Developers September 29, 2020

Mechanical Keyboard for Programming on Mac

Michael Pierce @matchmike1313

Does anybody have recommendations around mechanical keyboards for macs? I have looked some at DasKeyboards, Keychron, and Code (WASD). Looking for something compact for programming use.

  1. 4

    I use an HHKB and honestly it's been amazing - it's small, feels excellent, and I've come to (mostly) really love the layout. I would definitely look into them, if you haven't yet. Unfortunately, unless you know someone that has one or perhaps live in Japan, you can't really try before you buy.

    1. 2

      I checked it out! Seems fantastic. As @cinode said, how is the transition to no arrow keys?

      1. 2

        @matchmike1313 @cinode It's really not too bad, though it helped that I had another keyboard previously where the arrow keys were also hidden behind a function layer. I might give it a week or so for it feel relatively natural.

        That being said, I think if you really heavily use arrow keys, it might not be your thing. e.g. when I'm coding, I'm always using vim bindings, so I don't use arrow keys a lot (outside of normal usage for web browsing, e-mail, etc). If I relied on macOS key bindings for coding, I would perhaps want dedicated arrow keys.

    2. 1

      How'd you get used to having no arrow keys?

  2. 3

    Ive got the 87 key CODE keyboard (actually 3 of them...) with the cherry mx clear switches. I ended up going with the clears since they're a bit quieter (I love my DasKeyboard with the cherry blue switches, but its loud). I ended up adding some dampening rings that makes it feel even better. Compared to the DasKeyboard I think it feels a bit faster to type of (key travel distance at least feels shorter) and the backlit keys are a nice bonus.

  3. 2

    I recently got a Planck EZ Ortholinear keyboard. This is my first mechanical keyboard. It’s a change of layout for me. I kind of like it.

    I’ve created my own layer of keys with some vim and tmux bindings as macros.

    If you go ortholinear, I would probably recommend a Preonic since it has a separate row for number keys - comes very handy.

  4. 1

    I would like to have the "Vinpok Taptek", but it is too expensive for me. I have it on my wish list.

    https://www.vinpok.com/products/vinpok-taptek-thinnest-wireless-mac-mechanical-keyboard

  5. 1

    I have an ergodox, not really compact but I LOVE it!

    (If i would need a compact one i'd go for a Planck)

  6. 1

    I used to use the Kinesis Advantage but recently switched to the Ergodox EZ (I think there's a new one out called the moonlander). I would highly recommend any of those keybaords because if you're sitting at a desk all day you'd want the best posture (hands shoulder-width apart). I prefer the Kinesis's feel but I switched to the Ergodox because I game and I didn't want to use two keyboards. Plus I find the Ergodox's programability a lot better. Let me know if you have any questions, happy to answer!

    • Typed on an Ergodox EZ ;)
  7. 1

    I saw an inexpensive keyboard that you can consider. Ajazz ak33. I like how it can be wired or bluetooth connected. Compact sized as well.

  8. 1

    I was looking for something similar a while back but actually got used to the <ahem> 'magic' Apple keyboard though I had thought I never would!

    I tried using an old Mac mechanical keyboard but found the key travel too high / too much friction and there was also some unknown incompatibility that was crashing vi quite regularly so I ditched it.

  9. 1

    Razer mechanical keyboards with their green switches (v2) are very nice, similar to MX blue switches IMO, but with more lateral stability (less wobble). I think it has a slightly shorter travel distance than switches made by Cherry and a bit more return force - very comfortable and extremely satisfying. Most of the mechanical keyboards support interchangeable keycaps, so you can usually find and purchase Apple/foreign language caps from a 3rd party, depending on your keyboard/switch selection.

  10. 1

    I m software developer and have been using Keychron K1 v2 for almost 1 year - low profile/slim, wireless/wire, native Mac layout, RGB backlight, not as noisy as a typical mechanical keyboard and not so pricy. It has all the features I love but the quality really disappoints me after a few months (as working from home I use it much more often in past few months): 1. a few keys do not response properly now and I have to press a few times; 2. battery doesnot last long (3~5 days). Other people also report exactly the same problems.

    1. 1

      @fastzhong, this is great to know... I saw some of the reviews and it made me skeptical.

  11. 1

    I use the DasKeyboard and it has an excellent feel and makes a very satisfying sound but it's so wide that it's unpleasant to use after a few hours.

    The discomfort could probably be reduced if one knows a lot of keyboard shortcuts to avoid reaching for the mouse all the time.

      1. 1

        I agree with @binh, I have been using a DasKeyboard with brown switches with my Mac for a couple of years and could not be happier.

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