Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Ultimate Keyboard #2

Last week I wrote about rubber-dome keyboards, why they're so popular and how it used to be. To an average user it may seem that clicky keyboards are no more but fortunately for us, it isn't so. There's a number of companies that still design and make clicky keyboards, most of which now use Cherry micro switches. So, who's still in the market?
As you can see, there's plenty to choose from. The only problem is, most of them are in the > $100 range. If I had to decide for myself, I'd get a Unicomp Customizer 101 or a CVT Avant Prime. Why? Well, based on my experience with the Model M, I'd say that Unicomp gives you the most value for your money ($69 for a Customizer 101) and it's the only maker I know of that still uses buckling spring technology. On the other hand, CVT Avant Prime is also a wonderful keyboard (rebranded Northgate OmniKey) with the possibility of macro programming (stores macros internally in a PROM chip). You can also buy brand new (old stock) IBM Model M's for about the same price as the Customizer from :-)

So, what IS The Ultimate Keyboard? Actually, I have no universal answer to that question. It all depends on your personal needs, taste and financial ability. For me, a used IBM Model M is all I need to be happy. They're still quite easy to come by at the local flea market and only cost a fraction of a brand new keyboard. The only thing better than an IBM Model M is the IBM Space Saver which is basically a Model M minus the NumPad. End.