Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This keyboard was announced in ~2015, and started shipping in 2018-12.

UHK 20181214 980-s1542x649
Ultimate Hacking Keyboard 4032×1696

Total key count: 64. Plus 2 thumb (mouse-like) buttons.

First impression: compact, solid, well built. In fact, been using it in the past 2 days for real work. Super impressed with the software. It is the most intuitive firmware UI and most advanced keyboard software i've ever seen. I'll be adding more video in the coming days.

2019-10 I consider this the best compact ergonomic keyboard.

Video Review

Xah Talk Show: Review of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard. 2019-01-19

Split Keyboard

UHK 20181214 split 0dfd2-s1155x866
4032×3024

When the 2 pieces are connected, no connecting wire is necessary.

To disconnect them, just pull them apart.

UHK connector 8d1e9-s1155x866
UHK connectors, with magnets. 4032×3024

2 extra mouse-button-like buttons in thumb area. Can be programed like any other key.

Display

UHK 20181214 907-s959x511
UHK LED display

The big 3 letters shows your current keymap.

The {mod, fn, mouse} lights up when the modifier is pressed or locked.

Mechanical Key Switch

Mechanical key switches of your choice: Kailh red blue brown. Cherry MX green, clear.

Programable Keys

Base Layer

UHK base layer c9c05
UHK base layer

There are several layers:

Press any of {Mod, Fn, Mouse} twice to lock it. Press it again to unlock.

When any {Mod, Fn, Mouse} key is locked, corresponding indicator lights up.

Mod Key Layer

UHK mod layer a0fc1
UHK mod layer

The Mod key layer gives you all the navigation keys, and switch tab/window/workspace.

Hold down the Mod key to change other keys into navigation keys.

Function Key Layer

UHK Fn layer a41a1
UHK Fn layer

The Fn key layer lets you switch among QWERTY, Dvorak, Colemak, PC/Mac layouts, and gives you multimedia keys.

Mouse Key Layer

UHK mouse layer 98044
UHK mouse layer

Hold down the Mouse key to change keyboard into a mouse.

It's nice for casual use, but if you do a lot image editing or 3D modeling, a real mouse is much better.

Software

The software to program the key into memory is called Agent. It's available for Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux.

UHK software 02ebe
UHK Agent software

Download at:

https://ultimatehackingkeyboard.com/start/agent

It is also open source:

https://github.com/UltimateHackingKeyboard/agent

It is the most smooth, most intuitive, and most feature rich keyboard software out there.

One particularly nice feature is that a key can also work as a modifier. For example, when Space is pressed once, it inserts space, but if held with another key pressed, it acts as Ctrl (or ⌘ command, Alt, ⌥ option, or any special modifier such as Mod, Mouse, Fn) Note, some Operating System based keyboard app lets you do dual key function, but they go thru OS, so is not reliable and have glitches. The dual key function is hardware on UHK. This means, it's 100% reliable. [see Keyboard Firmware]

Xah Keymap

For emacs users, this is my curent configuration, designed for use with Xah Fly Keys [see Emacs: Xah Fly Keys]

uhk xah keymap 2019-10-21 ndm9t
uhk xah keymap 2019-10-21 ndm9t
UHK xah keymap 2018-12 41faa
UHK xah keymap 2018-12

For detail, see xah-fly-keys with Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Feet

Legs can be attached so that the middle raises up for a more natural wrist position.

Ultimate Hacking keyboard g7dwf
[image source twitter ploogle]

Unboxing

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard unboxing
ultimate hacking keyboard 20181210 aad8e
ultimate hacking keyboard 20181210 841

Palm Rest

Wood palm rest, sold separately. Attached by screws.

Ultimate Hacking keyboard ca42c
Ultimate Hacking keyboard ca42c [image source https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DsNBvdxWoAAUjJY.jpg:large]

Addon Modules

Thumb oriented trackball, trackpoint, trackpad, addon modules. Sold separately.

UHK addon modules trackball 33001-2
UHK addon modules

Gallery

UHK 20191021 d263m-s1416x854
UHK 20191021 4032×3024
UHK 20191021 cqktv-s1386x1039
UHK 20191021 cqktv 4032×3024
Ultimate Hacking keyboard ab16c
[image source twitter ElDanDanito]
UHK lisp keyboard 9pxsj-s289x217
UHK LISP keyboard

Conclusion

This is best compact ergonomic keyboard.

The programing power of this keyboard also the best. i'd say better than Ergodox Keyboard and better than all gaming keyboards. The software is the most easy to use. Because of the programable power of the keyboard, you can actually buy this keyboard and use it as a programing pad by itself. e.g. Buy two of it, and use one as main keyboard and use another as macro keypad. Since this keyboard is so compact, it works well that way. The ease and intuitiveness of the software makes it super easy.

The keyboard is highest quality built.

The additional trackball/trackpoint/touchpad modules, are true innovation. (it's not released yet as of 2018-12-15.)

My wish list for next version:

Actually, i can't say i have any cons for this keyboard. I would like a ortholinear grid layout, but if you do that, you reduce potential buyers by some 90%, because vast majority of people are still very used to the staggered layout.

Also, i'd wished there's physical arrow keys. The way they did it, by holding thumb key (Mod) and right hand I J K L becomes arrows, works fine. Also, press Mod twice will lock it into place. So, you can play pacman while eating pizza with this keyboard. But still, physical arrow keys are nice.

Where to Buy

https://ultimatehackingkeyboard.com/

Kinesis vs Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Kinesis vs Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, JavaScript in depth and modern web dev, webpack, unit testing mantra. 2019-10-25

If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.