I've been looking for a new keyboard for about a year now. I'm picky about keyboards. I want them to have a good feel: when the key is sent to the computer, I want to feel something in the key. I was reading reviews on Dans Data and found this:

It's a proper long-travel keyboard with good tactile feedback - not quite as positive as buckling spring, but rather quieter - and impressive durability stats.

—from this review of the Deck Keyboard.

That seemed promising. Dan's site also includes this page about “clicky” keyboards, so I know he has good taste in keyboards. That review, along with several others, convinced me to buy the Deck Legend keyboard, even though it wasn't in any stores, and I couldn't try it out first. I also liked the company's attitude. They give you instructions on disassembly, removing keycaps, adding lighting, and so on. And they don't void the warranty for modding. I wasn't planning to do any of these things, but it made me feel better about the company.

Plus, it has cool lighting. Each key is individually lit by an LED. There's also brightness control. And you can install custom keycaps like a skull & bones. It's a “cool” keyboard.

So I ordered it.

Unfortunately the keyboard doesn't feel good to me. It feels very mushy, and there's no feedback when a key has been pressed. At all. In short, this keyboard feels awful. When I press down on a key, it sends a signal to the computer with no "click", and then the key goes "thud" at the bottom.

I returned it.

This makes me quite sad. I really like the company and this keyboard seemed promising. I'm now hunting for another keyboard but haven't found anything really nice. The Logitech Dinovo looks interesting, except the reviews say that it drops keystrokes (it's wireless) and the shift and spacebar keys are hard to press after a few months.

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10 comments:

Laurence wrote at Monday, June 26, 2006 at 11:04:00 AM PDT

I recently bought a Das Keyboard II. It's very clicky. It's also blank, which is actually the reason I bought it, but I'm not sure if you want a blank keyboard.

If you're interested let me know and I'll let you try it out.

hypno wrote at Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 1:03:00 AM PDT

You might want to check out the IBM Ultranav keyboards. If you have ever used a Thinkpad you know how good their keyboards are. The Ultranav keyboard is the same as a desktop version. It doesn't have a click but I still find it very responsive.

Amit wrote at Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at 10:10:00 PM PDT

I tried out Laurence's Das Keyboard II and didn't like it. Oh well.

I was tempted to get an Ultranav but I didn't want to buy another keyboard without being able to try it out in a store. I ended up getting a Logitech s530, which I was able to try out at Fry's.

Bruce wrote at Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 12:28:00 PM PST

so... did you ever find one you liked?

Amit wrote at Monday, January 21, 2008 at 5:34:00 PM PST

The Logitech s530 is reasonable. I like it but I haven't typed on it for long periods, because I switched to a laptop (Macbook Pro) and haven't had as much need for a new desktop keyboard. I use my desktop computer mostly for games, artwork, and photos, and not for typing a lot.

Anonymous wrote at Friday, March 7, 2008 at 6:06:00 PM PST

i have a macalley icekey which is a scissor style keyboard. I also bought one of the clicky buckling spring keyboards which i like very much. but the noise was too much for background typing in the living room. I kept getting comments from the family that the clicky keyboard was "really loud". So i took it to work where it has been doing full duty as my main coding keyboard. (co-workers be damned...)

the macalley icekey became my favorite keyboard at home, and if i had bought that one first i would have bought two. one for home and one for work. Its awesome, and you can probably try one at a microcenter. scissor style keys are based on the laptop keyboard tech, and have a very nice feel. I tried another translucent "expensive" keyboard. Matias something, but it was no where near as nice as the clicky. So i guess my advice is try the icekey and see if that doesnt hit your sweet spot.

John and Audra wrote at Monday, May 19, 2008 at 3:03:00 PM PDT

2 words: deck legend

www.deckkeyboards.com

i only wish i could have gotten one that was _not_ backlit, and saved some money.

Steve wrote at Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 9:37:00 AM PST

Look at the Keytronics Lifetime keyboards. I've found them quite solid and good feel... and can be had for about $40 online from buy.com, etc.

Anonymous wrote at Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 3:00:00 PM PST

I've bought a deck legend as well - Absolutely hate the feel - I don't see the appeal at all. I bought the "clicky" version, and my typing speed is way down and much more innacurate than my old dome keyboard.

Anonymous wrote at Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:58:00 AM PDT

You guys need to head over to geekhack.org and read up on what makes a good mechanical keyboard.

The secret is in the different types of keyswitches. The Cherry MX switches come in different models identified by color. The Deck Legends use either the Cherry MX Black (linear) or Clear (tactile bump). But both of these have very strong springs for gaming, so they are terrible for touch typing.

You may be interested in the Brown (light tactile quiet) or possibly the Red (light linear) switches.