Keyboards again

published : 2022-04-15 changed: 2022-04-19

category: global --> keyboards

tags:


Keyboards, again

Development continues

The world keeps turning, there are new, ergonomic, split keyboards to admire. If you still want to read about the other keyboards I've looked at -> visit this post.

Model100

I'm the proud owner of a Keyboardio Model 01. But the guys from Keyboardio weren't lazy and packed the community's feedback into a new version, the Model100 via keyboard.io

Actually, the Model100 is almost identical to the Model01, at least on the outside. The most important changes1

  • hot-swappable Kailh keyswitches. That was one of the biggest shortcomings of the Model01 (or is - even if you can only buy the Model01 used at the moment) - the switches quickly caused problems and produced errors. Double keystrokes or none at all - that happens quite often. Sure, that can be fixed relatively easily (by cleaning), it's always annoying.
  • Case made of walnut wood: looks very classy, ​​a darker case.
  • the KeyCaps have been improved. The curved plastic is now a bit thicker, so they should also feel more valuable. In addition, they are flatter, so that the LEDs under the keys shine through better.
  • Baseplate and the so-called Octo-Stand have been improved so that the Model100 is even more stable on the desk.
  • A revised electronic design makes the Model100 a little less error-prone if a USB hub misbehaves. And it should be easier to fix.
  • Faster processor + more memory: Above all, I find more memory quite appealing. My layout occupies 99% of the available space, and it's actually not all that complex.

The rest remains as usual:

  • 64 sculpted keys. This is both an advantage and a (small) disadvantage. These "curved" shaped keys make typing easier, the fingers rest better and you can find the right key faster. But due to this special feature, you cannot install any other keycaps. This is only a limited problem, because keyboardio offers its own KeyCaps to an affordable price.
  • RGB lighting under all(!) keys
  • NKRO - i.e. N-Key Roll-Over.
  • Open source firmware
  • the proven split design including the palm rest buttons

A nice improvement over the Model01 because it addresses the known problems and tackles them. It's also great that the Keyboardio Model100 now comes with a travel case (at least if you ordered it via Kickstarter).

The costs are about $289 US (currently about 265€, plus 19% VAT then about 315,-€2) at Kickstarter, later it will be correspondingly more expensive.

Moonlander Mk1

But there are other alternatives in the field of split, ergonomic keyboards. The Moonlander Mark I comes from ZSA - a small company that now belongs to Ergodox.

I was relatively close to getting this gem, but then the Model100 was announced 😉.

It seems to me to be a good alternative to the Ergodox-EZ, but it "only" has 72 keys compared to the 76 keys of the Ergodox-EZ.

So far I haven't had my hands on the Moonlander, but it seems to offer a lot to me and is available immediately. Unfortunately, I think the Moonlander looks a bit cheap and I'm not sure if it's stable.

The price is $365 US (roughly €330 plus VAT €3922, depending on the exchange rate).

Glove80

The Glove80 is a very interesting project. The keyboard is round, similar to the Kinesis Advantage 2, but smaller and handier.

The keyboard has 80 keys, which is more than the Ergodox and the Model100 or Model01. Nevertheless, the keyboard seems to be quite compact. The price is somewhere beyond €300 (depending on the exchange rate to the New Zealand dollar and which variant you want, but at least €360 again plus VAT then €2).

Advantages:

  • portable similar to the Moonlander. It is very flat and can therefore be easily stowed away and taken with you
  • the two halves communicate wirelessly with each other and with the computer - no cables required (although I have my doubts as to whether this is an advantage, because it seems there is no way to connect the keyboard halves by cable)
  • an RGB option (Gamer Edition) is available. You have the choice of full RGB or just a few illuminated keys (similar to the Ergodox-EZ Glow).

Disadvantages:

  • the thumb block is not 100% usable in my opinion, the top row of buttons will certainly be difficult to use with the thumb.
  • the keyswitches are soldered, that's a bit "oldschool" because you can't easily replace broken switches. The developers justify it with the round shape of the keyboard, which would not work with hot-swappable keyswiches. You have to make compromises there
  • the RGB option ("Gamer Edition") costs extra - although this can also be interpreted as an advantage, if you do not need or want the RGB-Option(see above)
  • you can not adjust the inclination it seems. The inclination of the keyboard is fixed.

For all of these reasons I finally decided against the Glove80, even though I had been weak for a while. 😉

The Sol3

This is also a very exciting keyboard, fulfilling all the characteristics that I believe a good, ergonomic, split keyboard must support. And it also looks quite futuristic:

The special thing about it is that you have different options for almost every component (baseplate, frame, keyswitches, keycaps etc). And then the keyboard is assembled with magnets - really cool!

Basically, it is very similar to the Ergodox-EZ, even if it has fewer buttons (in the thumb cluster, the Sol3 has 72Keys).

Depending on the choice of components, you will end up with about 300-400€2 but it is definitely worth considering. Technically, there is hardly anything to complain about, it should work for all areas of application. One could be tempted - a lot 😉

Summary

It's really nice to see what's happening in the market for ergonomic split keyboards. In my humble opinion, the split keyboards offer the maximum ergonomics and flexibility - although this requires touch typing (which is probably not a problem for someone willing to invest more than 300€ in a keyboard). Now you should just switch to a better keyboard layout 😉 - I wrote something about it here.

The time and money invested in keyboards is certainly well spent. As has been said many times, this is currently the input device for computers and it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon. Everyone who sits at the computer professionally and privately should really give it some thought.

Keyboardio Model 100

Project page on Indiegogo [https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-keyboardio-model-100--4#/](https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-keyboardio-model-100- -4#/) On Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keyboardio/model-100/description Company homepage Keyboardio https://keyboard.io Keyboardio Community https://community.keyboard.io

Glove 80

Project Page https://glove80.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders/info Project creator MoErgo on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/MoErgo/

Moonlanders

Shop Page https://www.zsa.io/moonlander/



  1. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-keyboardio-model-100--4/

  2. When importing the keyboards from non-EU countries, customs duty in the amount of VAT is added on top.

created Stephan Bösebeck (stephan)