Ergonomic Keyboard Questions
May 25, 2004 5:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm in need of an ergonomic keyboard, but I'm awful picky. Does anybody know of a keyboard that meets all the requirements listed inside?

Here are the requirements:

  • Split keyboard design
  • Standard arrangement of arrow keys (inverted T)
  • Standard arrangement of Insert, Delete, Home, End, and Page Up/Down keys (two rows of three keys)
  • Buckling spring keys (or at least extremely "clicky"). I can't stand the mushy keyboards they make nowadays.
  • "Standard" bottom row keys (Control, Windows, Alt, Space, Alt, Windows, "right-click", Control). In that order and without any extra stuff in there. I could live without the Windows and Control keys to the right of the space bar, but that's about it.
  • Preferable not insanely expensive.
  • Windows-compatible
  • Standard arrangement of function keys (F1, F2, etc.). This one isn't quite as important.

    The closest I've been able to find is the discontinued Microsoft Natural Pro keyboard, but it's not buckling spring. Does anybody know how "clicky" it is?
  • posted by hootch to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
    Did you miss these? They're not nearly as expensive as the "contoured" Kinesis keyboards. Haven't used one myself though... and it looks like the insert/delete/etc. keys are not quite exactly what you want.

    (Personally I think even the expensive Kinesis keyboards are a bargain compared to dealing with wrist pain, but that's just my opinion.)
    posted by xil at 6:04 PM on May 25, 2004

    Best answer: Once you break in the natural pro keyboard, it gets pretty clicky. I know I tend to hit the keys kind of hard, but after the springs break in ... well, there isn't much resistance, but the keys go all the way to the bottom with a satisfying thunk.

    As far as I know, no one makes a collapsing spring ergo keyboard because the collapsing springs (and the pressure required to collapse them) are not ergonomic.
    posted by SpecialK at 7:04 PM on May 25, 2004

    I have a Microsoft Natural Pro keyboard, and while it is definitely not "clicky" I don't think it would qualify as mushy either. It has a solid resistance in the keys that holds up well over time (I've had this keyboard for over six years). I'd describe the clickiness as being a little better than average for a modern keyboard - but I don't think you're ever going to find everything you want together.
    posted by thewittyname at 7:47 PM on May 25, 2004

    Response by poster: xil: I did miss those, thanks for pointing them out, they look promising and a little more reasonable. I figured I'd end up comprising on at least one of the points, but I'd rather not if I didn't have to, of course.

    The pain is new and I'm sure it's related to the fact that my home machine is now a laptop. Even when I buy an external keyboard for it, I know I'm not disciplined enough to use it as much as I should, so I'm trying to get my setup at work as ergonomic as possible, since that's where I spend the most time at the keyboard. And since they'll pay for it. :)
    posted by hootch at 8:25 PM on May 25, 2004

    Interesting fact (or kind of fact):
    I read an article recently, in a danish magazine on health issues , that no evidence supports that the so called ergonomic keyboards are any better than normal ones.
    posted by FidelDonson at 2:54 AM on May 26, 2004

    The Microsoft Pro you pointed to is the one I use. I find it very "clicky." I've gone through several of them over the past five years or so and they used to be mushy, but the current pro versions are so loud I usually can't type during a conference call (people on the other end will hear it loud and clear).

    Oh, and you can find brand new ones on ebay for like $15-20.
    posted by mathowie at 4:52 AM on May 26, 2004

    It's a pity that Unicomp don't seem to offer any split-design models, as they meet all your other requirements, buckling springs included, and retail from $50.
    posted by misteraitch at 5:43 AM on May 26, 2004

    I've been using the Kinesis Maxim that xil linked for a few months now and I love it! The great thing about a lot of the Ergo stores (at least here in Canada) is that they will give you a month to try the product and give you a refund (less shipping) if it doesn't work out for you. It might be worth googling for some online ergo retailers in your region that stock Kinesis products. The guy I buy from will spend an hour on the phone advising me and 4 weeks to decide if it is right for me. Just don't put the wrist supports on and get them all cheesy... they won't take it back then :)

    However, just changing your setup won't necessarily heal your wrist pain/numbness, it'll just make it less likely to re-appear after you have 'cured' it. Took some visits to the physio, major forearm stretching, ultrasounding of some muscles, and posture adjustment stretches (which I am currently slacking off on) to help me begin to overcome my typing/mousing issues.
    posted by sonicgeeza at 12:36 PM on May 26, 2004

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