The modern-day computer keyboards we have today are replicated based on the layout used for typewriters—the computer of the old era. The somewhat pyramidic design was constructed for a very important mechanical reason which is to prevent the keys’ metal arms from smashing into each other when stamping ink to the paper. But that is no longer the case today, all thanks to constantly developing technology. So, the question now lies on why we still make use of the same keyboard layout?
The ergonomic geeks came up with a different strategic keyboard layout called “ortholinear keyboard”. Many of its users have testified to the increase in their typing efficiency and productivity. The market is already filled with different designs and variations of this type of mechanical keyboard and we’ve picked out five of the best we’ve seen so far.
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Best Overall Ortholinear Keyboard
Weight: 509g | Dimensions: 23.11 x 10.41 x 2.29 cm
The Drop + OLKB Preonic Keyboard MX Kit V3 is known for being featured-filled despite the low price. Generally speaking, getting used to the ortholinear lifestyle will take some time, but with this upgraded preonic keyboard, you’ll be able to pick things up easil.
It’s the upgraded version of the well-loved Preonic keyboard by the “mech keys” community. It now offers five different unique color choices with an aluminum case. The V3 layout is similar to the plank but it does have an additional row for the numbers. So there are 59 keys in total. The MX plate supports 1 x 2u, 2 x 2u, and grid layout. This new version has Kaihua hot-swap sockets which makes it easier for you to swatch out switches whenever you want, making it very customizable—as easy as plug and play.
IT comes with a new ARM STM32 processor which powers the PCBA and the USB-C connector even more.
Best Retro Looking Ortholinear keyboard
Weight: 113g | Dimensions: 30.61 x 16.61 x 3.91 cm
The molded keytops and slanted shape design of the Drop + Matt3o MT3 Susuwatari Custom Keycap SetDrop + Matt3o MT3 Susuwatari Custom Keycap Set will take you back to the early days when computer keyboards just started becoming popular. The brand aims to bring this iconic 1970s IBM beam spring terminals profile back but with a twist—it comes in a brand-new colorway with Doubleshot tooling.
This ortholinear keyboard is Cherry MX compatible and the Doubleshot legends are permanently molded inside the keycaps, as opposed to the dye-sublimation process. This means it’ll have a long-lasting shine. This was the trend used extensively during the 70s and 80s and was still observed in the 90s. Matt3o sure stayed true to the retro theme all throughout.
Best Ortholinear Keyboard for Apple’s MAC Computer
Weight: 950g | Dimensions: 50.04 x 23.11 x 5.84 cm
The LogicKeyboard Adobe Premiere Pro CC for Apple MA is specially made to be compatible with Apple’s macOS. The color-coded key shortcuts for the Adobe Premiere Pro application—a video editing software that is commonly used by professionals—are integrated into the backlit keys of the ortholinear keyboard.
The backlight is dimmable and can be activated by pressing FN plus any function key, such as F6. Aesthetic-wise, the LogicKeyboard sports an elegant and slimline black keyboard with low-profile scissor-switch keys. It has two built-in USB 2.0 ports. One is for the keyboard itself while the other is used as a free USB hub to connect other gadgets like your mouse or a USB dongle. The reason behind this is to avoid any problem with installations which will require a KVM extender.
It’s made for 10,000,000 keystrokes per key and has 104 keys for the ANSI version, but the ISO version has 105 keys in total. It has all the regular letters, numbers, and symbols that you will find in a conventional keyboard, making this ortholinear keyboard a great alternative.
Best Ortholinear Keyboard for Users with Low Vision
Weight: 907g | Dimensions: 45.72 x 17.78 x 5.08 cm
The AbleNet 12000024 Large Print Keyboard is made especially for users with low vision or with other functional limitations. This USB wired ortholinear keyboard aims to increase and improve the typing capabilities of its aimed audience for greater comfort and control.
It is also identified as the VisionBoard 2 and is equipped with large keys—1 in. per square key—with large printed and bold letters and symbols. The keys are purposely painted yellow with a contrasting black print. The keyboard is also retrofitted to be compatible with an older version of Windows, the Windows 98SE, and an older version of macOS, the macOS 10.1.5. Nonetheless, this ortholinear keyboard will also be compatible with newer versions of both MAC and Windows.
Weight: 1.219 kg | Dimensions: 32.2 x 11.2 x 4 cm
The Drop ALT High-Profile Mechanical Keyboard is machined to have a 6° angle with a case that’s ergonomically designed for a more natural feel. It’s the ortholinear keyboard that gamers will love. It is small and slim so your fingers can easily maneuver over the keyboard when playing.
The Drop ALT High-Profile is just like the original ALT but this variant comes with a tall CNC-aluminum case. It has the full set of arrows and numerals and is equipped with customizable RGB backlighting and underlighting. You can set it to a single color or with a rainbow wave pattern.
The whole ortholinear keyboard is fully customizable. First, it has hot-swap switch sockets which makes it very convenient for you to swap switches without the need for a soldering iron. Second, it is fully programmable by using the QMK firmware configurator. With this, it’ll be easy for you to fine-tune your keyboard layout either for gaming or for worth. And just like the LogicKeyboard, the Drop Alt High-Profile also has two USB 2.0 ports; one is to connect the keyboard, while the other is for easy data transferring.
Ortholinear Keyboards Buyer’s Guide
Ortholinear keyboards will come in different designs and functionality. Some will be more function-specific while others are just for general comfort when typing. To make sure you get the best one that’ll suit your needs here’s a brief buyer’s guide to help you choose:
Not all ortholinear keyboards will have general compatibility with all Windows and Mac operating systems. There are those that will only work on Windows, while others are specially made for Apple’s Mac computers. Meanwhile, some will only work from a certain version of your computer’s OS to the most recent one. And so, above all things, you have to make sure you’ll check your OS version first and compare it to the product’s OS compatibility.
As already observed, ortholinear keyboards will come in different forms and designs. Some will even offer backlighting and underlighting. Others will provide special colors for some of the keys; like for the space bar, ENTER, Shift, and Alt keys. Also, the design of your keyboard will be integral to your whole workspace aesthetics.
Ortholinear keyboards are strategically designed to provide a certain level of comfort. There are some that are specially designed to offer great comfortability to those who have low vision or to those who suffer from limited functionality.
Also, there are different products that cater to writers, data entry analysts, and to programmers. Many of these will offer more keys, functionalities, and customizable features. There are those, as well, that are made for gaming and so the design and shape will be different and will depend on the purpose it wants to serve.
When looking for the perfect ortholinear keyboard, identify first the purpose you want to be fulfilled so that you can narrow down your search to those products that offer the features you’ll need.
One of the main objectives of ortholinear keyboards is to provide high-level comfort and efficiency when typing. You have to make sure that it’ll be equipped with soft keys because there are some, especially the cheaper variants or the low-quality ones, that you’ll find hard to press. This will defeat the purpose of buying a specially designed mechanical keyboard.
If you are a heavy user, having soft keys will immensely save you from wrist pains. You’ll also find yourself typing faster than you normally do.
Key Click Sound
If you can observe, many computer keyboards tend to produce tapping or clicking sounds when you type. This sound feedback tends to be quite annoying to the ears. Typewriters have this annoying sound. Some ortholinear keyboards will also have this kind of sound feedback, although it wouldn’t be as loud. While other products won’t have this kind of issue.
What should be determined at this point if the sound feedback will immensely affect your focus or not. Some people actually enjoy the subtle sound of keyboard tapping.
The ortholinear keyboard is definitely made to achieve a new level of comfort and efficiency when typing or even when playing. A few of its best features are how customizable the keys are both physically and its functionality.
Its strategic layout will definitely take some time to get used to but once you’ve grasped the concept and have adjusted, there’s a big chance that you’ll not turn back to the regular keyboard.
The average price of an ortholinear keyboard is indeed higher than a regular keyboard but because of all the extra features and customizing freedom.
- You may also be interested in the best laser keyboards
Last update on 2021-06-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API