So I have been in this hobby for more than a year now. I have gotten my hands on some instock keyboards like Freyr TKL, KBD67, Savage 65, Tofu65 and even tried HHKB Topre and FC980C. Also gotten myself into quite a few GBs. Even so, I am trying to “design” my own board on fusion and hoping to prototype it in the near future. So much vested in this hobby!
I love this hobby and all these boards but somehow I feel like my productivity drops when I am using these boards because they are so satisfying and sound so nice that I am just want to type more and typing for the sake of typing, which makes me very distracted.
So recently, I just tried working on my laptop keyboard…and honestly I think it’s isn’t that bad, and it’s really helping me to focus too with the softer sound and a decently nice tactile typing feel.
This brings me to full circle…I kinda like these kind of chiclet keyboards when they are well built, and I love keyboards in general. haha. So how about you? Have you been in this situation?
I too like chiclet keyboards on laptops for occasional use, but can’t stand shitty rubber domes anymore
Sit back… be still… don’t give in to your clacky needs…
then when you do need to type enjoy it so much more.
That’s how I do it
yeah it’s quite interesting to switch between boards!
Now, that I use a laptop for work, I’ve gotten used to chiclet keys too. They aren’t that bad. I sometimes even bring out my Apple Aluminium keyboard for my desktop PC lol.
There are definitely good and bad non-mechanical keyboards! I think there should be an attempt to slightly rebrand the hobby as a “Keyboard Enthusiasts” vs “Mechanical Keyboard Enthusiast”.
Personally a lot of the Lenovos/Thinkpads I used in my youth were quite decent
Even Apples pre-butterfly-catastrophe chiclets were decent imo
Yeah, all I really need is a keyboard like the pre T430 models.
Lenovo actually used to manufacture some USB keyboards like that, but not anymore. They command a high premium now.
The thing about the rubber domes on the Thinkpads is that they had a very sturdy base, and often still do. Today, they are integrated into carbon roll-cages and such.
I guess I’d be happy with a well-built rubber dome like that.
I think chiclets and “mechanical” keyboards can coexist. When I want a snappy, tactile and quiet keyboard, it’s really hard to beat a good set of chiclets in my opinion. I’m personally not a fan of most modern non-clicky tactile switches, and vintage options like SKCM are increasingly becoming less of a viable since even Dell AT101/102s are ever-increasing in price despite supply being fairly plentiful.
As such, when I want quiet, I usually turn to something like this - a Lenovo ThinkPad Compact USB Keyboard with TrackPoint (KU-1255):
It’s snappy, superlight and superslim. I can easily slip this into any sort of bag or case without any issue, which is especially handy for me since before COVID, I used to visit my campus library a lot for a change of scenery whilst working and most definitely didn’t fancy using public PC peripherals. You can get close to slim with modern low-profile switches and keyboards, but respectifully every one I tried wasn’t for me. And of course, there’s no way to cramp a Dell AT102W or an IBM 5140 into my messenger bag…
Plus as a bonus, this Lenovo specifically works for me since I’m used to ThinkPad keyboards and value a TrackPoint.
However, my favourite type of keyboard is one with monstrously clicky switches like buckling springs or BOX Navies, which is where chiclets and other scissor-switch keyboards fall flat. But, I still think there’s a case for a quiet keyboard in my life and thus chiclets like that still have a place. However, since the start of the lockdown, this Lenovo has been knocked to second place after discovering the old IBM Space Saver Model M4-1 buckling sleeves keyboards. Those things are delicious and criminally underrated, in my opinion.
While I do bring a mech to work every day, I sometimes forget or need to use another station - and it is at those times I’m reminded that not all chicklet boards are created equal.
The computer we use to generate plate files has a pretty awful one - cheap end of third party kind of thing. The keys sit very loosely on top of the membrane sheet, and they all rattle around each time a key is pressed. Oh - and it’s super filthy - I’ll snap a picture for the “keyboard horror” thread if I can remember… Since the machine is used for checking the print and binding schedules by a handful of people, that keeb gets lots of traffic. I prefer to use this one with gloves.
A mere three feet away is the computer we use to actually run the plate-making machine - that one has what I think is a Lenovo pack-in chicklet board. Nothing inspiring and it has some weird layout decisions here and there - but it’s an absolute dream to use compared to its neighbor; quiet, free of rattle, and somehow clean - far fewer people use this one.
Another anecdote in this vein; a close friend of mine who does music production and streams digital design sessions and his keebs. I donated a blue clicky board to him after his pack-in died and he loved it - but when he started streaming it was too loud, so I whipped him up a nice silent tactile.
He’s been talking for weeks about getting an Apple Magic Keyboard so he can get the overlay sheet for Logic Studio - but he later changed his mind and decided it would be worth it to just memorize all that stuff and keep using his board full of lubed Gazzew silents.
I use a really bad rubber dome & mouse every day at work so I can come home to a wonderful desk setup with a nice keyboard and trackball mouse.
That’s gotta be some kinda kink. And who am I to kink shame?
Yeah a distinction would help enthusiast feel more at home to which ever category he/she finds more relatable.