Grab a seat. This is some important stuff. Stuff that you normally don't pay a lot of attention to, but should. I'm talking about your health. A bit more specifically, ergonomics. Even more to the point, your finger health. As a developer, I spend the vast majority of my time writing code, which means that my primary tool for input is a keyboard. Over the three decades that I've been around computers, I've tried a large variety of keyboards and have come to the conclusion that mechanical keyboards are the only ones worth using.
When buying gear for the studio, I ordered Logitech G-105 Gaming Keyboards without doing much research. I didn't hold out much hope of getting mechanical keyboards based on the difficulties I ran into trying to get "high-end" game development workstations. A couple of weeks ago, when talking about mechanical keyboards, their lack of availability in India and the (relatively) high prices you have to pay to get your hands on one, someone mentioned that developer friends of theirs would buy mechanical keyboards on their trips to India and take them back for use overseas in the UK or USA. I was a bit surprised to hear this. Computing hardware of any kind is not the sort of thing you'd associate with being "exported" from India. You usually bring that sort of thing into the country, not take it out. Color me intrigued! The manufacturer turned out to be TVS, who most folks, including me, know for their rather high quality motor vehicles. They also have an electronics division which manufactures mechanical keyboards among other things.
I contacted my supplier and had a sample delivered. And I was floored.
The keyboard was beautiful to look at and typing on it was such pleasure. I fell in love with it instantly. It's hard to describe the immense satisfaction as you hear the click of each key as you press it down. It's like a symphony. Even typing mistakes are less irritating as pounding away on the backspace key is also pure joy. One very nice thing about the keyboard is that the spacebar key is stiffer than the others and takes more pressure to bottom out. I have a tendency to bottom out when typing due to the PC-XT keyboards I started out with in the 80s. Those keys were considerably stiffer, needed more pressure and if I recall correctly, I had to bottom out for the key press to register i.e. the actuation point was at the bottom of the switch.
So, I'm in love now. This is one of the best purchases I've made in a long, long time. I look forward to sitting down at my workstations just to hear the sweet sounds of the keyboard as I pound away on it.
A couple of things that took me about 2-3 days to get used to:
- The Enter key is non-rectangular and shaped like an inverted L. This design is rather uncommon these days with almost all keyboards having a rectangular Enter key with the backslash key right above that.
- The backslash key is to the right of the equals key. This was the hardest to get used to. I kept hitting the Enter key for the whole of the first day when I meant to type backslash as a path separator at the command prompt. I was very nervous that I might accidentally do that while recursively removing a folder e.g. typing del /s C: when I meant to type del /s C:junk.
- The backspace key is a regular sized key rather than being double sized. This wasn't so hard to get used to.
Here's the sweet bit - the TVS Gold Mechanical Keyboards are available at about Rs. 1600 (less that USD 30 at the current exchange rates). This is very inexpensive compared to the $100 minimum you pay for other mechanical keyboards. TVS have a winner in this keyboard. Now, you can stop reading and go out and buy one (or more) for yourself and your near and dear ones - I now have 3 of them for use at both my work locations.
Verdict: Buy, definitely.