Due to my recent disillusionment of even using standard layout keyboards for work (even if they are of high quality), it’s time to look at the candidates for ergonomic keyboards. This time I’ll limit the search to $70 and under.
Perusing around, I find:
- Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000: Microsoft’s latest split layout designed keyboard. It’s usb, they’ve fixed the various issues with the previous models (like the diamond arrangement for the arrow keys, as well as the non-stadard home/end/pgup/pgdn/delete/insert block layout, persistent f-lock setting) In addition, they’ve re-instead the negative tilt option by providing a detachable stand to raise up the wrist wrest part of the keyboard. I haven’t seen any descriptive review of the feel of the switches though. Some people say they’re good, some people say they’re mushy. The only thing that’s clear to me at this point is that they probably still use standard rubber dome switches.
- Fellowes Microban Smart Design Keyboard: I first saw this one on ergocube, and then subsequently on Amazon. The layout is very similar to a MS Natural Elite, except for the split spacebar and some extra buttons across the top. The ergocube page also claims it has a “16 character buffer”. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but my wishful thinking leads me to hope that maybe it’s something like N-key rollover support. Also, it claims to be made of some bacteria-resistant material.
- Belkin Ergoboard Pro: Belkin’s split layout offering that’s also available in many places. It has a single spacebar, but a standard inverted “T” arrangement for the arrow keys as well as an expanded block of keys right above it. Also, as my friend and coworker Phil points out, the “6” key is on the right side of the split, instead of the left which is common in Microsoft split keyboards.
- Microsoft Natural Elite: Which I already own and have been using at work for quite a while now. It seems to be the only thing I can use that keep my hands from being sore at the end of the day — well, at least out of all the keyboards I’ve tried so far.