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: 76.
ErgoDox is designed by Dominic Beauchamp. Original idea by Nestor A. Diaz. The idea is heavily borrowed from Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, which is borrowed from Maltron Keyboard.
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.
[see Computer Keyboard Design Flaws]
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]
[see Ergodox Firmware and Layout]
Programable Key User Interface
Ergodox does not have a easy-to-use software to reprogram the keys as in gaming keyboard.
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 diagram, then you click or drag around keys to create a custom layout
- Download the layout you created.
- Download a firmware updater.
- Run the firmware updater you just downloaded to upgrade firmware to use the new layout.
• No physical function keys F1 to F12. To press a function key, you have hold another key to activate a layer. This is not convenient.
[see Why Function Keys Are Useful]
• 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 problem. Thumb keys are hard to reach for smaller hands.
Ergodox Keyboard Thumb Keys Pain
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 keyboards to chose from.
Ergodox Firmware and Default Layout
Ergodox Firmware and Layout
Where to Buy?
search on amazon ergodox
• 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
[see Kinesis/Ergodox layout for xah-fly-keys]
For ergoemacs-mode, i recommend you set one of the thumb key to Alt.
For evil-mode, i recommend you set the traditional CapsLock key to Escape.
- Unicode Keyboard Symbols ⌘ ⏎ ⌫
- Computer Languages Characters Frequency
- Keybinding Design, Fast-Repeat Commands
Ergodox Keyboard Gallery
Ergodox Keyboard Gallery
If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.