Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rant: New keyboard

I just went to the store to buy me a new keyboard as my old MS Natural Pro OEM is sorta dying. It's not dead yet, but it will be soon and it sure is *way* too dirty. It really is beyond cleaning.

Anyway, I was a bit surprised to see about three brands available in almost every store. There's Microsoft, there's Logitech and there's a third, low profile brand, like Trust. That's not much for choice. On the other hand: Logitech and MS are the major players in this market.

I have this thing for bent keyboards. This is why I have had a MS Natural Keyboard Pro for ages. It's a pitty these beauties aren't for sale anymore (at least, not in major stores), because the Natural Pro was a one of a kind. It is bent, has a firm yet comfortable keystroke and has a built-in USB hub. Especially that last feature was brilliant. Just shove your USB stick into the keyboard and off you go. No messing with extension cords, no bending over your system in search of a free port, just shove it into the keyboard utterly brilliant.

It's quite commonly known I am not a great Microsoft fan. I don't like their software, their practices nor their EULA's. I do, however, like their peripherals. MS keyboards and mice are really good quality and tend to Just Work(tm), even under Linux. I still would rather not buy their goods though.

Back to the store. As I was checking out the shelves of keyboards and mice, I noticed another thing. All the slightly less crappy looking keyboards are wireless. Why? What's this with wireless keyboards? Wireless stuff needs either batteries or charging, go dead after a while, need software to display battery status, are inherently insecure and unreliable and so on, and so on. In general, wireless stuff sucks.

And why is it there are so little non-Microsoft bent keyboards? I was tempted to go for the one Logitech branded bent keyboard but it cost a shitload of cash and it's still just a keyboard. I don't need an on-keyboard zoom-wheel, I don't need several thousand multimedia buttons (though I admit a few are handy) and I certainly don't need that all to cost a fortune.

In the end, I left the store with some MS desktop combo, as I needed a mouse as well and this was a discounted article. Cost about €40 and that was about the cheapest combined offer.

So here's my request to Logitech: please build a bent keyboard, equip it with a USB hub, leave off most of the multimedia keys, leave the wire on it and sell it for about €20.

That'll save me from buying more stuff from The Vole and give me an extra USB hub again next time I need to buy a keyboard. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I don't know how I feel about this. Should we really not buy MS hardware, even though it's perfectly compatible with free software, so just because it's made by them? In a way those guys at the MS development labs should earn a good living for making good peripherals (I have a very comfy MS optical mouse), or?

By the way, Trust is a Dutch company - maybe addressing them rather than Logitech can persuade them to live up to the standards that should imply... ;) Would be nice if they start making something worth buying.

Oh, for something you've probably come across before: http://www.daskeyboard.com/

Janice Clements said...

If I were you, I'll probably choose Logitech. Since it's proven durable and has quality, I'll go for it instead of any other brands.

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