Laptop-style keyboard for desktop?
July 12, 2011 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for a laptop-style keyboard for desktop?

The bones of it: I have a shoulder injury which makes using a mouse and 'normal' desktop keyboard painful over time (by normal, I mean higher keys than laptop-style flat keys). Using the keyboard on my laptop is much easier -- especially because of the touchpad. Unfortunately for me, I use a desktop at work (and no-- I can't use a laptop. It's not an option).

I am currently using this Adesso model keyboard, and I feel like the flimsy thing might be on its way out. I am looking for any recommendations for similar keyboards that you have experience with and can vouch for? It does not need to be wireless; it does need flat, laptop-style keys and a touchpad (or similar). And hopefully it is a long-laster.

Oh, yeah -- and I'm in Canada.

Thanks in advance, MeFites!
posted by tamarack to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Apple compact keyboard and Magic Trackpad. Not connected, but seriously solid hardware. I know the keyboard works on PC (though modifier keys may need to be remapped); not sure about the trackpad.
posted by supercres at 8:05 PM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, one thing that works for me to make the keyboard feel lower, in the way that a laptop does, is to elevate my wrists; I'm guessing you've tried that, but thought I'd mention it anyway.
posted by supercres at 8:08 PM on July 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, supercres. I don't mean lower in terms of my body angle, but that they desktop keyboards we have at work all have really high keys -- more like a cousin of the typewriter than of the laptop. The thing with flat keys is that there is less resistance when I'm typing.
posted by tamarack at 8:12 PM on July 12, 2011

Lenovo makes a comparable, Thinkpad-top-like thing that's quite similar to what you have, but built quite a bit better.
posted by mhoye at 8:18 PM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I could go on and on about keyboards, and I'm not nearly as obsessed as the folks at GeekHack. I totally stand by the Apple keyboard recc, but people get CRAZY with high-end keyboards (see: GeekHack), and one of those might be even better for you. Their forums detail different mechanical switches that are used by these boutique keyboard companies; each has a different profile, in terms of its tactile feedback ("clickiness"), resistance, and travel distance (how far you have to press it).

So the Apple keyboard is solidly built, has low resistance, and extremely short travel, all more so than the standard PC keyboard. But a nice mechanical keyboard might work for you even better; you might figure out a way to try one, or even just browse the GeekHack forums.

(I have a hand-me-down Topre Realforce, which is a little ridiculous, but it's an advantage of having a flighty, ergo-obsessed boss. If I didn't, I'd use an Apple full-size USB keyboard, or maybe my old, temperamental Model M.)
posted by supercres at 8:22 PM on July 12, 2011

Best answer: I've been okay with the Adesso wired keyboard I have (a MCK-91). I actually have that WKB-4000 for a different system and both have served me well. The MCK is a bit less flexing when really pounded on though, likely due to being shorter (no touchpad).

Seconding the Apple Keyboard recommendation, though, it's a very solid feel. I have the Bluetooth version, and it has worked fine with OS X, Windows and Linux systems. If you need to remap the keys under windows I highly recommend SharpKeys to fiddle with that.

As to the apple touchpad, I have a suspicion it "Just Works" but haven't gotten one to play with yet.
posted by arrjay at 9:18 PM on July 12, 2011

I dislike flat keyboards, so I can say without a doubt that the Logitech Solar Keyboard is incredibly flat, although the keys themselves are concave for your fingers.
posted by Gucky at 9:38 PM on July 12, 2011

Fourthing the Apple Keyboard recommendation, along with the Magic Trackpad — the multitouch is pretty magical.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:49 PM on July 12, 2011

I use the Lenovo USB ThinkPad keyboard mhoye mentioned extensively at work (I alternate it with a USB Model M clone from the folks who bought that IP off of IBM, which is one of my favorite things ever but pretty close to the pure opposite of what you're looking for). It has the little red nipple mouse, which I use somewhat, but no trackpad. If you can live without the trackpad, it's great.
posted by brennen at 10:42 PM on July 12, 2011

Best answer: A friend of mine has similar issues, and swears loudly by the Apple wireless keyboard + Magic Trackpad combo, tied together with a Magicwand. I'm not entirely sure why you can't just put them next to each other, but he seems to be in love.
posted by Magnakai at 1:46 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been on the lookout for a slimline (or chiclet) keyboard for a while and tried to take the plunge this week. Much as I hate to say it, there's absolutely no slimline Windows Keyboard out there that's as good as the Apple keyboard.

The Apple Keyboard has weird key mappings (maybe this is because I needed a UK style keypad) so I can't use it.

I tried the following keyboards as alternatives:

Emprex Ultra Slim Keyboard (6310U). This feels a bit cheap, and it's quite noisy. I also had trouble with my Shift-F. Otherwise it's cheap to buy, looks good and is slim.

Cherry Strait (JK-0300). This is a good keyboard, and pretty accurately maps the Apple Slimline Keyboard experience except for two minor quibbles. (1) The space bar makes a rattling noise that I find a bit offputting. (2) The position of the Home and End keys are different to any other keyboard I've ever used. It's been incredibly hard for me to get used to the mappings. If you use these keys a lot (e.g. you're a programmer), then this may not be for you. I am getting used to them though.

I'm currently using the Cherry Strait. I think I'll stick with this for a while.
posted by seanyboy at 5:33 AM on July 13, 2011

How much money do you have? The Fingerworks TouchStream is no longer being made, and was crazy expensive even when it was being made, but it is zero impact (no physical keys at all). Also the whole thing doubles as a touch pad. Here is a review someone I know wrote. Despite being out of production, if you're willing to seriously shell out you can probably find one for sale. I'm not sure how sturdy they are, but I imagine the amount of money spent will correspond to taking really good care of the thing (and no keys to wear out).
posted by anaelith at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2011

Best answer: The Apple keyboards mentioned above or great, but if you'd like a touchpad built in a Logitech media keyboard* might be your best bet. (It's not in the same place a a laptop touchpad, so that might be an issue for you.) Otherwise Logitech's Dinovo line of keyboards are what you're looking for.

*This keyboard is listed as a PS3 keyboard, but all reports say it work on Windows.
posted by Ookseer at 10:11 AM on July 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for the answers. Much appreciated!

There is enough pro-Apple keyboard + Magic Trackpad comments to leave me actually considering an Apple product even though I am using a PC (should've mentioned that in the post.. sorry!). However, having a separate trackpad is off-putting since I often need to move around to different workstations, and simpler = better. to head out and see if I can actually 'test-drive' these anywhere locally!
posted by tamarack at 2:28 PM on July 13, 2011

If you have to move around a lot, you might want to avoid Bluetooth. I can imagine an irritating situation where you have to pair the device everytime you sit down and unpair it when you get up. If it's simultaneously paired with multiple machines, you might have problems. (Note: this is based on my experience with Bluetooth devices on a Mac. I avoid Bluetooth input devices for several reasons, these among them.)
posted by supercres at 6:10 PM on July 13, 2011

Response by poster: thanks, supercres!
posted by tamarack at 11:55 AM on July 15, 2011

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