Hands up if you think life is meaningless and keyboards are boring. Well, I have good news and bad news for you. We haven’t made any headway in the former, despite pondering on the question for tens of thousands of years. As for the latter, we might be close to finding an interesting keyboard.
We found AZIO IZO the colourful keyboards last time. This time round, we look at Keyboardio Model 100 on Kickstarter.
I’m amazed by people’s enthusiasm for innovating keyboards. Then again, it kind of makes sense because keyboards have become an extension of our hands at this day and age. If you’re reading this, chances are you spend a large chunk of your day typing on a keyboard, or at least one on your phone screen.
What is it
The Keyboardio Model 100 is a customisable, ergonomic, mechanical keyboard. It claims to work the way you do. When I read this on their Kickstarter page, my immediate reaction was that this keyboard procrastinates.
The keyboard has 64 hot-swappable mechanical key switches. Every key is fully programmable. Still think life is mundane? Imagine the power this keyboard grants your fingertips.
It also comes with what they call palm keys. These are basically function modifier keys you press with your thumbs. Why aren’t they thumb keys then? Press the palm key and the H, J, K, and L turn into arrow keys, and the number keys turn into function keys.
You know they are trying to push the keyboard to the extreme when you can control your mouse cursor with the keyboard. When you hold the palm key, you can move the mouse cursor with the WASD keys. This means you can work without taking your hands off your keyboard. Your right arm would thank you for not having to hop between the keyboard and mouse. (Or left arm for you lefties.)
The palm keys give you an additional 40 combinations to bring the total number of keys to 104. I wonder why they didn’t call it the Model 104.
I have a question, though. Since they split a keyboard into two, shouldn’t we call refer to them as a pair of split keyboards? I mean, the Keyboardio Model 100 is such a lovely pair.
Who is it for
Split keyboards are not for everyone. There are people who love them. And then there are people who have a coffee in one hand and need to type “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Try typing that with one hand on your keyboard. Then try to imagine having to type that on a split keyboard. With one hand.
The Keyboardio Model 100 positions itself as a luxury split keyboard with artisanal wood casing, and custom-sculpted keycaps. You get the choice of killing a walnut or a maple tree.
Also, split keyboards are only for people who can touch-type with standard finger placement. Those of us who use unorthodox touch-typing methods might find ourselves hitting thin air on a split keyboard. You’ll probably look down to try to find the key. I had to, and was even more confused when I saw the keyboard split into two.
What problems does it solve
You get all the benefits of a mechanical split keyboard. It is also ergonomic and is supposedly good for your wrists and fingers if you’re constantly typing comments on social media. I’ll report back if split keyboards are also beneficial for bear paws.
Split keyboards are also portable. The Keyboardio Model 100 comes with a carrying case so you can bring it around with you. I mean, have you tried carrying a standard keyboard around?
However, there’s a potential problem with a split keyboard. What if one side works while the other refuses to? You won’t even be able to type most of your choice curse words to express your frustration.
Is it innovative
Although I’m not a big fan of their innovation, I also don’t want to take anything away from their novelty. Aside from the keyboard being split and ergonomic, it comes with the source code for its firmware. That is such a cool idea even for someone like me who has zero knowledge on source codes or firmware.
Many mechanical keyboards come with metallic finishing. But Keyboardio went with a wooden casing for the Model 100. Tree huggers might not like this idea, but I do. Wood has a character that other materials lack, and the wood gains character the more you use it. Mechanical but not cold. And it builds an attachment to wood that would make you want to protect the forests.
I like how they designed the keyboard so that it looks like their butterfly-shaped logo when put together.
Is it worth it
I’d rather not to confront this question, but the editor threatened to make me type on the AZIO IZO keyboard for the rest of the year if I didn’t. The project has over 1,700 supporters and raised more than $630,000. People are putting their money where their mouths are.
I’m used to the common single piece keyboards, and I type fast because of muscle memories, even if the strokes might not be the standard ones. Who knows, I don’t even think about the keys when I type so I don’t even know which finger I’m using for each letter.
If you’re into split keyboards, then you already have a specific preference and most likely have a particular approach to selecting your keyboard. If that’s the case, then $289 would be reasonable for you.
Meanwhile, I’m happy with knocking out these articles on my simple keyboard. It’s ergonomic enough for bear paws!
Are there any alternatives
There are many ergonomic, mechanical split keyboards in the market. They cost less than the Keyboardio Model 100. Of course, they aren’t targeting the premium segment of the market. You get what you pay for with the Model 100.
So I’d say there aren’t any direct competition for now.
The Keyboardio Model 100 is made for split keyboard lovers. Split keyboards are not the mainstream yet, but they are increasingly common because people are starting to understand the long term effects of poor typing posture. And people don’t want boring keyboards, unlike me.
Is it gonna be the future of keyboards? Maybe. I’m not sure. But there are enough people who believe so to make this a viable market.
Hi, I’m Rainee.
I’m a reindeer that identifies as a bear. I’m the Critical Bear that does standup comedy.
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