The keyboardio keyboard first batch is out on 2017-07.
Total key count: 64.
Each side has 32 keys.
Note the palm keys. This is a innovation. You press it by pressing your palm down.
finally, we have a keyboard with a any key
Note, that the tacticle bump, on the key J. It is centered. This design was in the 1990s, but gradually disappeared. Now, they are typically a bar near the bottom edge of the key top surface.
The dot in the middle design is a better design, because that makes it more effective in identifing keys by touch. One might complain that you feel it when you press the key. But actually, after a while, you won't notice.
Note that each key cap is individually sculpted. Not just the top of the key, but also the overall shape of the key.
The thumb keys, are shaped like a bun. This is another innovation. For the thumb, round keys seem to enhance tactile feedback.
supports also Dvorak, Colemak, Workman, keyboard layouts.
〔►see Alternative Keyboard Layouts〕
All keys can be reconfigured by firmware. (meaning, you can plug it in any computer or OS, and it'll have keys the way you configured it.)
Everything is open source too. Including firmware, design.
Each key has a LED light and can be individually colored in rainbow colors, and lights up like a Christmas tree. e.g. flash, wash, breath, wave, of rainbow effects.
The light effect can be programed via the open source firmware.
Besides visual opulence, one practical use of key lights is as user guide. For example, you can have WASD keys light up for gaming. Or, in vim, you can have it lights up red when in command mode, green in insertion mode. In Emacs, possible keybinding can light up when you hold Alt or Ctrl.
Big Ass Octo Feet
Steady, rock free, detachable.
Here's how it works.
Look at the octo stand. The surface of the stand is sloped . When keyboard sits on it, it makes the keyboard sloped. Rotate the feet to adjust direction of slope.
This design is better than the standard prop-up feet, which has fixed degree of slope and fixed slope direction.
However, the octo feet cannot adjust the inclination angle. Let's say you want the keyboard to be almost vertical, you cannot use the octo feet for it.
Mechanical Key Switch
Fully Programable Open Source Firmware
You can easily remap keys, or create key layers (like holding Alt down, or like press Caps Lock), or create your own letter key layout, or program key macros for gaming or photoshop, etc. You can also program the light effects.
As far as i know, the keyboardio firmware, and features, is the best of all possible out there. (yes, ye ergodox fans, you heard me right.)
If you are a programer, you can look at the code and features now at:
Typing on Keyboardio
First customer review by Eric Sorenson. https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/6p35g8/review_i_received_my_keyboardio_model_1pvt_ama/
When Will it Come Out?
First few buyers got it in 2017-07. They are posting photos and videos on twitter.
Mass production is scheduled in 2017-09.
I care nothing but functionaly. From this point of view, the wooden frame is lame, and the RGB lights doesn't add much. And the sculpted keys just made it much more expensive. Then, there's this super over engineered big ass octo feet! That always amuses me.
The most important aspects for functionality in a keyboard, is:
- The physical layout. That is, the position of the keys. How it fits your hand.
- The key touch feel.
- Programability of the keys.
Keyboardio shines in all these aspects. In particular, it provides 4 thumb keys, plus a palm key, for each hand.
Keyboardio doesn't have physical arrow keys and page up/down keys and F1 to F12 keys.
To press arrow keys, you need to hold down the palm Fn key, or, program it so that you can press a key to toggle lock into a navigation keys layer, so that letter keys become arrow keys. (similar to how Caps Lock or Num Lock works)
Imagine eating pizza with one hand, or, playing Pacman. This is when dedicated arrow keys are convenient. Because you don't need to hold a Fn key down, nor need to press some lock key to a mode then remember to toggle it back.
For why dedicated function keys are useful, see: Why Function Keys F1 F2 Are Useful
The wood frame of the keyboardio is a major turn off. The very idea of wood. To many, it means natural and quality. To me, it smells bulky, heavy, grandfather-clock. (think of space station and scifi. I want it to be anti-rust, anti-rot, anti-drop, water-proof, lite-weight, durable, used in outer space. This tech exist, it's called plastic. )
The individually sculpted key caps is rather a turn off too. Sure, it's got edge, but at a big $cost. It also makes difficult to get key cap replacements.
〔►see Keyboard Keycap Gallery〕
Compared to Kinesis, Esrille
Now, there's also:
Kinesis is bowl shaped. Bowl shaped might be more ergonomic. Whether bowl shape is better, how much better, depends on how much you actually type (as measured by keylog) and your preference.
Keyboardio's thumb keys are superior than the thumb keys on Kinesis.
Now, the Esrille is the most similar to keyboardio in design.
I like Esrille's physical function keys, arrows keys, and its simpler one-piece design, and it has smaller size version for Asian hands or female. However, Esrille is much more expensive.
Which one of the Kinesis, Esrille, Keyboardio, is best? I cannot decide.
If you want the best product/price ratio, then, Esrille is out. Between Kinesis and Keyboardio, i think it's a tie, to be broken by each person's personal preference.