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  • mikelanding - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    " I’ve long heard the benefits for touch typists of mechanical keys, but until now I haven’t seen anyone doing a curved/natural/ergonomic keyboard with mechanical keys."
    Hmm.. You should then check out below few site:
    1) www.maltron.com - a UK based company that pioneer Mechanical Split Keyboard
    2) http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/ - a US based company that made and sell Split, Concave, Mechanical Keyboard
    3) http://ergodox.org/ - An Open source Split, Flat, Mechanical Keyboard project that is now under Group buy stage at https://www.massdrop.com/buy/ergodox. Highly customised. DIY.

    Do check them out ..
    Reply
  • krazyderek - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    +1 for kinesis-ergo.com they've been around for a number of years, i've owned they're "Contour" after seeing it featured on the movie "Flubber" with Robin Williams as a scientist. I've also recently used the "Maxim" keyboard which is VERY similar to this keyboard with integrated palm rests, and two way angle (split and tilt) adjustment.

    What i'd really like to see anadtech dig up is news on a laptop with an ergonomic keyboard, or some type of mechanical ergonomic keyboard adjustment settings in a laptop. (like in robocop 3 http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2415/2215634966_d1ba... )
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Granted I'm only one man, but I don't ever recall seeing an ergonomic laptop keyboard in the wild. In fact, they often seem to be going the opposite direction and are becoming increasingly non-ergonomic. If anyone else has see one, though, let me know.

    And for the other mechanical ergo keyboards, thanks for the links -- I might have to see about contacting them to try one out. The last link seems to be dead, though, and if people think $222 is a lot, those Maltron keyboards will give them a different reference point! Anyway, let me see how it goes with this keyboard for a while before trying others. :-)
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Mike's last link will work if you delete a stray period off the end. You can't see what level of deal the group buy is without either creating a site account or giving them your facebook info. Reply
  • Atta Peep - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Hmm, probably find with the use of virtual kbs you wll be able to softload any style you want. Reply
  • Chapbass - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Their Advantage keyboard is amazing as well. See my post a few below this one for notes on it. Reply
  • ricardoduarte - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    It would be interesting to get a review on the kinesis contoure advantage
    http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/advantage.htm.

    There is also more weird styled keyboards like:
    - safetype (which is just weird): http://www.safetype.com/
    - datahand keyboard (quite weird but kinda makes sense): DataHand Ergonomic Keyboard
    Reply
  • Chapbass - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I use an advantage both at work and at home (I'm typing on one right now). Short version: Its the best keyboard I've ever used, I can type incredibly fast on it, and the keys are very long throw which makes the impact on your hands and wrists much less. There is a speaker inside which clicks when the key is pressed about 1/2 way down, so that you instinctively release the key, further reducing shock.

    Took a while to get used to, but I LOVE the alternate placement of the enter, delete spacebar, and backspace keys.

    Only downside is that I have to rebind EVERY key when going to play a video game, but its a small price to pay.

    Let me know if you have any questions, or if anyone wants to PM me on the forums, I'll gladly answer anything you need.
    Reply
  • ricardoduarte - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Thanks for your reply, i really have been looking at one of those, i like the idea of the datahand one also, i just find the price quite steep.
    Hopefully sometime this year i might get a kinesis.

    thanks
    Reply
  • Chapbass - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I would definitely recommend it to anyone. But especially those with any sort of hand issues. It was recommended to me by my friend who has very bad carpal tunnel (he had to have surgery on it). He swears by it, as a programmer he would've had to change professions had he not found the kinesis. While he can only type for about an hour at most on a laptop, he can easily type all day every day on the kinesis.

    I'm pretty much teh same, way. Started having some hand problems and immediately ordered 2 of them, never looked back. My hands are great, and the keyboard feels great.

    Oh, and it can do dvorak too, if thats your thing.
    Reply
  • Pete Magsig - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    Another +1 vote the for Kinesis. I saw the original papers that drove the design of the Kinesis presented at SIGCHI many years ago, so TECK's claim isn't exactly true. But more importantly, I've been using Kinesis for over a decade, with great results. I started having wrist and hand issues back in the late 90's. I bought a Kinesis, spent the time adapting to it, and haven't had a problem since. I'm a programmer, and spend a lot of time behind a keyboard.

    Another great side effect of the Kinesis is that once you've become familiar with the keyboard your typing speed will increase noticeably if you're writing prose.
    Reply
  • Exirtis - Thursday, January 24, 2013 - link

    Thanks for mentioning Massdrop. I'd never heard of it before, but I'm glad I have now.

    It's a nice concept, and so belatedly obvious that I'm surprised that the site is so new (the domain registration isn't even two years old) and that the open crowdsourcing of group buying hasn't been done before, that I'm aware of.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    She came from a standard, flat, Danish keyboard to a standard QWERTY TECK"109" key, and had little problem adjusting - her job is mostly to type English every day though - technical documents mainly. She loves it, has it with Cherry MX Blues, yet she still uses a normal, flat, Danish keyboard at home.

    So there is certainly a good chance some people will find it easy to adapt.

    The Truly Ergonomic to me looks great, but I wish they would actually listen to feedback. I'd probably buy one if they allowed me to customise my keycaps like WASD does! (I use a fully custom layout, based on Dvorak, at home and at work, at work on a normal QWERTY keyboard..)
    Reply
  • twoscomplement - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I stumbled upon and purchased this keyboard about 8 months ago. It took me a good week or two using it at work to become accustomed to the layout, but afterwards I absolutely would swear by it. As a developer I find its relocating of CTRL, SHIFT, and ENTER as one of the most important changes. On a typical QWERTY layout the typical emacs shortcuts require a lot of pinky stretching which would always cramp up my hands after a long day of programming. On a QWERTY I usually remap Caps Lock to CTRL to alleviate the strain some, but TREK's moving of more used keys to more dominant fingers/positions does create a more comfortable typing position.

    Some other minor details: It's quite solidly built with dip switches that allow remapping keys in hardware. The relocation of HOME, END, PGUP, and PGDWN as a second dpad encouraged me to use them quite a bit more. And the small the width of the keyboard keeps mouse hand travel to a minimum. Just keep at it and it'll become second nature in no time. I often find myself reaching for tab, and enter when coming home to my desktop.
    Reply
  • BedfordTim - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Somewhat similarly I found that Dell's relocation of the PGUP and PGDwn keys a revelation. As a programmer I make a lot of use of these, and grouping all the movement keys into one area works very well for me. Oddly others here hate Dell's arrangement, so I guess it remains a very personal thing, and probably related to usage patterns. Reply
  • Azethoth - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    With this amount of futzing they should have just gone full Dvorak.

    I do like the idea of redesigning the keyboard though. the standard one has so many dumb features. NumLock needs to be shot in the head for example.

    It is also time for dedicated cut copy paste undo keys.

    Their arrow key layout sucks coconuts. The down arrow should be in line with the left rights. Moving it back is NOT ergonomic. Your middle finger is long and already reaches the standard configuration. Moving it back means its already curled to reach up, and super curled to reach down. Yuck.
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    That keyboard looks nice and fixes a lot of issues I currently have with my QWERTY keyboard. The middle column is a great idea (finally return accesible with both left and right hand) and also the other button placements (control keys, navigation keys) seem well optimized.
    But I think the name is too much. It's definitely not a truly ergonomic keyboard, because it still uses QWERTY layout which is, on purpose, not ergonomic. There are alternative layouts, better suited for modern computers, sadly they aren't the standard and adoption will take much longer. Luckily you can change to an alternative layout, you'll just miss the correct key labels.
    The overall button placement (especially numbers and symbols) of the TECK isn't that much different either, so I doubt that it's much more comfortable to type symbols or numbers with it than with a normal keyboard without a number block.

    I still use QWERTY on the normal sized keyboard, because every other computer / every available keyboard has QWERTY.
    However, I learned a new layout for a one handed keyboard I primarily use. Its physical layout is totally different and also the way you input text. Thus typing on it was difficult the first days/weeks, but here's how I managed to learn it quite fast. (good speed after a month) Because the majority of buttons remain in the old place in TECK, just some control buttons got moved, it shouldn't be take too long to adopt the TECK.
    - if you have huge difficulties, use some typing tutor software to train specific keys/combos.
    - train daily at least an hour with the keyboard and type as much as possible with it.
    - test your words per minute with some software which gives you long texts. Repeat this test daily with the same text. You will advance pretty fast with this text, but on others you'll be slower. Still, it makes more fun to see larger progress, thus the same text.
    - It takes time, at least a week. After a month of daily usage you should be more than familiar with the keyboard.

    It's nice to see that you really try to use this new keyboard. Lots of other keyboard reviewers testing strange keyboards try the keyboard one day and conclude, it's awkward.
    Reply
  • coffeetable - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I switched to DVORAK a few years back, and my typing went from maybe 70WPM to 85WPM over the course of , which was nowhere near enough to be worth the hassle. What was worth it though is the way my typing pains vanished inside a month, but I've no idea whether to attribute that to the new layout or simply to new, better typing habits - fingers on the home row, etc - instead of the hodgepodge of seek'n'peck that I picked up as a teenager.

    I upgraded to a MS Natural Ergonomic recently, and while I don't think it's improved my typing speed, though the reverse-incline and split design do seem to reduce stress on my wrists. That said, I'll be surprised if you manage any measurable, statistically significant gains on the TECK.

    The numpad elimination is an interesting idea, though I would've preferred if it'd been moved to the LHS, as it does come in useful sometimes. Rather than decrease the time taken to switch, using the mouse is something that should be avoided in general, and stuff like

    http://thegleebox.com/

    has helped me a lot towards that end.
    Reply
  • Nihility - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    "I switched to DVORAK a few years back, and my typing went from maybe 70WPM to 85WPM over the course of "

    You missed an important word there.
    I'm interested in switching. I tried colmack but the OS support was so terrible that I gave up on it after wasting a month of learning.

    How long did it take you to get back to QWERTY typing speeds?
    Reply
  • Skidmarks - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I can't blame him for not wanting to do the review. Reply
  • PetriW - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I've used the blank model 109 since launch and I really like it. I'd like to make a few notes though.
    - The new shift/ctrl placement makes sense, it's just a pain to get used to. Alt can be hard to hit on the 109/209.
    - Unless you actually use both thumbs for space I'd recommend remapping backspace to the left space bar.
    - The width of the keyboard lets you move the mouse a lot closer, this really really helps.
    - Don't buy the TECK expecting the "Reprogrammable" feature to be released any time soon. It was promised to be there on launch (and the delayed launches...) and it's still not here over a year later. Mail them about it and you get no reply.
    - TECK support is pretty bad, I suspect it's just one guy with way too much to do.
    - Switching between laptop/pc is not really a big issue outside the whole shift/ctrl placement thing and you could always remap those on your laptop too (caps lock is a waste of a key anyway).
    - Shipping to Europe is way too expensive, even when ordering multiple keyboards.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Remapping keys is extremely easy to do, actually. Here's one utility you can try that should do the trick: http://www.randyrants.com/sharpkeys/

    Why it would take TE that long to create a similar utility is beyond me, but SharpKeys can remap most keys without issue. Being fully mechanical, you can also move most of the keys around on the TECK, so going Dvorak wouldn't be hard at all. Or you can get the blank model and just map it how you see fit. As an added benefit, if anyone comes to try your PC, the lack of labels will drive them away!
    Reply
  • santeana - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Yeah, do stick with it! I can't wait to see a follow up review in a few weeks when you have gotten used to the new layout! :) Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Since this seems to be the only company that makes this keyboard and the layout is so different from every other keyboard, and the design will likely never make it into a laptop...

    I really don't see the point of spending two months learning it, as it will just slow down your ability to use other keyboards.

    Now if you where to switch to it 100% and didn't type on any other layouts, then I could see changing.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Nah, I can type QWERTY, Dvorak, and my custom layout based on Dvorak although to be fair, I haven't typed on normal Dvorak for some months now.

    It's almost like languages - people who learn many languages don't necessarily forget their previous languages..
    Reply
  • Chapbass - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    No, changing back and forth is easy. If its anything like my Kinesis Advantage, then basically it goes like this:

    a few weeks to get used to the new keyboard, then a few weeks to learn how to adjust back and forth. Then its easy peasy. I switch back and forth between my Kinesis and a laptop standard keyboard flawlessly (though my kinesis is much more comfortable).
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I tried switching to Dvorak, but dropped below 10 WPM and got too frustrated I couldn't respond to IMs or emails that quickly. I couldn't change the keyboard layout at work, and after a couple of days of struggling going back and forth, I just switched back and saved the hassle. I don't get any typing pains, writers block is perhaps more prevalent. Reply
  • Jammrock - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    I would try it if it wasn't a flat keyboard. I don't ever use flat keyboards if I can avoid them. Far to uncomfortable for long term typing. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, January 19, 2013 - link

    Truly Ergonomic isn't flat, try looking it up. Reply
  • boli - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    The keyboard itself is flat (flat PCB, unlike say Kinesis Advantage).

    The profile of the key caps however is different in each row, so that the surface forms some sort of bowl:

    http://www.trulyergonomic.com/store/index.php?rout...

    Personally I'd rather recommend trying a Kinesis Advantage (I own both).
    Reply
  • xrror - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Sadly, TECK must fail in that the vast majority of keyboard users, John/Jane Q. PublicBook would give up after 5 minutes, IGNORING the fact they'd ever buy anything over $200.

    BUT! It is pretty brave of TECK to try and release a... "radical" redesign of a keyboard, but still with the QWERTY layout!

    It's seems... optimistic? of TECK to bet on the "middle ground" where "nobody" is happy. For the "purists" (which I quote in a NON-condescending way) QWERTY was pretty much perfected by the IBM Model M ages ago, and ergonomic buckling-spring was IBM model M15 (ergonomic) (13H6689) which is unobtainium now =(

    And like many others say, even though QWERTY is fundamentally broken for modern input, it is what the vast vast majority of computer users these days "know" to interact with their glowing internet/facebook "device."

    But, if there is innovation in the "broken" QWERTY layout that we are all ingrained too, be our canary and find it! =D
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    This allegedly ergonomicl keyboards may or may not actually be ergo at all. The errors are likely due to years of typing on a traditional keyboard vs. this ergo layout being slightly skewed. If we all learned and used an ergo for years then the result may be they same but the real question is if this keyboard is really any better than a qwerty keyboard. I doubt most people would be willing to swap let alone pay for a new ergo like this. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    If you type a significant amount on a keyboard, numerous studies have been done over the years that prove standard QWERTY is not only suboptimal but also causes more issues with RSI than alternative layouts. And why is it we all still use QWERTY then? Simple momentum -- the path has been set and changing course is far more difficult than continuing down the road, even if the direction we're going is poorly chosen.

    Did you know that QWERTY was actually designed way back when specifically to limit speed of typing? The early typewriters would lock up with their levered mechanisms if you typed too quickly, so in order to reduce the occurrence of issues, letters were arranged such that people would type a bit slower than what they might do with a better layout. With computers, typing speed is no longer a concern -- that's where stuff like the Dvorak layout comes from.

    As for whether the TECK layout and design is better or not, that's the intent of me spending more than a few days typing on it. I'm intentionally not going with a modified layout from the default, even though I think I'd adapt more quickly if I moved backspace and a few other keys around. After I've come to grips with the default arrangement, I might have to give Dvorak a try...depending interest and whether I think it will improve my discomfort from lengthy amounts of typing.
    Reply
  • Azethoth - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Well I for one am interested in how it fares doing Dvorak. I usually have a Corsair K90 attached to my laptop so I have no issue having to switch typing styles. I just need to know if it enhances Dvorak.

    Also, does the non T style for the arrow keys work or is it a hassle?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    I'd have to do a completely separate evaluation on Dvorak once I've adapted to the initial layout -- which I've mostly done now. I can't say for certain that this layout is ideal, but it works fine for me and the arrangement of the keys does feel more natural than a standard keyboard. Getting mechanical switches in the process is also nice, and that's something that's missing from nearly all of the mainstream ergonomic keyboards.

    Dvorak is basically going to be a bit of a mess when you first switch, and I've heard it can take several weeks to truly get the new layout, particularly if you've been using QWERTY for a long time. My plan is to review this TECK, then the Kinesis, and then we'll see about trying out Dvorak. To be honest, I'm dreading the switch to Dvorak a bit -- I figure another week or so of typing chaos will ensue. Will it be worthwhile long-term, or have most of the issues with QWERTY been addressed with the altered layouts in the TECK and Kinesis? I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!

    And just for kicks, if anyone is still paying attention here: my latest typing test results for the TECK (after six days of use) are 71/1=70, 67/0=67, and 64/1=63. I'm now basically back to full speed; the only thing that trips me up are occasional errors where I fall apart for a few seconds, but that can happen on a regular keyboard as well. When I'm on, it's good and feels more comfortable. When I make a mistake, it's still a bit slower. Note that it's also no faster at this point -- same speed, different feel. Give me another week, though!
    Reply
  • boli - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    The TrulyErgonomic is quite a nice keyboard, but in my opinion (I do own both) the Kinesis Advantage beats it hands down. I wrote about them about a year ago at geekhack, if anyone is interested.

    A Kinesis Advantage fan tries the TrulyErgonomic keyboard
    http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=27089.0
    Reply
  • j5c - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    Sorry, I don't understand your figures! In the tables, it looks like you are using "Gross WPM - Errors = Net WPM" but the article says you are using "Gross WPM / Errors = Net WPM". e.g you have equations like 62/4=58. I'll forgive you if it is purely a feature of the keyboard layout with '/' where the '-' key should be ;-). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    Ignore the / as an operation and consider it merely how the data is represented in the table. Technically it's a minus operation as you suggest, but I wasn't even thinking about that. Reply
  • milleron - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - link

    Somewhere in the article or comments, it's said that the narrow keyboard gets the mouse closer.
    1 -- Probably the least ergonomic thing that 95% of computer keyboardists do is reach for the mouse every 3 seconds. I work in health care where more than half of people who spend ALL day at keyboards switch between fields with the mouse rather than the TAB key. Overcoming this extremely widespread foolishness would do more to increase productivity that the most ergonomic keyboard. I don't think getting the mouse closer is a valid objective for the unwashed masses, but I understand that for people who are ergonomically-minded enough to pay for the TECK, it might make sense.
    2 -- I wouldn't (couldn't) have a keyboard without a numeric keypad, although I realize that there are many applications, jobs, and users that don't employ it much. That's sort of a deal-breaker for me.

    I'll continue to get by with the MS Ergonomic keyboard that's raised at the palms rather than at the fingers. I have to use keyboards at a variety of stations during the average workday, and the first thing I do at each is collapse those infernal feet at the rear of the keyboard that raise it into the ghastly ANTIergonomic position of an old mechanical typerwriter. I make it a point to leave each station with the keyboard flat, hoping that some day, someone might discover that flat is better. Having the keyboard slanted upward is the other remnant of the original typewriter, in addition to the QWERTY arrangement, that contributes mightily to RSI.

    Ron
    Reply
  • drumhellar - Sunday, January 27, 2013 - link

    You should have used Sega's "Typing of the Dead" for your speed tests, if for no other reason than how awesome that game is.

    And, it actually tracks which keys are slowest for you, and which keys you have the most trouble hitting accurately, because, you know, with all those zombies after you, your life kinda depends on it.
    Reply
  • JeBarr - Sunday, January 27, 2013 - link

    I very much like the choice for blank keys but would have to purchase both models to make a switch from das. Reply
  • ntbone - Friday, December 06, 2013 - link

    I got one of these keyboards for work and then loved it enough to get one for home. I started getting problems with double letters and contacted support. Weeks went by and nothing. Finally I reviewed there support sight and tried the firmware fix. That was worse. Letters would not work randomly. An unreliable keyboard for someone with hand pain is not a good thing.

    The keyboards are nice and I currently have a fix that seems to be working. I have contacted support 8 times now from 3 different addresses and all I have ever gotten back is there auto reply. They provide no phone number.

    IT IS EXTREMELY CONCERNING THAT THERE IS ESSENTIALLY NO SUPPORT. If you have troubles, you will either have to return, which I have not tried yet, or figure it out on your own. Honestly if I could do it over again I would just find another keyboard instead of going with them. No phone # to reach them by and no responses to support via email makes this a NO GO.
    Reply

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