What is your preferred keyboard?

OK, I admit I’m what many call a geek. So I couldn’t resist to the keyboard mania spread around the web (and of which I’m probably one of the main responsibles in Italy…)

After one week with the Apple Aluminium keyboard, and a bit too many years with the white/transaparent one, I’m now writing this post from my old, trusty Apple Extended Keyboard II (AEKII), with the Italian ISO layout, that I had left out for years, despite that Griffin iMate sitting on top of my main workstation.

Contrary to the previous keyboards I had been using during these years, this board’s touch is even; typing accents and quotes is much easier, and there is no longer that stupid lag when pressing the Caps Lock. I admit I hated the Aluminium mostly for that, but also for the odd and uneven touch (and a series of odd ideas, like the confusion between multimedia controls and F-keys).

I’m planning from days to purchase an Unicomp replica of the venerable IBM Model M, the one that equipped older PS/2 PCs, fitted with springs under each key. The AEKII is very pleasant, but I remember that when I received it after having used the AEKI for years, I found it quite a bit inferior to the previous model. On the contrary, I had found the AEKI on a par with Olivetti keyboards and PS/2 keyboards.

Since I cannot find any Italian AEKI, nor Olivetti keyboards of the age, I would love to try the Unicomp. Do you have memories about them? Where they really pleasant and productivity boosters as someone suggests?

Or, are you happy with the keyboard you use, ad that’s perfectly fine to write masterpieces?


Model M!!!

I have one. It is wonderful to type on.

If you live with anybody, however, they will not agree. When I was on a roll and typing at full speed, I am told it sounded like a machine gun from the next room.

I need to find a USB/PS2 adaptor, since the keyboard has a PS2 plug and my powerbook does not; because of that I haven’t used it for a while. The laptop keyboard is good for a laptop keyboard, but it doesn’t compare to the Model M.

I love my little bluetooth one from Apple. Love the touch of it. Different strokes, I guess. :wink:

The only keyboard I liked in the PC world was (I believe) a Honeywell that I bought at a Vegas Comdex. That was one sweet keyboard. Silent, with a light tactile feedback that was just right for fast typing. It had been made for some industrial mini something-or-other and a friend and I had to do some fancy pleading to get them to sell us one (each). They did, happily. Had it for years before some software killed it.

My fave is undoubtedly my Matias Tactile Pro, which was an attempt to replicate and modernize the old Apple Extended keyboard, using the same kind of mechanical keyswitches. I was skeptical after hearing all the praise for it from writers (and about its high price) and reviewers , but it’s true: I never typed faster or more accurately than with it.

Sadly, however, I can no longer use it because ever since I got my MacBook, whose keyboard I do most of my writing on, I can’t switch back to the old-style Matias keyboard wihtout incurring typos for an hour, and the same thing happens when I switch back. I really love the MacBook’s new low profile keys, but they’re so different from the old style keyboards t hat it takes my hands an hour or more to readjust. This never happened with my PowerBook. Also, I moved to a smaller place, and the Matias is so loud and clacky that it disturbs my mate. So, I’m looking to trade it for one of the new aluminum Apple keyboards, which use the same keys as the MacBooks.

I have a 17" iMac with Intel CoreDuo. Still using the stock keyboard and I’ve liked this one better than any Apple keyboard I’ve owned before. But the old extended keyboard was a very good keyboard, and if you can use it, why not? Unless the size of the thing is an issue.

At home I have my ibook G4 and use its laptop, and my mac mini with default apple keyboard (I barely use that).

At work however I have my favourite keyboard of all time:

A Kinesis Advantage USB keyboard.

I love it, and want one at home. But, ouch, the price :frowning:


apple aluminium wireless - it has transformed writing on my macbook from a neckache inducing contortion to a fairly relaxed and enjoyable experience. I like the feel of it, too, more consistent than the macbook keyboard. Mighty mouse is cool as well.

The FingerWorks TouchStream LP keyboard. Two large zero-pressure touch surfaces which can register multiple finger strokes at once, allowing for rapid typing, complex and simple gestures, and simple to advanced pointer manipulation all in one surface.

Too bad Apple bought the tech for the iPhone and then shut down the business forever.

My favourite keyboard (bar the old Apple Extended II, natch) is actually the new MacBook/Apple Aluminium style, which I love.

But check this out for the mother of all ergonomic split keyboards; I don’t use one myself, but I know someone who does and swears by it:

From SafeType.

Maybe it’s just me, but those ergonomic keyboards give me anxiety just looking at them. I also know people who swear by them, though.

I love the clatter and response of my Tactile Pro II, although if you do a search in this forum for that keyboard, you’ll find that that love comes with serious reservations.

A year into owning this thing – as much as I like clacking away on the TP – I kind of wish now that I’d waited for the Das Keyboard.

You might want to have a look at the Macally IceKey keyboard - it has the same low profile as the MacBook/Pro (it has laptop-style scissor-keys), so you might find switching back and forth easier.

I have tried various keyboards, including the Macallay IceKey, but found none that suited me. Then, last summer, I ordered a Unicomp spacesaver USB, in black, for $69. I love it. Having read various reviews I thought I might find it irritatingly noisy but that has not been the case. It is such a pleasure to type with. I would say, though I haven’t tested it, that my accuracy and speed have both increased with the Model M. Highly recommended.

My favourite keyboard, would be any that had a hinged bottom , or no bottom at all for that matter. One where all the crud ‘n’ crap that fell through the keys, fell out on to a tray, or some such thing.

As it is at the moment, the crumbs and pieces of fruit muffins, mixed with various spilt sloshes of alcoholic beverage, are attracting the tiny vinigar/fruit flies.

The only thing that keeps the number of copulating Drosophilia, down to an acceptable level is the presence of a Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus), which has taken up residence under the F13 function key. Since I havent a clue what the function keys are for, I never use them, so it isn`t a problem.

I suppose it could be worse! I mean, if the spider brought a mate to share F13, and they started to breed, I think Id have to do something drastic. Exactly what Im not sure, Any ideas? :confused:

Take care

I have an Icekey, and while it’s a very nice keyboard, I definitely prefer the new aluminium Apple ones. After a year or so of use, my Icekey now occasionally requires a solid Extended II-style whack to get a key to register.

Y wanna be careful you aint got something living in there thats got a deadly bite!! :open_mouth:


[size=50]I have been resisting this post for days. But I can’t. Being on topic is killing me. I can’t just sit here and let information flow uninhibited. I just feels wrong.

ok, I am done and it is out of my system.

And yes I know it is a synth not a keyboard. leave me alone.


You’re kidding, but I’m aware I have the same attitude with computer keyboards and music keyboards alike. I design synths, and I know the difference between a ‘meaty’ keyboard and a ‘light’ one. Some of my customers like light keyboards better, and these are like the Apple Aluminium. Others, like me, love to feel something under their finger, to really be in control of their music. I guess it is the same when writing a novel, and needed a more solid-feeling link with the words.


I have looked at this one, but one thing that bugged me was the slanted keys (like on a regular keyboard, the keys lean to the left). On that vertical keyboard it means typing downwards with left and upwards with right, which I can only imagine causes you to slightly rotate your wrists in those ways.

It does look better than a regular keyboard and I’m sure it works a lot better than the regular flat keyboards, but it just seem to miss that last bit to make it perfect.

I wonder why ergonomic keyboard manufacturers stick to slanted keys…


Well, in the end I bought a Metadot Das Keyboard III Ultimate. The one with the Cherry Blue MX mechanics, and no labels on the keys.


A very pleasant keyboard. One can type very lightly on it, since the click is heard very soon in the key’s run, and is easily perceived. By recalling, it is a bit lighter than an IBM Model M, and even of an Apple Extended Keyboard I, but I don’t have the originals handy to do a comparison.

Compared to my Apple Extended Keyboard II, this one is way more clicky - so much, that I now believe the AEKII has a linear mechanism, not a clicky one. I don’t know which one is more precise, but this one is very much so.

I’m happy to having got rid of the Aluminium, and of all the mushy keyboard of the past years.


A recent TidBITs article covering the Model M, and its Unicomp progeny: