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Input Devices Upgrades

The Best Keyboards For Every Occasion 523

ThinSkin writes "ExtremeTech has written an article on the best keyboards in every category, such as gaming keyboards (macro and hybrid), media center keyboards, keyboard gamepads, and so forth. Of course, the big companies like Microsoft and Logitech dominate these lists, while smaller companies like Razer, Ideazon, and others play an important role as well."
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The Best Keyboards For Every Occasion

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  • Really bad review (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geophile ( 16995 ) <jao@NoSpAm.geophile.com> on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:04PM (#26261557) Homepage

    I suppose writers, spreadsheet jockeys, and developers all have to share the "generic" category, which doesn't seem right.

    In the generic category, they are going for cool appearance (interesting materials, backlight) over functionality, key layout, tactile feedback, and durability. How else to explain the complete absence of any "clicky" keyboards? The old IBM keyboards are still available. They are fantastic, I'm using one right now. And there are newer keyboards with similar mechanisms -- I expect that they are very good but I haven't tried them.

  • What is this crap? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:06PM (#26261579) Journal
    Ok, so a keyboard that they describe as having "soft and cushy keys" is #1 in their "generic" category. WTF guys? And no clicky boards at all? Hell, you could have saved your time by just ranking them according to number of "multimedia" buttons and extraneous LEDs. You would have done about as well.

    Get off my lawn.
  • by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:10PM (#26261611)

    This article hardly covers *every* category. I'm a full-time translator, sometimes spending far too much time at my keyboard, and RSI is a big issue. One big help I found in working around and avoiding RSI issues is the Alphagrip [alphagrips.com].

    It looks like a PS2 controller on steroids. Sure, it's a bit funky and takes a while to get used to, but its different key layout means that learning it does not overwrite your muscle memory for regular QWERTY boards, allowing you to swap back and forth with no confusion -- unlike Dvorak layouts, for instance. Plus, it's portable. :) The one drawback is no wireless version yet, but word is they're working on that. I've found the Alphagrip to be very useful in recovering from RSI induced by generic keyboards.

    (Note -- I have no relation to the Alphagrip company. I am merely a satisfied customer.)


  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:26PM (#26261799) Homepage Journal

    Let's ses...

    * Best Generic Keyboards
    * Best Macro Gaming Keyboards
    * Best Hybrid Gaming Keyboards
    * Best Keyboard Gamepads
    * Best Media Center Keyboards

    ... And where is best keyboard for work???

    For "Best Keyboard for Work" I nominate "Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000"

    Pros: very reliable; mostly Linux friendly; has "Insert" key (VIM friendly).

    Cons: "F Lock" nonsense; no USB hub.

  • by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:29PM (#26261835)

    I've been using a keyboard from PCKeyboard.com for ages, and it's gotten dirty. I took the keyboard apart, ran it under the shower, then flushed it with 95% ethanol. Put in on the windowsill for 3 days to dry, and voila - looks and feels like new.

    I just bought another one, in case the company goes out of business (after all, who's crazy enough to pay $80 for a keyboard!).

  • Re:Mac? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by raddan ( 519638 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:37PM (#26261889)
    Well, I currently have an IBM Model M connected to my iMac at work (typing on it right now). It doesn't get less Mac friendly than that, and it works fine. Strangely, I have an old ADB Apple Extended II Keyboard connected to my Linux machine at home, and that works fine, too. I have an old AT keyboard kicking around the office (attached to ancient PBX computer)... maybe someday I'll see if I can connect that to my Mac, too.
  • Weird priorities.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:45PM (#26261971) Journal

    Integrated audio chip might annoy those with speaker setups

    What? How? Does it force you to use its own audio?

    Short of hotkeys.

    Ok, first of all, does anyone here find the "Home Page" key to be useful?

    Alright, I can see the point of things like volume keys. What I don't see is why it's so hard to map some unused keystroke to those anyway. I tend to map various global keystrokes with the Windows key to Amarok.

    Also, WTF is a "Gaming keyboard"? Last I checked, most games are built to respond to keystrokes on a normal keyboard. As for macros, why not do it in software? If it's to foil the game's anti-cheat mechanism, wouldn't this then be considered cheating? Is WASD really that hard to use?

    The media center keyboards I can kind of see, but really, it's not that difficult to just use any wireless keyboard (why do you need integrated tracking?) and learn keystrokes, or use a good old-fashioned infrared remote.

    As for "clicky" keyboards, at least you've got a valid reason for those -- personally, the keyboard I'm fastest with is Apple's aluminum keyboards (I prefer the wired version), which cost me $50. Most of these are much more than that, even one of the "gamepad keyboards". I just wish someone other than Apple would make one, so I could have an insert key, and not have to swap command/option.

  • Why number pads? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @05:49PM (#26262043) Journal
    Why is it that the number pad on a telephone is vertically mirrored from the number pad on computers and calculators? The number pads on calculators and computers pre-dates those on phones by several decades, so why did the phone guys make theirs upside-down?
  • I 3 My Kinesis!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdelFactor19 ( 732765 ) <adam,edelstein&alum,rpi,edu> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:27AM (#26267251)

    Bought a Kinesis a little over a year ago and I absolutely love it. It's worth every penny. (~$325 for usb contour advantage).

    After slaving away on model m's, microsoft natural's (& knock-offs) ,thinkpads and my current mac book pro; I can say that I've tried a lot of different things.

    Between my hobbies of guitar and lacrosse, and all of the typing through high school, high school internships, college, college internships and co-ops and my full time job now; I can say with ease my hands and wrists have never felt better.
          Prior to the switch my typing endurance was starting to fade somewhat rapidly; I noticed that my guitar playing was suffering. Additionally if I took a couple whacks to the hands during lacrosse my typing tended to really suffer for the next couple days.

    Took me about 2.5 weeks to regain full speed on it; but within a month I was typing faster than I ever had. I could go on endlessly. Every one who comes in my office asks me about it, so if nothing else its a great conversation piece :-). Loaned it to my best friend for two weeks while I was on vacation last June, as he had been suffering from what he thought was (what people call mis-label) as RSI or some precursor. He reluctantly put aside his model M (much to his girlfriends delight, as he works at home) and used it exclusively while I was gone. By the time I got back he had already ordered and received one of his own, and had safely secured his modem M away for posterity. (much to his gf's dismay)

    My parents came for a visit recently and I brought it to my apt from my office to show them. Immediately after looking at my mother (a licensed O.T. in MA before retiring) saw many of the obvious benefits that I saw immediately in regards to both speed and reducing fatigue/strain: emphasis on our thumbs instead of pinky/index finger. The critical keys (space, backspace,delete, enter, pg up/down, home/end, ctrl,alt,super/meta) are all moved to the thumbs. This single factor is what will make it nearly impossible to ever use another keyboard because of how much I enjoy it. Particularly as an emacs user this is fantastic (and FWIW my friend a vim user found just as many benefits)

    Obviously it's probably not for everyone, and it is a little pricey.. but I'd buy it again in a heart beat. In fact I might have to buy one for my apartment after being so spoiled by using it all day at work.

    Apologies for the slightly over detailed plug/endorsement. But I freaking love this keyboard if it isn't obvious.

  • Optimus keyboard? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:03AM (#26267877) Journal
    What, no Optimus keyboard? After all the press coverage and love it got here, it wasn't featured? Or mentioned?

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