What's the most underrated keyboard (in your opinion) and why?

User avatar
snacksthecat
✶✶✶✶

19 Aug 2018, 01:13

I'll go first

Wyse WY60 ASCII

Image

Switches
Vintage Cherry MX Blacks. Unrivaled smoothness, tastefully weighted for everyday typing tasks. I myself was a nonbeliever before I tried them. Previously I thought that Cherry was for the plebs until I gained the maturity to be able to look past the hipster appeal of Alps. I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately and have decided that I'll be naming my first born child (male or female), Vcmxb(1) even though it's completely unpronounceable.

Keycaps
These things have some serious meat on their bones. In the keyboard lectures I frequently give my girlfriend; I like to do a demonstration where I take a few chintzy, thin plastic caps. I hold them near her ear and shake them in my hands. The sad clinking of weak keycaps that probably never worked a day in their lives. Then I set those down. I pick up the Wyse caps; the Chads. I then do the same thing. I begin shaking them and it was almost as if a classic babershop quartet just entered the room. Those were better times, my friends.

Layout
There are a lot of myths and half-truths about the history of the Wyse WY60 ASCII layout. But I have it on good authority that the whole thing was an accident. My sources (who will go unnamed) allege that a confused Wyse engineer mixed up his units of measurement. Instead of measuring in his design in yards, he accidentally used meters. He did all of his designs this way (starting with the case). By the time they were halfway through manufacturing and cutting the plates, the error was discovered. All of the cases and most of the plate rough cuts were smaller than he had designed! He took back to the drawing board and began revising his design. Legend has it that he didn't sleep for three nights. But in the end he didn't disappoint event a single Wyse employee. The new form factor and layout were a smash hit; not only with the Wyse workers but with the public as well.

Case
I've already told you the story about how the shape came to be so there's no reason to belabor the topic. I'd like to talk about the material. They tell me that with plastics there are two options: ABS and PBT. I'm not a chemist but I have to believe that there are other options out there. How else can anyone explain how this "plastic" case feels as solid as a sheet of granite?

Convertibility
A really smart dude named Soarer converted it and so building a converter is super easy (but if you do have trouble, make sure the keyboard is not attached to the microcontroller when you flash it).

I could go on for days. I haven't even touched on the colors, flipout foot, or ease of disassembly. I honestly can't think of a reason why it isn't considered a top tier keyboard by enthusiasts.

Now that I've rambled enough for the day, I want to hear what you guys consider to be the most underrated keyboard (and why)?

User avatar
ag36

19 Aug 2018, 01:38

I'd say rubber dome Model M is extremely underrated, built like a tank, very tactile, dirt cheap, not mushy at all.

BTW here's my ASCII running TMK because controller was fried, the layout fit my use well after remapping it to fit my need, switches was replaced by silent red because plate-mount switches needs to be removed to be cleaned and mine was feeling uneven(cleaned them later, decent feel). I've repaired the case and painted it. Might add lock leds under the keycaps later.
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andrea-i

19 Aug 2018, 07:38

ooh, if only those beautiful wyse had two modifiers on the left of the spacebar...

User avatar
Elrick

19 Aug 2018, 11:42

andrea-i wrote: ooh, if only those beautiful wyse had two modifiers on the left of the spacebar...
At that time period the "Caps Lock" was the most important, don't know why....... :?

But their "Space Bar" is the John Holmes of key-caps, inhumanly long for no reason other than maybe it was done by mistake ;) .

Agreed about the key-caps in general but also along that time line, Cherry did produce the very best versions of their key-sets before giving it all up to GMK and BSP and some other companies, to continue that fine tradition.

That alone places them far away from my current interests.

User avatar
digital_matthew

19 Aug 2018, 17:09

I nominate the IBM Model M2 as an underrated keyboard. Sure the keyfeel is not as refined as its older brothers, but its small footprint and short keytravel make it easier to live with; when it actually works, that is. These things are a real pain in the patootie to open, fix, and reassemble.

-Sent from my Model M2.
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User avatar
ag36

20 Aug 2018, 02:48

digital_matthew wrote: I nominate the IBM Model M2 as an underrated keyboard. Sure the keyfeel is not as refined as its older brothers, but its small footprint and short keytravel make it easier to live with; when it actually works, that is. These things are a real pain in the patootie to open, fix, and reassemble.

-Sent from my Model M2.
I want one but can't get a reasonably priced ANSI one in EU.

User avatar
Laser
emacs -nw

20 Aug 2018, 14:41

Maybe a Chinese Buckling Spring keyboard (item 6 on that list) ? Also not ANSI, but a cool layout IMO (Fn near the RShift, normal LShift). And also your chance to find "the" mod to make it a good keyboard to type on :)

User avatar
Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

20 Aug 2018, 16:37

The Sharp X68000. One of the only boards made from scratch by Alps with a great layout, great switches, and doubleshot Japanese keys.

User avatar
swampangel

20 Aug 2018, 17:58

digital_matthew wrote: I nominate the IBM Model M2 as an underrated keyboard. Sure the keyfeel is not as refined as its older brothers, but its small footprint and short keytravel make it easier to live with; when it actually works, that is. These things are a real pain in the patootie to open, fix, and reassemble.

-Sent from my Model M2.
I agree. A great, practical board. I'm getting used to fixing them but it sure isn't fun.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

20 Aug 2018, 18:33

ag36 wrote: I want one but can't get a reasonably priced ANSI one in EU.
I might be able to help you out with that, as I have two, both ANSI.

User avatar
digital_matthew

20 Aug 2018, 22:07

ag36 wrote: I'd say rubber dome Model M is extremely underrated, built like a tank, very tactile, dirt cheap, not mushy at all.

BTW here's my ASCII running TMK because controller was fried, the layout fit my use well after remapping it to fit my need, switches was replaced by silent red because plate-mount switches needs to be removed to be cleaned and mine was feeling uneven(cleaned them later, decent feel). I've repaired the case and painted it. Might add lock leds under the keycaps later.
I never got the chance to try a rubber dome Model M, but a rubber dome M2 was sold to me by mistake. I returned it, but now I sort of wish I hadn't.

User avatar
Auslander

21 Aug 2018, 00:45

PCB mount G80-3000, has a reputation for being flimsy but its very comfortable to use, and i prefer it much more than something like a Filco with a steel plate.

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Myoth

21 Aug 2018, 00:51

Apple Extended Keyboard 2

good keycaps, easily upgradable switches, they're common as dirt, worth fuck all and they're easy to convert. The layout may not be your thing but for like 35usd converted it's a very good deal IMO. They're also actually nicely made :D

Polecat

21 Aug 2018, 03:19

Monterey K104. Built like a tank. Blue or early white Alps with a steel plate. I used the hell out of one for ten years and it never missed a beat. Works on most or all converters with no issues. Cheap and easy on ebay. Look for an early one with double shot caps; the printed caps on the later ones will wear off long before anything else goes bad.

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zrrion

21 Aug 2018, 03:57

The Podworld keyboards are pretty nice. I got mine when it was basically new and it is nice. Good click, bigass enter with a long backspace and the proper sized shifts. Mine had doubleshot caps although and some cool flip out feet that are completely removable so they fit in boxes better. I don't know if this is abnormal for them.

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TheInverseKey

22 Aug 2018, 01:57

NMB RT101+ A good clicky keyboard with a big ass enter. Also the caps are always PBT dye sublimated printing. They are some of the most stable switches out there. As long as you find a clean one or ulatrsonic the sliders then you have a nice good keyboard with the force curve almost of a mx blue with a better clicker.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

22 Aug 2018, 02:54

TheInverseKey wrote:
NMB RT101+
+1

Clicky black NMB Hi-Teks ("Space Invaders") are outstanding switches, and it is very unfortunate that they are not available in good clean straight-ANSI layouts.

User avatar
TheInverseKey

22 Aug 2018, 03:49

fohat wrote:
TheInverseKey wrote:
NMB RT101+
+1

Clicky black NMB Hi-Teks ("Space Invaders") are outstanding switches, and it is very unfortunate that they are not available in good clean straight-ANSI layouts.
Yeah either ISO or big ass and there are a few ansi but very rare.

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RidgeRunner

28 Aug 2018, 21:12

Honestly I'd say a Logitech K840. It's basically the same as a G413 but without the gamer lock. It doesn't seem to have backlighting, but it does have Logitech's own Romer-G switches. The font on it is also fairly decent in my opinion. I don't have it myself, but here is a screenshot from Logitech's website.
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Muirium
µ

29 Aug 2018, 17:37

Just got the IBM Model M2 out now. It is indeed quite a nice one for getting work done. Sure, it's fullsize, which ain't my thing, and it doesn't have the Model F racket that I expect. That's why I don't use it much. I'm just spoiled for choice.
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But for an M, it's honestly right up there. And the feel's commendably consistent. Something I can't say for most Ms!

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Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

29 Aug 2018, 18:04

I agree, the M2 is seriously underrated in my opinion. Sure it's impossible to open for repairs but the keyfeel is quite nice compared to most modern clicky keyboards.

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Keybug

14 Sep 2018, 22:54

Anything with Mitsumi miniature mechanical switches! Everyone complains about the binding, which is only a very minor flaw due to some deterioration of the slider plastic or the metal tops on the housings. Just remove the caps, spray the stems with WD-40 and wobble them up and down a little. It does wonders and you will see that both green and white MMMs (for some reason I'm not so fond of yellows) are easily some of the best tactile MX mount switches out there.

I've posted this opinion here a couple of times, but just found this thread and it begged repetition. No one seems to care anyway! lol

Yours truly,

the MMM troll

User avatar
Muirium
µ

14 Sep 2018, 23:16

I gave mine away. Try badgering Chyros about it. He’d have a hell of a mea culpa to make if you can convince him and it works. A real frog and princess situation awaits…

klennkellon

15 Sep 2018, 01:39

I'd take an AT-101w over any board with MX Brown in them.

User avatar
abrahamstechnology

15 Sep 2018, 01:51

Keybug wrote: Anything with Mitsumi miniature mechanical switches! Everyone complains about the binding, which is only a very minor flaw due to some deterioration of the slider plastic or the metal tops on the housings. Just remove the caps, spray the stems with WD-40 and wobble them up and down a little. It does wonders and you will see that both green and white MMMs (for some reason I'm not so fond of yellows) are easily some of the best tactile MX mount switches out there.

I've posted this opinion here a couple of times, but just found this thread and it begged repetition. No one seems to care anyway! lol

Yours truly,

the MMM troll
I have a Tandy 1400LT with those switches, unfortunately it has lots of problems, screen broken, both floppy drives trashed, and it is in many pieces, some of which are probably lost. One day I'll see if I can maybe get an LCD screen that I can wire up to the composite port somehow and install it into the place where the original screen went.

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Keybug

15 Sep 2018, 22:01

Muirium wrote: I gave mine away. Try badgering Chyros about it. He’d have a hell of a mea culpa to make if you can convince him and it works. A real frog and princess situation awaits…
Ha, have badgered Chyros twice already over the space of half a year and offered to lend him some boards at no cost to himself, but apparently he's too busy ATM. Yeah, I'd love to see them exonerated!

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

15 Sep 2018, 22:08

Anything with Monterey Blues.

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Hypersphere

15 Sep 2018, 23:29

Not sure if this one is underrated generally, but I have tended to ignore this little gem in my collection:

NEXT non-ADB with undamped cream Alps and some swapped keycaps:
NEXT_crop1_size1.jpg
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Seeing some of the Wyse boards on this thread and the Pingmaster on another thread got me thinking about keyboards with long aspect ratios, and I then recalled my neglected NEXT board. I have a Hasu converter for it, and it is quite nice to type on. That 9x spacebar is certainly ample!

One that I suspect is generally underrated is the Wyse30. I own one, but I have not yet refurbished it or programmed the Orihalcon/Soarer's Converter to my liking**. Here is a pic from a posting on GH:
WYSE30_crop1a25.jpg
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https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=51800.0

The Wyse30 has delightfully smooth vintage black Cherry switches and doubleshot ABS keycaps -- I like the yellow arrows on the cursor keys. The compact form factor works for me, but the layout doesn't quite lend itself to setting up a HHKB configuration. The keyboard is very lightweight, but it has a surprisingly solid typing sound. Although I enjoy the extreme smoothness of the switches, I find them a tad too heavy for prolonged typing. Ample spacebar? This one is 10x!

**EDIT: Programmed it this morning and typing on it now. Very serviceable little board! It would be even better if I could detach the NumPad!

User avatar
abrahamstechnology

23 Sep 2018, 15:41

Hypersphere wrote: Not sure if this one is underrated generally, but I have tended to ignore this little gem in my collection:

NEXT non-ADB with undamped cream Alps and some swapped keycaps:
NEXT_crop1_size1.jpg
Seeing some of the Wyse boards on this thread and the Pingmaster on another thread got me thinking about keyboards with long aspect ratios, and I then recalled my neglected NEXT board. I have a Hasu converter for it, and it is quite nice to type on. That 9x spacebar is certainly ample!

One that I suspect is generally underrated is the Wyse30. I own one, but I have not yet refurbished it or programmed the Orihalcon/Soarer's Converter to my liking**. Here is a pic from a posting on GH:
WYSE30_crop1a25.jpg
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=51800.0

The Wyse30 has delightfully smooth vintage black Cherry switches and doubleshot ABS keycaps -- I like the yellow arrows on the cursor keys. The compact form factor works for me, but the layout doesn't quite lend itself to setting up a HHKB configuration. The keyboard is very lightweight, but it has a surprisingly solid typing sound. Although I enjoy the extreme smoothness of the switches, I find them a tad too heavy for prolonged typing. Ample spacebar? This one is 10x!

**EDIT: Programmed it this morning and typing on it now. Very serviceable little board! It would be even better if I could detach the NumPad!
Does your firmware add function keys? If so, I'd very much like it for one of my WY-30s.

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fohat
Elder Messenger

23 Sep 2018, 16:03

XMIT wrote:
Anything with Monterey Blues.
And their cousins the SMK 2nd generation MX mounts.

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