my normal use case is feet up on the desk, keyboard on my lap - I’d have to put an ErgoDox on a board of some kind which kind of defeats the purpose.

    13. 1

      I got an ErgoDox-ez last year, and I couldn’t be happier. I was really worried, not having a trackpoint mouse, that I would have to go back and forth to a trackpad. I did far too much research into installing a trackpoint. But then I set up mousekeys… and I’m absolutely delighted. (layout)

      I still need to figure out a better location for the {[ / ]} keys, neither above my right thumb, nor along the bottom work quite right for me. I’m debating using the upper modifier key to the right of T and left of Y.

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    15. 1

      Your desk looks similar to mine. I also use the Matias Ergo pro and an Evoluent vertical mouse.

      This is actually my second Matias, and it ghost types just like the first one did. I even removed the Space Bar key from the left side so that I won’t hit it and start ghosting by accident. However, I find the layout so comfortable that I put up with it, really it is the most comfortable keyboard that I’ve ever had. I wish that I could recommend it, but I cannot due to the ghosting issues.

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        I really hoped that I just had a wonky board. However most of the reviews online talk about the same kind of issues. Other than that it is a nice board indeed. If it wouldn’t have broken I don’t think I would now use the ergodox

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          I would absolutely love to try an Ergodox or Keybordio, but I need dedicated function keys for debugging in the Jetbrans IDEs. Layers just won’t work for the kind of exploratory debugging I do. Does your workflow involve much function key use?

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            I now days live in CLion (jetbrains IDE for C++) and the regular second layer (functions) works for me. Mostly a toggle (like shift), so hold the layer change key and press the key I want on that layer. I have tried putting the Step Into and Step Over and set breakpoint on the thumb cluster, but I do love my home and end and pgupdown more than a few Fx keys.

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              Sure, one could comfortably use a second layer for Step Over and Step Into, both of which are just a single codepress. But what about Run To Cursor (which I happen to use often), which is Alt-F9. That now becomes three fingers. And there are a few three-key combinations such as View Breakpoints (Ctrl-Shift-F8 I think) which now becomes a quadruple bucky!

              I vie for a reliable (not Matias or Truly Ergonomic), comfortable (not silicon dome), split keyboard with function keys. I know, I know, first world problem!

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                One key can be programmed to send a macro, multiple key presses. You do need to use QMK instead of the web configurator: https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware/blob/master/docs/feature_macros.md

                Then you could have a thumb cluster for debugging

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                  Actually a thumb cluster for debugging sounds tempting. Thank you!

    16. 1

      I have been designing my own 3d printable split keyboard in an attempt to learn more about CAD and designing real world things. Excited to learn KiCAD next and mess with firmware!

      Ortholinear models have always appealed to me, like the planck and the ergodox to some degree.

      Side note: Also trying to learn mtgap keyboard layout, which I feel will make a bigger difference than just simply using an ergonomic keyboard.

    17. 1

      I only just convinced myself last week that I don’t need an ergo dox :L

      One of the devs at work has one and it looks so nice. I got a regular mechanical keyboard kit for about $150 AUD and I’m not really happy with the build quality.

    18. 1

      I want an Ergodox EZ, but literally none of my income is disposable, so that’s out. I guess if I were freelancing I’d cough it up and try to write it off as a tax deduction.

      For many years I’ve been using the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. It’s Okay. It’s probably the least bad mass-market keyboard to be had, and I’ve had no trouble getting two employers to buy it for me for work. If it had a trackpoint, I’d actually be reasonably satisfied with it.

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        I’ve been there. Think of it as an investment, though - not the keyboard itself, obviously, as it will always be an expenditure with the value of the keyboard usually diminishing over time. But if you type a lot for a living and you like your hands to serve you for as long as possible, then it would be a good investment, IMHO.

        A well-built keyboard will last you for years, if not decades.

        Also, prevention is better than cure.

        My wrists aren’t at a weird angle any more and they don’t ache.

        P.S. I paid for the keyboard myself.

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          Thanks. It appears that the Microsoft Natural keyboard is “good enough” for my hands and wrists, along with not using a mouse very much.