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Old 08-19-2011, 03:50 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 1,171

Yeah, the introduction of the smaller left-side modifier keys had puzzled me for a while, but these days, I find it hard to go back to the full size set. This is partly as a result of using, for lack of a better term, a screwed up design in the form of a speedlink keyboard. It' was not like going from a standard English layout to something like a Dvorak or AZERTY, but more to do with function key placement and size.

From the pics, you should be able to see that the ctrl and alt (it's well worn) are the same size as any other key. On the right side, you should notice a lack of ctrl key, replaced with the Del key - why? Because the Del key was replaced by the backlight key, lol. Yes that keyboard took a while to get used to, but i used it for 5 years. It's only recently I've had to ditch it due to poor key registration and general wear and tear.

The thing with the small sized Ctrl and Alt keys took a while to get used to. But a couple years later when i started to take graphic design seriously and making heavy use of Illustrator and such, those compact keys really paid for themselves, as strange is it seems. Maybe it was just familiarity with its idiosyncrasies, but when you have to stretch your hand over ctrl, alt, shift, space, Z, C, V and F for hours at a time in Illustrator, cramp becomes a massive issue. Those small keys meant less stretching. I didn't pick up on that till after I had to work in a print studio with the old style MAC keyboards.

But before getting into graphic design, why did i use it for so long? Because it was one of the lightest key responses I had come across, near featherweight. For some, it was insipid with no feedback, to me it was fine. I could type away on that thing for hours and feel absolutely no strain at all. I still enjoy using it.

A couple years ago, I knew the problems were getting pretty bad, so I looked into replacing it and actually picked up a german built Cherry keyboard, a bargain basement 15 thing, but with the laptop style keys. It was very solidly built, very surprising for a cheap keyboard.

But after a few days of use, I started to get fatigue in my hands and couldn't figure out why. Basically, it came down to the key response, while the keys didn't seem heavier at first, they actually required a fair amount of effort and over the days, it became quite apparent. So I ended up switch back again anyway and resigned the new one to a backup on the server.

Any new keyboard will require an adjustment period, and personal preference does play a major role. I know plenty of people that HATE these laptop style keys, not enough feedback for them. The problem is, they also tend to be deaf and love those loud typewriter style mechanical keyboards. Nothing says 'Office' more that the stale smell of coffee and 15 people typing away at irregular intervals with an orchestra of mechanical clicking...
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