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Can anyone suggest a keyboard model and make about 10 inch by 4 with with a scissor-based mechanism?

You don't have to read ahead as it is a little long, but the context of my question is:

I have small, lean hands - we are not talking abnormal here, but my hands are leaner on average than those most Caucasian men. 99.9% of keyboards are grossly unergonomic for my hands, and I mean ridiculously so. I feel the strain, and I lose my place every time I have to travel with my hands a lot to reach the keys. And I'm no novice, I have been typing for most of my life papers as long as 20,000 words. So there is no reason I should not be an adept typist now.

Moreover, since there are many, many women typists in the developed world, I cannot fathom how keyboards are designed to be so grossly out of proportion, and why more people, women in particular, don't complain about the size of keyboards with their keys so sprawled out as to be barely accessible. There is too much traveling of the hands to compensate.

I have scoured the market for small keyboards, scissor-style. I have too much dignity to buy myself a child's keyboard. I have only keyboard which came close to a good fit for me was on Ebay.

But there isn't enough "cushioning" of the scissor mechanism so you feel like you are bashing your fingertips onto plastic constantly. It's 11 inch by 4.5.

Now the only keyboard I have ever been satisfied with was not a standalone keyboard but is one that came built into my netbook. It is small enough that I can reach all the keys with virtually zero travel and on it I can type with 100% accuracy at my optimum speed. 4 inch by 10 and it is a real beauty, with a soft scissor feel, but just enough bounce to facilitate a smooth transition between keys.

That's my motivation for asking the question. If you can relate or have any practical suggestions, please post it as an answer or comment.

@paradroid and @RedGrittyBrick - I bought the keyboard you guys suggested, it arrived today:

enter image description here

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I'd probably try asking on geekhack - its a forum specialising on keyboards, and there's quite a few in depth reviews and stuff about keyboards. – Journeyman Geek Sep 9 '11 at 11:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Cherry G84-4100, 11", mechanical keyswitches. Keyspacing is probably close to conventional though (18mm grid).

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That 1 mm (it's usually 19mm) is about 1,5cm across the full width. At least some difference... – Daniel Beck Sep 9 '11 at 13:08
+1 I highly recommend this keyboard, but it actually has proper mechanical microswitches (Cherry ML low-profile), which are better than scissors with membrane bumps. – paradroid Sep 9 '11 at 14:37
@paradroid: Have you used it before? What does it feel like? – ptrcao Sep 9 '11 at 15:53
@ptrcao: Yes, I have a PS/2 one. They feel good and last a long time. They do not feel quite as good as a full size Cherry keyboard with Cherry MX switches, but they are the best small keyboard you are likely to find. There is also the Happy Hacking keyboard, but that is only really worth considering if you do not use keyboard accelerator keys at all and use emacs/vi shortcuts for everything. – paradroid Sep 9 '11 at 16:09
@paradroid: My only gripe with the cherry keyboard is that the ENTER key is tiny, considering how frequently it is used, I always prefer a larger ENTER key which is more accessible. I sometimes miss the enter key when I'm mildly concentrating on my current mini keyboard. It would've be nice if it wasn't a wired keyboard as well as the cord often gets in the way. Any further suggestions? If not I will prob look more into the Cherry. – ptrcao Sep 10 '11 at 8:34

I would recommend the same keyboard which RedGrittyBrick suggests, but if you really want a a scissors/membrane keyboard which feel sublime, try one of the smaller IBM/Lenovo UltraNav keyboards, which are exactly the same as used on certain ThinkPads (a common older PS/2 model has the same as the ThinkPad X3x series keyboard, as shown below) and also used on IBM System-Z mainframes (there are a couple at the datacentre where my local LUG is held).


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I like but I don't want the mousepad... – ptrcao Sep 9 '11 at 15:45
@ptrcao: Nor do I, but it has a TrackPoint as well, which is far superior! – paradroid Sep 9 '11 at 15:48
I say so because I'm short on deskspace. Also I really find mousepads hard to use even though I've used them a lot before. :P What are the size dimensions of that keyboard in the pic? I really need a 10 inch by 4. – ptrcao Sep 9 '11 at 15:53
@ptrcao: Well, it's quite a lot deeper than that, with the wristboard and trackpad. – paradroid Sep 9 '11 at 16:12

You might look at BlueTooth keyboards. Inexpensive, and since they're meant to be extremely portable they tend to have roughly the same form factor as netbook keyboards. I'm not sure what you meant by "scissor-based" but most BT keyboards fold. A USB BlueTooth adapter can cost as little as $5.

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I think the full name for it is scissor-switch. It's the mechanism that causes the keys to spring back as lift your fingers. Scissor-switch has a nice feel to it I think, because your fingers bounce back - this aids typing. Other mechanisms are "mushier" by comparison. – ptrcao Sep 9 '11 at 15:43
@ptrcao: I agree, but mechanical microswitches are even better, as used in the recommended Cherry keyboard. – paradroid Sep 9 '11 at 15:51
@ptrcao, thanks. I had never encountered the term "scissor-switch" before. – CarlF Sep 14 '11 at 13:54

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