Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Jul 2017 17:29 UTC
IBM

You may not know the Model F by name, but you know it by sound - the musical thwacking of flippers slapping away. The sound of the '80s office. The IBM Model F greeting the world in 1981 with a good ten pounds of die-cast zinc and keys that crash down on buckling metal springs as they descend. It's a sensation today's clickiest keyboards chase, but will never catch. And now it's coming back.

I used several of these growing up, and I've come to understand I'm the only one who didn't - and doesn't - like mechanical keyboards one bit - I find them tiring and way too loud. I want the thinnest possible keyboard with the shortest possible travel while still having a decent, satisfying, but very quiet click. I find Apple's Magic Keyboard is the exact right keyboard for me, but I also know I'll be one of the very few, especially on a site like OSNews.

Thread beginning with comment 646874
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
I Agree with Thom
by cranfordio on Tue 18th Jul 2017 19:22 UTC
cranfordio
Member since:
2005-11-10

I don't do this often, but I agree with Thom. I find chiclet keyboards much better than the old mechanical. My typing speed more than doubled on a chiclet keyboard and I am always stumbling around when I use a mechanical.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I Agree with Thom
by Morgan on Tue 18th Jul 2017 22:39 in reply to "I Agree with Thom"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I find myself in between. My current keyboard is a "cheap" Velocifire mechanical with knockoffs of Cherry MX Brown switches. Most mechanicals are too loud and have too much travel for my taste but this one is just about right, and has n-key rollover. I like a good chiclet keyboard too; in fact I have a wired version of Apple's newer aluminum board and it's great, but I'm spoiled by my Velocifire's backlit keys.

However, nothing will ever top the best keyboard I've ever put my digits on: The Apple PowerBook G3 "Pismo". Nothing before or since has been as nice to type on.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I Agree with Thom
by dpJudas on Tue 18th Jul 2017 22:40 in reply to "I Agree with Thom"
dpJudas Member since:
2009-12-10

Indeed, I also prefer modern keyboards over the mechanical ones.

Reasons for why I'd never go back to a mechanical keyboard:

1) You need to press a lot harder on them. Last time I tried one of them I wow'ed at just how quickly I could feel that my hands needed a break.

2) Typing speed is slower because the keys are taller and you have to press harder.

3) The noise. This is not a plus for me. I like the sound of more quite keyboards a lot better.

4) The layout of the Model M is a little bit too classic for my taste. It annoys me that I can't as easily reach keys with both hands as I can with more compact layouts.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I Agree with Thom
by Darak on Wed 19th Jul 2017 08:24 in reply to "RE: I Agree with Thom"
Darak Member since:
2009-10-16

I've hated a fair share of both mechanical and non-mechanical keyboards, but my favourite ones are usually mechanical.

1) You need to press a lot harder on them. Last time I tried one of them I wow'ed at just how quickly I could feel that my hands needed a break.

This is related to the switch type. Some switches require almost no effort to press a key, others require considerable force and/or a long travel distance. Depending on your hands, the harder type may be more comfortable to you.

2) Typing speed is slower because the keys are taller and you have to press harder.

Mechanical keyboards include a spring or return mechanism that helps your finger go back to its rest position as soon as a key is pressed, helping you continue to type words in a fluid motion. Travel distance alone does not represent the full picture. I type slightly faster in mechanical keyboards.

3) The noise. This is not a plus for me. I like the sound of more quite keyboards a lot better.

This is a matter of preference. The sound is part of the feedback mechanism. Better feedback helps me type faster and make less mistakes. A lots of modern mechanical keyboards include noise dampening mechanisms.

4) The layout of the Model M is a little bit too classic for my taste. It annoys me that I can't as easily reach keys with both hands as I can with more compact layouts.

Non-standard layouts are always worse IMO since you can't transfer your muscle memory to your next keyboard.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: I Agree with Thom
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 20th Jul 2017 14:41 in reply to "RE: I Agree with Thom"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

1) You need to press a lot harder on them. Last time I tried one of them I wow'ed at just how quickly I could feel that my hands needed a break.


Not all mechanical switches are identical in terms of the force required to depress the keys: they range from as light as 30-40g of force (Topre), up to 70-80g of force (buckling spring, Cherry MX Black, etc).

2) Typing speed is slower because the keys are taller and you have to press harder.


That's the opposite of my experience - I type faster on most mechanical keyboards, which I think is because the tactile feedback makes it clearer when a key has been pressed down far enough. If anything, I find that I also press harder on rubber dome keyboards, to make sure I've pressed the key down far enough.

3) The noise. This is not a plus for me. I like the sound of more quite keyboards a lot better.


That's probably the only objective issue with mechanical keyboards - though there are low-noise mechanical keyboards/switches available, made by companies like Matias, Topre, and a few others.

4) The layout of the Model M is a little bit too classic for my taste. It annoys me that I can't as easily reach keys with both hands as I can with more compact layouts.


That one I agree with, there are also arguable ergonomic benefits to more compact layouts. But again, there are mechanical keyboards available with compact layouts - including REALLY compact "60%" layouts on boards like the ErgoDox. Personally, I find those layouts a little too extreme (anything that requires an Fn key/layer for things as common as the number or function keys is a non-starter for me), but they are available for those who want that.

It's also worth noting that the article is about a replica of the Model F, rather than the Model M - and it appears to be using some kind of hybrid between the old AT layout & a modern "Tenkeyless" layout:

http://pop.h-cdn.co/assets/17/27/980x417/gallery-1499277959-keyboar...

Personally, I'd be more interested if they used a more standard tenkeyless layout (just a regular layout without the numpad chopped off - like the ANSI mods folks have done with vintage AT Model F keyboards), but that still looks easier to get used to than the old AT or XT layouts.

Reply Parent Score: 2