Ergodox Keyboard Review
Ergodox is a open source do-it-yourself keyboard. You buy the kit, and assemble yourself. The kit is over $230, and pre-assembled ergodox is about $300, as of 2017-03-07.
Total Key Count
Ergodox total key count: 76.
Each side has a 38 keys. Main section has 32 keys, plus 6 thumb keys.
Number of Keys Compared to PC Keyboard
Here's keys of a compact PC keyboard.
Here's the same symbols rearranged on the ergodox.
The ergodox has 4 extra keys. But it doesn't have the 12 function keys.
Superb Physical Layout Design
The ergodox's design is superb.
- Split design. (no wrist bending outward.)
- grid layout. (key columns are not slanted. Fingers move straight up/down.)
- Tented. Legs to tilt middle of keyboard up. (wrist in a more natural position. e.g. right hand doesn't have to rotate anti-clockwise.)
- Mechanical keys. (keys easier to press, tacticle feedback. No need to hit bottom that creates impact for fingers.)
- Use of thumb keys. e.g. ⌫ Backspace on the thumb.
Programable Keys, Powerful Firmware
The ergodox has one of the most flexible and powerful firmware. Not just one, but several, and it's all open source!
For example, it lets you remap keys, or create layers (such as dead key, compose key), and you can also program key macros.
〔►see Keyboard Firmware〕
Programable Key User Interface
High-end gaming keyboards come with a easy-to-use and intuitive software with graphical user interface to program the keys.
ergodox does not have such easy-to-use software to reprogram the keys.
Most ergodox vendors provide a web-based user interface to configure keys. It works like this:
- Visit a keyboard config web page, it shows a keyboard figure, then you click or drag around keys to create a custom layout
- Download the layout.
- Download a firmware updater.
- Upgrade your keyboard firmware to use the new layout.
• No physical function keys F1 … F12. To press them, you have press or hold another key to activate a layer. This is not convenient.
• 2-pieces design, so you have a wire connecting them. That's a bit unwieldy. Harder to carry around, prone to tug damage. You have to adjust each piece's position everytime the keyboard is pushed.
Ergodox Thumb Keys Pain
ergodox has 1 major flaw. Thumb keys are hard to reach for smaller hands.
Do It Yourself!!
You spend some $250 for it, then you have to spend half a day to carefully assemble it, including soldering.
Pre-assembled ones costs about $300. At that price point, there are many other options.
Ergodox Firmware and Default Layout
〔►see Ergodox Firmware and Layout〕
Where to Buy?
• ergodox-ez https://ergodox-ez.com/
• ergodox infinity https://input.club/devices/infinity-ergodox/
Layout for ergoemacs-mode and xah-fly-keys
If you use emacs, I recommend:
- Emacs: Xah Fly Keys
- ergoemacs-mode https://ergoemacs.github.io/
- evil-mode https://github.com/emacs-evil/evil
For ergoemacs-mode, i recommend you set one of the thumb key to Alt.
For evil-mode, i recommend you set the traditional Caps Lock key to Esc.