I mentioned a few days ago that after using the Kinesis Advantage for a while, that it had made me look into alternatives, and boy-howdy, has it.
The world of mechanical keyboards is vast and complicated. This is group that not only worries about the ergonomics of the keyboard, but also the switches, what type of plastic the keycaps are made of, the size of the keyboard, if its ortholinear or staggered, like traditional keyboards.
The list goes on and on. Noisy, silent, high-weight, low-weight, depth of key-travel, oh and don’t forget about the case. We haven’t even started to talk about how the thing looks.
Behind all the physics and mechanics of the keyboard are the aesthetics, and thats where all the crazy stuff starts happening. That is also where the high prices can start adding up.
It has been a whirlwind education for me, but a fascinating dive into the keyboard enthusiast market.
Right now, I’m typing this blog post on an ortholinear 40% keyboard known as a Let’s Split. Ortholinear means the keys are arranged in a grid pattern, rather than the shifted over style of a regular keyboard.
Fun fact: the staggered layout was invented to make sure the rows of strikers in original typewriters didn’t overlap each other. Yet our fingers aren’t really adapted to typing keys to the sides. Ortholinear aims to correct that by having keys directly above one another. It takes some getting used to, as you don’t have to go up and to the side to hit, say, the W key, but I’ve quickly gotten used to it.
Having used the Kinesis for a few weeks helped for sure, as it’s partly ortholinear, but it has columns that are raised higher than others, so fingers like your middle finger, which stick up higher than the rest of your digits, don’t have to travel quite as far since its column is already raised.
Fascinating stuff, and don’t worry, you’ll hear plenty about it as I explore the market.