This post was also sent to /r/keyboards if you're interested in the discussion. Link.
Like a lot of people, I had to put together a small office at home come March 2020. While I'm quite comfortable now, my main issue is that my keyboard is a regular one, a Microsoft 600 I'm quite happy with, but it takes a lot of space on the table.
I did a bit of research (clearly not enough) and I thought a mechanical keyboard would solve this. I got a nice Keychron with brown switches because the key layout was excellent, but it came with two problems: it was way noisier than I was willing to stand and it was too high. I could have bought a wrist rest to solve the second issue, but the noise was also a deal breaker. I managed to sell it second hand just this morning. Red switches may fix a bit of this, but I was not convinced. Don't get me wrong: it's not a bad keyboard, it just wasn't a good fit.
I've been searching a bit more for a keyboard I might like: wired, no numpad, non-mechanical; I'm comfortable typing on membrane and chiclet. I discovered ergocanada.com, which has a nice catalog of compact keyboards (including some aberrations), but so far I haven't found anything too convincing.
- Matias has this, which might be exactly what I'm looking for, but several online reviews point at quality issues.
- Adesso has this one but again, looks like the quality is not the best.
- It turns out you can buy the ThinkPad keyboard and connect it to a regular computer. I hate the trackpoint, though. It's not entirely clear to me if this is a wired keyboard.
If I were willing to go wireless (I'm not, but if), there are a few options out there:
- Logitech has the MX Keys Mini, which looks good, but lacks 4 keys I use regularly: Home, End, PgUp, PgDown.
- Apple Magic Keyboard: same as above.
- The Microsoft Designer Compact also looks good, though that emoji key kills me a bit. I want my right CTRL.
- Jelly Comb has some nice ones.
In the end I've given up: I can't seem to find a compact keyboard that I like and that I can be more or less sure won't break after the first week of use (I type hard). What I've learned after all this research1 is that a standard keyboard with chiclet keys is probably better than what I have right now. I'm eyeing this very basic Dell keyboard for when mine breaks.
Update 2: I received my Cherry Stream TKL yesterday and couldn't be happier. It's everything the Keychron wasn't: very low profile and extremely silent. For anyone in my position (would like to get rid of the numpad for whatever reason but doesn't like mechanical keyboards) I think this is one of the best options out there.
yep, I did my own research. Get the vaccine. ↩