09 June 2012

I wanted to do a TypeMatrix review for a very long time but never got to it, and today I decided it was finally the time.

So what is TypeMatrix 2030? It’s a keyboard. Not just any keyboard, it’s a very unique one. Designed with ergonomics in mind (not in the usual way the Ergonomic word is used for keyboards). But I really don’t know how to put it in words, so here is a photo of my TypeMatrix keyboard:

TypeMatrix 2020

Not much to see.. I ordered mine in clear white, more hacker style. Here is the link to the official site, you’ll land directly on the photo with all the button functions.

I was searching for a more programmer-friendly keyboard, seen dozens of futuristic keyboards, but none that would really help in my day to day work. Actually my main pain were the navigation keys, that I use pretty often while working with the Visual Studio, and each time I had to move my hand, find the navigation keys, and then come back to the default hand position. Initially I was thinking about an ergonomic keyboard that had some navigation buttons in the middle, but all I could find did not really tempt me.

So why TypeMatrix? It was love at first sight. An unconventional keyboard. Not too futuristic. The navigation buttons where under the right hand (J N M >), activated by the function key. It was even more than I hoped for. The Del, Backspace and Enter buttons in the middle so I could use them with both hands (useful when you use the mouse with your right hand and delete portion of the text, don’t need to move the left hand across the keyboard. The keyboard is smaller than a normal one, the keys being the same size (actually, when I write on a normal keyboard I feel like the keys are smaller, but that is because on TypeMatrix the hands are father apart, and gives you a sensation of freedom). Here is a comparison of the TypeMatrix 2030 to the Logitech K350, the keyboard that I use at home.

TypeMatrix vs K350

But this aren’t the main advantages of the keyboard. The most awesome thing about it is how the keys are arranged. As you can see in the photo, all keys are in straight vertical columns. Look down at your keyboard, what do you see? Each lower row of keys is shifted a bit to the right. Do you think that was designed for comfort? Think again. It isn’t comfortable, but people are so used to them that it doesn’t cross their minds changing the design. The TypeMatrix comes to break this legacy (more than a century old) and show the world how a better keyboard should look like. Typing is a real pleasure, and your wpm does go up once you get through the 4 weeks of accommodation phase (measured on myself). I did manage to continue typing on regular keyboards so I don’t think there is a risk you won’t be able to use regular keyboards after you do the switch.

The seller promises less wrist pain for people that do type a lot, but I can’t really judge about it as I did not have issues why my standard office keyboard. (I did get a personal ergonomic mouse as the office one did cause me wrist pain very often).

And now it’s time to enumerate the pros and the cons for this keyboards.

Pros:

  • Smaller than regular keyboards. (at the cons I’ll add the lack of a numeric pad, but personally I don’t use it so I don’t see why I should waste space with it)
  • Navigation keys easy to access without moving your hand.
  • Del, Backspace and Enter are positioned in the center and can be easily accessed by both hands. Also the chance of accidental pressing the Enter key is greatly reduced.
  • The function keys can be of some help, like volume up/down, mute.
  • The Caps Lock is not where it used to be. No more accidental upper case typing. (I never use it, and to be frank I don’t even know where it is located on my clean version).
  • The F keys are upper the numeric, in the same order, so if you have muscle memory for the numeric keys (blind typing?), it’s easier to blind-hit the F key.
  • Comes in clean white (no key markings). Also in QWERTY, AZERTY and Dvorak.

And for the Cons:

  • No num pad. Not a biggie if you don’t use them.
  • They come only in white (after 3 months of usage looks dirty, compared to black which seem clean even after a year).
  • Wired only. I prefer wireless keyboards.. just because I’m a geek.
  • Build quality feels a bit cheap. Made in China.
  • Hugely overpriced. For the build quality, and the Made in China label the keyboard comes at an astonishing price of 110 USD. I’d call it the main setback why you haven’t seen one before.

To close this post, I do recommend you get one of these if the price doesn’t scare you off. It will take a bit of time to get used to, but it’s totally worth it. The website: http://www.typematrix.com



blog comments powered by Disqus