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  • lanestew - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Seems interesting. Thanks for the review. Reply
  • Souka - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Hey Jarred,

    I used to do dictation on my trusty Thinkpad until kids came along.
    I used a headset, but eventually when the kids started speaking words, I couldn't dictate my reports from the family couch.

    My solution... start using my upstairs office as an office (stil using a headset).
    No problems. Long as the kids aren't right next to me talking, the mic won't pick up their voices.

    much better than any keyboard... IMHO.

    Set rules... it's a paren't job.

    " I actually like Dragon, but when I got married and then had one young child and later a second enter into the equation (I now have a 10 year old, nearly 3 year old, and our baby just turned 1 this past weekend), I found that getting the necessary privacy to do proper dictation can be rather difficult."

  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Right now it's a matter of house and office layout. We moved in December and have the space so that I can have an office, but we're working on painting a couple rooms before we fully "settle in" so I don't have an office yet. Once I get my upstairs office ready, I plan on reinstalling Dragon and getting back into that. :-) Reply
  • snajk138 - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    Have you looked at Maltron Keyboards? ( They are not cheap but are availabe in a ton of different versions and layouts, with or without a trackball. I haven't tried them but a lot of people love them. Reply
  • WaltC - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the link snajk138! Very interesting, indeed.

    @ jarred

    Great review--we need more in-depth reviews like this. Don't ever feel strange about being subjective--the very best reviewers are subjective and very open about it. All product reviews are subjective in the final analysis, but the worst ones are those in which objectivity is a pretense...;) I want to read reviews written by qualified people unafraid to posit their opinions--all product reviews are opinions, anyway. An inside joke among my associates is the notion that some people have that Consumer Reports is objective and scientific...;)
  • ssnova - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    Hey Jarred, I remember your article on Dragon Naturally Speaking. It was very thorough and informative as are most of your past articles. I remember I kept thinking to myself, "has he tried version 12 yet?" I'd love to hear your opinion of the newer version, but it seems like you have your hands full at the moment. Reply
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    "Can any keyboard possibly be worth a price of entry well north of $200?"
    Logitech DiNovo Edge. I've still been unable to find anything that can compete with it.
  • nagi603 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Well, I use a regular diNovo, and frankly, the connection is flaky at best. And no, this is my second set, the bluetooth adapter / cradle of the first died on me. I wish it had unifying receiver, Logitech just can't properly make anything with Bluetooth.

    But for likes, yeah, I love it. Especially that the numpad is separate and I can stash it away. Plus, it is silent, the keys are very good and will last quite a while. Even if it is not mechanical.
  • hughlle - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    While i agree with nagi603, in that logitech and bluetooth connection seem to be a real issue (i often find it can be dependent on the usb socket i am using) i also agree with you. I have a nice microsoft ergonomic keyboard, which will be used a bit more in the future, but my main keyboards are a pair of dinovo edge's. I am about to do a couple of distance A levels in some subjects that piqued my interest so lots of typing to be done, so will probably break out the ergonomic keyboard again though. Reply
  • evonitzer - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    You might as well give it a try too. I switched a number of years ago and it can be enabled on every computer you use (except public computers with no permissions). I accept that my qwerty performance is mediocre, but if I needed it more it would naturally improve.

    I feel the way you mentioned in your video. My fingers just move less and I feel kinda lazy on a Dvorak, whereas I notice how much my fingers have to range all over the keyboard on a qwerty. YMMV, but I like the Dvorak layout a lot. A mechanical, split keyboard does interest me though.
  • branney - Saturday, July 06, 2013 - link

    Oh dear.. The curved staggering on the keys is a good idea, so why on earth did they go with this cursor key layout? On a standard inverted T the index finger naturally sits between the up and down cursors. For a standard keyboard user down and up will be used equally so this does not need to be changed. The layout on the TECK favours the UP key, and this layout was only really useful back in the 80s when it suited platform games (up to jump) and racing games (hold up to accelerate). Major fail in this regard.. Reply
  • hansmuff - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I'm so happy to see this keyboard reviewed! Very few sites review stuff like that, and I actually eyed this very keyboard a while ago before it was released. I think I will hold off until I see your review of the Kinesis. That has me similarly tempted, but it is so hard to get a good comparison between that and conventional keyboards; to have the opinion of a TECK user thrown in there as well makes it gold!

    Thank you, this has been helpful.
  • friedpenguin - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    The Kinesis Freestyle is frakkin' awesome to say the least. Get the tilt kit so you can have it at two different heights plus the freedom to angle each half however you want makes for some incredible comfort and the typing experience is great. I've had mine for a couple years and have never had a better keyboard. It's also great for multiple users because you can slip the halves together for a more common keyboard feel for those not used to a 'natural' keyboard. It's also great for gaming since you can push the right half out of the way to bring your mouse in closer. Reply
  • cosmotic - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    The second page of this article points lots of fingers at QWERTY. Might I recommend reading this article: Reply
  • Klug4Pres - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    What a great article! The myth of Dvorak's superiority comprehensively and stylishly debunked. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Interesting read. I have actually never fully committed to trying Dvorak, simply because the change is so massive that without properly labeled keys I don't know that it would be worth the time. There's no question that QWERTY has some odd decisions in the modern typing world (e.g. why are so many popular letters on on home row, like E, S, T, and R?), but proving that something is clearly superior to QWERTY is quite difficult. Personally, unless something can either dramatically improve my typing speed or dramatically reduce fatigue/RSI, it's not worthwhile. Fact is, much of the time when I'm writing I'm actually waiting on my brain to figure out what to say next, not waiting for my fingers to type the sentence. :-)

    On the other hand, that article doesn't seem to prove QWERTY is superior; just that it's not significantly worse than other options. If something were to reduce fatigue and strain by 10% relative to QWERTY, even if I typed at the same speed, that 10% would be worthwhile. Perhaps even 5% would be worthwhile, but that's probably pushing it. They seem set on disproving the QWERTY myth, and they accomplish that, but they don't ever show that QWERTY is best. Which is why the comparison with x86 momentum remains appropriate in my mind; x86 isn't a terrible ISA by any means, particularly today, but we continue mostly to use it because of software compatibility and the fact that Intel is the best fabrication company than for any other reason.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Not even close.

    To suggest QWERTY was designed ergonomically for our keyboards is false.
    Dvorak is not the best, but at least he was making an attempt at designing a better keyboard layout.

    It is a worthy pursuit, and far from worthless. QWERTY is an awful design.
    Just look at the position of J, for crying out loud. One of the least used letters, right there under your right index. Worthless.
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    QWERTY was designed to slow typers down to prevent jamming old type writers.

    Unfortunately we will be stuck with it for the long term.
  • uc404s - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    That was an incredibly interesting article. Thanks for sharing. Reply
  • Silma - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    This is a political vindictive us-vs-them article that unfortunately deters even more from research in the field.
    Not defending the dvorak layout but notice how all his studies are based on proficient qwerty typers. It would have been fairer to also include test groups with 0 typing experience as well as test groups with typists having only ever typed in Dvorak and then retraining to qwerty.
    Also the only metric is speed where other aims may be more suitable: least finger traveling, non-rts-promoting typing patterns and so forth.
    In any case r&d should be promoted as we know much more than they did then, have the computing power to do deep simulations and that the production cost would not skyrocket, the same way it isn't that expensive to manufacture other international layouts.
  • pubjoe - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I personally found that article terribly overblown. In his (long, grassy knoll style) build up, he quoted some simplified sound bites, like qwerty being "designed to slow down typists".

    You don't need to follow the whole doctrine to know that qwerty isn't the most efficient layout for modern typing. That remains obvious, and it remains a good example of 'standards monopoly'. Dvorak is usually used just to quickly emphasise a point - that alternatives are overlooked because it's too much work to escape a widely established standard. Dvorak conspiracies are irrelevant.

    If he'd written his findings without the heroic myth busting angle (which probably would have trimmed four of the five pages out), it would have been a lot more digestible, informative and interesting.
  • prophet001 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    This guy takes way too long to get to the point. He's a fantasy author trapped in the tech world. Reply
  • Sgt. Stinger - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Hello Jarred!

    I was diagnosed with CTS 2008. By 2009 I had the operation done on the right hand, and let me tell you, it made such a difference. Before the operation I couldn't write with pen and paper for more than five minutes before my whole hand was numb, except my pinky. After the operation, I dont have any problems at all in the right hand.

    It wont help for everyone and there are different kinds of operations, but I would at least consider it if I were you.
  • vanteo - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    And I'll add a caution that often with computer professionals who have had CTS surgery, the symptoms return after some time because the CTS is a symptom and not the root cause. This book makes the point:

    It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!: RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals

    For me, wrist, hand, and arm pain tingling and numbness is caused by the systemic problems of prolonged computer use--shoulders rolling forward, chest compressing, and neck falling forward (instead of head tilting downward). If the pain jumps around for you, I would seriously consider the bigger picture.
  • DorkMan - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    CTS can be fixed.

    I began to note a tingling numbness in my left thumb about five years ago, and over a year's time it spread to more fingers. Conduction-speed tests showed it was due to a constriction in the wrist. The solution was simple: the surgeon intentionally cuts a ligament spanning the wrist like a thick rubber band, and when it heals it becomes much looser, eliminating pressure on the tunnel.

    Recovery took a few weeks, with feeling returning to the fingers within six months. When the doc diagnosed the left hand, he asked about the right. No issues, I said. "You will," he replied. Sure enough, a year later I had the surgery to the right hand.

    Now, perfectly normal in both hands. No issues of any sort. The CTS surgery was a huge plus, not too much discomfort or hassle. My issues had nothing to do with typing position, or quantity of typing. It was simply a constriction of the wrist tunnel which was easily corrected.
  • Silma - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Of course the qwerty layout is suboptimal and other layouts can be showed to be better as we statistically can predict letter sequences and distribution with great precision.
    So if you ask people to invest a week or two getting used to a keyboard it would be made more sense to get them used to a better layout at the same time.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    This is generally not recommended, as the change to a new keyboard layout (e.g. TECK) combined with switching to Dvorak or something other than QWERTY ends up being two changes at once and generally results in a discouraged user. Both Truly Ergonomic and Kinesis recommend you learn the keyboard first and then try Dvorak. Reply
  • msackman - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Hmm, yes, me thinks they want your money first, and then might allow you to try something which might have helped fix the problem in the first place without parting you from your money.

    However, I am just a cynic...
  • msackman - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    First up, I've not read the whole article. I intend to. I have however watched the video you make of yourself typing on both keyboards.

    I have suffered from CTS and RSI over the years. Initially I was typing very badly (self-taught, no typing tutor) on QWERTY layouts. I reasoned it would be easier to learn a new layout properly than try to correct my use of QWERTY. This is why I switched to Dvorak. However, I don't really have any specific comments about that other than it's clear from your video that QWERTY is giving you a left-hand bias. That may or may not be a problem.

    What I notice about your typing is that your hand is very rigid. Look at the way your thumbs are bent back. You are pulling on tendons that you really don't need to be pulling on. You also tend to move your whole hand rather than just the finger required. Your fingers really need to "dance" over the keys, having a light touch and springing back to where they came from. You may want to try and go and see a Piano teacher - much good advice about sitting at a keyboard is the same as sitting at a Piano.

    Personally, I am extremely anti wrist-wrests. In my opinion, the keyboard should be on the front lip of the desk, and if you want to wrest your hands, you put them in your lap on by your sides. Wrist rests encourage you to type with your wrists on the rest, which massively strains ligaments and tendons through the bottom of your wrist. Your wrists should always be elevated and in plane with with forearms (which should be roughly horizontal). I find arm rests to similarly be awful.

    I have suffered from a lot of upper-back pain from typing and it's always been posture related. These days I sit on a saddle-stool, which I find is very good for rotating your pelvis forwards, making you sit up, and keeping you relaxed in your upper back and arms. It has helped me a lot.

    All that said, everyone has different physiologies, and there is not an answer that works for everyone. I have colleagues who slouch and slump and I can't believe they're not in pain, but they're not and that's just we're all different sizes and shapes. However, it is (obviously) never a good idea to be in pain in front of a computer so if you are, start experimenting and change things. There are solutions, you just need to find them!
  • Dribble - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    My experience of CTS/RSI is it occurs when you bounce off the range of movement of a joint a lot. If you can work out where you are doing that (which is pretty obvious when you look at how you type) and correct that then you can solve most problems.

    For example with a normal keyboard with keys facing straight at you then you have to bend your wrists in the direction of the pinky as far as they will go to line up with the keys. This will cause RSI, hence natural keyboards angling keys. The other obvious one is no wrist support so wrists are lower then keyboard and have to bend up almost as much as they can to reach the keys. This will cause CTS so doing something to keep wrists flat will solve that.
  • pubjoe - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    By the way, I think you're missing the word "feel" on this sentence on page two: "at least I don’t like the TECK might fail in the near future". Reply
  • jonkullberg - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Interesting read Jarred, I've been looking forward to this since your preview. I just wanted to share my own experience of going from QWERTY to DVORAK (or the Swedish SVORAK, actually) back in 2007 or so when I was writing for Tom's Hardware. I was also living in Berlin at the time, so the hipster allure of being the only one with a weird keyboard layout was very tempting.
    I too was using the same white and blue MS Natural before becoming smitten with the looks of the then new TypeMatrix EZ-Reach 2030:
    The switch was indeed huge! I mean, just look at the layout of the damn thing! =) Not a single button was where it was supposed to be, and my typing speed was severely crippled for a very long time. I think it probably took me 3-6 months to get where I didn't ever have to look at the keys again. I eventually stopped using DVORAK/SVORAK alltogether.
    I'd say this on the matter:

    Pros: I found the DVORAK layout noticeably more relaxing for my arms, hands and fingers. I'd probably even go so far as to claim that it is more relaxing for your whole brain, since you don't have to move your fingers around so much (my typing is fairly fast, but I probably only use 2-3 fingers on each hand most of the time). If I remember correctly, TypeMatrix themselves claimed that DVORAK would reduce finger movement by 50% or so. I wouldn't dare to second that, but it was indeed noticeable. I saw someone in the comments here say that their fingers had a lazy feel, and that's probably an accurate description. I would be typing fairly fast, but completely without the focus and strain that comes from doing so with qwerty.

    Cons: The time it takes to get used to it of course. The hassle of rebinding keys for every game you are going to be playing. Not being able to use normal hot keys (ctrl + c and so on) like you are used to. Frequently switching between qwerty and dvorak was pretty horrible for me since my "muscle memory" would dump whatever layout I wasn't using.

    I'm a bit interested in the TECK, and I might actually even consider going dvorak on it if I ever get it. As for recommending dvorak to others: it's really awesome to use, but there is a looot of hassle involved.
  • evonitzer - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Steam and other modern games automatically handle key binding correctly with dvorak. Meaning I don't have to switch. But the easy solution is just to leave both keyboards as options and switch between them in game. For me, it is Left Ctrl + Shift. If I enter a game that requires qwerty binding, then I just use qwerty in game and change when back at the desktop.

    I don't understand how there is a lot of hassle? You just change the language options in Windows, spend the time to learn, and then you have Dvorak.

    Do you need the keycaps changed? I thought everyone was a touch typist these days. In my experience, I just had a piece of paper sitting next to the keyboard with the key assignments, and I played typer shark or some other silly game to learn where the keys are.

    The copy paste thing is a real issue, I will grant. You can still use them, but now they are two handed operations or else awkward with the left hand.
  • Belard - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    "! Finally, I switched to a split keyboard back in 2004, a Microsoft Natural that I
    still have today—it’s so old that it doesn’t even have a USB connection if that helps"

    They still make ps/2 connector keyboards to this day, which I have no problem using... They still tend to just work better since the OS doesn't have to load up USB drivers to detect the keyboard.

    Anyho... MY keyboard IS SO OLD, it doesn't even have a ps/2 connector! I got it in 1995 as ATX was just coming out. Yep, it uses a huge AT connector. I use an adapter which is heavy and 2" long, so I also use a ps/2 extension cable so the adapter doesn't (A) require 3-4" rear clearance behind my desktop and (B) add a lot of weight and fall out of the ps/2 port. And (C) possibly break the connector on the motherboard.

    They of course stop making My keyboard long time ago. As of today, there are no good replacements for it. When it dies its going to SUCK. Not only because of its style but that most of today's keyboards are crap. Using cheap decals for letters and short life spans. I don't have cts, but I'm also a light typist... I don't have much key wear after all these years.

    I have a Lite-On ergonomic keyboard, it's a knock off from the MS natural keyboard from the 90s with their own arrangement and of course lower price of $23. What makes it good or different (even thou it's not mechanical but still rather noisy by today's standards.)

    1- the split is staggered, unlike MS or Logitech... Also angled differently.
    2- the number 6 key is on the right side of the split.
    3- it has somewhat useless TAB and ENTER keys in the center, while it does have them in the normal places.

    But what I really like about this keyboard is the following:
    4- the large L shaped ENTER key
    5- along with a large BACKSPACE key. Try finding that combo on the same keyboard! They were able to do this by placing the pipe &\ key ( |\ ) below the ENTER key on the right corner, making the little used R-SHIFT key a bit smaller than usual. But look everyone, the R-SHIFT key is the longest key there is!

    6- the keyboard is white/beige so you don't need as much light to see the keys in the dark.

    The only thing IMHO would make this layout/keyboard better is if the INS & DELETE key were turned into a single large DELETE key and the INSERT key was used to replace the useless SCROLL LOCK (make it into a shift key activation) and of course then swap locations with the PRT SCREEN key.
    7- there is a slight cutout at the front of the wrist rest to make it very easy to pickup or grab the keyboard... While on others, there is no grip on the front.

    When this keyboard dies... I'm in trouble. Even thou I'm used to standard keyboards for the most part. There pics of this on the net.

    ( typed from my iPad touch screen )
  • Juddog - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Am I the only one that went "WTF" with regards to how the 6 key was used by the author on the MS Ergonomic keyboard picture? I don't understand why someone would use their right hand to reach way over to the key that's purposefully put on the other side of the split keyboard.

    I always use my left hand to hit the number 6. Good article in general, just thought that one odd bit bothered me for some reason.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    On the MS, I use the left hand for the 6, but the TECK basically requires you to learn to use the right hand for it. I didn't intend to imply this is "better" (and the TECK image showing you using the right hand for the 6 is a bit much). Reply
  • savagesword - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Not just you.
    I hit '7' with the first finger of the right hand, and '6' as you said.
    The other odd thing was the slant of the right hand described in the diagram. My hands 'center' on the two split layouts, and the thumbs rest on the space bar. It's as comfortable as it gets. No aches, and no problems, even for extended hours.
    The exceptions are of course, if I want to use the number pad for lots of numerical entries, (I'm also used to those +, -, * and / keys there now). The num pad is also used extensively for shortcuts (like in Nikon View NX2) - use the number keys to assign a color or star rating to a photograph.
    My only gripe is that they do not make a backlit natural split keyboard.
  • savagesword - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I just tried sitting and positioning my hands on the MS4000 the way the nutcase drew those lines. In this case, I'm at an angle, about 35-45 degrees to the monitor. My eyes are almost in line with the left edge of the monitor (at about 2.5 feet away of course). It's highly uncomfortable. I can't type at half normal speed in this scenario.
    The person who did this was obviously high at the moment he thought this up.
  • TeamSprocket - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    You're supposed to hit 1-5 with your left hand, and 6-0 with your right hand. After all, you're supposed to hit T (on QWERTY) with your left hand, and Y (on QWERTY) with your right hand, and 5 is above T and 6 is above Y. Reply
  • marvdmartian - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    As an OLD GUY, who originally (in high school) learned to type on a manual typewriter (55 WPM, thank you!), and later had to use electric typewriters (what the heck is a RETURN key??), I think I'd find this keyboard to be more painful to learn, than beneficial to use.

    Pretty sure that I'd learn to hate the location of the keys on the lower left & right (PgUp/PgDn, etc, and the arrow keys), as I generally don't use them a lot anyways, and like having them out of the way. I do utilize the "natural" keyboards for day to day use, and haven't had any medical problems (though I do notice, if forced to use a straight keyboard, that my forearms ache after about 10 minutes of typing).

    One thing I did notice in your article, is the relocation of the number 6 key to right side. Actually, if you ever learned typing on a typewriter, you'd know that the number 6 was taught to be pressed with the right index finger, not the left. It was one of the harder things I had to get used to, switching to a natural keyboard, was using my left hand index finger to hit the 6 key. So I guess there'd be at least one thing I'd like about this layout!
  • Belard - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    My ergonomic keyboard has the 6 key on the right side... like it should be. :) Reply
  • chaseru - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    I put my vote in for normally using the 6 key with the right hand. I'm 47 and learned to type on manual typewriters. I wonder what Mavis Beacon thinks; maybe she buggered it up. Reply
  • WeaselITB - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link comes to mind? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Don't feed the spammers. LOL Reply
  • gamoniac - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    @JW, Great review. I had a mild CTS in my early 30s and got away with it using MS natural and frequent wrist stretches. Also, there is a pressure point on the forearm 3 fingers' width down from the elbow (you might have to search and feel for it a bit). Press on it and hold for 10 seconds, you might feel a good sore or even pain. Pain is the bodily way of telling us that something isn't right; this should relief the stress in your muscle. You may not feel the relief on the wrist right away, but they are all connected. Of course, no one treatment works for everyone. If you continue to have CTS, you can seek out a good acupuncturist. It is minimally invasive and costs less than the keyboard (although a good keyboard is still needed).

    Back to the keyboard. I am in search of a good keyboard -- the most important interface device for desktop/laptop that is often an afterthought for most. After reading your article, I notice that since using MS natural keyboard, I have adjusted myself to the slightly angled wrist positions even when using regular non-natural keyboard. No wonder I haven't had CTS recurring even after I stopped using MS-natural keyboard.

    Thanks again. Can't wait for the next keyboard review from AT.
  • kaiserreich - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Doubling of keystrokes is a defect in the switch itself.
    It happens sometimes with Cherry MX switches. Time to get it fixed.
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I LIKE this keyboard. Well, I think I would like it anyway as I have not used it yet.

    While I love my num pad (Use it a lot), it does cause me to type at a poor angle.
  • blowfish - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I had trouble with CTS, but managed to clear it by typing less and taking MSM - methylsulphonylmethane, which also staves off my gout and arthritis..... you ought to try it! Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    "Poof! The document was gone without being saved, and the scream of agony that escaped my mouth caused my wife and children to jump in alarm." Firsth laugh!

    "happEning with thE “E” kEy, (...) and I EvEn wEnt so far as to rEmovE thE kEy cap to sEE if somEthing lookEd wrong" = 13 E's! that's funny!!

    "then I started gettIng the problem wIth the “I” key as well. In both cases, It’s my mIddle fInger reachIng up to hIt the respectIve key, and at thIs poInt It (...)" = 13 I's this time! lol!
  • pattycake0147 - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    Did you also pick up on the extra I in the last sentence of that paragraph? "If ithe problem is actually with the switch..." Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Perhaps I missed it, but the biggest issue with "modern" keyboards is the change in shape and size of the Enter/Return key. In the old days, when keyboards were man-sized, the key was reverse L shaped and considerably larger, and could be reached with the little finger without twisting the wrist.

    I see that the Enter key is for the thumb. How much of the CTS burden reduction is due just to reducing use of that finger?
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Possibly a lot. It took several days, maybe even a week or two, before I was accustomed to the new location of the Enter key, but it does make sense when you adapt. I find that anything that requires the use of my pinkies just tends to be more of a stretch than the other fingers, so getting the pinky off of Enter key duty is good. Of course, the poor left pinky still gets a workout over there hitting Shift...For whatever reason, I always use my left pinky for Shift when typing, though on the other hand I always use my right thumb for space. Heh. Reply
  • Manabu - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    I and almost everyone that I know also uses only one thumb for hitting space (generally the right too). I aways wanted a keyboard with a split space key, with the other half being either a shift or a enter key, with some more keys a bit lower by the center also for the thumb to hit.

    Instead, manufactures keep doing those gigant, loud, some times hard to press, space keys. Why, why not split it in two buttons, even if by default both are mapped to space?
  • AmigaGeek - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I've been a user of Kinesis for ~15 years now. I started with the traditional QWERTY and a few years back switched it out to Dvorak. From my own personal experience, the transition is painful. Extremely painful. There were times when I wanted to pick up my keyboard and smash it repeatedly. Imagine having to admin UNIX boxes and have 3 broken fingers on each hand. That's what I felt like. However, after about a year (not months) I can say that I'm back up to speed. Again, from my experience, Dvorak isn't about "speed", it's about comfort. I can still switch between QWERTY and Dvorak and when I go back to Qwerty I notice a huge difference in finger travel. Either gets the job done, but as an owner of 3 Kinesis's I can't say enough about them. Reply
  • Sam Lord - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    "...Dvorak isn't about "speed", it's about comfort. I can still switch between QWERTY and Dvorak and when I go back to Qwerty I notice a huge difference in finger travel..."
    It's about both. I have a Typematrix Dvorak and it's pretty good, but DVORAK itself never *properly* applied the kappa test (frequency of particular keystrokes), so a new approach would be ideal. Predictive typing combined with a good kappa algorithm would ease typing immensely, as would vocal correction of prediction mistakes, IMO.
  • fic2 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    "Poof! The document was gone without being saved, and the scream of agony that escaped my mouth caused my wife and children to jump in alarm."

    In Word: Office Button->Word Options->Save->Save AutoRecovery information every X minutes.
    Check the box to enable it.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    You don't understand: when you close a document and it asks if you want to save, and you say "no", all the AutoRecovery files get wiped clean as well. I tried to recover them with undelete -- they have to be out there somewhere, right? -- but could find nothing that resembled my missing document. Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    perhaps some file-recovery program? like Nero's recovery tool? (can't remember the name). with on you could find the deleted temporary word document and get it back. Reply
  • fic2 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Ah, yeah you are right I missed that part. Sounds like something that would happen the night before a thesis is due. Reply
  • TeamSprocket - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    This is certainly a unique looking ergo keyboard, seems better than the stuff other companies put out. I'd be willing to give it a try.

    Does this come in Dvorak?

    Not trolling, I'm seriously asking. I use Dvorak full time when able (self taught over 13 years ago, able to maintain over 100 wpm on a government typing test), but I'm equally fluent in QWERTY (because the rest of the world is stubborn, maintain over 60wpm). It's easy enough to switch to Dvorak in software, but I'd like to have it built into hardware if possible.
  • mbz - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    There's another fully ergonomic choice out there:

    And you thought the TECK is expensive. I've been using one for about 20 years and I love it. My first one lasted about 19 years, I just finally bought a new one.
  • Gadgety - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    BTW, there's surgery to remove Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. For someone who types that much, Jarred, could it be worth considering? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Surgery is only about 50% effective, and if you don't address the root cause (e.g. my typing), it often comes back. Anyway, it's not so bad that I can't live with it, but I'm doing my best to keep it from reaching that point! Reply
  • DorkMan - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    Sorry, didn't read all the comments before making my own comments a couple of pages above this one.

    I had CT surgery in both wrists, 100% successful, no relapse issue at all. The surgeon cuts the ligament across the tunnel and when it heals itself it is looser, eliminating the constriction on the tunnel. NOT caused by typing, according to the doc. Just happens in some people as they get older.

    Go for it. Huge difference, full sensation back over time. Wait too long, nerves die.
  • Nintendo Maniac 64 - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    You've completely missed the Colemak layout, a modern design that specifically addresses several of the issues with Dvorak:

    I personally used Dvorak for about two years but found it caused more hand-stress than even QWERTY (particularly on the pinkies). This is what motivated me to switch to Colemak, and I've been on it for about 5 years now and can type faster, smoother, and less stressfully with it than I ever could or currently can with QWERTY.

    Also, having your computer layout not match your key-caps is a great way to improve you touch-typing skills.
  • Manabu - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    Another good thing about colemak is that it strives to keep as many keys as possible in the same place as QWERTY, like the ZXCV combo. This means less problems with shortcuts and a faster transition than to dvorak. But not a easy one by any means...

    I tried it once only to give up two weeks latter... I don't type that much, so it didn't seem like it was worth the trouble... And I don't have carpal tunnel (yet...?) for the comfort factor weight that much...
  • tygrus - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    A Dvorak version of this keyboard would be more ergonomic but even less people would want to use it. Steeper learning curve. Reply
  • SilverRubicon - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I have a TEK and while I like it, I had to quit using it. There are too many middle keys and I was constantly hitting tab or delete when I wanted return. It's a mental issue on my part, but one I was never able to get over. The funny thing about it, I was always great with it in the morning but by the afternoon I could never find the right key. Exactly opposite of what I expected. I've since moved over to a TypeMatrix. Similar idea and layout, one less key in the center strip. I'm more comfortable with the TypeMatrix but dearly miss the mechanical keys on the TEK. Went so far as to purchase a second TypeMatrix for home.

    I've recently been using the TEK at home on my gaming pc. Maybe if I keep hammering away I'll over come my mental and dexterity issues and fall in love with it again. I like it too much to get rid of it, too frustrated to use while writing code.
  • IanCutress - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I wonder how much of a difference moving to a mechanical keyboard makes? I'm moving from a membrane to a Cherry MX Blue, which are apparently the good ones for typing (and it gives me severe nostalgia for the Commodore 64). Browns are meant to be more for gaming I thought? [Insert's thread on keyboards] Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Hey, I started out with a Commodore 128 (used in C64 mode 99% of the time)! Actually, I used something called a Magnavox Odyssey^2 before that when I was maybe 5-8 years old that had a cartridge system and a keyboard, with games that routinely broke. LOL. Did the C64 really have mechanical switches? Ah, those were the days... 16 color animated sprites and D&D Gold Box adventures like Pool of Radiance were the stuff of my youth. :-)

    As for switches, my understanding is that Blue are the loudest and clickiest, but a lot of people like them. Red are linear (no "bump" unlike the Blue and Brown), and many have said those are best for gaming. Browns were specifically created for ergonomic keyboards at the request of Kinesis back in 1992 or so, but they've been used elsewhere since. I've heard some like to replace Browns with Clears to get a bit more click but not as much as Blue. Having only personally used Blue and Brown though, I can't offer much input on what's "best" overall. I know my wife didn't like the sound of me typing on the MX Blue switches, so that's something to keep in mind.
  • AndrewMorton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I had agonising RSI from using a mouse in work. I switched to using an A5 Wacom tablet - I had to use my left hand for it at the time, even though I'm mostly right-handed.. I still use a tablet left-handed from that initial habit, although using one right-handed is no problem now.

    At home, I have the luxury of being able to sit (cross-legged) on a cushion on the floor to use my computer, with the keyboard (Logitech Illuminated) raised a few inches and the mouse on the carpet to my right side, so I use the mouse with my arm fairly parallel to my body. A bit of circling my arms every hour or so, and no more RSI. And yes, I can play Crysis like that ;)
  • ThousandStars - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    I've <a href=" a Kinesis Advantage for years</a>, and the TECK would have to be an order of magnitude better to get me, or, presumably, most users to learn yet a third keyboard layout.

    That's probably true of most people: I imagine we're willing to learn one new, funky keyboard layout, but not two.
  • MatthiasP - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    So in the 8.5 years you write for AT you got 9 years older? Are the harsh labor conditions to blame? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    My birthday is in November, my first article was in September. So technically I was 30.83 and now I'm 39.33. I apologize for rounding and losing some precision in the statement. While I'm trying to be absolutely factual, I should also note that I've been with AnandTech for 8.43 years. Reply
  • HobgoblinX - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    Since you didn't mention which headset you use, I might have to make some assumptions. I'm guessing you might be using the one that came in the box. Everywhere I've ever looked online, or anyone I've ever talked to agrees it's garbage. Also, if it works when you plug it into almost any laptop or desktop soundcard, it's also garbage.

    Let me explain. The reason both previous examples are garbage, is because they are almost certainly not active noise cancelling microphones. Active noise cancelling microphones require more power than the standard mic input provides on the vast majority of soundcards.

    Also, don't use a compact or bluetooth headset. The reasons are twofold. Bluetooth headsets use a smaller section of the audio spectrum. This is mostly okay as this is where most of human speech resides, but while most applications find this acceptable, it does cause the accuracy of recognition to drop. (Forgive me if I'm too lazy to look up the actual loss right now.)

    The reason to avoid a compact headset is, the further away from the mouth, the easier it is for outside sounds to make it past the filtering algorithms as there is less distinction between your voice and other sounds. Having a mic boom right next to the corner of your mouth makes sure that there is a clear distinction between your voice and other sounds so active noise cancellation can work properly

    When I first started using Dragon, I had a standard mic, and even the slightest noise messed up recognition. It could just be someone talking in the other room or a car driving by on the street.

    Now, I'm using a Sennheiser knockoff from KnowBrainer with an external USB soundcard with a high power mic port, and I routinely get 98-99%+ accuracy. The Sennhiser is $189, but the KnowBrainer knockoff is only $29 right now, and is only 1% lower on average for accuracy. Also, I can't remember the last time I've had an outside noise mess up dictation. I've had people walk into the room talking at full volume or a garage truck banging the dumpster around not 20ft from my office with nary a hiccup. Even if your kids are far louder, I think you would be surprised at how accurate you can be. I recommend Knowbrainer for stuff. FYI, I have no affiliation with Dragon or KnowBrainer in any way. I just like the software and the store.

    Hope you can find this helpful. I've had some issues with carpal tunnel in the past, and it is definitely no fun.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    If you look at the old Dragon article, I actually have a Sennheiser. It's a great mic, but the kids can be very distracting right now -- I don't really have a good office space set up. I may return to using DNS when we finish painting a couple rooms. Reply
  • Ktracho - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    About 16-17 years ago, I decided I would try the Dvorak layout, and I found that after an hour or two of e-mail and software coding, I no longer needed to look at the keyboard layout I had printed out. I still had to think before knowing which key to press, but after a couple days, it got much easier, and I've wondered ever since how come everyone doesn't mind having to make so much effort to reach the most commonly-used keys. I do have to switch back and forth between layouts because all our lab machines at work have standard keyboards, as do my wife's and children's keyboards. However, something that makes this easier is that I got the Kinesis Advantage with Dvorak layout at work and at home, so it's easy to mentally switch based on whether I'm using a Kinesis or not.

    Maybe it depends on how easy it is for a person to learn a new language. I'm fluent in English and Spanish, and, though rusty, can speak a bit of French. Depending on which one, I feel learning a new language is doable with some effort. Same thing with learning a new keyboard layout or design like the Kinesis - it's just not a big deal to me. Probably the fact I play piano helps as well - your mind gets used to thinking, "If you see a note on the sheet music in this place, that means you have to press the key over here with this hand. But if you see a note in this other place, then move your other hand and press over there." You get used to doing these translations in a fraction of a second without stopping to think consciously.
  • TeamSprocket - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    It depends on the specific user.

    Myself, it took me well over a month to get back up to speed from my original QWERTY speed, and another several months to be able to switch between Dvorak and QWERTY with relative ease. I did it, but I don't believe everyone could do it.

    If you're a touch typist to begin with, it's a matter of overcoming years (perhaps decades) of muscle memory. If you're a hunt-and-peck typist, then it really doesn't matter.
  • mcbowler - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    I had CTS starting at 30, 4 years ago... and my hands cracked just making a fist and tingled when typing. I started taking Juice Plus last year and I'm almost 100% improved. The keyboard looks decent though. Reply
  • dothebart - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    are which are used in my (no longer manufactured) Cherry G80 5000 keyboard.
    Purchased in 1998, and heavily used everyday as I'm a coder.
    the only wear it shows is that the roughened surface gets bright on the hand rests.
    Oh, btw, touch typing dvorak for 15 years now.
  • Azethoth - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    I use the Corsair Vengeance K90. I would be interested in a split keyboard, but I will not give up numpad. It makes 2 factor authentication mindless and fast among other things.

    One thing I like about it as a programmer is binding stuff to the 18 G keys on the left side.

    Simply having Undo Cut Copy Paste as single keys is a huge stress relief and so much faster. So yeah, I guess I am waiting for split keyboard with numpad plus G key pad + some rubbish keys removed and better placement of delete home end page up and page down.

    Also, inverted T style for the arrow keys. Anything else is dumb, including the throwback style they use on this keyboard.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    Maltron could probably accommodate your request...though they're 375 Euro or thereabouts (not sure if that's with or without VAT). Reply
  • Azteca - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    "Also, inverted T style for the arrow keys. Anything else is dumb, including the throwback style they use on this keyboard."

    The 3-column 2-row diamond arrow full-size keys in the TECK is better than the "inverted T". And no, you do not press them with the palms while typing. And yes, completely different from the Microsoft Elite (2-column 3-row small keycaps).

    But I guess you have to use it before making dumb arbitrary comments; and not use it for only a few seconds but for a few days or weeks, as Jarred mention. Evidently I own a TECK, and I appreciate all its benefits.
  • interrobang - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    There is one easy way to fix the problem of the keypad making the mouse reach longer: use a left-handed mouse. This also helped with my incipient carpal tunnel syndrome. My right index finger was sore. Also, moving the mouse around was painful. I switched to a Logitech trackball and configured it to use with my left hand. Both problems solved! So, if I were to go with a TECK, I would want one with a numeric keypad.

    I have a Microsoft Natural keyboard. I like it, but I think the keystroke is longer and harder than it needs to be. I really want a keyboard with the shortest, lightest possible keystroke. Perhaps the TECK would be it. Or perhaps I'm one of those people who really want a cheap ergonomic keyboard with membrane switches.
  • DaveCline - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    I'd like to get this made. I'm in the process of 3d printing a frame. And buying Cherry keys for a circuit board. Any opinions on this layout?

    and one with a trackpad

    Spread the hands that's the point. And the directional/nav keys to the right are there for programmers who use them to navigate code docs. But I like to have the numpad available for frequent number entry.
  • themr23 - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    I've been using the Freestyle 2 now for a half year and have found it to be a nice improvement over the 'standard'. There is a learning curve with it due to some non-standard key locations, particularly the Delete. I don't use a 10-key, being proficient with the top-row. Reply
  • zanon - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    I'm also on a Microsoft Natural, and while it's an improvement over my old regular keyboard I'd still love to have something better. But one thing that never ceases to be an immense disappointment is how all of these high end ergo keyboard makers absolutely insist on gimping their offerings in terms of keys. It really, truly SUCKS. Taking the TECK, only 3 metakeys per side is just nuts. Be it Mac, Unix, or Windows every single metakey gets used. While the standard positions of stuff changes between operating systems, all of them have use for all four keys, even without doing anything fancy. That's just such an absolutely basic thing, what were they thinking?

    The lack of a numpad, extra control keys and so forth (although at least those could possibly be made up on the mouse or elsewhere) means a very expensive keyboard full of compromises. I mean sure, I have no problem if they want to offer an ultra compact keyboard as well. Almost everyone seems to do that (particularly for keyboards meant to be wireless and portable). But I really hope they someday consider an ergonomic full size keyboard as well. An FN key absolutely does not cut it.
  • Zan Lynx - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    You could add one of those gaming keypads like a Logitech G13 or similar. Shows up on the system as a keyboard and I believe you can assign every key on it as a metakey. Reply
  • zanon - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    Right, but the point of metakeys for combos is that they're right there, ready for constant use in combo with other keys. As I said, numpad or other extra keys could at least be augmented elsewhere, but that really doesn't work very well for metakeys. They need to be on-hand, literally. It'd have only been one more key to add, but somehow they missed it, and that's the sort of frustrating compromise these keyboards always seem to have. They go for ultra minimalism to a nearly fetishistic extent, which makes it a much harder and less satisfying choice then it should be. Reply
  • Maryon Jeane - Monday, July 08, 2013 - link

    You can use keyboard shortcuts - and should if you have any RSI etc. problems or use the keyboard extensively - in virtually everything. I very rarely use the function keys (I was using keyboards when they were first introduced and realised then that they were a bad idea in terms of stretch and reach away from the home keys) and the big bonus is that you operate much faster by using keyboard shortcuts. Reply
  • kenyee - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    Fixed mine at least..same Cherry switches, but the keys are in a nice bowl pattern.
    Main negative is the function keys develop sticking after a while...
  • opwernby - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    Is it just me, or does that thing look like a woman's lower back seen from behind - with a couple of cheeks at the bottom, and a nasty case of eczema above it? Hmmm... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    That got a laugh out of me -- not the most flattering of comments, but somewhat true! Unless you detach the palm rest of course. Reply
  • Maryon Jeane - Monday, July 08, 2013 - link

    Oh for heaven's sake, grow up. Reply
  • Chernobyl68 - Friday, March 08, 2013 - link

    no number pad? yeah, that would be a deal breaker for me. I've used the Microsoft Natural in various forms for 15 years at least, and I find it very difficult to replace with something else. I purchased a gaming keyboard for a new PC a while back, and the non-ergonomics of it were very jarring after using an ergonomic keyboard for so long. but it had a number pad! :) Reply
  • OleVanman - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    I was so excited when I saw this keyboard, but as always, being from a country with an obscure language (Danish), there is no support for the two vowels to the right of the L button... :( Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    My girlfriend is Danish and has a TECK and types on it every day, using US-International layout...
    But then she almost exclusively types English (yes, in Denmark, for her work).
  • PreOmegaZero - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    Obviously not the product for everyone, but thanks for taking the time to review this. More 'off the beaten path' product reviews are always welcome and despite maybe having lower page views, appreciated. Reply
  • Azteca - Saturday, March 09, 2013 - link

    Did anyone noticed the $9312 can of SPAM (spiced ham) in this message by spammer EmilyGrands22; almost clicked on it - yeah right!

    A suggestion to Anandtech is to have a quick link for each post that allows alerting moderators of spam posts (this should be implemented in all forums). While in the subject, adding a [+] or [-] will allow users to rate each comment so those in a hurry can only read those comments with a bunch of [+].
  • Landspeeder - Monday, March 11, 2013 - link

    I have been typing on the TECK for a little over a month. Previously I’ve tried the Microsoft Natural but the tilting of my right hand to reach the lower keyset would actually aggravate my CTS. The Das Keyboard has been in daily use for many years – the low sensitivity cherrie blues helped a good deal with my CTS, however I’d still be a bit sore by the end of the day. Now that I’ve been using TECKs layout I go home with no soreness! Sadly I can no longer type with any degree of accuracy/speed on the Das or my laptop. The frequent use of the PrintScreen button (FN + PrtScr followed by another press of PrtScr) is my main gripe. My second gripe is the embedded keypad – it is not intuitive. I’ve since added a FILCO Magestouch 10key mechanical to the left hand side of TECK… pure bliss. I’ll be purchasing 2 more of these – 1 to replace my Das at home and another to take along in my laptop bag sans wrist-rest. Reply
  • lordofthepants - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - link

    The shinning of the keys from one month of use is pretty appalling, I have also had some issues with RSI with my wrists (although likely much less sever than the author), I had been using a microsoft ergo 4000 keyboard for some time. This Christmas I asked for and received a WASD V1 (mx-brown w/ dampers .2mm) keyboard i have been using this along with a GRIFITI wrist pad since and have found that with the better key feel (typing less forcefully than with the membrane 4000) wrist strain issues have actually been reduced since moving from the Microsoft ergo keyboard to the standard WASD mechanical keyboard. I have been banging on this thing for a few months now and while the WASD uses ABS keycaps mine is not showing any shinning of the keycaps so far (including gaming keys ... I have been doing a fair amount of gaming with this keyboard).

    Even if you have some RSI / Carpal tunnel issues I wouldn't entirely discount moving to a standard layout mechanical keyboard (combined with attention to ergonomics and a suitable wrist wrest.) Before running out to get this TECK thing ...

    Seems like the TECK might work well for some but may also be more hassle than it is worth for others ..and involve a lot of learning curve. The Keycap wear seems pretty bad for such a short time of use also... that would put me off that thing pretty quickly, On the upside for me should my WASD keycaps start wearing later on I could replaced them with a new set fairly easily if needed/ Desired.
  • Azteca - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    Another self-promoting can of SPAM; only overlooking their own website and a coupon.

    In regard to keycap shinning or glossiness, it happens on all keyboards and varies a lot as it mostly depends on the user's way of typing and how much oily is the users' skin. The TECK keycaps are made out of ABS plastic, same as the majority including wasd's, so they will shine at the same pace with the same user and usage.

    What is also beneficial on the TECK, which is not mentioned in the article, is that the letters and symbols are laser printed which last a long time, particularly compared to cheap stickers used in most keyboards that completely fade out within weeks.

    I believe that one month of retraining your brain on how to type healthier is a very short time compared to years to come in typing.
  • Maryon Jeane - Monday, July 08, 2013 - link

    My keycaps are shining to some extent (noticeable mainly on the spacebars and the central keys (Enter, Backspace, Tab and whatever the other one was before I remapped it to Delete) but none of the key letters or symbols have become even slightly less legible after over a year of very hard and daily use. Reply
  • onelin - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    Really great read, Jarred! I'm psyched to see reviews on ergonomic keyboards as I'm currently searching for something better than an Ms natural myself blocking forward to your thoughts on the Kinesis keyboard. Reply
  • blackboxbeast - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    Thanks for a great article. It convinced me to find a better alternative to my MS ego. I was going to wait for the Kinesis review but no matter how good it is I can't justify the cost. I went with the Freestyle2 instead. I like the idea of being able to switch the postion we will see if that turns out to be the case. Reply
  • Kraziken - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    Hi Jarrad,

    I don't have any carpal tunnel problems, but found it more comfortable on Ergonomic keyboards. Like you I probably started on the Microsoft style ergnomic keyboard.

    I eventually found a somewhat obscure keyboard. Called the Smartboard. They've since gone out of business a few years ago. And as I type this comment, my current Smartboard is about 10 years old. I've had three of them and this of course is the last one.

    Like the truly ergonomic, they attempted to re-allign the keys to some extent. The footprint of the keyboard is smaller. And they have the loud clicky microswitch keys (that I actually like).

    They still seem to have a web presence, but I wonder if you can even order from them anymore.

    In any case. I'm wondering if you have ever tried a smartboard. If so, any similar feel to the Truly Ergonomic?

  • ksound - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    I bought the TECK about a month ago, getting used to the layout was a pain but it does feel more ergonomic and worth it. I never use the nu pad so I love that my mouse is a lot closer now. I had a lot of issues with the switches, first a and b would often register multiple times than I had the m and arrow keys that would 1 out of 2 times not register at all or multiple times and the alt was extremely flaky. This made editing code a real pain. but after a few days it got way better (hardly ever occurred again) It seems like the keys need to break in but this is an issue that needs to go away and never come back. So I'm really torn now. I love everything about this keyboard expect this issue. Since you're having the same issue it doesn't seem like I just had a lemon so a replacement is not an option and the shipping cost to Europe was insane anyway (I mean really $50!). do I send it back with the money back guaranty of will the issue with the switches go and stay away? Has anyone else had the issue with the switches and did the problem persist? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    In talking with Truly Ergonomic, it sounds like they just don't have good quality control or are doing something weird with the keys that causes the doubling of characters. I now get occasional problems on multiple keys besides just E and I, but I find if I type with a firm touch I don't get repeats -- which of course is in direct contradiction to using the MX Brown switches as I understand things! I'm going to do a video of me switching to the Kinesis today I hope, and then I'll commence adapting to yet another layout and see if I get any problems with doubling of keystrokes by the time I'm done with the review. At this point, that's all I can contribute; I'd almost like to get a TECK with MX Blue or something other than Brown to see if that helps, but they don't make such a keyboard right now. Reply
  • Tallon - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    TECK does have a keyboard with MX Red if you're interested Reply
  • Maryon Jeane - Monday, July 08, 2013 - link

    Hi ksound -

    Yes, it seems that plenty of other people have come across this problem to a greater or lesser extent (and mine was certainly greater!). If you have a look at my full review below, you will see my answer to the problem and the (welcome) fact that the problem did go away and didn't return.
  • NeoReaper - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    something i dont quite understand about your review is that you seem to be pitting a non-ergonomic keyboard against a ergonomic one. why arent u comparing the MS Natural Keyboard to the TECK? ive been using MS Natural Keyboards since the first one launched and i used that one until the Natural 4000 came out. the reason why is because i felt the elite was too small, i felt like i was scrunched up whenever i tried to type on it. something i find odd about ur depiction on keyboard layouts is that you seem to dislike the fact that your right arm comes in at an angle with the MS keyboard. i always found that to be an ergonomic advantages especially since i have to move my arm over to the mouse. my arm ends up be perfectly straight when operating the mouse because of this. another thing is that i feel that the TECK keyboard would give me that crammed feeling i had from trying the MS Elite. i actually like having my arms fairly spread apart which is something the large MS Natural Keyboards have enabled for me. another interesting parallel would be going from playing games on a standard control pad to switching over to the wii remote and nunchuk. it was a very liberating experience. Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    i've loved the split/ergo keyboards from microsoft since they've been released ages ago, its all i use for work. several years back i've also switched to the Evoluent vertical mice, that has made a TON of difference in how my wrist feels now. Reply
  • mike_obrien - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Jarred -

    Thanks for the great article. Similar to a watch, keyboard choice reveals a lot about a computer user. You provided a lot of very useful insight that will help thoughtful users to evaluate TECK, and I look forward to your Kinesis review, since I haven't tried their devices in years.

    As former Unix admin, my struggles with CTS/RSA began in my early '20s. The combination of Dvorak and an ergonomic keyboard (the MS Natural Pro, which I stockpiled and am still using a dozen years later) has not only given me years of nearly pain-free computing, but delivered an unexpected ~50% increase in typing speed.

    If your ergonomic keyboard of choice does not address your CTS/RSI, I highly recommend making the switch to Dvorak. Unlike an ergonomic keyboard, the benefits of Dvorak are available when using a laptop - a use case that is growing rapidly over time. (Having used literally hundreds of laptops over the past decade, it's hard to beat the Lenovo T series for size and feel.)

    I wish you the best of luck finding a strategy that works, and look forward to reading your upcoming reviews.

    -Mike O'Brien
  • KinesisAreBad - Saturday, June 01, 2013 - link

    It would be nice if people would stop recommending Kinesis as some kind of innovator. In my view Kinesis STOLE the Maltron design because of a technicality in their patent (the number pad). They aren't champions of ergonomics or designers. They're thieves in my book.

    As a side note, or more on-topic even. While I too like the TECK design, it's actually a combination of many design elements that others have implemented in their own genuinely innovative creations. You can find information about this on GeekHack but in summary nothing about the TECK is theirs - not even the placement of the editing keys. It's all borrowed, but combined very well. Except the awful function key area which they did themselves. A reflection of their design skills I think.

    The lesson is: thieves win. Just look at Apple.
  • Maryon Jeane - Monday, July 08, 2013 - link

    I'm very torn about this: on the one hand this company (Truly Ergonomic) is dreadful when it comes to customer service, even taking days to reply to e-mails, but on the other hand this keyboard is not far off being the best I've ever used. (To give an idea of my background in this respect, I'm a trained touch-typist (on manual typewriters!) and very fast, I'm self-employed and communicate with my clients through the computer, and I'm on the keyboard day and night; I've tried virtually every type of keyboard going, from the IBM Model M to the Cherry Click in its various manifestations through to the Goldtouch and as far as the Maltron.)

    I’ve now been using the Truly Ergonomic keyboard (English International Model 105) for over a year (since February 2012), day in, day out. When it first arrived, it was bizarre - not because of the different layout (I’ve accustomed myself to myriad different layouts over the years) but because the keyboard was acting very strangely. Some keys simply didn’t type at all, some keys typed multiple keystrokes, some keys typed something different entirely to what was on their keycaps - and none of it was consistent. TE’s customer service being so dreadful, and the problems with returning (or obtaining) things from Canada being time-consuming and difficult to overcome, I sent the keyboard to my trusty and excellent keyboard people here in the UK (The Keyboard Company) to see what they could do. Their verdict was that there was nothing physically wrong with the keyboard, that it was well made and built to last, and that they would be happy to replace any keys I chose (it’s fitted with Cherry MX Blues); they further said that all the soldering on the keys was fine (poor soldering can often be the source of problems with mechanical keyboards). So I had the keyboard back and tore my hair out trying to find the source of its bizarre behaviour.

    I soon noticed that if I hadn’t been using the keyboard (because I had to revert to another keyboard just to get my work done), then when I used it again the problems were worse; on the other hand if I had been persevering for an hour or so the keyboard was better. So I did an hour of online typing games continuously - and the keyboard improved. From then on I simply did hour after hour of typing games (with breaks of course...) over a couple of days - and suddenly the keyboard was usable. Once it was actually usable I used it for work, and gradually the problems disappeared. Strangely, I found, I wasn’t the only person to have had a TE keyboard act like this. (Whether or not problems would reappear if I didn’t use the keyboard for a long while I don’t know, because I use it extensively every day.)

    I found exactly the same thing with the second keyboard I ordered from Truly Ergonomic - also with Cherry MX Blues, which they now no longer supply - but at least this time I knew what the problem was and how to solve it.

    My hands, arms, wrists, neck and shoulders hardly suffer at all now from my prolonged and extensive use of the keyboard - which has certainly never been the case with any other keyboard. I am extremely happy with the ‘feedback’ from the keyboard as I type and I have the experience I’ve always wanted: I’m unaware of the keyboard between myself and whatever I’m doing on the computer. My typing speed is the highest it has ever been and my error count is tiny.

    I have remapped some of the keys (I always do anyway, for example remapping the AltGr key to be the same as the ordinary left-hand Alt key - highly necessary for touch typists using the keyboard rather than the mouse to access menus, implement font attributes such as bold, italic, etc. to avoid hand strain), and I also use a macro facility (KeyboardExpress) to automate such things as double and single inverted commas, brackets and the like (so one key combination types both symbols and places the cursor between them), and ShortKeys for boilerplate text and the like. All this not only ensures that there really are no awkward reaches in typing, but also increases speed and accuracy to beyond-human, as it were.

    If only Truly Ergonomic the company were of the same calibre as Truly Ergonomic the keyboard!
  • chadwickboggs - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    As a computer programmer on a Mac I have to say that I am comforted and relaxed by this keyboard, model 209. My tendon pains have reduced, my speed increased and I personally learned it in one day. I might have placed the function keys lower, but other than that it sure seems to be well worth its price to me. Thank you TrulyErgonomic, sincerely! Reply
  • avav - Monday, August 26, 2013 - link

    I like the keyboard - but find it hard to take the company seriously. I had trouble with their online checkout (form seems to stay stuck on 'processing payment'). And there is no telephone number anywhere on the website that one can call. Very strange - and very unprofessional. Reply
  • avav - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Based on this review, I decided to try this keyboard (TECK 207). Here is my feedback.

    1. The mechanical keys on this keyboard are the least mechanical ones I have ever seen. Having worked on various mech keyboards, I find it hard to believe that this keyboard has truly mechanical keys. There is just no comparison.

    2. For me, the keyboard was DOA - in that the space bar did not work. I thought this would be a simple matter of returning/replacing this item. Was I ever wrong. This leads me to my main point about this company:

    3. This company operates like a scam/ripoff company. They do not have a telephone number that you can call. They do not respond to online queries (you can a message saying - you will hear from someone in a FEW days - due to their busy volume. You never do hear back).

    Also, I originally thought this was accidental - but no longer think so. The credit card payment option does not work on their website. Only paying directly (paypal or bank account) works. This way, you cannot dispute your transaction as easily as you could with a CC payment.

    There is already a ripoff report ( filed by someone who had a similar experience to mine.

    I don't have a problem with your review - but believe you need to include the company's unethical practices along with the keyboard review. Had I known any of this , I would never have made the purchase.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 01, 2013 - link

    I am sure they're not a scam/ripoff, but that doesn't mean their tech support or quality control are up to speed. Your first point however is silly; of COURSE this keyboard has mechanical keys -- you merely have to pop the keys off to see the Cherry MX Brown switches.

    For the second point, DOA does happen and if you had a bad experience getting your product repaired, that's unfortunate. Send me an email (with order number, real name, etc.) and I'd be happy to talk with Truly Ergonomic and hear their side of the story. Not having a telephone number listed isn't a big deal for an online company -- we don't list our numbers on AnandTech either, you'll notice -- so email is usually the proper way of contact.

    Anyway, I don't really have the ability to do reviews of all the extra stuff like customer service, as that would entail purchasing products anonymously with our own money, and we simply don't get paid enough as hardware reviewers to do that. There are places that try to track such things, but resellerratings doesn't list Truly Ergonomic, and the only filing on RipoffReport (which you mentioned) is clearly your own complaint.

    Is this a bad company? I don't think so; did you get a defective keyboard? Possibly. Why haven't they fixed the problem? Tough to say, but like I said: email me and I'll see what they have to say. Sadly, the Internet gets more negative complaints than people praising good companies, so your single bad experience doesn't really tell us much other than one person had problems.
  • maestrofjp - Thursday, November 28, 2013 - link

    I've had very similar issues as the poster "avav". Sometimes the keyboard works and other times key presses register as double or none at all. And dealing with tech support with them is like a broken record, please "exercise your keys to break them in" -- like a few more key presses is going to suddenly break them in -- even though I've been using the keyboard for two months+ (and as a programmer so I'm typing all day). Please flash the firmware with the latest update. Like flashing it for the 20th time with the SAME firmware (no key mappings) is suddenly going to fix the issue.

    Tech support has suggested things like... maybe you have X turned on in Windows (i.e. move mouse cursor via keyboard) after I repeatedly remind that I'm on Ubuntu or other Debian derivative. Then suggesting maybe I should try it on Windows because it could be an OS issue. Tried that and the same story with the keyboard's behavior. Its not an OS issue...

    The only conclusion I can think of is there is either an engineering problem with the hardware (like their choice of MegaWin for the microcontroller) or something with the custom HID firmware they wrote. It clear that the product was designed to last with high quality components (never have had issues with other products with Cherry switches before) however the firmware issues in which what I type doesn't really come out right makes this keyboard no longer a functional item but purely a point of annoyance that is getting in the way of actual work. For a piece of kit that is $250+, I have expectations that it should function as an accurate keyboard first. We'll see if they respond to my pending RMA (in which they agreed to in a tech support message)'s been a few days of waiting (which is the typical turn around time from this vendor).
  • lauren jonczak - Friday, December 06, 2013 - link

    I really like the <a href=" of this ergonomic keyboard</a>. I was trying to come up with a useful gift to give my boyfriend for Christmas and this would be perfect since he is constantly on the computer. Thanks for the great idea! Reply
  • skirmishdirmish - Saturday, December 07, 2013 - link

    I prefer my Microsoft Scult Ergonomic. Plus, I had a dreadful time with this company when trying to return my TECK. Multiple emails gone unanswered (I even had to contact them through their Facebook page to get any response at the outset!) and after I shipped it back a month and a half ago, still no word, nor any sign of a refund. Major bummer. Reply
  • Azteca - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    If you returned the TECK (manufactured with awesome Mechanical switches) to change it for a dreadful Microsoft Sculpt (manufactured with very cheap quality - like everything from China, rubber domes under the scissor switches, and stickers that’ll be gone in a few weeks) you DO deserve a Sculpt “a misleading board for dummies” that will force you to visit a wrist therapist very soon.

    Besides, we should call it the Microsfot Scrooglpt semi-ergo board - a misleading board for dummies. Microsfot is hard-working and spending a lot of money at trying dishonoring Google with an anti-positive campaign named Scroogled.
    "At best, it’s a distraction from what the company should be doing—working on good software, services, and hardware products. At worst, it reeks of desperation." "Embarrassing when deployed as corporate branding."

    We are no longer expecting anything less from Microsfot, they can no longer create “innovative” products as they cannot longer steal from others which they have been doing for the last 30 years.

    Microsfot, the not-even-the-last-place you want to do business with.
  • lostmind - Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - link

    I purchased one of these in late 2013 as I spend the majority of my time working on my pc. Upon receiving it, I eagerly plugged it in only to find, like yourself; that numerous keys would generate 2 repeating characters for each keystroke.

    It was constant and repeatable across several - 5? - keys. I had my wife and a friend test it. Confident the switches are duds. It occurs on every single keystroke.

    I submitted several support tickets (I work in support, so I was very friendly about it) and received no response. I eventually submitted a request for return, but that was also ignored.

    There is no other way to contact them. I even happen to live in the same city as they operate from, but their address is a postal box and not an actual office.

    I will say that TECK is *not* interested in fixing or replacing the keys at this time.

    I did of course get the standard auto response to all my tickets, but that's it:

    Dear Valued Customer,

    Thank you for your interest in the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard. We believe our product is an excellent investment in your personal health and comfort, and can serve to increase your typing efficiency.

    We have received your e-mail and are grateful that you have contacted us. Please consider it could take us some time to respond to you personally due to the amount of inquiries and the level of detail of such inquiries we are currently receiving.

    In the meantime, please make sure to review our Answers To Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) as well as our Troubleshooting section, where you can find helpful information in most regards.

    Additionally, we are pleased to mention that we now have an application that helps you to reprogram your Truly Ergonomic Keyboard. You can change the logical position of any key as well as adding logical keys, allowing you to create your own custom layout. In addition, you can also use layouts already made for diverse contexts. Please visit our Layout Designer to learn more and to be able to create your own custom layout.

    Customer Service
    Truly Ergonomic Ltd.

    So unfortunately, I have a device I can not use that cost me a significant amount of money. Personally, I would warn everyone avoid this product even though I think it was a good concept.
  • bwbecker - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    I purchased a Truly Ergonomic keyboard in April, 2015 and used it for a month. No complaints about the quality of the product but the key placement didn't work for me, even after remapping the most problematic keys. So I started the process of returning it. It was difficult, to say the least. As of today, I do have my money back but... If you choose to do business with Truly Ergonomic, please consider that their web site doesn't provide any contact details other than their web form (which they can ignore) -- no email, no address, no phone. If you do happen to locate their phone number (look them up in the Vancouver BBB on-line directory), you go immediately to an answering machine and won't have your call returned.

    After threatening legal action via their web form, I finally got an email back with excuses and directions for returning the keyboard. I returned it, but then waited for a refund. Follow-up emails were again ignored until I (again) threatened legal action.

    My recommendation is to avoid the company unless you have had prior experience with the keyboard and know that it will work for you. Even then, I don't know what to do with the reports of faulty switches. Probably just avoid it entirely.
  • moshev - Friday, January 22, 2016 - link

    I used to be very happy with my TECK, but after about a year and three months, it has started to miss letters and produce double letters. I tried cleaning the affected keyswitches with warm water and leaving it to dry for two days, tried with alcohol, and nothing seems to fix the problem. Additionally, Truly Ergonomic don't seem to read their e-mail at all, all my correspondence to their customer support has been ignored.

    I really love the ability to edit the layout in firmware and the physical form-factor is absolutely perfect, but quality can be a crapshoot with this company it seems. Which is a shame, as they are the only ones making a keyboard with this shape.

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