Who makes the best keyboard? 7 reasons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 gc 0 Comments

For the past four years, I have been using, in my view, the best keyboard ever madeespecially for Windows development. The maker might surprise you. It is the Apple keyboard (ultra slim). It sells for $49 and that is luckily within reach for most of us. If you have a PC with a USB port, it just works. If you have not used a Mac recently, it has a control, alt (option), and command key. The command key becomes the Windows key. There are a lot of people that run Windows on Apple hardware so it needs to work.

I have tried what seems like a reach of different keyboard types including split, natural, heavy tactile and gaming keyboards. In 1997, I even tried the Dvorak keyboard layout instead of QWERTY for three months in hopes of typing a little faster.

Tools become an extension of our bodies. Typing becomes an extension of us just as using a mouse, or Natural User Interface (NUI) of tablets, phones, and gaming consoles. The idea that Your Computer is a Part of You is the result in a recent study done by cognitive scientists at Franklin & Marshall College. The results seem to indicate that people do fuse with their toolscognitively at least.

Currently, Apple makes the best keyboard, in my view.

7 Reasons

1. Easy to type
Smooth hurdling (awkward stroke requiring a single finger to jump directly from one row to another row). The keyboard gets out of the way to a large degree.

2. Low profile
The keyboard is so slim that there is no hand rest needed; it feels good; just slide your hands forward naturally on it.

3. Short key travel
Helps me type faster and smoother. Has a nice short crisp tactile feedback.

4. Easy to clean
Let's face it, keyboards make excellent homes for nasty bacteria.
When keys are pressed, they are at the level as the aluminum making it easy to clean since you can clean the base and keys at the same time with a swipe of a paper towel.

5. Beautiful
Heavy for its size; made of aluminum with flat rounded rectangular white keys.

6. Simple
Not a ton of extra keys, but all the ones you really need.

7. Easy key combos (such as Shift+Ctrl+B)
Just press between the two keys until you feel aluminum; this is one reason that I like it for development; it requires a lot of odd key combinations and symbols.

I first got an Apple keyboard for home. It was fun to type again. Typing became simple, not over-manipulated. Now, I try to bring one with me anytime that I will be riding a workstation for a while. It is slim even in the box.

In my view, the Apple slim keyboard is great design. It is simple, lasting, and like other great interfaces, it gets out of the way. Granted, you might not like it as much as I do, but definitely a keyboard to consider.

I hope that the command center will even have a few.


Additional references
Print Screen in Windows - F14
Key mappings and comparison

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