The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard
This post contains no affiliate links, I bought the keyboard myself two months ago.
Back in January, right after releasing Redbriar, I started shopping around for a new keyboard for my computer. There wasn’t anything super wrong with the old one save for a few broken keycaps, so I shopped around for something that would work well enough for my own use. My previous Razer keyboard was a seven mile long beast with extra keys and gaming macro options that I never used. Small keyboards like the ones on laptops have always been my favorite kind since I never needed volume controls or buttons mapped to my shaman’s totems or anything crazy.
So I began shopping around and looked at the DasKeyboards like my husband uses, the Ducky, and WASD. All of which had the options and price range I was looking into until one of my husband’s workmates told him I should check out this cool split keyboard out of Hungary. We’ve all seen the bonkers looking split keyboards from the early 2000’s where the middle arches up and the keys are shaped like a wave on your desk. I don’t have any physical limitations to typing on a standard keyboard so why get a split board? The other split keyboards are on a base, you can’t adjust the space between your hands, with this style of keyboard you can still have straight keys but you can spread them out to where your elbows aren’t touching while trying to type. You can switch between a standard keyboard and a split setup as both halves join together. My favorite part is that the two halves are joined by an old school curly phone cord like we had growing up.
Now, I ordered the keyboard at the end of January knowing it would take some time to be produced and get to me. They had a supply issue in February (plus we all know about what happens to overseas shipping in the middle of Feb) so it got pushed back a little further. None-issues compared to the quality of the keyboard I got in the mail yesterday. The only thing I had to do was install the risers as it’s a hackable keyboard you can make it what you want, and place them in various spots to make them rise in the middle or at the top. One of the biggest reasons for the new keyboard was getting something without blue switches. My old keyboard was so loud (even with o-rings installed) that you couldn’t do much else in the room if I was writing because the sound was a major distraction. I got the brown switch option and it’s a world of difference as I’m a bit of a heavy typer.
With this split keyboard set up the space bar is split as you’d expect, but the right one is a type of shift key for a mode that turns the jkli buttons into directional arrows that would otherwise be on a full-size keyboard. This takes ten minutes to get used to unless you are a left-handed spacebar user, in which case you can swap the keys in the software it comes with. I ordered the ISO key layout and found the left shift button just a little too far away for my liking so I remapped the |\ key to a second shift. Easy enough to do. Another thing you can do is change the entire keyboard layout to one of a few other formats like Dvorak and Colemak with the function key. There is also an option for mouse use via a key where capslock usually is and if you don’t feel like using it you can easily remap it to such.
Now I’m sure all the other keyboards have key remapping software and stuff as well, I’m just telling you what this one has that I haven’t used before. Looking around online you’ll see most folks have put a custom set of keycaps on their UHK‘s but since the right side buttons and the shift keys are non-standard sizes it gets very expensive very quickly to get a full set printed so I’ll be sticking with the stock keys for a long time. I’m sure someone on massdrop will come out with a custom set option once the demand appears. I also pre-ordered one of their modules coming out later, another thing I liked from old laptops is the red directional nubbin in the middle of the keyboard, UHK has a module for the keyboard that attaches near the spacebar that has two little mouse buttons and a red nubbin just like the olden days. 😀 They have several other options as well as wooden palm rests for those of yall who somehow type with your wrists on the table. So far so good with typing last night. I did notice it was a little awkward to have it split while doing photoshop shortcuts but it’s super easy to slide the halves back together. Super great keyboard so far.