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KeyboardIO Model-100 initial review

2022-11-22 22:55:00 KeyboardIO Model-100 initial review: Read my initial thoughts on the KeyboardIO Model-100 after one month.

On October 4, 2022 I took delivery of a KeyboardIO Model-100 keyboard.

This is a device I ordered in the summer of 2021 though KeyboardIO's Model-100 Kickstarter campaign. Shortly after backing the Model-100 I ordered my Atreus with palmrest from KeyboardIO directly.

By now, I have been using the Model-100 for over a month and I am ready to do my initial review on the device. I ordered the Model-100 configured as follows:

  • Qwerty Mac keycaps
  • Walnut hardwood shell
  • Kailh Box White switches

As with the Atreus I run the default layout with, again, one modification. I swapped the space and backspace keys. I'm still very much a left thumb spacer.

This thing is constructed very very sturdy, the look and feel is all very nice. The shape and materials used give the device a real premium feel. Each half of the keyboard feels solid and has a decent weight to it.

Using the device took some getting used to. Maybe because I trained myself on the Atreus a lot, I don't know, but I had a hard time getting used to the thumb clusters. Especially the proximity of the CMD and Shift keys tripped me up a lot. Try pressing shift+w but it is actually a CMD+W. Not a lot of fun. Otherwise the keyboard feels great. The initial learning curve was steep though and still, I have to warm up every day for a few minutes before I really get in the groove of typing again. But once I do, the feeling is amazing. The sculpted finger areas allow me to have a very comfortable hand postion. Also the keyboard stands relatively high above the desk surface. This height makes it impossible in my case to rest my arms or elbows while typing. I could accommodate this with some seat adjustments. Benefit now is, I don't rest my arms while typing. So overall an ergonomic improvement.

I already unlearned a lot of my bad typing habits due to the Atreus keyboard I used as a daily driver before. So I did not have issues of that sort with the Model-100.

The noise of the keyboard while typing is there. Obviously I have clicky box white switches in there, but to my ear the sound it creates is great. I like my keys to be clicky. But in this ocnfiguration this is probably not a keyboard for an office space, due to the materials used and the way the keybaord is constructed the typing sounds are deepened and they have a nice "chunk" to it. I do expect a silent switch type with dampening will take care of a lot of these sounds.

As for the general feel of the keyboard, the shape, the materials used, the heft of the device. I have no issues with this keyboard. I again opted to go for some deliberate practice on keybr.com for a few days. This got me warmed up to the thumb clusters in no time.

Compared to the Atreus I really like the materials used and the extra keys like a full numeric row, more thumb keys and a lot of glyphs are directly accessible without having to switch layers.

The keyboard comes with a customisable firmware and a desktop client allowing you to adjust layouts and many things with the keyboard. And you can do some really crazy things here. And if you really want to dig in, you can install the Arduino IDE, get a few packages and build your own firmware from source. All code for the keyboard and its firmware is opensource.

Would I recommend this keyboard? Yes! With the same caveats as with the Atreus. You have to be willing to re-learn a thing or two, get used to a split columnar layout. But otherwise, this is the best keyboard I have ever owned.

If you have any questions or things you want me to share on my experience with this keyboard. Let me know, easiest is a DM on Twitter: @appforce1 or Mastodon: @appforce1@hachyderm.io

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