Why modern keyboard feel and look horrible compare to the beige era keyboard?

User avatar
cineraphael

08 Feb 2019, 16:55

I think I got to realize myself that most of the new keyboard are horrible and they need to be improved.

There are a reason why that is:

1. Rubberdome now do not use a slider(Only Topre and Coolermaster Memchanical left) - in the 90s, a budget keyboard are dome with a slider which is BTC and Scropius(Topre is expensive as heck), which is what a mechanical feeling should feel like. I owned a SEGA Netlink Scorpius keyboard and Man!, does it feel better and more tactile than my Dell L100. Since 2000s a dome with a slider are gone and what instead was a slider stick to the keycap. They did this to cut cost but I think adding a slider should make a typing feel much better and it should not lose their profit too much. - BTC, Scropius, and Topre Prove that Rubberdome are better with a Slider.

2 - Rubberdome now use membrane mat instead of PCB - wait wait wait keyboard producer, why switch to using the membrane mat? I think they did it to cut cost again but PCB could be expensive. I mean again BTC did use PCB for their rubberdome and it not that expensive. Most may not be concern with this but, PCB are more durable and more reliable than a Membrane mat.

3 - Plastic are way too hollow! - You can compare a new dell keyboard with Dell AT101, there are massive weight differences, even though Dell AT101 are still hollow compare to a Northgate Omnikey. A Razer Blackwidow I have was 1.5 Kilo (Typical office keyboard weight half of my Blackwidow)it heavy but it not as heavy as my 1986 IBM Model M122 which is about 2.5 Kilo. Keyboard quality today are not like the 80s!

Lighter = More Hollow
Heavier = More Durable

4 - Alps, NMB, and SMK cannot market a Gamer with their new SKCM and SKCL Switch and Cherry make the crap clicky switch - What make a keyboard good in the 90s and 80s, was Alps, NMB Space Invader, and SMK. If you ask Chyrosran22, he will say that Alps make the best mechanical switch in the world. Those 3 Switches are all great but all of their same problem was that they cannot target a gamer again when a mechanical switch is a thing again in 2010s. Which left me with a Cherry Switches that are not so good compare to those Alps.

- I myself like a Clicky Switch. My first Mechanical keyboard was a Cherry MX blue, First Impression was that I really impress and key feel at first but until I found a Matias Tactile Pro with Alp SKBM Gray, It made me very disappointed with a Cherry MX Blue.

5 - Chiclet Keycap - What the point of chiclet key? Most modern compare that came with a keyboard have a chiclet key now. Lenovo is also guilty for a new chicley keyboard on a Thinkpad. It look so bad and I feel like I am typing on a Lenovo Ideapad and not a Thinkpad. IBM style keyboard for the Thinkpad was the best. Apple is also guilty of this in 2007 when they replace a good Apple A1048 with a new Apple Aluminium keyboard which then getting worse from there with their butterfly switches.

6 - Windows Key! - For the Gamer, Windows Key is your enemies that tries to get you out of the games unless you have expensive gaming keyboard that can prevent windows key from doing anything. with 80s and early 90s when Windows OS was not that popular and DOS are still common, Most keyboard in that era do not have a Windows button which is literally a permanent windows key lock.

7 - Modern Gaming Keyboard do not use PBT Keycap - What's up with a Gaming Keyboard Market these day, I was expecting a Corsair K70 and K95 to have a PBT Keycap since it cost like $100-150. But you will be disappoint to know that they are Laser-etched ABS and not even Double Shot. It a keycap that also exist in a $50 Mechanical keyboard. and having the Laser-Etched ABS on a $150 Keyboard is unacceptable! only few manufacturer use PBT Keycap.

To be honest, Keyboard today are not bad but not really good compare to a vintage one. Romer G and SeriesSeries QS1 Switch is the one I need to tries.

- That's all for now, Sorry for some bad grammar. Any more to mention then please do so in a reply.
Last edited by cineraphael on 08 Feb 2019, 17:08, edited 1 time in total.

samuelcable

08 Feb 2019, 17:05

Computers are no where near as expensive as they used to be, and usually don't even include a keyboard in a package anymore, but in the old days computers costed a small fortune and their keyboard was made specifically the system its paired with, so they could be higher quality to match the price and build quality of the computer

Anakey

08 Feb 2019, 17:19

Ok i will go through your points, i did find the thread very amusing to read.

1) having a slider as well as the keycap means that it is 2x as complex to build the keyboard having to put the sliders into the top housing, fix together then turn over when placing the keycaps. plus it is harder to place a keycap on a slider then it is just ramming the keycap+slider into the hole.

2) whilst a pcb is indeed more durable then a plastic sheet, keyboards are not designed for reliability that goes from the caps, the construction etc If reliability was still around then everything will be doubleshot or dye subbed and none of this pad printing fact is keyboards are meant to last 5 years if that then into the bin they go when the next system upgrade happens so the cheaper the board is the better.

3) thinner plastic = cheaper plastic plate compared to metal ones = cheaper also be warey of just using weight alone sticking a kilo slab on a crap rubber dome will still be a crap rubber dome

4) again Alps SKCM would have taken a higher amount of production time for a single switch due to how complicated it was. with keyboards becoming ever cheaper and with competition there was no financial sense in maintaining the lineup. There was no gamer base to be able to charge a premium for a keyboard so they disappeared.

5) chicklet keys mean they can make keyboards thinner whilst still keeping that lovable cheap membrane that everyone is used forced to use due to the smaller size they take less plastic so are also easier to make at the increased cost of the switch support itself but a thin laptop is premium product so can add the extra cost to the laptop price and many laptyops share the same layout so generic keyboards can be made even if different caps.

6) Some people might actually remember and use the windows keys rather then having to remember where to clkick or if they can't use a mouse i guess not everyone using win 95 might have used dos.

7) PBT keycaps would not have the RGBs plus dye sub is a more expensive process then coating a cap and lasering the surface off

Findecanor

08 Feb 2019, 18:09

cineraphael wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 16:55
PCB are more durable and more reliable than a Membrane mat.
I don't think it matters. The IBM Model M uses a membrane and it is not the first thing that breaks.
cineraphael wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 16:55
with 80s and early 90s when Windows OS was not that popular and DOS are still common, Most keyboard in that era do not have a Windows button which is literally a permanent windows key lock.
Because Microsoft introduced the key in 1995 and you had to get a license from Microsoft to put the Windows logo on it.
cineraphael wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 16:55
5 - Chiclet Keycap - What the point of chiclet key?
People think it is easier to clean, and .. it looks more "modern" and "new" to people.
Although dust still finds its way inside the mechanisms.

Lots of people do actually like low-profile keyboards with no contour. Then that's more a personal preference than anything.
Overly wide keys with no dimple is objectively bad though. Better chiclet keyboards have dished keys.
cineraphael wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 16:55
Apple is also guilty of this in 2007 when they replace a good Apple A1048 with a new Apple Aluminium keyboard which then getting worse from there with their butterfly switches.
Well... the A1048 is a widely disliked. It is infamous for collecting dust and grime inside its transparent shell and the keys are mushy with overly wide key surfaces.
I think a brand new one looks great though.

User avatar
cineraphael

08 Feb 2019, 18:42

I think the Model M have the most durable membrane mat of all. A1048 are really good but I have to agree that it can collect dust easily but it can also be scratched easily. yes, it might still be mushy compare to a scropius but it not so bad compare to a cheap dell keyboard.

- But again Topre Realforce Still in the bussiness Despite:

- Having Dome with Slider

- Overpriced like $200

- Made in Japan and yet still manage to keep their Realforce in Production without losing profit over a labor cost.

- It a capacities and have PCB board.

samuelcable

08 Feb 2019, 19:23

cineraphael wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 18:42
I think the Model M have the most durable membrane mat of all. A1048 are really good but I have to agree that it can collect dust easily but it can also be scratched easily. yes, it might still be mushy compare to a scropius but it not so bad compare to a cheap dell keyboard.

- But again Topre Realforce Still in the bussiness Despite:

- Having Dome with Slider

- Overpriced like $200

- Made in Japan and yet still manage to keep their Realforce in Production without losing profit over a labor cost.

- It a capacities and have PCB board.
Realforce has actual build quality and good dyesub keycaps, not comparable to the poor quality of scorpius boards. You're still investing in a well built board when you get topre

davkol

08 Feb 2019, 21:41

Keyboards have drastically dropped in price, but I'm curious how much it would be after CARBON TAX.

User avatar
mattlach

08 Feb 2019, 21:42

davkol wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 21:41
Keyboards have drastically dropped in price, but I'm curious how much it would be after CARBON TAX.

It's moot. We'll all die from starvation, flooding and lack of fresh water before voters agree to implement a carbon tax :p

User avatar
mattlach

08 Feb 2019, 22:39

davkol wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 21:41
Keyboards have drastically dropped in price...[/b].
Also, this may not actually be all that correct.

I have used the "these keyboards used to cost way more in the 80's" argument as well, but the data I have seen doesn't actually support that.

This was certainly the case in regards to rubber domes, but not compared to modern mechanical boards.

I did some googling and found this ad from 1987 linked over on Geekhack:

Model M.jpg
Model M.jpg (187.8 KiB) Viewed 1243 times
IBM 5150 (Model F XT Keyboard): $47.50
IBM Enhanced 102 Key Keyboard (Model M) $69

So, these are 1987 dollars. According to CPI-U a dollar in 1987 had the same purchasing power as $2.26 does today, so that means these prices are ~$107 and ~$156 respectively today in early 2019. In other words, approximately in the same range as mid to low priced mechanical keyboards today. If you go on mechanicalkeyboards.com you can get a full sized Ducky with your choice of Cherry MX switches for $99. Heck, you can't even find a Topre board for under $200.

So I'm ready to call the "keyboards used to cost so much more and they are worse today due to cost cutting" a myth.

User avatar
Hypersphere

08 Feb 2019, 22:50

The weight of a keyboard is not necessarily proportional to its durability or quality. "Case" in point is the HHKB Pro 2. This keyboard is very light, hollow, and "plasticky", yet arguably of high quality, durable, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing.

A heavier and more solid line of keyboards in the same vein is Realforce.

Both HHKB Pro 2 and Realforce boards are available now as brand-new products.

There are also a number of modern keyboards that I do not particularly like (many of them use my least favorite type of switch -- Cherry mx), but nevertheless they are solid, reliable, durable, and some are aesthetically pleasing.

User avatar
mattlach

08 Feb 2019, 23:15

Hypersphere wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 22:50
There are also a number of modern keyboards that I do not particularly like (many of them use my least favorite type of switch -- Cherry mx), but nevertheless they are solid, reliable, durable, and some are aesthetically pleasing.
Yeah, I've been very impressed with my Ducky keyboards. In my house we now have one Ducky One 2 (MX Browns), one Ducky Shine 6 (MX Blues) and two first gen Ducky One's (MX Greens and MX Clears with O-Rings).

The keyboards are solid, with great fit and finish and build quality, and look sharp. And they were quite affordable too. I just wish I liked the switches better.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

08 Feb 2019, 23:38

I bought my first computer in the summer of 1987, at the time when "clones" were really starting to take a big share of the market (mine was a 286 by "PCs Ltd" (which later became Dell) and it cost $2800 with a keyboard and monitor but no printer).

I feel certain that those keyboards were not actual IBMs.

Menuhin

09 Feb 2019, 04:35

mattlach wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 21:42
davkol wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 21:41
Keyboards have drastically dropped in price, but I'm curious how much it would be after CARBON TAX.

It's moot. We'll all die from starvation, flooding and lack of fresh water before voters agree to implement a carbon tax :p
This is a provoking and interesting funny thread in many ways.

Let me chime in: most human beings will die during the next mini ice age, and the world will be benefited if it gets warmer to a degree that Greenland can be farmland again like archeological past, and when most of North Africa were ocean.

PCs Ltd - what a name... :lol:
Not talking about PCs Ltd, but It is impossible to find keycaps nowadays with qualities that match those Honeywell keycaps, or linear switches that match in terms of smoothness and over-engineered durability to some of those magnetic valves switches (I am mostly a linear guy), but there are lots of really good modern days options, let alone I may die in frustration adapting to some weird layouts of older keyboards.
Before we all (or most of us) die naturally, due to illness or non-natural causes, if one likes linear, it is still enjoyable to type away on some of those $1000+ modern custom keyboards with well lubed switches and stabs... and for me better be in true HHKB layout at least for the space bar and backspace.

The Topre keyboards are great keyboards - they’re my tactile favorite for a break from linear. I think the build quality can be Realforce = Leopold and both are (slightly) > HHKB, but I opt for HHKB for its weight and sound and feel and especially the layout. If I see the original designer of HHKB, apart from somewhat thanking for the layout, I must ridicule its poorly implemented bumpons and non-rubberized feet. Look at modern makers like Ducky (or even PLUM), those rubberized feet of their keyboards are very nicely done, and they have PBT space bars - and those space bars are straight! Look at the statement that KBDfans wrote on their online shop for EnjoyPBT trying to explain away for the warp space bars, let me roll my eyes and face palm - effort in engineering and QC will result in straight PBT space bars, come on...

davkol

09 Feb 2019, 09:20

mattlach wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 22:39
davkol wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 21:41
Keyboards have drastically dropped in price...
Also, this may not actually be all that correct.
It's absolutely correct, if you look at median cost.

While $60 (in contemporary currency) isn't that much assuming it's for genuine IBM, it it's also the most common option at the time, with clones priced at around half of that.

Compare it to the large quantities of modern computers with their much cheaper peripherals. Like, whatever Lenovo/Dell/HP add to their systems.

You could argue that there were low-cost computers back then too… How much did PCjr keyboard cost? But then, it was completely abysmal, whereas even most of the cheapest modern keyboards are usable just fine.

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

09 Feb 2019, 10:06

mattlach wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 22:39
I did some googling and found this ad from 1987 linked over on Geekhack:

IBM 5150 (Model F XT Keyboard): $47.50
IBM 5150 was introduced in 1981 (8088 processor), by 1986 we already had 286 and 386, in 1987 the 5150 line was discontinued. That price is rather steep for a discontinued product.

In 1985-6 the Model M replaced the Model F, PC prices were going dramatically down due to the "clones war" and the PC was becoming less and less of a typewriter on steroid and more of what we know today. That lead IBM to create a lower quality cheaper keyboard. Considering that value of today's bundled keyboards is probably around $5... I wouldn't say they were cheap.

Findecanor

09 Feb 2019, 11:33

mattlach wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 22:39
IBM Enhanced 102 Key Keyboard (Model M) $69
It does not say IBM. It says "Enhanced 102 Key keyboard".
"Enhanced" refers to the layout.
And was there really any Model M that was compatible with the XT?

This is likely some unnamed clone.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

09 Feb 2019, 11:40

The pic doesn’t say IBM anywhere. Some “evidence.” Post an IBM price list from the era and then we’re talking!

I know Cherry were good with product catalogs back then, but I think they skipped the prices. You know how companies can be with those: modularising them away from the main promotional material so they can be easily changed later.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

09 Feb 2019, 11:48

Findecanor wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 18:09
cineraphael wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 16:55
Apple is also guilty of this in 2007 when they replace a good Apple A1048 with a new Apple Aluminium keyboard which then getting worse from there with their butterfly switches.
Well... the A1048 is a widely disliked. It is infamous for collecting dust and grime inside its transparent shell and the keys are mushy with overly wide key surfaces.
I think a brand new one looks great though.
Yeah, so did I when I bought one in 2003, to make my PowerBook into a double duty desktop. What a nightmare of a keyboard. Honestly, I hate, I detest, I loathe that model with a passion. It feels like shit, and from the very moment you first use the damn thing it metamorphoses into looking like shit as well. The domes are piss poor, the caps yellow like haggard teeth, and the shell doesn’t even need a UV lamp to attract every bug in the building. Awful. Despicable. Wretched infernal demonic thing! I threw mine in the trash with a vengeance, ruined so soon by its own vile design, and wondered what had become of keyboards to reach “this.”

The one and only upside: it did point me in the right direction, by making me notice a keyboard for the first time I ever had. It was all the inspiring wrongness I could have dreamed for! But little did I know I should have sought out a Topre. Discovering that would take me several years.

User avatar
Chyros

09 Feb 2019, 13:54

Muirium wrote:
09 Feb 2019, 11:40
The pic doesn’t say IBM anywhere. Some “evidence.” Post an IBM price list from the era and then we’re talking!

I know Cherry were good with product catalogs back then, but I think they skipped the prices. You know how companies can be with those: modularising them away from the main promotional material so they can be easily changed later.
I showed some parts catalogs of IBM terminals in my Model F review - prices for several Models F were shown in that price list, and they numbered in the $300-400+ range. That list was from 1984 iirc.

I very much doubt an actual IBM F XT would've only cost a fraction of that.

User avatar
OleVoip

09 Feb 2019, 14:43

Chyros wrote:
09 Feb 2019, 13:54
I showed some parts catalogs of IBM terminals in my Model F review - prices for several Models F were shown in that price list, and they numbered in the $300-400+ range. That list was from 1984 iirc.
The average IBM-keyboard shop prices I posted in the other thread correspond to about $ 300 in 1986, so that seems to be consistent.

Production of cheap rubberdome boards had already started in 1987; but 'cheap' at that time still was $ 50 for a keyboard, not $ 5.

User avatar
clickykeyboards

09 Feb 2019, 15:04

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 8.50.08 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 8.50.08 AM.png (1.81 MiB) Viewed 940 times
Source: PC Mag, Feb 25, 1992 "Replacement Keyboards: The Write Stuff"
https://books.google.com/books?id=iYmIe ... &q&f=false

IBM Enhanced 101 Key Keyboard
IBM/Lexmark International, 740 New Circle Rd, NW, Lexington KY 40511
List price $217 (1993 USD dollars)

**converted after 26 years of inflation (2018-1992)
The same item would cost $388 (2018 USD dollars)
model m keyboard cost.png
model m keyboard cost.png (80.34 KiB) Viewed 940 times

samuelcable

09 Feb 2019, 16:01

clickykeyboards wrote:
09 Feb 2019, 15:04
Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 8.50.08 AM.png
Source: PC Mag, Feb 25, 1992 "Replacement Keyboards: The Write Stuff"
https://books.google.com/books?id=iYmIe ... &q&f=false

IBM Enhanced 101 Key Keyboard
IBM/Lexmark International, 740 New Circle Rd, NW, Lexington KY 40511
List price $217 (1993 USD dollars)

**converted after 26 years of inflation (2018-1992)
The same item would cost $388 (2018 USD dollars)

model m keyboard cost.png
Every time I get reminded it's made in Lexington KY I'm more tempted to go visit unicomp. They are just down the street for me

User avatar
OleVoip

09 Feb 2019, 16:38

Prices were steeply falling also for original parts. Prices from the 1990ies already cannot really be compared with those from the mid 1980ies. In 1996, you paid for a new 102-key IBM-labelled model M just about half the price of 1986; adjusted for inflation it actually was just about a third of the price.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

09 Feb 2019, 18:28

Findecanor wrote:
09 Feb 2019, 11:33

And was there really any Model M that was compatible with the XT?
I think that the 1390120 was intended to go either way.

User avatar
Chyros

09 Feb 2019, 19:05

fohat wrote:
09 Feb 2019, 18:28
Findecanor wrote:
09 Feb 2019, 11:33

And was there really any Model M that was compatible with the XT?
I think that the 1390120 was intended to go either way.
Yes; the ones with no lock lights and AT plug (i.e. not the terminal ones) were "upgrades" meant to replace the old Model F keyboards on the XT-class systems. It was an AT-XT autoswitching keyboard.

Bruek

14 Feb 2019, 14:50

mattlach wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 22:39
davkol wrote:
08 Feb 2019, 21:41
Keyboards have drastically dropped in price...[/b].
Also, this may not actually be all that correct.

I have used the "these keyboards used to cost way more in the 80's" argument as well, but the data I have seen doesn't actually support that.

This was certainly the case in regards to rubber domes, but not compared to modern mechanical boards.

I did some googling and found this ad from 1987 linked over on Geekhack:


Model M.jpg

IBM 5150 (Model F XT Keyboard): $47.50
IBM Enhanced 102 Key Keyboard (Model M) $69

So, these are 1987 dollars. According to CPI-U a dollar in 1987 had the same purchasing power as $2.26 does today, so that means these prices are ~$107 and ~$156 respectively today in early 2019. In other words, approximately in the same range as mid to low priced mechanical keyboards today. If you go on mechanicalkeyboards.com you can get a full sized Ducky with your choice of Cherry MX switches for $99. Heck, you can't even find a Topre board for under $200.

So I'm ready to call the "keyboards used to cost so much more and they are worse today due to cost cutting" a myth.
I think the thread was talking about the standard $5 dollar keyboard that you find at your typical office desk. It costs about 2 dollars or so for a manufacturer to make one of those plastic rubber dome Dell finger torture devices.

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