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Keyboards: A Typist Needs a Trusty Tool

Writers seem to have this thing where they write a lot. I don't really know what that's about -- it seems kind of silly to me, but for whatever reason, if a writer isn't writing anything, they generally aren't getting paid. In order to secure a living in this silly manner, it’s important to first deal with the basic functions of writing. To do so, you need to have a few handy tools at your disposal. One of those is a keyboard. Below is the journey that led me to the keyboard I currently use, and a detailed analysis of what I looked for and why.

I ordered a new desktop just a few weeks ago, and so far I’ve been typing away on the standard keyboard that came with it. I actually posted a review of the computer on Newegg, and in that review, stated that I thought the biggest con was the keyboard. So I was immediately on the lookout for a new one.

I took a considerable number of factors into consideration, but eventually settled on three criteria. The first was overall loudness of the keys -- I’m not a huge fan of loud, clicky keys. In fact, because I’m a huge nerd and always play rogues in video games, anything I can do stealthily in real life makes me a happy camper. Typing included.

The second criterion was backlights. Occasionally I work after hours, and I want to be able to see where the keys are in the dark if necessary. When you live with others and work in a shared space, being able to see what you’re doing is a huge plus. The keyboard that came with my new desktop wasn’t backlit.

The third criterion was ergonomics. Of course, while researching ergonomic keyboards, I came across several explanations and definitions of the category, which led me to the understanding that the term “ergonomic” is little more than a marketing term. There isn’t much research into the subject, but it doesn’t look like the necessary knowledge required to make a truly ergonomic keyboard that reduces discomfort and the risk of Carpal Tunnel is anywhere near complete.

In one rare case, this Microsoft keyboard does indeed seem to reduce wear and tear on the wrists through a coincidental feature that reduces lateral movement.

With those three criteria (well, two and a half, I guess) in mind, I began to narrow the search. Eventually, I settled on the HAVIT Lammergeier HV-KB346L. The HAVIT Lammergeier, despite having a virtually unpronounceable moniker, is backlit, allegedly ergonomic, and allegedly quiet.

The HAVIT’s backlighting is actually beyond insane. As a general rule, I like things that glow in the dark, or things that glow in the light, too, for that matter. The backlights are fully customizable, with four different sections of keys that can be changed independently. As I’m typing this, my keyboard is (from left to right) green, blue, pink, and turquoise. Pressing fn+F9 through F12 changes each section’s respective coloring. The software that comes with the keyboard allows you to dive in and make presets that can be changed with the F keys. I have the backlights set to breathe, too, which means that they fade in and out over a period of a few seconds (you can choose how long that takes). It looks amazing. Using the same software, you can program 13 different macro keys to perform whatever function your heart desires. Currently, I have the four G keys in the lower left opening my email, iTunes, Scrivener, and, of course, Steam. The L keys along the top I’ve programmed for multimedia -- as there are no preset volume up/down buttons to be found -- and computer shortcuts. The two M keys in the top left switch between modes, so you can have another completely different keyboard layout for gaming if you’d like. There also seems to be four different profiles within each mode, making for an extremely high degree of customization, though I haven’t yet investigated how to utilize them.

The ergonomics are decent, despite the lack of evidence that they provide any real benefit. Overall, the keyboard is comfortable to type on and to use for gaming. It’s well put together, with a solid aluminum plate covering the top of the board. It glistens in the moonlight, and in the glow of your greedy, drooling eyes while you peer mindlessly into the backlights. Maybe no one else’s eyes drool, but mine surely do when exposed to high-tech gadgets.

The most disappointing part of the keyboard, for me, is that it isn’t at all what I’d called silent. It’s certainly quieter than other keyboards, but more likely not, I won’t be able to use it while my beloved slumbers peacefully next to my workstation. If I tried, poison-tipped daggers would soon follow me the rest of my days. Considering that this was the biggest reason I went with the HAVIT, and the fact that a man with his finger pressed to his lips is included in the marketing materials, I feel a little let down. The overall appearance of the board and the backlights go a long way toward making up for that though, as does the feel of the keys. The tops are concave, and they give a nice grounded feeling to the tips of your fingers. But they’re still doing a decent amount of noise while grounding my fingers.

In the end, I’m happy with my purchase, especially because I was able to halve the cost of admission by using the credit card points I’d gained from buying the desktop. It was easily worth the lowered price. It’s also among the cheapest customizable backlit keyboards around, and definitely goes above and beyond in that category. If you’re looking for something that’s pleasant to write on and has gorgeous aesthetics, consider putting this on your list of keyboards to check out.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have an Amazon Affiliate account, so if you end up purchasing anything via the Amazon links I’ve posted then I get a small kickback. Nonetheless, my opinions and reviews are always completely honest, and I’d never encourage people to buy something just to make a buck.

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