I spend a lot of my life at my computer, for work and pleasure, so my keyboard matters.
So I bought an Ergodox and I love it.
*Why* did I think blank key caps was a good idea when I can't touch type on a normal keyboard… pic.twitter.com/SFGVM1exRt— Kristian Glass (@doismellburning) February 13, 2017
What’s an Ergodox?
The Ergodox is a mechanical keyboard with split design, ortholinear layout (the keys are in a regular grid rather than offset as on conventional keyboards) and highly customisable firmware.
What’s it like to use?
The Ergodox definitely took some getting used to at first! It didn’t help that in 25 years I’d never learned to touch-type, and had ordered it with blank key-caps…
With practice and the aid of
gtypist this was rectified, and now I absolutely love it.
I definitely under-use the thumb cluster, and my layout could almost certainly be more ergonomic, but my hands feel happier, I feel like I type faster, and everything just generally feels better.
How to get one?
I’m not, so I bought mine from Ergodox EZ.
I bought the black model, with the wrist rests and tilt/tent kit – I didn’t expect to use it, but I like having mine slightly tilted outwards.
I got Gateron Brown switches – Cherry MX Browns seemed to be the general “if you don’t know what you want then get these” option, and at the time only Gaterons were available – and I got the blank keycaps.
Blank keycaps were a deliberate tradeoff – it was “blank and sculpted” or “printed and uniform” – the former having a different shape for each row with improved ergonomics, and I figured it would be a good incentive to learn to touch-type!
Notable differences include:
Backspaceall in positions similar to a conventional ISO QWERTY layout
- Arrow keys in
- Layer 2 as my “media” layout
I’m probably losing a lot of the ergonomic benefit with this but it helped me get onboard quickly, and I don’t want to risk losing the ability to use conventional layouts on my laptop / other machines!
George is a little more hardcore than me and compiles his own firmware with some funky configuration…
Here’s what my Ergodox looks like now:
Meanwhile finally got my Tai Hao Dark Blood caps on my Ergodox so I can glance-check one-off key presses! pic.twitter.com/Splf3UGLeq— Kristian Glass (@doismellburning) June 24, 2017
It’s a bit of a Franken-keyboard but I like it. I’m a sucker for custom keycaps so I’ve got:
- Tai Hao Dark Blood alphanumerics
- Ducklings for
- A tigricaps 8-bit skull on
- A zinc Dota 2 keycap on
- Ultra-stylish masking tape for my middle symbol keys so I remember what they are…
I can now touch-type but sometimes for hotkeys or when gaming I wanted to press a single key without having to go via the home row, so printed keycaps were super useful.
I eventually tired of the Ergodox EZ wrist rests because the plastic-y rubber-y material just retained dirt. They were easy to wash, but it was annoying to have to do so.
Currently I’m using a pair of Falbatech bamboo wrist rests and enjoying them – they’re much bigger so I need to take my watch off, but they’re also much easier to keep clean!
It’s not cheap, it’s not easy to get used to, but I definitely found it worthwhile!