μTRON Keyboard from Japan

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

A design review of the μTRON Keyboard. (aka microTRON, muTRON, uTRON.) This is a keyboard from Japan.

utron keyboard
“μTRON Keyboard” 〔image source http://www.techdigest.tv/2008/12/the_tron_keyboa.html
utron keyboard 02
“μTRON Keyboard” (img by webwit)

This is a excellent design. The only design issue i found is that it doesn't have dedicated function keys. The function keys are merged with the number keys. However, the other quality design makes up for it.

utron keyboard 06
excellent quality LEDs. (img by webwit)
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A keyboard with such a physical logo on it means it's EXPENSIVE. Also, here you can see the quality of the keycap labels. Probably by a process called Dye Sublimation, a very expensive process. The label will NEVER rub out because it's part of the plastic. (img by webwit)

Total Key Count

Total key count: 76.

Each side has: 6 columns * 4 rows + 5 + bottom 9 = 38.

μTRON Keyboard Layout

Here's its manual utron_keyboard_manual.pdf.

utron keyboard layout normal mode
Normal mode. (img by webwit)

μTRON keyboard has 2 modes. Normal mode, and the TRON mode. For each mode, it also has Japanese mode and English mode.

TRON mode is a Japanese input mode that inputs Japanese alphabets directly. TRON is also a operating system.

〔➤see TRON Operating System, TRON Encoding

utron keyboard layout tron mode
TRON mode. (img by webwit)

μTRON vs Happy Hacking

μTRON compared with Happy Hacking (HHKB) Keyboard.

utron vs hhkb keyboard 1
HHKB vs μTRON, size compared. (img by webwit)

The μTRON's keys are smaller. Note that, the width of four keys (ASDF) on HHKB measures 7.5 cm, but 6.8 cm on the μTRON.

utron vs hhkb keyboard 2
Sizes of Keys, and also showing the Topre key switch underneath. (img by webwit)

The key switch mechanism is Topre switch, which is even better than the famed Cherry MX switches. 〔➤see Guide to Computer Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms

utron vs hhkb keyboard 3
(img by webwit)

Unboxing

utron keyboard 03
utron keyboard 04
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All the big photos are by the keyboard expert webwit, at http://webwit.nl/input/utron/ and http://forum.hardware.fr/hfr/HardwarePeripheriques/Clavier-Souris/unique-clavier-mecanique-sujet_6902_27.htm. Used with permission. Thanks to webwit for real quality photos.

TRON Operating System, TRON Encoding

Note that TRON is a operating system kernel design, from Japan.

〔➤see TRON Operating System, TRON Encoding


TRON keyboards

NEC keyboard pk-kb015 2
Japan M-Type keyboard

Video Intro & Official Website

《はじめてみようμTRONキーボード》 (img by webwit)

Official website: www.personal-media.co.jp

As of list price is JPY$50000, which is about USD$418.

Where to Buy

Here's ways you can buy it:

See Ripster's guide on 〈Shopping For Keyboards In Japan〉 @ http://imgur.com/a/LJQyP

or, try search amazon uTRON keyboard

Alternatives

How to Chose Ergonomic Keyboards