Beamspring daily drivers?

zippolupan

21 Jun 2021, 15:20

Out of curiosity, how many of you use Beamspring keyboards as your daily driver? 4978s aside, do you make too many compromises on layout/functionality compared to a full 101-122 key setup? How do you configure function keys, etc?

I have been entertaining the idea of saving up for one in the future. However, I don't collect and display (I have no space!). I buy my keyboards to use them as much as possible at home/work, so I wonder how it would fare as a daily driver against the mighty F122. Is the superior key feel worth the loss in flexibility?

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raoulduke-esq

21 Jun 2021, 15:37

In before Jacob!

My 3278/9 is one of the more common keyboards in my rotation. Another common one is 5576-001.

The beamspring has a pandrew controller so it's fully programmable with QMK. I'm a macOS user, so "F keys" aren't part of my workflow but I make use of QMK remapping on all my keyboards. The left function cluster on the 3278/9 has commonly used shortcuts. The 8-key block on the right has paste w/o formatting (instead of insert which is useless on macOS), delete, home/end, pgup/pgdn, plus some trash shortcuts. The 12-key block on the right has arrow, media controls, and some more shortcuts. Caps Lock is Command. Reset is Control. Alt is Alt. Enter is my global mic mute toggle. Right shift is a layer toggle. Other layers can hold everything else I need/want. I'm used to layers and boards smaller than 87 keys so I have no issues with this keyboard. I like this one the best when I have my desk elevated for standing.

The 5576-001, M122, and rubber dome Unsaver are pretty convenient because all my most used things are on a single layer. There's some pointing device reaching strain with these large keyboards, but they each have their pros and cons. The 5576 is SO light and flat that it's very comfortable to use. Great for sitting down. The M122 has essentially the same keys and is all the delights of an M. The rubber dome Unsaver didn't require sacrificing my child's college fund or my retirement savings and is actually really nice for use during my 6h/day of video calls. It has all my custom shortcuts in the same place as the behemoths.

I would not be able to use the beamspring as a full time daily driver because of the wrist strain. With my height/length there is no possibly way to get my desk, keyboard, chair, and monitors all at the proper ergonomic heights. The desktop would need to be lower than my legs to have the beamspring at the right height. I enjoy using it and do so until the pain starts up or I'm going to be sitting for a long time and then I rotate in the 5576.
Last edited by raoulduke-esq on 21 Jun 2021, 15:49, edited 1 time in total.

soyuz

21 Jun 2021, 15:41

Layout isn't a big deal if you use pandrew's fantastic QMK fork.

Ergonomics, on the other hand, is. I love my beamspring, but I can't use it for weeks on end without wanting to swap to something more comfortable.

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TNT

21 Jun 2021, 15:43

I use my 5251 as my daily atm. I'm still getting used to the spacebar rn, but it's very nice otherwise and even usable for at least some games. The left "ctrl" (so the bottom left corner) is awkward to reach with your pinky, unfortunately, so for example crouch sliding doesn't work too well. The 5251 layout is fairly similar to XT, so it didn't take too much time to get used to overall. For function keys, I think most people use the left cluster, just like on XT boards. I prefer to use a layer + the numrow and tried to play around a little with those keys to the left. I assigned functions according to their (german) legends, like Bild ↓, "Lösch" etc. I still have them on familiar positions with numlock toggled off, so nothing is lost imo. I think it depends on what you value more and if they fit your typing style in regards to ergonomics.
Last edited by TNT on 21 Jun 2021, 17:08, edited 2 times in total.

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zrrion

21 Jun 2021, 15:45

zippolupan wrote:
21 Jun 2021, 15:20
Is the superior key feel worth the loss in flexibility?
Whether the key feel is even better or not is subjective. The difference in feel (good or bad) isn't worth the difference in price IMO.

Depending on which beamer you get you might end up with a fairly reasonable layout and the difference between that layout and an F122 is going to be personal preference but I'm not sure if I know anyone who thinks the alpha block of the F122 is worse than the alpha block of a beamer so take that as you may.

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Bitteneite

21 Jun 2021, 18:06

I did daily a 5251 full-time for a few months. I did love the keyfeel, solenoid, and the tanky build-quality, but I don't think they'll win your heart when coming from an F, especially a 122.

Thing is, as much as people love to glorify them, I don't think the keyfeel is that far off from an F.
It feels like lighter + smoother Cap Buckling Springs. Otherwise, the tactility is very familiar + the force curve stays flat in a similar manner.
Sure, the mechanism is completely different, but it doesn't feel very groundbreaking when coming from a Model F. My Beamspring also came with quite a lot more keywobble, even with the foam replaced. Not a deal breaker, but it did annoy me just thinking about it in a keyboard this expensive, regardless of "Hurr durrr, iTz a bEaMsPrInG!".

I ran mine with a typical XT layout with a few tiny modifications, but it still suffers greatly when using shortcut-intensive programs like Blender, After Effects, Photoshop, etc. If you don't rely too heavily on shortcuts, you should be fine. Otherwise, your F122 will probably be much better suited to your workflow.

Ergonomics, as many have already said, is its biggest weak point. My desk is already pretty high, and putting a Beamspring on it just rubs salt into the wound.
If your hands float while typing, and your desk is right around the height of your waist, you might be fine. Otherwise, you're in for a painful time justifying your 2-thousand-or-so dollar keyboard.

You should get a Beamspring when nothing excites you anymore, because it's hard not to fall in love with one. It's a real honor having one on your desk, and having one is quite the talking point. It's basically a Model F... but MOAR! It will make you feel better about yourself, but let's be real here, do you really need that added gratification? Is an F122 just not special anymore? Can you justify that added pricetag for what's basically a glorified Model F?
It's a better keyboard in general, but only in ways that make it a piece of jewellery than a tool. Nothing wrong with collecting jewellery at home, but if you're all about cold-hard functionality, I'd say it's better if you stick to the F122.

zippolupan

21 Jun 2021, 18:19

Bitteneite wrote:
21 Jun 2021, 18:06

You should get a Beamspring when nothing excites you anymore, because it's hard not to fall in love with one. It's a real honor having one on your desk, and having one is quite the talking point. It's basically a Model F... but MOAR! It will make you feel better about yourself, but let's be real here, do you really need that added gratification? Is an F122 just not special anymore? Can you justify that added pricetag for what's basically a glorified Model F?
It's a better keyboard in general, but only in ways that make it a piece of jewellery than a tool. Nothing wrong with collecting jewellery at home, but if you're all about cold-hard functionality, I'd say it's better if you stick to the F122.
zrrion wrote:
21 Jun 2021, 15:45
The difference in feel (good or bad) isn't worth the difference in price IMO.
These are very good points, and considering I don't really intend to rotate keyboards, anything I buy to replace my F122 at home would have to take on a permanent role. Also, the prior comments about ergonomics make a good point (maybe I should make a desk with a hole in it to bring it to normal levels if I am ever rich enough to afford a 4978).

I'll stick with what I have, then. It's not a bad place to be anyway :)

Thanks, all!

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karlmartin95

21 Jun 2021, 18:53

I'm using one of my 5281 beamfoot as a daily driver for programming, in my rotation I have an F122, F77, Compaq 12000 and from time to time, Bigfoot and F3178

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Weezer

21 Jun 2021, 20:42

I thought I'd chime in as someone who doesn't really rotate keyboards at my desk. I use a beamspring keyboard at my work computer and I never get cramps or feel discomfort. I think the trick is adjusting your desk so that the keyboard is further away from you, so your elbows rest on the desk and your wrists are free-floating. If you have the keyboard too close to the edge of the desk, you won't have anywhere to rest your arms and you end up in an uncomfortable and awkward position as you try to rest your wrists in a weird spot.

I think that height is a lot less detrimental to ergonomics than people think. I think what's a lot worse is having a keyboard with a weighting or travel that doesn't match how hard or deeply you try to depress the keys. Those rubberdome Apple/Dell/HP chicklet pieces of shit are hell on my hands. They cause my wrists to ache and feel a pin pricking sensation for days after I use one for 8 hours.

As far as layout, I have the keyboard mapped to layers for my function shortcuts and it isn't a deal breaking inconvenience in the same way that a 101 keyboard with mapped layers isn't a deal breaking inconvenience. I like larger layouts like an F122 more, but I prefer the feel of the beamspring more than I prefer having every macro mapped to a discrete button.

My job entails searching and managing databases and writing reports if that gives you an idea of my use case.

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Bjerrk

21 Jun 2021, 21:17

Regarding the "bad ergonomics" question:
Isn't it much like a typewriter? I have an IBM Selectric, for instance, whose keys of course sit quite high above the table. Is it then implied that all the Selectric typists suffered under bad ergonomics?

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raoulduke-esq

21 Jun 2021, 21:38

Bjerrk wrote:
21 Jun 2021, 21:17
Is it then implied that all the Selectric typists suffered under bad ergonomics?
Not necessarily:
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Weezer

21 Jun 2021, 21:45

Bjerrk wrote:
21 Jun 2021, 21:17
Regarding the "bad ergonomics" question:
Isn't it much like a typewriter? I have an IBM Selectric, for instance, whose keys of course sit quite high above the table. Is it then implied that all the Selectric typists suffered under bad ergonomics?
I was actually thinking about bringing up this same point! You never had widespread RSI until the 80's, when desk positioning became standardized and keyboard switches became cheap (foam and foil / rubber domes)

Tribal

22 Jun 2021, 02:15

Out of curiosity, does anyone pair their keyboard with an ortho like a Preonic? Use the ortho as a macro pad and the beamspring/F/M for the keys where feel matters?

Jacobalbertus1

22 Jun 2021, 02:49

I use my 4978 as a daily driver and have no problems iv been daily driving it for about 4 months before that I daily drove a 5251 for 4 months I prefer the 4978 layout over the 5251

headphone_jack

22 Jun 2021, 02:55

Did you guys know that Jacob has a 4978?

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raoulduke-esq

22 Jun 2021, 03:03

headphone_jack wrote:
22 Jun 2021, 02:55
Did you guys know that Jacob has a 4978?
Sigh… He’s so dreamy!

John Doe

22 Jun 2021, 03:14

raoulduke-esq wrote:
21 Jun 2021, 15:37
In before Jacob!
😁

Jacobalbertus1

22 Jun 2021, 03:31

TBH before this thing beached itself here I was mainly going for a 3278

soyuz

22 Jun 2021, 11:31

Tribal wrote:
22 Jun 2021, 02:15
Out of curiosity, does anyone pair their keyboard with an ortho like a Preonic? Use the ortho as a macro pad and the beamspring/F/M for the keys where feel matters?
Never bothered with an ortho, I use vintage desk calculators as macropads when keyboards don't have the keys/macros I need. This one in particular is getting converted for use with my Displaywriter, seeing as it's almost tall enough.
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TNT

22 Jun 2021, 12:06

soyuz wrote:
22 Jun 2021, 11:31

Never bothered with an ortho, I use vintage desk calculators as macropads when keyboards don't have the keys/macros I need. This one in particular is getting converted for use with my Displaywriter, seeing as it's almost tall enough.
That's wild, I love it!

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Go-Kart

22 Jun 2021, 15:58

soyuz wrote:
22 Jun 2021, 11:31
Tribal wrote:
22 Jun 2021, 02:15
Out of curiosity, does anyone pair their keyboard with an ortho like a Preonic? Use the ortho as a macro pad and the beamspring/F/M for the keys where feel matters?
Never bothered with an ortho, I use vintage desk calculators as macropads when keyboards don't have the keys/macros I need. This one in particular is getting converted for use with my Displaywriter, seeing as it's almost tall enough.
This is absurd, I love it!

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