Discussion  - 
 
Been using the Truly Ergonomic keyboard for 5 months now. Added my experience here at bottom.

〈Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard Review〉
http://xahlee.info/kbd/Truly_Ergonomic_keyboard.html
12
2
Dan Muller's profile photoTodd Smith's profile photoLuis Anaya's profile photoMichael Gmelin's profile photo
22 comments
 
As one of the people who experienced the key repeat issue, I have to say that it has decreased a bit now, as in I can finally type passwords again without having to whip out my MS Natural 4000. It does still happen occasionally though. However, I'm not actually sure if I prefer this layout/structure. I really find that the way the MS 4000 has the reverse tilt and really nice palm rest helps me a lot, and I kind of am feeling like without that my wrists are actually hurting more with the Truly Ergonomic. But the MS 4000 is just too big for my desk, so I really want to like the TECK. I guess I'll have a better idea in another month whether I can actually adjust to this or I should just return it.
 
+Ibrahim Awwal great review. Thanks a lot. The key repeat would be a killer.

for me, the MS4000 is too stiff. I don't have key repeat problem. Of the two, i much prefer TECK. The mechanical keys is fantastic. I just wish it has more function keys i can assign to. Another wish is two more thumb keys.
 
Yeah, actually the thing I don't like about the TECK is that they had a nice idea with the thumb keys, but there aren't enough. I hate how important programming symbols like |\ and /? are on the left side in a really unreachable position, maybe I'd put those in the middle. I think I might try rebinding left space as M-x though, that would be pretty nice for emacs. I feel like the Alt keys are really awkward to press right now too. Surprisingly I couldn't tell any effect from the matrix style layout, I feel like it doesn't really matter. I also surprisingly wasn't blown away by the tactile response, and this is my first mechanical keyboard. I don't think the MS keyboard is too stiff or anything like that - I actually bought three, and I think maybe one of them had a stiff spacebar but the others are fine. I actually am kind of thinking of trying to use a Kinesis Advantage for a while at some point, I really think the curved layout with big palm rests is nicer.
 
yeah. Perhaps Kinesis/Maltron is better for you.

for the / ? etc keys, my view is this. There are not enough primary spots for the fingers. Primary spots counts as 3 rows for each hand for the 4 long fingers, plus 2 central columns. On the TECK, that's the 2 matrix of keys, and that's really good. On conventional keyboard, it's far worse, most of it went to right pinkies.

so, it's a matter of economics: there are more keys than good spots, and there are far more commands for keys. One than has to put the most frequent ones in the few pigeon hole. If one go by this principle, then TECK has done well.

for programer keys, my solution is to create emacs command to type them. e.g. all brackets are typed in pairs by press Menu than one of the keys under homerow to produce () [] {} and as well as = +. So, i rarely use pinkies.
 
Yeah, I think I prefer the curved style, I should try a Kinesis (Maltron looks too weird for me).

Ah, that's clever, worth a try for programmer keys. But I feel like it would not have been so bad if they had added another row on the right or something, to at least keep the /?\| around the same place as they are on a standard keyboard.
 
Ordered mine a few days ago (no labels, been meaning to play with various layouts).
 
+Renato Queiroz yeah, it's $220 or so. but Kinese is $300+ and Maltron is $500+. The μTron is also $500+, and Happy Hacking pro is  close to $300.

if you'd go flat, still with mechanical keys, then it's much cheaper. Starting at $80. I recommend Logitech G710+ in this case.

Plug: Might checkout my notes http://xahlee.info/kbd/keyboarding.html
 
+ErgoEmacs
 

Xah, you seem to like the TEK keyboard a lot, compared to the Kinesis, why do you like the TEK more and why?

LIke I said, I want to replace my old Kinesis but if there's something better, I would like to hear it. :)
 
+Luis Anaya i haven't tried Kinesis. The bowl shape is a bit daunting, and about $100 more expensive. Also, Kinesis screwed up on the function keys (they are tiny rubbers). I really need function keys.

For TEK, it's compact and more conventional. I just wish it had more thumb key.
 
If you use the F keys a lot, yes, the micro tiny ones are a pain.  ESC is the one that hurts the most if you are using vi.   The reason why I need to replace it is because the back of those F keys are glued in and eventually they gave up and collapsed.

The bowl shape it is not that bad to get used to it, but it takes about 2-3 weeks to get your fingers right.  The TECK looks nice, I should research more into it.

Thanks for the info!
 
Ah yeah, that's the reason I didn't like the Kinesis. Meh. Might just go back to MS4000 and get a Filco tenkeyless keyboard for gaming purposes (the smaller layout is nice for gaming).
 
The price is an important factor here.
Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 is 30$. If you don't work at home you have to buy TWO keyboards. By going MS4000 I can afford to buy two or even three ergo keyboards which brings a lot for few dollars. The value brought by these 30$ is huge but the other 200$ you have to spent in other keyboards seems to bring only a tiny more. In all cases you have to optimize bindings.
 
I agree, I actually have 3 MS4000s but I was annoyed with the huge size, and I still had some pain possibly due to my desk setup being a little funky to accommodate the MS4000's size, so I decided the TECK was worth a try. But if I can't get used to it and it's not making typing much better for me I'd rather replace my desk and return the TECK.
 
Hi Xah, the information on your web-site is great!  I've learned a lot about keyboards and ended up purchasing a Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard because of your review.  I'm very happy with it even though I don't type as fast on it as I do with a conventional keyboard yet (I'm getting close), but the matrix arrangement for the keys makes typing all of the non-alphabetic characters needed for programming so much easier and more accurate.  Furthermore, it is more comfortable to type on when using emacs (which I started using over 30 years ago).

I've noticed that there is now a real Layout Designer on the TECK website that allows any kind of layout to be loaded into the keyboard's firmware.  It looks easy to use and supports 6 layers. The 6 layers are divided into two banks, selected by one of the small switches on the back of the keyboard.  Within a bank, there are three possible fully customizable layouts: default, num-lock, and fn.  This means that one could support QWERTY, Dvorak, and some extended character layouts all in the keyboard.  The little micro-switches on the back of the keyboard aren't convenient, but even with three layouts available though num-lock and fn this greatly increases the keyboard versatility.  

I'm going to try some of your keybinding suggestions.  I'm not bothered by Emacs pinky, but I would love to have a more logical organization of emac's less common commands normally bound to keys.  I really like some of your ideas.  Your discussion of different kind of commands (repeated vs non-repeated) was a revelation for me, and I plan on using a menu/prefix key to organize all of my one-time emacs commands as you suggest in "The Roadmap to Completely Replace Emacs's Key System, Part 2". 
 
+Todd Smith am so very happy to hear it. Thanks a lot. Let us know your exploration!

and thanks for the news on custom software. I didn't know. I think i'll try it tonight.
 
I just wanted to chime in.  I've had the TECK for over two months and its plagued by double repeat key presses or key presses that do nothing.  It seems to be a common issue with TECK.  I had expected more, but after two months and 10s of thousands of keystrokes -- it still isn't "broken in" like tech support claims need to happen.  I haven't read other vendors that use Cherry switches use that excuse before so I feel like this is am unique issue with the TECK.

I've also been told to revert back to the stock firmware because it could be key mapping issue.  What is the point of being able to load in custom mapping if tech support tells you to revert to stock as the "fix"?  Also, flashing it with the same firmware several times is not going to magically fix it.  Sometimes I think they suggest it just as a thing for you to do because they are out of ideas.

So I'm waiting for them to approve my RMA.  That's the one thing I have really disliked about this...the tech support is painfully slow to respond if they even decide to reply.  Some emails are not even answered and others take 4-7 days for a response.

For a piece of tech that is over $250, I expected at least decent support.  I've found that TECK doesn't read emails clearly --- suggesting fixes for Windows when I repeatedly tell them I'm using Ubuntu or other Debian based distro.  My unit performs the same problems no matter the OS so I'm convinced it is not an OS issue (or it could be an OS issue that affects ALL OSes).

I couldn't recommend a TECK to anybody.  It is a great idea but if you Google it -- there seems to be a systemic issue with double key presses or like issues with this piece of tech. 
 
I've been using a TEK for a few months and just received a second one to keep at work. Just a few weeks ago (shortly before the second one shipped), I started having the key bounce problem constantly. I strongly suspect that their firmware is not using an adequate debounce delay, which should be easy for them to fix. The new keyboard has the same problem. I work mostly in Windows, and have used a version of the registry hack on the FilterKeys settings to work around the problem adequately, but just discovered that the remote desktop software that I use to work from home sometimes does not honor those settings, making it next to impossible to actually work remotely. (Luckily, at the moment, I don't need to do any remote editing.) 

I sent a query to their support email a few weeks ago but never received a reply. Very disappointing.
 
BTW, regarding key layouts: I tried their standard layout for a couple of months, but really didn't like some details for programming. I recently created a layout as a variation of one that they have on their Web site, with some of the programming symbols in better locations, with left-space mapped to Alt, with Shift/Ctl swapped on the left, and Enter/Shift on the right. Quite happy with the layout now.
 
Hey, guys.
Really having problems with the Alt key. It is so tiny and I always miss it. (i mapped the other tiny-key near it to Alt as well but that doesn't help).
I am not really keen on mapping left space over to it - as I press space mostly with left thumb.
Also, is anyone else not comfortable pressing space because the thumb has to curl too far to the left?

P.S.: The FN and volume UP/DOWN key gets stuck - I avoid using it completely. This is just a note for future buyers.
Add a comment...