Computer keyboard recommendations
Thread poster: Mark Sanderson

Mark Sanderson  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 12:27
Chinese to English
Jul 16, 2015

Can anyone recommend a comfortable keyboard for prolonged periods of time spent typing? I am currently using the basic Asus keyboard that came with my computer and my wrists are starting to hurt after a few hours of use each day.

I am a touch typist and always adopt a good typing position (like playing a piano) so my best guess is that it’s a keyboard problem and not a user issue.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Matias Mini Quiet Pro! Jul 16, 2015

Hi Mark,

I take keyboards very seriously. Just ask my wife, who recently made me swear on the Bible that I would never buy another one again Anyway, after years of experiments, my current favourite is the "Matias Mini Quiet Pro":

http://matias.ca/miniquietpro/pc/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/UK-Matias-Mini-Quiet-Pro/dp/B00ELAXJK8 (see also my review w/ picture!)

some_text

[Edited at 2015-07-16 14:17 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Same problem Jul 16, 2015

Mark Sanderson wrote:

Can anyone recommend a comfortable keyboard for prolonged periods of time spent typing? I am currently using the basic Asus keyboard that came with my computer and my wrists are starting to hurt after a few hours of use each day.

I am a touch typist and always adopt a good typing position (like playing a piano) so my best guess is that it’s a keyboard problem and not a user issue.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark


I had the same problem, and ultimately it caused me such severe pain in my wrist, arm, and shoulder that I took up dictation instead. Problem solved! My typing is now minimal. I recommend it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
agree Jul 16, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

Mark Sanderson wrote:

Can anyone recommend a comfortable keyboard for prolonged periods of time spent typing? I am currently using the basic Asus keyboard that came with my computer and my wrists are starting to hurt after a few hours of use each day.

I am a touch typist and always adopt a good typing position (like playing a piano) so my best guess is that it’s a keyboard problem and not a user issue.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark


I had the same problem, and ultimately it caused me such severe pain in my wrist, arm, and shoulder that I took up dictation instead. Problem solved! My typing is now minimal. I recommend it.


Dragon is the way to go! That, and the KnowBrainer 2015 voice command macro program (or Vocola 2, for an open source variant), and my hands/wrists have been a lot happier lately.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:27
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Microsoft Natural Jul 16, 2015

Try Microsoft Natural. Definitely, the best keyboard. At first, a bit unusual but after a very short period of getting used to it, you won’t want to have anything else.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Seconded Jul 16, 2015

esperantisto wrote:
Try Microsoft Natural. Definitely, the best keyboard. At first, a bit unusual but after a very short period of getting used to it, you won’t want to have anything else.

I wouldn't say it's the best, but I agree that it's a good product and, moreover, it's an economical way of dipping a toe in the waters of the ergonomic keyboard market.

I would avoid - no disrespect to Michael - a flat keyboard and go for something like the Natural that doesn't force you to angle your wrists as much.

Keyboards is an interesting and wildly varied market. One interesting recent development is Keyboardio which looks nice, though I think the lack of function keys is a mistake. There are many others out there, such as Massdrop's ErgoDox.

I have looked at (and own) Dragon Naturally Speaking and have not yet given up on it. Definitely worth considering for the OP.

Regards
Dan


Direct link Reply with quote
 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 06:27
English to Hungarian
+ ...
switches, not shape Jul 16, 2015

I went through a phase of using ergonomic keyboards, but I eventually came to the conclusion that the key action matters much more than the shape. What you want is mechanical switches, which the microsoft natural, or the logitech wave (which I used to use) do not have. IMO if you want a good keyboard that will last more than a year or two*, you have to go mechanical. This is obviously even more important if you already have typing-related discomfort. Of course an ergonomic mechanical keyboard could be the best of both worlds, such as the keyboardio - which I don't have much info on, so it may or may not be a good choice.

There are many types of mechanical switches, the main types being:
- Cherry, which comes in multiple versions, e.g. brown, red & blue. I use Cherry browns, which are a reasonably safe all purpose choice (many people are fine with them). My keyboard is a Filco, but there are multiple decent brands (Das keyboard, WASD etc.)
- Alps & matias, with the latter being a clone of the alps. The matias recommended by Michael and the keyboardio both have these switches.
- Topre. Kind of divisive (some people hate them) and expensive. I wouldn't recommend it.
- Buckling spring. The legendary IBM model M had these. These keyboards are around 20 years old now but they are still going strong and they work just as well as when they were new. Some people swear by them, but they are really loud, and need quite a bit of force to actuate. Also the keyboard is larger & heavier than your laptop. Worth a try if you can grab a cheap one and don't mind the noise.

I would recommend cherry browns if you don't mind a really light actuation force. Alternatively, look into the keyboardio, which does look attractive. If you want to go down the rabbit hole of keyboard technology and research things in depth, geekhack.org is the place to go.

Additionally, the keyboard can only do so much. How you use it probably matters more. If you contort your wrist into an unnatural position and bang on the keys with all the force you can muster, your joints won't last long. Learn 10-finger touch typing if you haven't, and put some effort into developing an efficient typing style with a light touch and a natural posture. You could also consider dictation as recommended above, although I'm personally not a fan of that solution.

* Last, as in continue to provide good key feel. Rubber dome keyboards like the microsoft natural tend to degrade over time and the key feel becomes mushy. At that stage you have to bang on them harder to make sure the keypresses register, which is not good for typing speed, your nerves or your joints.

[Edited at 2015-07-16 19:25 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Tenkeysless & clicky Jul 16, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:

esperantisto wrote:
Try Microsoft Natural. Definitely, the best keyboard. At first, a bit unusual but after a very short period of getting used to it, you won’t want to have anything else.

I wouldn't say it's the best, but I agree that it's a good product and, moreover, it's an economical way of dipping a toe in the waters of the ergonomic keyboard market.

I would avoid - no disrespect to Michael - a flat keyboard and go for something like the Natural that doesn't force you to angle your wrists as much.

Keyboards is an interesting and wildly varied market. One interesting recent development is Keyboardio which looks nice, though I think the lack of function keys is a mistake. There are many others out there, such as Massdrop's ErgoDox.

I have looked at (and own) Dragon Naturally Speaking and have not yet given up on it. Definitely worth considering for the OP.

Regards
Dan


Good point Dan. I forgot that the Mark is a touch typist. I’m a hunter/pecker myself, so actually don’t angle my wrists all too much.

Incidentally, Matias also do an ergo one:

some_text

The reason I l̶i̶k̶e̶ love my Matias so much is the switches (http://matias.ca/switches/quiet/ ): they’re mechanical. Once you try a mechanical keyboard (and like it), you can never really go back. Well, that and so many other things about it: it's built like a tank, has laser etched keys, n-key rollover, etc. Typing on my Matias is a sheer joy. It’s hard to explain until you have tried one.

Re the Microsoft Natural, yeah my mom swears by them and has been buying the same one for years (the letters wear off and it is a pretty flimsy piece of kit).

Watch out with the Microsoft Natural (or any full-sized KB) though: if you use a mouse and/or a Wacom tablet (I use both!), it is simply much too wide, and will force you to use your mouse/tablet at the wrong angle, creating yet a different problem. I only use "tenkeyless" KBs these days (apart from my big Dell Precision 17" laptop).

That ErgoDox looks amazing. Might add it to my birthday list


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Model M Jul 16, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote:
The reason I l̶i̶k̶e̶ love my Matias so much is the switches (http://matias.ca/switches/quiet/ ): they’re mechanical. Once you try a mechanical keyboard (and like it), you can never really go back

I used an IBM model M keyboard for a while in Japan in the early 1990s. Very mechanical and very good it was too.

If you like Matias switches look at the Keyboardio - it uses Matias. I was looking at an ErgoDox but I think the Keyboardio has it beat.

Regards
Dan


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:27
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Labtec Jul 16, 2015

I use a Labtec "Ultra flat keyboard" (which I bought from Maplin a few years ago) plugged into a USB port of my Toshiba laptop because:
  • it has a better shape and feel than the built-in keyboard of the laptop, and
  • it has a separate numeric keypad, which I use for typing accented letters in French or German.
On the laptop, as probably on most of them, the equivalent of the numeric keypad is to use a "Fn" key to change the action of part of the keyboard to simulate the numeric keypad. (I use that so rarely, I've forgotten how to do it - it's not simply pressing that Fn key!)
Oliver


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:27
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Reviving this conversation one year later... Apr 27, 2016

... as I missed it last year.

I've just written a blog post about the keyboard I use:
https://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2016/04/26/filco_guest_post/

@Mark: which keyboard did you go for in the end? Did it help your wrist problems?


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Computer keyboard recommendations

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search