Sorry, you're just not my type
April 10, 2016 6:17 AM   Subscribe

My beloved keyboard is finally giving up the ghost and I need another one. Why is this so hard? Snowflakes inside.

You wouldn't think I'm asking for the world, here, but I feel like I'm hunting for a unicorn.

Must have:

- UK layout. While I touch-type, I'll have other people using the keyboard occasionally who don't, and I don't want to make their life harder by mismatching keyboard and output.
- Full-size enter key. This seems to be the sticking point. I want a keyboard with one of those enter keys that resemble a chubby upside-down L, and this is non-negotiable. This means the "| \" key needs to be to the right of the left shift, not to the right of the "} ]" key. I've tried ones with the smaller enter key and absolutely cannot type on them, I keep hitting \ instead of enter.
- Full-size number pad.
- Wired.
- Windows key disabling. My current keyboard has a switch for it. Willing to compromise on this one if it's otherwise a really nice keyboard, but would really rather not.
- Neutral appearance. I may be a gamer but I like my things to look normal(ish). No arrows printed on the WASD keys, no WASD printed on the arrow keys, no bright red WASD keys and black everything else. Sort of willing to compromise if it looks tasteful, but have yet to see one that does.
- Not completely flat. Should have those little feet that toggle out and prop it up.

Nice to have:
- Subtle, toggleable backlight. Would rather have no backlight at all than one so bright it looks like a rainbow puked on it.
- Spill-proof. I'm careful, but I have a cat and shit happens.
- USB ports and media controls.

I don't need programmable keys, but I don't really care if it ends up having them (my current keyboard has them, I just never used them).

£50 and under (though I can go up to £100ish for a really good one). Bonus points if I can buy it on Amazon.
posted by sailoreagle to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cherry makes nice keyboards. This G85-23100 meets your spec apart from the Windows key thing. Are you sure you can't persuade your keyboard driver to do that?
posted by flabdablet at 7:01 AM on April 10, 2016

I use the US version of this Code Keyboard UK 105 key (in Cherry MX clear, but the specific switch of course varies to taste) and I love it. As far as I can tell it hits all your wants, including the fat 'enter' key, windows key disabling (via dipswitches on the underside) and dimmable backlighting. It's a bit spendy, but man, great keyboard.
posted by Alterscape at 8:03 AM on April 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am wedded to a particular old-school HP keyboard... I'm not claiming that it's the best ever made, but I'm used to what I'm used to, and that's that. When the one I used for about a decade died, I went to eBay and got another. (And I still get e-mail alerts when one shows up under a certain price point... I now have an additional two in reserve for when I drive this one into the ground.)

So my suggestion would be, take the model number of your past keyboard and hie thee to eBay.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:51 AM on April 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is one option. I have the US version of it with Cherry Brown switches. NKR is kinda important for gaming!

You probably want Cherry Reds, which they also make. But switch type is a personal preference thing... the point is, they make a version of this keyboard with all the various Cherry switch types, so you can find one that you like. For gaming I'd probably recommend Cherry Reds and install some firm dampers on the stems of your most used keys.
posted by -1 at 10:36 AM on April 10, 2016

Tangential, but (assuming you use Windows) you can use software to remap the windows key to something else if you find a keyboard that is perfect in every other way.
posted by Aleyn at 4:25 PM on April 10, 2016

It's also possible to completely disable the Windows key. (Tutorials for your version of Windows available on the Internet.)
posted by clorox at 1:23 AM on April 11, 2016

I think we are all hunting unicorns if we have actual preferences about something specific these days, especially on things like keyboards. I've been using a Kinesis Ergo for, it turns out, a solid decade, and recently picked up a Microsoft Sculpt to change things up and (no kidding) in order to have something quieter for conference calls. (The Kinesis has lovely mechanical switches, which makes it very noisey.)

I'm miserable with it. I thought it'd be easier, but the subtle differences are insanely off-putting. I can live with the fact that it's not nearly as eccentric as the Kinesis, but Microsoft's insane choice to split the numbers between 6 and 7 instead of 5 and 6 is giving me absolute fits.

Good luck.
posted by uberchet at 9:13 AM on April 11, 2016

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