Keyboards are brilliant devices. They help convert the many inputs into visual outputs. While they may seem simple and not worthy of attention, keyboards have a very interesting history. Did you know that the layout on the keyboards of today was thanks to the typewriters of the 19th century? Christopher Latham Sholes and his partner James Densmore patented the first modern typewriter in 1868, including the ‘QWERTY’ layout of the keys used in it.
Since then there has been a lot of work put into perfecting the keyboards. This is because the computers could take on a lot more tasks and functions than the typewriter, and needed additional keys to perform the same. The keyboard designing and ergonomics have not been perfected until the late 1970s when IBM came out with their version. IBM, in the quest to create the perfect keyboard, had actually assigned a 10-member task force. The result was the creation of keys with the ‘buckling spring key mechanism’ in IBM’s Model M keyboard. However, the world had moved on from these to rubber dome keys.
- What is a mechanical keyboard?
- Why use a split keyboard?
- 5 Best Split Mechanical Keyboards Money can Buy
What is a mechanical keyboard?
The mechanism used by IBM is typically what makes a mechanical keyboard. It is a keyboard built with spring activated key switches. These keyboards are made with better quality material and a better feel to the keyboard overall. Even with the evolution of keyboards since the 1970s, there are still a lot of people who prefer mechanical keyboards over the other types.
These keyboards last much longer than their rubber dome counterparts, as they are built to be tough. The keyboards have been tested for an expected lifespan of anywhere between 50 million clicks (on Cherry MX) to 60 million per switch (on the Razer). Replacement also is easier in the mechanical keyboards. In addition to all this, mechanical keyboards result in much more productivity. The keys require very minimal force for it to register a keystroke. Just pressing a key halfway is sufficient for it to be registered, and the letter to be printed on the screen.
Why use a split keyboard?
Ergonomics is very important when designing and using some of the computer-attached peripherals. A poorly designed peripheral not only causes discomfort to a person, but also an eventual deformity in the body. The peripherals also have to evolve with any continuous discomfort of a person. This is why we have, among other things, standing desks and split keyboards.
While the keyboards have evolved technologically and mechanically, one area they have not considered is the damage it causes to the arm. Think about it, a person uses a keyboard day in and day out, there is bound to be stress on the wrist and the fingers. This is something nobody realized and therefore went unaddressed for the longest time.
When sitting at a standard keyboard, the wrist of a person bends outward in the direction of the little finger. This causes something called the ulnar deviation. Because of this, the carpal tunnel in the wrist is constricted, therefore significantly reducing the blood flow, increasing the stress on the muscles and puts pressure on the median nerve that passes through the wrist. This is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
A split keyboard remedies this easily: by giving you the flexibility of splitting and splaying. The user can split the keyboard to their shoulder-width so it is much more comfortable and safer by removing the likelihood of hunching. Further, the user can also rotate the modules of the keyboard in such a way as to avoid any ulnar deviations.
Now combine the best of both worlds, and we have the Split Mechanical Keyboards!
5 Best Split Mechanical Keyboards Money can Buy
Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Split Gaming Keyboard
This keyboard comes from one of the pioneers of ergonomic keyboards. It offers up to 20 inches of separation and 10 extra keys to be customized. There is a variety of 3 Cherry MX Switch options to choose from. It is back-lit with about 9 brightness levels and 10 effects that can be customized.
It also comes with a detachable palm support that ensures the user’s wrists are cramp-free. In line with ergonomics, it also features a lift kit that allows a keyboard to tilt. This ability to tilt inwards towards the hands of the user helps them with wrist rotation.
Mistel Barocco Split PBT Mechanical Keyboard
This keyboard comes with a wide variety of Cherry MX switch colors to choose from – brown, black, blue, white, red, clear and silver. It offers no audible click that some users might prefer, making this good for office use. It features LEDs that indicate if the user is using typing or programming modes. One of the clear selling points of this keyboard is the compactness of its size. This makes it one of the most preferred desktop variants for users, as well as for frequent flyers.
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Koolertron Programmable Split Mechanical Keyboard
This keyboard features 89 keys that are fully programmable making it a beast to get the best output from. This feature makes this keyboard a really great offering for programmers, gamers, image, and video editors. This keyboard does not feature the famous Cherry MX switches, instead preferring the lesser-known Gateron switches. However, this is not a setback at all, thanks to the amazing anti-ghosting functionality of the keyboard.
Mistel MD650L Ergonomic Split Mechanical Keyboard
Mistel returns with another compact offering with this keyboard. This keyboard has only 69 keys making it one of the best desktop-friendly peripherals. The Cherry ML switches are used, which are comparable to the Cherry MX Brown. These keys are well known for their low audible feedback, giving the user another reason to pick this offering.
Kinesis Freestyle Pro Ergonomic Keyboard
This keyboard features fully programmable keys made of Cherry MX Brown switches. There is a 12-inch separation between the two keyboard modules, with the option to extend it up to 20 inches. The best aspect of this keyboard is that it offers a zero degree slope that provides maximum comfort. This is because the keyboard forces a neutral posture that keeps the wrist from hurting.
So there are the 5 best split mechanical keyboards out in the market. Pick the best one as required to keep you pain-free and highly productive.