Contemplating Keyboards

X1-Carbon & HP PavilionAfter a few months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon ultrabook I’m still rather impressed with the device. It’s in many ways the nicest laptop style computer that I’ve ever used. Even so, the differing keyboards between it and my desktop keeps presenting an annoyance. It has me considering the purchase of a new desktop keyboard.

My desktop, an HP Pavilion H8-1214, typical of consumer class machines, came with a terrible keyboard. The system was purchased from Woot.com in July 2012. It was nicely specified and very good deal, so I simply replaced the supplied keyboard with something more appropriate.

Bouncing between substantially different keyboard layouts can be a source of irritation. In recent years most of my computers have been HP business class systems. I’ve made it a habit to keep a couple of spare keyboards on-hand. That way any system that arrived for my use could readily be mated to the keyboard that I’m most comfortable using.

HP-USB-Keyboard.jpg

When I was at Pixel Power it was not at all uncommon for systems to arrive without a keyboard or mouse. I’d just grab these from my local stash, which gave me the chance to use what I preferred in any case.

Perhaps consistency of keyboard is a picky little thing, but a considerable increase in productivity springs from such considerations.

These days I’m moving between the HP H8 desktop and the Lenovo X1 Carbon. The difference in keyboard layout that I noted initially is a small but constant annoyance. Since I can’t change the keyboard layout on the X1 Carbon I’ve been thinking about buying a matching Lenovo keyboard for the HP desktop.

This inclination was reinforced when I recently read that Lenovo was shipping their new Compact Bluetooth Keyboard. This keyboard is based upon the T431 laptop. Lenovo keyboards have a great reputation. My experience thus far with the X1 Carbon is that it’s well-earned.

Lenovo_ThinkPad_Compact_Bluetooth_Keyboard_With_TrackPoint_02

They are offering both wired and wireless models, which is great as I have little interest in the Bluetooth variant. Nor do I care about the trackpoint and related buttons. On a desktop I’m going to use a mouse.

The trouble is the lack of a numeric keypad. That won’t be good, even if the the left side FN, CTRL, Window & ALT keys are exactly right.

lenovo-thinkcentre-edge-92z-keyboard-and-mouse

Of course, all of the “normal” (ie non-compact) keyboards that Lenovo offers sport the exact same key layout as the HP keyboards that I have at present. They don’t make a keyboard that has the key layout of a laptop, but with the addition of the desktop standard numeric keypad and navigation keys.

As usual, I am the edge case. I always seem to want something that no-one has as yet seen fit to make.

  • Sean

    Go dvorak or go home.

    • mjgraves

      I like the guy sometimes, but he can be a jerk.

  • mjgraves

    On Facebook Leif Madsen has suggested the DasKeyboard Professional (http://www.daskeyboard.com/model-s-professional/) which looks nice, but doesn’t address the key layout differential.

  • mrtiro

    I know that this an older post, but have you considered the siig slim aluminum keyboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823191007)? It uses a key layout that is almost identical to the keyboard you pictured, with the addition of some volume controls. It uses scissor-switch keys like a laptop, but is more substantial – even less keyboard flex than a Thinkpad keyboard. It also includes a handy two-port usb hub.