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Compact mechanical keyboard?
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-26, 05:43

I know there's some keyboard aficionados here so let me cut to the chase.

I'm looking for a mechanical keyboard (I will accept Topre switches) with the following characteristics.
  • is more compact than a tenkeyless layout.
  • has Mac legends.
  • heavy keyswitches, 55nm or higher
  • has arrow keys.
  • preferably has a USB hub.
  • preferably has white keycaps.
  • no preference between clicky or quiet.

The current HHKB Professional 2 is a little too minimalist along with pointlessly expensive. I could probably buy something like a Leopold FC660 and a set of custom keycaps from WASD, but finding one with Cherry MX Clear keyswitches is proving difficult. Basically I'd be open to anything with Topre's 55nm capacitive, Cherry MX Clears or Matias Quiet Click switches.

Last edited by Eugene : 2015-01-26 at 08:05.
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2015-01-26, 07:11

This is the fucking geekiest thing posted here in a long prize. We owe you some sort of prize.



...
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-26, 07:48

Hey thanks.

Shopping for peripherals, monitors, mattresses, task chairs, etc. is a very deliberate process here. Needs to be exactly how I want it.

Last edited by Eugene : 2015-01-26 at 08:03.
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2015-01-26, 10:11

If nobody here has a good answer for you PLEASE come back and post about what you end up with. I've never geeked out on keyboard details before and am interested - you might teach me something.



...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-01-26, 13:11

I'm also interested in this topic. I have noticed, that compared to my thick keyboard at work, the thin standard keyboard for my iMac yields a lot more typos and I think that something a little more tangible would help.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2015-01-26, 14:40

I love mechanical keyboards as well. The keyboards today are just too damn soft.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2015-01-26, 20:46

I would like to find one of those as well. It's hard enough to find one even works well with Mac OS, let alone meets all those features. Good luck!
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2015-01-26, 23:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
This is the fucking geekiest thing posted here in a long prize. We owe you some sort of prize.

* posted here in a long TIME


How sleepy was I when I posted??


...
  quote
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-27, 04:36

http://matias.ca/60/pc/

^ Hmm, this is very close to what I want, but it's still $150 and not even a real product yet.

I think I could also deal with the Matias Mini Tactile Pro, but man that design language is straight out of 2000.

Last edited by Eugene : 2015-01-27 at 09:04.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-01-27, 16:14

Those are some interesting keyboards. Unfortunately the ones offered in Europe aren't the Mac versions, which is really annoying because it doesn't look like they have adjusted prices for the stronger USD yet.

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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-01-28, 14:30

Das Keyboard has come out with a compact version of their model 4. $143, that's $6 cheaper then the Matias and better looking if you ask me. Of course its also available with completely blank keys.

I have sort of been eyeing the 4 Professional, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere where I could try it out. I'm a little concerned about how thick/tall it is and wether that's good from an ergonomic point of view.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-28, 18:13

The Das doesn't really offer anything over other Tenkeyless/80% keyboards out of the box. It's manufactured by Costar, who also do Filco and WASD keyboards. It doesn't have Mac legends.

KUL, Cooler Master, Corsair, Deck, Max, etc all offer similar keyboards.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2015-01-28, 20:12

I used to have a Das at one of my old jobs and loved it.

Need to save up and grab another mechanical keyboard.
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2015-01-28, 22:40

How did you guys even find out about these keyboards?

I feel like you're about to go to Akihabara and star pulling things down off a pegboard... this is really wild (to me).


...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
  quote
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-29, 01:12

Geekhack, word of mouth, group buys from Massdrop, etc.

Here's a couple of more mainstream options:

Corsair K70 RGB - Distinct metal base, customizable LEDs, gaming oriented but not overly so. Cherry MX switches. Linear, tactile and clicky versions available.

Cooler Master Quickfire XT - Somewhat gaming oriented. CM brand mechanicals are considered good bang for the buck. Cherry MX switches. Linear, tactile or clicky.

Steelseries 6GV2 - Another gaming brand keyboard with a muted design. Cherry MX switches.

Logitech G710 - Hit or miss aesthetics. Macro keys, media keys, etc. Very much gaming oriented. Cherry MX switches.

Das Keyboard Professional 4 - Premium aesthetic. Cherry MX switches. Mac version available.

Matias Tactile/Quiet Pro 4 - Dated aesthetic. Matias switches. Tactile or clicky. Mac version available.


Lesser known brands:

WASD Keyboards - Very customizable, very high quality. All Cherry MX switches available.

Filco Majestouch 2 - High quality brand from Japan.

Keyed Up Labs

Topre - Very high quality hybrid rubber-dome/mechanical keyboards.

Ducky Keyboards - High quality, cheaper than Filco. Sometimes gaudy looking.

Leopold - Hard to find in the US, cheaper than Filco. Look on eBay or Massdrop.

Max Keyboard

Deck

Rosewill - Newegg's house brand. Good keyboards nonetheless.

And many more... Just about all of them use Cherry MX switches. Key exceptions are the Matias and Topre keyboards. Some brands like Razer, Keycool, Thermaltake use Kailh-brand clones of the Cherry switches because they're 1) cheaper, and 2) Cherry now has a 1-year lead time on contracts/orders.

Last edited by Eugene : 2015-01-29 at 02:27.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-01-29, 05:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
I used to have a Das at one of my old jobs and loved it.

Need to save up and grab another mechanical keyboard.
How did the thickness feel?

Did you feel like yor hands were bending backwards/upwards when you were typing?
  quote
kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2015-01-29, 07:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
How did the thickness feel?

Did you feel like yor hands were bending backwards/upwards when you were typing?
I really liked it. It was pretty clunky, but that was the first model. It looks like the newer one is significantly thinner.

It's was definitely more of an upward motion than something like the slim Apple keyboards, but didn't seem too far out of line. Took me a few days to get used to it but once that was done, it was a great keyboard. I really wish I had another one.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-01-29, 08:11

So it didn't have a tendency to cause strain on the back on your hands?
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2015-01-29, 19:53

Fantastic list of links!!


...
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-29, 22:19

I find height generally isn't a problem with most keyboards, just rise from the bottom to top row. I used to use the extendo feet on every one of my keyboards, but now I find it much more comfy to just have the keyboard as flat as possible. If you need wrist support you can always get one of those thick neoprene rests.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2015-01-30, 08:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
So it didn't have a tendency to cause strain on the back on your hands?
Not that I remember. I wasn't typing for hours on end mind you, but it definitely wasn't uncomfortable at all.
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Bryson
Rocket Surgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2015-01-30, 15:43

I just disappeared down the rabbithole of customizing one of the WASD keyboards for quite some time before realizing:

a: I would never decide.
b: I wasn't going to actually buy one.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-31, 00:38

I may have gone forward with ordering a WASD...
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-01-31, 23:56

Not exactly what I was looking for, but it'll do until something like that Matias 60% comes out.



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ThunderPoit
Captain Potatoman
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Saint Paul
 
2015-02-01, 00:17

I have the same WASD TKL and gotta say I love it. Mine has MX Blues, however. I would make one recommendation, and it will be difficult to do with your specification of Mac legends: Toss the WASD keycaps and find a set of PBT keycaps that suit your liking. Its harder to get a custom set outside of WASD, but their keycaps are so thin and soft, it bothers me that they charge $50 for a full set. I bought my keyboard barebones because of it.

They're a little bit expensive, but right now signature plastics has a Mac themed set on group buy: http://www.pimpmykeyboard.com/deals/...a-dye-sub-pbt/
Dye sub isn't as durable as doubleshot, but with PBT, they should last an extremely long time.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-02-01, 00:30

Don't like the generic look of those and to be honest the WASD keys don't feel bad at all. They're already way better than most other OEM keycaps. The UV coating gives them a sort of grippy feel. I also hear there are issues with thick PBT caps and Costar stabs. I figure by the time these wear out, WASD will have dye-sub PBT caps of its own.

I chose the Cherry MX Clears...these are going to need some break-in time...
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-02-01, 14:09

Having had a closer look at the WASD keyboards, I think they are the better looking ones because of their potential for a very minimalistic look and/or some colour-coded usability aid. It's also very charming that they have Amiga OS keys! Unfortunately, since they are only sold from the US it's going to cost me circa DKK 2,150 (taxes and shipping included) to get my hands one. On the other hand I can get a Das Keyboard 4 from Sweden with for only DKK 1,200. That's still an awful lot to pay for a keyboard, but the price for the WASD is well into "no f***ing way!" territory.

I'm going to bite the bullet and order a Das...

Btw. have you guys seen this guy? He sure get's excited about keyboards:

Das: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snv2Wny3y3g

WASD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxZUV_RKjtI

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ThunderPoit
Captain Potatoman
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Saint Paul
 
2015-02-01, 18:09

My first mechanical keyboard was a $60 board from monoprice. The WASD caps that i bought looked thinner than those, but so long as you are happy with them. What do the clears feel like? Are they linear, clicky, or tactile?
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-02-01, 18:45

Tactile bump, non-clicky, actuation and reset are exactly the same. Maybe the heavy switches make the WASD caps feel better? I honestly have no issue with these caps.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-02-03, 15:48

Ok, so I ended up visiting the Cherry.de website just check out the guys making these switches and it turns out that they also make all sorts of keyboards themselves. And this one is their new pride: http://www.cherry.de/cid/Mechanical_..._BOARD_60.htm?

It looks like they have gone all out with this one and they invoke the "german engineering trope" multiple times in their presentation. I am not sold on the looks, though. I sort of think the Das is a little too garish with it gracious German naming and red accents, but that red/blue back-lighting on the Cherry really put's it square in the gamer ghetto if you ask me.

Btw. I just realised that keyboard in German seems to be a masculine noun (der tastatur) which means that the Das Keyboard rightly should be named Der Keyboard. Stupid americans!
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