Science and technology

17 open supply technologists share their favourite keyboards

Keyboards are essential to work with a pc system whether or not it is for coding, writing, or shifting round objects in a spreadsheet. They permit entry to a pc’s peripherals and are used to get deep into the working system of any laptop. Keyboards are available in all sizes and styles. Some are extra snug to make use of than others. We requested our neighborhood members to share one of the best (and the worst) keyboard they’d ever used. Some of the solutions may shock you!

Top 4 favourite keyboards

Keyboards rank proper after editors and languages on the official checklist of issues that programmers argue about.

My favourite keyboards:

  • NeXT Extended Keyboard: With the pipe in the appropriate place.
  • Apple Macintosh II Extended Keyboard: Those buckling springs felt nice!
  • IBM Model M: Oh what a joyous noise!
  • Tokyo 60 HHKB (Happy Hacking KeyBoard) package: Just the keyboard I all the time wished.

Erik O’Shaughnessy

Two-handed format

Probably essentially the most obscure keyboard could be the Maltron one-handed keyboard I ended up utilizing for a number of months whereas recovering from RSI—it was truly actually good to make use of when you be taught the place the keys are!

(Ruth Cheesley CC BY-SA 4.0)

My favourite keyboard of all time is the one I at present have, the Kinesis Advantage2 LF. I’ve mapped it as shut as I might get to the Maltron two-handed format (which is a bajillion occasions extra environment friendly, after getting re-mapped your mind to a unique format). Took me a couple of yr to be absolutely environment friendly, however I can nonetheless use my fingers so it was definitely worth the laborious work!

(Ruth Cheesley, CC BY-SA 4.0)

I wrote about turning into a bilingual typist here and did a mini video collection charting my progress in studying one-handed typing (whereas studying how one can file movies for work!) which is on YouTube.

Ruth Cheesley

All the feels

I purchased a Logitech MX Keys wi-fi keyboard at first of the pandemic and I simply love the texture and responsiveness of the keys after I sort. It’s by far my favourite keyboard of all time.

Will Kelly


(Miriam Goldman CC BY-SA 4.0)

The finest keyboard is my present one. It’s a Logitech K850 and it pairs with a mouse. It’s wi-fi and is not an enormous drain on batteries. It comes with a pleasant little pad for the heel of your hand, and for those who prop it up with the stand, it finally ends up being on the good top. I haven’t got a lot time to spend configuring my peripherals, so having this be plug-and-play is improbable.

Miriam Goldman

Nostalgic keyboards

Probably my favourite quirky keyboard to make use of is a DIY 7-key chorder based mostly on this design (nice for wearable computing initiatives the place you desire a absolutely practical keyboard that leaves certainly one of your fingers free). You can discover some photos from mine at numerous levels of prototyping, together with BoM and open (GPL 3.0) schematics and PCB etch here.

I even have a nostalgic fondness for the IBM Model M. You want a specific type of powered PS/2 to USB converter with the intention to use one on fashionable machines.

I’ve all the time wished a Symbolics Lisp “Space-cadet” however they’re fairly laborious to return by. Perhaps sometime…

While it is not even remotely low cost, I really like my 3″ RGB underlit SUZOHAPP trackball. It’s like I’m taking part in Centipede at my workstation!

I wired it up with three RGB backlit arcade buttons (obtainable from the identical provider) in order that it operates similar to a 3-button mouse in my XWindows session.

Jeremy Stanley

The finest keyboard

I’ve a Vortex Race 3 with Cherry MX Silver switches and it’s the finest keyboard on the earth (in my view). My solely grievance is that it has an outsized Esc key, so it is laborious (principally inconceivable) to search out enjoyable new keycap units for it. If I ever improve, will probably be to the same keyboard with half-height throws and the identical switches.

Deb Richardson

Cheap and cheerful

The finest low cost, cheerful fashionable keyboard I’ve discovered is the A4TECH KV-300H. It weighs greater than most keyboards and offers the closest really feel to a laptop computer. It has a built-in USB hub too!

Leigh Morresi

Curvy keyboards

I all the time beloved my authentic Microsoft Natural keyboard. The Microsoft {hardware} division did an ideal job with that. It was rock stable, and the curved form meant my fingers and wrists had been spared repetitive pressure damage. Mine was an authentic Natural Elite keyboard, with the PS/2 mini-DIN connector and USB adapter. Despite taking nice care of this keyboard, and it caring for me, the keyboard lastly died in 2018.

(Jim Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0)

I changed it with a Perixx PERIBOARD-512 keyboard. This is similar to the Microsoft Natural Elite keyboard, so my fingers did not should re-learn a keyboard format. I purchased one in white and one other in black, however I take advantage of the black one more often than not due to my black desk mat.

(Jim Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0)

When I need to really feel actually retro, I dig out my IBM Model M keyboard. I haven’t got an authentic Model M anymore, however I do personal an excellent copy from Unicomp. I purchased it in 2010 and it is a tank. I might battle off a zombie horde with that, and later use it to write down one other article.

Jim Hall


As a left-hander, I feel ALL keyboards are the worst. What good is having a numeric keypad on the right-hand facet of the keyboard whenever you’re left-handed? Even these keyboards that do not have a keypad nonetheless put the arrow keys on the decrease proper. Yes, some mouses are made hand-neutral and a few forward-thinking corporations have even made left-handed mouses. It may take a while earlier than a left-handed keyboard is made.

Gary Smith

The finest and the worst

The finest keyboard: Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite or a Thinkpad keyboard with trackpoint.

The worst keyboard: the onscreen keyboard on my cellphone now (soooooo many typos).

John ‘Warthog9’ Hawley

Keyboard loyalty

I’m going to buck the Model M and mechanical keyboard pattern. Yes, they’re nice, and sure I actually preferred them after I first began utilizing them. 

Like Jim, I acquired one of many Microsoft Natural keyboards after they got here out—and after I wanted to exchange it, I picked up the Logitech mannequin that the Microsoft one was based mostly on. I’ve been fairly loyal to Logitech since. I upgraded to the K350 Wave when it got here out and it was time to go wi-fi. This final time, I upgraded to the ERGO K860, and I LOVE IT. 

I’m additionally a giant fan of trackballs when not utilizing a touchpad, and at present use an MX ERGO (ever since they discontinued my beloved M570).

Kevin Sonney

Ergonomics is vital

(Kelly Dassing CC BY-SA 4.0)

When it was time to exchange my keyboard in 2021, I had very particular necessities in thoughts. As somebody with hypermobile joints and power wrist ache, an ergonomic keyboard grew to become the plain selection. I waded by way of a number of choices earlier than touchdown on the Logitech ERGO K860. Its massive, padded wrist relaxation, adjustable top entrance toes, and chiclet-style keys make for essentially the most snug keyboard I’ve ever used. It took a short time to get accustomed to the angled, separated format, however now I a lot favor it to “standard” keyboards.

In distinction, the worst keyboard I ever used was your common, tall and loud key Logitech keyboard. It simply wasn’t snug, and its responsiveness was unreliable. I’ll by no means return.

Kelly Dassing

Sentimental keyboard

This is my favourite keyboard for sentimental causes:

(Seth Morabito, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Greg Scott

IBM Model M

The finest is solely the IBM Model M, though I received a Das Keyboard lately, and it’s fairly good.

As far because the worst, there’s a myriad of horrible squishy keyboards on the market, and most of them are horrible.

Bob Murphy

Gamer-proof keyboard

I solely use thumb-based, wi-fi trackballs, and all of them are off-brand. I keep away from anything. I’m a fan of Logitech (who pioneered the design) basically, however Logitech is overpriced, and a number of the off-brand designs have lithium batteries that cost with USB-C cable, whereas Logitech nonetheless makes me insert a AA battery.

For keyboards, all I take advantage of now are wired, brown swap mechanicals (kind of quiet however probably not, and tactile switches.) I really like the texture and may sort for hours and hours with them. I’ve a lighted (not RGB) model, which I actually like, too, and it is very off-brand and low cost. True mechanicals do not should be costly for those who’re not gaming with them. The costly ones for gaming are constructed to be thrown throughout the room with power and survive whenever you die for the hundredth time on some stupidly robust boss. But I simply use them for typing. It is difficult to search out ones that are not all rainbow-colored, as a result of most are constructed for players.

Evan “Hippy” Slatis

DIY keyboard

The worst keyboards are most of them. Especially those you are likely to get as a brand new worker, the most affordable ones are out of your laptop’s producer. Mushy keys and manner too huge for the desks the corporate supplies you.

I began to purchase (and construct) my very own keyboards and it was a revelation. As I’ve small fingers and quick fingers, I actually get pleasure from ortholinear keyboards. I ended up constructing a Planck which I nonetheless love. I take advantage of Brown Cherry switches. I additionally use clean keycaps for household and pals as a result of I experiment with totally different layouts and do not have to maneuver keycaps round every time. My Planck can be nice for touring as a result of it suits on high of my laptop computer.

I then acquired an Atreues, which is analogous to the Planck however barely curved on your fingers. While I actually like that one too, I switched to a Kyria which is a cut up keyboard. That helps me loads with motion and shoulders as I can have my trackball in between the keyboard as a substitute of in entrance of or by the facet. My Kyria (which I did not construct myself) has Kailh Pro Light Green switches, that are a bit extra clicky than Cherry Brown however now I solely earn a living from home and may click on away with out disturbing anybody. And they’re actually not that loud.

Jimmy Sjölund

My favourite keyboard

I do miss the texture of the previous IBM 3270 beam spring keyboards, however the accompanying 80×25 monitor? Not a lot. Nor the entire EBCIDIC factor. And on condition that the final time I touched a kind of was in all probability 1983 or so, possibly it wasn’t that a lot better…

Here’s my favourite and present keyboard:

(Chris Hermansen, CC BY-SA 4.0C

This is the Drop Tokyo60 season 4. Mine has Kailh Box Navy switches which want good power and supply good suggestions. I borrowed a swap tester from a pal to determine that out.

What I principally like about this keyboard is the format. I’ve used vi for 20 years on keyboards with this format and that nonsense of placing the shift lock (who makes use of Shift Lock anyway) the place the Control key belongs!

Chris Hermansen

Happy hacking

The writers have spoken! I used to be capable of gather a great pattern of what keyboards are most person pleasant and which of them are at present loathed. I hope you need to use this data to discover a keyboard appropriate to your wants. Remember {that a} bunch of keyboards might be formatted to suit your personal private preferences. Happy keyboard looking!

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