Today's Laptop Keyboards



  • WTF is wrong with laptop manufacturers today that every one is giving more importance to the multimedia keys than to the function keys.

    Take for example Lenovo:

    To quit you used to press Alt + F4 but now you have to press Alt + Fn + F4

    This really drives me insane. Then we have the tiny tiny tiny arrow keys so we can fit the numbers keypad (who uses that?) like this Dell I was given:

    To add more shit they used an abnormally large right Shift key that barely anyone uses and they moved all the navigation keys to a somewhat weird disposition.

    I guess we can blame Apple™ on this since it seems everyone is following their line of WTF:

    And don't get me started on the crappy feeling this toy keyboards have... ugh!

    For me, this is the perfect laptop keyboard:

    :heavy_check_mark: Normal arrow keys
    :heavy_check_mark: Standard disposition of navigation keys
    :heavy_check_mark: Real function keys
    :heavy_check_mark: Big Return key
    :heavy_check_mark: Mechanical feeling


  • SockDev

    that whole function key to use the fn keys.... 99% of the time there's a BIOS setting you can flip so that you can use the bare function keys without chording, but now you need to chord fn+Play to use the multimedia keys.

    the Surface3 (which i am typing on now, Say hello to all the nice people Tali'zorah) doesn't have a bios setting but you can use fn+Capslock to enable functionkey lock so that hey is always "pressed" when hitting one of the function keys. pressing the key combo reverts do default. very nice.



  • Thanks, I just tried this on my wife's Lenovo and works. And fuck the multimedia keys.


  • area_deu

    You weird QWERTY-users and your awkward Return keys.
    This is a good laptop keyboard:

    Too bad Letty kind of died mostly. You can still boot her from a Live CD, though.

    Just look at that Shift ...



  • What’s wrong with Ctrl+W?
    Also, the right Shift key width seem quite consistent on all keyboards you posted…



  • @Eldelshell said:

    For me, this is the perfect laptop keyboard:

    Normal arrow keys Standard disposition of navigation keys Real function keys Big Return key Mechanical feeling

    Perfect laptop keyboard? Seriously? With the Insert/Delete/Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys all tucked away in a corner, and no real numeric keypad?

    Heck with that noise. Machine like that I'd use that roll-up rubber USB keyboard instead of the built-in one. And I'd board up the touchpad while I was at it.


  • SockDev

    not a problem. i find them useful on occasion, but more often i want the fn keys.

    i do also see why they are the default. a non programmer probably wants the multimedia keys more than the fn keys...


  • area_deu

    Although, she is 3 years old. So maybe that's not today enough for this thread.



  • This is the one I've got on with the best, on my current laptop.
    Photo not mine.



  • @VinDuv said:

    Also, the right Shift key width seem quite consistent on all keyboards you posted…

    Look at the Dell's one. Is ginormous compared with the others

    @da_Doctah said:

    Perfect laptop keyboard? Seriously? With the Insert/Delete/Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys all tucked away in a corner, and no real numeric keypad?

    Yes, because that's the standard disposition in desktop keyboards. PgUp/home/Insert are on top of PgDn/End/Delete buttons, not next to each other.

    And I don't use the numeric keypad, ever, that's why I find it pretty useless and a waste of space that could be given to more important keys like Return and arrow keys.



  • Fn + CapsLock will yield the wanted behaviour (Function keys first) again.



  • My theory, everybody knows where the function keys are. The multimedia keys are different for every brand and model. They are calling attention to their model.


  • kills Dumbledore

    The one I really don't get is Apple selling laptop keyboards for use with desktops. The wireless keyboard for my fiancee's iMac is horrible. Flat keys, no travel, no home and end keys at all. Uurgh


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Eldelshell said:

    I guess we can blame Apple™ on this since it seems everyone is following their line of WTF:

    But it's easy to toggle in the system settings (under Keyboard no less; whodathunkit?) and Apple have much better touchpads.
    (Yes, I've used many different ones. Apple's are just plain better and by a substantial margin. Their keyboards aren't nearly as far ahead, if at all.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Fuck laptop keyboards. I want to complain about REAL keyboards.

    Fuck EVERYONE who thinks the edit/navigation pad should be anything other than 6 keys, arranged 2 high by 3 wide, in the order "Insert, Home, Pgup, Del, End, Pgdn"

    That criteria eliminates almost every fucking keyboard on the market these days.


  • area_deu

    @Weng said:

    That criteria eliminates almost every fucking keyboard on the market these days.

    What.
    That's an insane fuckton of hyperbole.
    Microsoft's normal keyboards have normal edit keys, Logitech's normal keyboards have normal edit keys, I don't think I need to go on.




  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @da_Doctah said:

    and no real numeric keypad?

    Seriously?

    Actually that depends on what you're doing, of course. One of my coworkers got a USB numeric keypad since her laptop didn't have one. I wound up getting a tenkeyless keyboard the last time I got a new one.

    I think it's pretty funny watching people who are dependent on a numeric keypad. Oh, you're typing an address, and you take your right hand off the regular portion to avoid reaching up for the street number?



  • I do find the numeric keypad handy in very specific cases where I'm only entering numbers. Mostly when logging into my e-banking site, as that involves manually coping numbers back and forth from a hardware device.



  • Don't blame Apple for this one. There are not many mac programs that use function keys, by tradition, and the HIG discouraged it, last time I looked. But the keyboard preferences has a very simple option that lets you switch the use with the Fn key: the default is Fn+F1 really means F1, but if you switch it, F1 means F1 and Fn+F1 means ... er ... dim screen.



  • I use the numeric ones a lot. A lot more efficient when inputting numbers. Go figure.



  • Do I smell a poll?



  • I've never thought that laptop keyboards are every within an order of magnitude of traditional keyboards.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    My work laptop has a "Calc" button by the numpad.
    Pressing it launches Windows Calculator.
    Best. Feature. Ever.



  • I have to agree, that keyboard looks sweet. Additional plus: full home/end/pgup/pgdn set, for use in text editing and programming. IMO that's much more important than numeric keypad.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Eldelshell said:

    Like this?

    http://cloud-4.steampowered.com/ugc/613881507733294165/0951D20ECF4DD68D834041097FFC318404B3A20A/

    Yeah, but I haven't used any of these.

    Whoever at Logitech (MS does it too, but differently) thought it was a good idea to mess with the ind/del cluster layout deserves a beating.



  • You kidding me? The guy probably got a promotion for saving 1 cent of plastic off the width of the keyboard.



  • @Luhmann said:

    I use the numeric ones a lot. A lot more efficient when inputting numbers. Go figure.

    You're probably using an AZERTY layout? Entering numbers with the top row is horrible there...
    A numeric keypad is almost required on that layout.



  • We actually did some research on this some years ago as a school project ("typing speed on top number keys vs. on keypad"). We set up in a busy intersection and asked people to type 20 6-digit numbers into a simple application. Gave them a cinnamon roll for their efforts.
    We measured speed per digit, speed per number and speed per 20 numbers and number of typing mistakes. Also, we asked the subjects about whether or not they used a PC regularly and whether they were lefthanded.

    It turns out that for left-handed people, the numberpad is consistently slower than the top number keys by about 25% for the people who are using a computer regularly.
    For righthanded, the difference was more marked in favor of the numberpad - it was something like 40% faster for the people using a pc regularly.
    If a user didn't use a pc regularly, regardless of whether they preferred left or right hand, the numberpad was slightly in front, about 10% AFAIK.

    As far as I can remember, the conclusion was that since most numbers start with digits in the range 1-4 [1] and they're close to a lefthanded users' strongest hand, one uses the keypad significantly less than righthanded users who can't reach 1-4 on the top row with their right hand and who therefore find it easier to just move the right hand to the keypad every time.
    Inexperienced PC users found it easier with the numbers all in reach.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford's_law
    edit:clarification



  • @welcor said:

    since most numbers start with digits in the range 1-4 [1] and they're close to a lefthanded users' strongest hand, one uses the keypad significantly less than righthanded users who can't reach 1-4 on the top row with their right hand and who therefore find it easier to just move the right hand to the keypad every time.

    Data with an even more pronounced effect: one hundred percent of bank credit-card numbers start with digits in the range 3-6.

    Also observed some years ago, but I ceebs to find a link to support it: the frequency of ordinal-number street names in the US follows almost perfect inverse sequence (Third Street is more common than Fourth Street, Eighteenth is more common than Nineteenth, etc.) The lone exception is that First Street is the fifth-most-common ordinal number.



  • Whoever uses the keyboard of his laptop anyway? That's asking for an injury.

    At work I use a Logitech K810 Bluetooth illuminated mini keyboard. It's tiny, yet full size. No numeric keyboard, but I don't need that anyway. Can switch between my laptop, my tablet and my phone. The arrow keys are the tiny kind, but I don't find that a disadvantage.

    It's also partially made of aluminium and looks sturdy enough to do some serious damage on annoying co-workers.

    The only minor complaint that I have is that I had to import it from the USA, because otherwise in Europe you get a US International layout, which I don't like. Comes with having used computers since the early 80's, when US layouts were to only ones available.



  • @OffByOne said:

    You're probably using an AZERTY layout? Entering numbers with the top row is horrible there...A numeric keypad is almost required on that layout.

    Of course, I'm required to type some French too. French without azerty is also painful. It's also about ease of access. I frequently use the number pad without looking by moving my right hand.

    Why don't we have a 'typing is hard' topic yet ...


  • kills Dumbledore

    Interesting. I'm left handed, and my impression is that I'm faster typing numbers with the numpad. When I do write numbers it's normally dates in the format 20141020, maybe it's the 0 being at the other end that makes me quicker



  • @Luhmann said:

    Of course, I'm required to type some French too. French without azerty is also painful. It's also about ease of access. I frequently use the number pad without looking by moving my right hand.

    Ease of access and speed are the main factors IMHO. If you can use the number pad without looking (and I assume without slowing down noticeably), then just use the number pad :smile:
    If you're right-handed, you most likely fall in the 40% speedup category @welcor mentioned.

    I think if I were in your situation, I'd probably remap some of the squigglies I almost never use to the accented letters. I find the placement of (), [], {}, ... on qwerty (and Dvorak) to be much more programmer friendly than their placement on an azerty layout.

    Of course that's a matter of preference and habit. I'm fortunate that I only have to write in mostly unaccented languages.
    I use a Compose key for the sporadic accented character I have to type. It doesn't happen very much, so having to hit 3 keys in succession instead of getting the desired character immediately out of my keyboard is no big barrier to anything.

    @Luhmann said:

    Why don't we have a 'typing is hard' topic yet ...

    ... because posting in that topic would require typing and typing is hard? :P

    Edit: grammer and speling



  • @OffByOne said:

    to be much more programmer friendly than their placement on an azerty layout.

    It's the other way around. The language designers where using an En-us layout.
    I used to remote a lot to german and dutch servers. That was a pain. Ended up remembering alt+92 and alt+64 by head. And , gives you an m.



  • @Severity_One said:

    Whoever uses the keyboard of his laptop anyway?

    Me, quite a lot.

    Sometimes I'll get a desk when I'm in a different office with a keyboard/mouse, but if I'm at home or I'm in a meeting room or a hot desk then I won't.



  • The numbers I quoted were aggregated averages. Some lefthanded people preferred the numpad too. But generally the typing speed was faster on the top row.


  • mod

    @Eldelshell said:

    the numbers keypad (who uses that?)

    There's a poll about that. Seems 48 votes for using, 8 votes for not using, and 3 votes for "Keyboard not found".

    @Eldelshell said:

    right Shift key that barely anyone uses

    Sounds like a personal opinion you are inflating to cover everyone, kind of like the numeric keypad above. I use the right and left shift keys about 40/60.

    @Eldelshell said:

    And don't get me started on the crappy feeling thisthese toy keyboards have... ugh!

    FTFY

    True, the feel of a laptop keyboard is not ideal. But, they membrane keyboards that are used on laptops provide a slimmer profile and cut back on weight, both considered good things for laptops. If you don't like it:

    1. Don't get a laptop - or -
    2. Get a peripheral laptop that suits your tastes.

    Edit: tried to fix link @DiscourseBot!

    Edit 2: Actually fixed link. Apparently, you can't just put a link on the word "poll"



  • @abarker - Days Since Last Discourse Bug: 0

    <!-- Posted by SockBot 0.11.1 "Artful Alice" on Mon Oct 20 2014 21:21:42 GMT+0000 (UTC)-->


  • @abarker said:

    I use the right and left shift keys about 40/60.

    This. I generally use whichever shift key for the hand opposite the one for the letter I'm typing. If I'm typing a series of capital letters, I'll often hold down one shift key for all the letters. Left gets more use than right, because &*()_+{}|:"<>? are all on the right side of the keyboard, thus the left shift key.



  • @abarker said:

    There's a poll about that

    Yeah, I created it after everyone bitching about using the numpad.

    And "don't get a laptop" is not an option since we're talking about laptops and I've used laptops with really good keyboards, but not any more.



  • @loopback0 said:

    Me, quite a lot.

    Sometimes I'll get a desk when I'm in a different office with a keyboard/mouse, but if I'm at home or I'm in a meeting room or a hot desk then I won't.

    As I said: asking for an injury. I have some trouble with my eyes, which means that I'm one of the two people, apart from the CEO, to have their own fixed desk in this otherwise hot-desking office. It also means that my monitor is at a decent height, whereas all my colleagues have to look down to their 22" screens. Most of them are in their 20's, so the back problems will probably come later.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    If I'm typing a series of capital letters, I'll often hold down one shift key for all the letters.

    So I'm not the only person who would rather break their little finger than use Caps Lock.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Likewise. Unless I am typing SQL, you could remove the CapsLock key and I would not notice. Even then, I rarely use it.


  • SockDev

    I don't recall ever intentionally using Caps Lock for its intended purpose. I have used it in some shitty apps that used it for some random reason (e.g. because it has a habit of being non-blocking towards other keys) and accidentally, but never intentionally for capitalising all text in a stream.



  • I’m only using Caps Lock to type accented upper case letters. For some reason, that’s the only way to get them on an AZERTY keyboard.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    So I'm not the only person who would rather break their little finger than use Caps Lock.

    I'll use it if I'm typing enough capital letters in a row, but not for FTFY or TDEMSYR, or FILE_NOT_FOUND, especially if there are _s or other shifted non-letters involved, since I have to use the shift for them anyway.



  • @Intercourse said:

    you could remove the CapsLock key and I would not notice

    I use CAPS lock all the time.


  • SockDev

    @blakeyrat would be proud.



  • Unlikely.


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