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bluejay

Your Favorite Computer Keyboard?

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What is your favorite computer keyboard to type on? Mine is the Apple //e's, as it is not too stiff and springy like the Commodore ones, but not too not springy like the Model 100's. I also find the full travel CoCo 2 keys satisfying to type on, because it's so springy. I know somebody will say that IBM clicky keyboards are definately the best, but I've only tried typing on it once, at a Goodwill on a Wheelwriter II.

Edited by bluejay
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I have a few favorite keyboards:

  • Classic Mac keyboards that came with the earlier Mac computers.
  • Apple Extended Keyboard II.  These area fantastic, and I still have a few of them.  I tried using an ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) to USB adapter several years ago, but the adapter could not keep up with my typing speed (seriously!)  I looked recently and there are different adapters available now, probably much faster, so I should give that a shot again. 
  • IBM Model M keyboards with buckling spring key mechanisms.  I've purchased several Model M reproductions from Unicomp and they are awesome!
  • Modern keyboards using Cherry switches, such as these Das Keyboards.  These particular ones use Cherry MX Blue switches and I rather like them.

I really despise the "chicklet" style keyboards that Apple introduced on their laptops years ago now.  Previously Apple had great keyboards on their laptops, but in the race to make everything thinner, their keyboards have suffered greatly.  I really miss the keyboards on the older PowerBooks.  Some Thinkpads still have nice keyboards as far as laptops go, but most companies seem to have copied Apple's crappy keyboards (which they now use for their desktop machines also--at least there you can easily use a third-party keyboard that doesn't suck).

 

 ..Al

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Hands down the IBM Model M will go down in history as my all time favorite keyboard, ever. I don't care how many keys light up or how much you attempt to modernize these keyboards, that thing was a true work of art. Although currently, I have a DasKeyboard sitting on my desk and admit that it still just doesn't have the same feel as the old IBM M model, despite whatever MX switches they are using. Maybe it's the keycaps feeling super slick, I don't know.

 

Waiting for the person who loves the mushy ST keyboard.... ;-) 

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I will join the model M bandwagon.  Great tactile keyboard.  Built like a tank.  Fantastic equipment.

 

 

It just makes people in crowded cube farms contemplate suicide because of their loud mechanisms.  For home use though, fantastic.

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My typing has degraded over the past few years, so I'm not concerned with feel as much as I am about it being wireless with lots of programmable function keys.  The one I have on my PC now does the job better than any I had before it.

 

Keyboard.thumb.jpg.d18266bd41a197f8ad3c4bcca57c7032.jpg

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Wireless has advantages, I agree.

 

If you want function keys, you simply cannot beat an IBM 3179 terminal keyboard.

 

6110344.jpg

 

There are adapters for it to make it basically whatever you want. (Default is IBM coax for servers.)

 

 

You will need a special driver, but where there's a will, there's a way-- and that is a LOT of extra keys you can assign things to.

 

 

If there is a wireless modern offering, bob's your uncle.

 

 

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On 12/19/2019 at 2:07 PM, Clint Thompson said:

Hands down the IBM Model M will go down in history as my all time favorite keyboard, ever. I don't care how many keys light up or how much you attempt to modernize these keyboards, that thing was a true work of art. Although currently, I have a DasKeyboard sitting on my desk and admit that it still just doesn't have the same feel as the old IBM M model, despite whatever MX switches they are using. Maybe it's the keycaps feeling super slick, I don't know.

Yes, I really miss having it...  I just wish someone made a black version that goes along with pretty much all gaming PC's cause even the current Cherry switch keyboards aren't quite the same.  (Will have to see what Unicomp offers)

Quote

Waiting for the person who loves the mushy ST keyboard.... ;-) 

Not gonna be me!  I'm glad B&C sells replacements for keycaps that are more responsive but you try to fix every single key...

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On 12/19/2019 at 11:07 AM, Clint Thompson said:

Waiting for the person who loves the mushy ST keyboard.... ;-) 

Is it the same one on the XEGS? Never used an ST before... Anyways, if it is, I'm not a fan.

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2 minutes ago, bluejay said:

Is it the same one on the XEGS? Never used an ST before... Anyways, if it is, I'm not a fan.

Pretty much, you just have more terrible keys on the ST keyboard.  :)

 

 ..Al

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1 hour ago, MrMaddog said:

Yes, I really miss having it...  I just wish someone made a black version that goes along with pretty much all gaming PC's cause even the current Cherry switch keyboards aren't quite the same.  (Will have to see what Unicomp offers)

Not gonna be me!  I'm glad B&C sells replacements for keycaps that are more responsive but you try to fix every single key...

They have a black chassis but they aren't able to print white legends, so it's a black chassis with light grey keys. I used to have their black M.

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I would say the Intellivision Computer (ECS) Module keyboard would be my choice...

 

ECS3.gif.4b860b9a991bcd54f912b0ab6c22ab7c.gif

 

....you did you say worst keyboard right?   Oh Favorite?   My bad.  :P

 

Well, I like the Mac Chicklet keyboards enough in the bluetooth keyboard on the MacBook Airs that I am currently using, but I did REALLY like the feel of the Powerbook G4 model Macs.  They had a nice but steady and realizable touch to them.  And when they flaked with just a few screws you could easily remove the keyboard  from the top of the casing and install another in like 10 minutes.   Far cry from having to completely disassemble a MacBook Air, pop rivets, and replace with like 30 screws.

 

The Powerbook keyboard was a great modular design.

ee34f211e04b2e1eb11a20e60a58b67e.thumb.jpg.e2966f73d4af1bf16174775341236879.jpg

 

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On 12/18/2019 at 11:25 PM, Albert said:
  • IBM Model M keyboards with buckling spring key mechanisms.  I've purchased several Model M reproductions from Unicomp and they are awesome

They are not reproductions, Unicomp has always made the model M 😛

 

anyway yea apple II, mac extended II, model M and oddly enough the cheap 2 color IBM and later lenovo's generic membranes from the late 90's like what came with the aptivia's to the mid 2000's, been banging on one of those since about 1999, and im on my 3rd

 

membrane, wiggley, but yet somehow snappy and it has a pencil holder ... dunno why, they are kind of crap in the age of premium keyboards, but when I saw 3 brand spanking new one's at a goodwill I bought them all. So already 20 years into it, with another 20 years worth of new old stock, I cant hardly say I hate them...

 

 

 

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

similar to this but with blue enter keys and a pencil groove at the top, and of course my lenovo model is black with white double shot text and blue enter keys 

Edited by Osgeld
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49 minutes ago, Osgeld said:

They are not reproductions, Unicomp has always made the model M 😛

IBM would certainly have something to say about that. Unicomp didn't exist when IBM made the Model M, in house, in their own giant factory. At a certain point IBM outsourced production to Lexmark, which was formed by a group of ex-IBM employees, and they continued using the same production facility - for a while, until they moved somewhere smaller. Eventually they ceased production of the Model M entirely, and Unicomp bought the rights and tooling (much of which was pretty worn out) and started producing Model M's again in their own facility, which is in a different location and is *much* smaller still. Not that size necessarily matters, but the point is that it's different people and a different factory, and a lot fewer people too.

 

I have several IBM Model M's and had a brand new Unicomp Model M at one point; there's a resemblance, but they're not really the same keyboard. Unicomp Model M's just aren't to the same standard. I don't completely blame them for that because the tooling is just decades old at this point, but on the other hand, they're also definitely just using thinner, inferior plastic. That's on them; they're trying to make a profit at the $90 or whatever price point on what was originally a $200+ keyboard in 1980's dollars.

 

To go back to the original question, my favorite classic keyboards are definitely the IBM Model F, IBM Model M and Apple IIe keyboard (though it's a distant third). Everything else from that era just feels like mush. Tolerable at the time, but never all that great and mostly just awful today. I will say that my Apple IIc keyboard was great when it was new, but it did not age well - as that keyboard breaks down, it requires more and more effort to type on. I doubt there are any out there today that even come close to what they were like when new. The IIc Plus and later keyboards that were "tactile" rather than "clicky" aged a lot better, though they weren't as good as the clicky models at the time.

 

I feel like we're in a golden age of keyboards again right now - a few years ago there was a sudden burst of effort put back into making good keyboards, and nowadays there are a ton of reasonably priced models that are at least pretty close to the feel of a Model F or M, and they're generally less of a space hog too. And for a bit more money, you can get a linear keyboard (like the IIe or most other non-IBM computers) better than *any* made in the classic era.

Edited by spacecadet

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11 hours ago, doctorclu said:

The Powerbook keyboard was a great modular design.

ee34f211e04b2e1eb11a20e60a58b67e.thumb.jpg.e2966f73d4af1bf16174775341236879.jpg

 

Yes, the PowerBook keyboards were great through their entire run.  And those machines had tons of ports and you could easily access the RAM, hard drive and battery.  I miss those days, where functionality was a higher priority than appearance.

 

 ..Al

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Yes, the PowerBook keyboards were great through their entire run.  And those machines had tons of ports and you could easily access the RAM, hard drive and battery.  I miss those days, where functionality was a higher priority than appearance.
 
 ..Al


I too Loved the powerbook keyboards. I remember the Last 17” powerbook I owned, it was a lot of fun to play games on. I had the 1.67ghz G4 cpu with 2gb of Ram! If only the G5’s could have made it to the powerbook without melting them.
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Top few keyboards:

 

image.jpeg.25373da13341584ae28c9d432ef4cd4a.jpeg

 

The ones SGI shipped.  There is a smaller version too.  Typed A LOT on these.  Love 'em.

 

I do write on my //e regularly.  Platinum.  It's a great keyboard.  Have known it since I was a kid.

 

IBM clicky keyboards, various models.

 

 

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For classic hardware, my 800XL followed somewhat closely by my Apple IIc.

 

For modern hardware, I've got a Das Keyboard for my work PC and I love it.  My job requires constant typing and I work anywhere from 8-10 hours a day 5-6 days a week, and my Das Keyboard works just as well as the day I got it years ago.

Edited by newtmonkey

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The Apple ][e had at least Two different Keyboards, the earlier "White Key" board has slightly better feel for me than the later, "Black Key" board.

 

For "modern PCs", IBM Type M, All the Way!!!!

 

MarkO

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The 800’s, by a mile, for ordinary word processing and the like. Atari (any of them) never made a better keyboard than that.


I liked the 800 keyboard. It did feel a bit steep to type on for me. I like the ability to get a flatter experience through the model m and f by adjusting the feet. To me the 3 of them fit together in the same family of greatness.
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My favorite of all-time is the IBM Model M. It should be #1 on everyone's list, natch.

 

#2 is Northgate Omnikey 101. The quality is right up there with the Model M. But the big deal for me? It appears to be the one and only keyboard that has a switch for Tandy 1000 TX mode, meaning I could ditch the crap keyboard the computer otherwise *requires*.

 

For everyday use on my primary (modern) machine, I use a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic (the exact model # escapes me at the moment).

Edited by DeathAdderSF

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