Monday, 26 December 2016

Keyboard nirvana? Almost.

Having blogged about keyboards twice before, you may have got the impression I'm slightly obsessive. I am.

While my old PC was merely getting a bit past its sell-by-date, the keyboard I was using was horrible - a really nasty HiPoint silicone bump device purchased as a temporary measure until I could do some proper research.

As before I had started with what I thought was a reasonable set of requirements:
  • UK layout
  • Compact (i.e. full-sized keys, but without a numeric keypad) to save space on my small desk, and avoid having to reach so far for my mouse.
  • Nice tactile action
  • High contrast between the lettering and background on the keys (or illumination)
  • Wired (i.e. USB, despite the fact my new PC still comes with PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors)
  • NOT CHICLET KEYS!
But it proved remarkably difficult to find anything even coming close to this bill. From much trudging around shops, I was able to identify that Cherry MX red's seemed to provide the right feel (albeit with rather a lot of travel needed). Even just reducing the list down to Cherry MX red / compact / UK layout, I could not find anything online. It seemed the only option I had to meet these requirements was to get a keyboard built to order by a specialist at a cost in the region of £150+ and even then, finding a tenkeyless offering was proving difficult.

Instead, I decided to take a gamble on a keyboard found on eBay - a Bakker Elkhuizen 840.
This has scissor keys rather than Cherry MXs, but has (IMHO) a really nice action. The keys are:
  • the right size
  • in the right place
  • legible with black on light grey
It feels solid and well-built. And, as a bonus, is a USB hub with 2 connectors.

I'm well pleased.

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