Your Tips – What’s The Best Notebook Keyboard?

Posted on 12 January 2014 by

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (3)

It’s probably more important than the screen – the keyboard – part of the holy trinity of notebook priorites. K-V-M.

I asked the question on Google Plus yesterday – What was your best experience? I got a large number of responses that were fairly varied. That shouldn’t be a surprise as we all type at different angles, weights and with differing requirements for numeric keypads, F&J locating bumps, function keys, pressure, throw, pitch and even noise.

So what’s your experience? Personally I have a shallow angle and light touch so short-throw keyboards work well for me. I have slim fingers too so I can get very fast even on a netbook keyboard. I loved the keyboard on the budget Lenovo Ideapad S205 and in 2013 my favorite keyboard was that of the Dell Latitude E7440. I prefer it to the latest Thinkpad keyboards. Worst keyboard? Another Lenovo – the Lynx 2-in-1. That’s ignoring those split keyboards of the UMPC-era of course! Pet hate? Spacebars that don’t register with the same weight across the whole width.

Let us know your experience either in the G+ stream or below in the comments because this sort of quality feedback is very valuable as a reference.

  • spejr

    Well, I’m using the ThinkPad X61 and the keyboard is nice. Long throw. But i think I could use a slightly shallower one with a bit “softer springs”. There’s a type-writery feel to it. You have to be a kind of determined when writing on this thing, preferably angry. And i usually feel indifferent or even tired when I’m writing things, so it’s not optimal. More suitable for those “hi tech” 60+ suit-gorillas (who are index finger typing their Power Point presentations with excessive force) that it was originally intended for. But good quality:)

    • Great comment! ‘Keyboards for angry people’ now has a place in my head.

  • Lord Metroid

    I like the old keyboards which do not have chiclet/island type keys. I am eagerly awaiting the return laptops with regular keyboards. Until that time I am not upgrading my laptop until it completely brakes.

  • Kyle Muehl

    My last Lenovo was probably the easiest to type on. I used a sony vaio pro 11 a little while ago and that was pretty bad, keys were slippery as ice.

  • Philippe

    I am using also an X61 and after years, still one of the best keyboard ever. Wish Lenovo to maintain and improve this device for the future.

  • David Simpson

    My current laptop is a 6yo Dell XPS 13, and regardless of the hammering I’ve given the keyboard over the years…every week day, for at least 8 hours a day; not even one of the keys has fallen off and none of them has faded. I can’t really compare it to much else though, as this thing is still humming away very nicely.

    The keyboard is much better than my wife’s Sony and the Lenovos I have in my office (all low end though), and I’ve yet to try anything that feels better.

    • Fading is another problem and it reminds me of keycap-printing that gets dirty and less readable.
      Thanks for that comment.

  • CheapMonk

    Strange, i’m using an old Thinkpad X60T too ( i choose the Tablet version for the IPS screen). I’m hitting very (very) hard on the keyboard and he doesn’t complain (he’s now almost 8 years …) I want to destroy it but i can’t. The size is perfect for my hands, it’s like an extension. Don’t know what my next laptop will be. Recent Lenovo thinkpads don’t get me much excited.

  • arka

    Im using new ACER aspire 392 and its very bad.. I want to even sell it couse buttons allways mistaped when using it. Im experienced key taper and using blind method, still some of the buttons does’t respond in time. Maybe need another angle to push the buttons i dont know, never had this problem before.

    Sorry for my english

  • Piem

    The old HP nc8430.

    What’s great:
    1) 3 mm of key travel, no rubbery feeling. Some new thin ultrabooks remind me of the Sinclair Spectrum or the ZX81 (or Times 1000)
    2) No number pad so the touch pad is aligned with the middle of the screen and my eyes can too.

    What’s bad:
    1) It’s easy to get dirt slip under the keys. Maybe an island type keyboard solves that.
    2) I had to replace the keyboard after 5 years. Some keys started to get very thin and the A got a hole in it :-) The replacement keyboard seems to be softer but I hope to be able to find a replacement laptop this year despite manufacturers are doing their best to produce laptops with worse ergonomics.

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  • Hisham

    Good to know that many of them old laptops still in good service. Kind of miss the feel of previous gen Elitebooks, I had used 2530p previously but have since moved to Dell Latitude E6320 which has the better keyboard amongst many current laptops. And yes, I quite agree that keyboard is more important than screen even, being the primary input device. I do notice that most laptop user do not consider the keyboard as a major factor when considering a laptop.

  • Dave

    I am wondering who the hell thought converting every laptop imaginable to chiclet/island keyboards was a good idea? I hate them and I am always mistyping on them I cannot touch type with them accurately and I hate the way they feel. I have a Dell Inspiron E1505 (6400) and a Vostro 1500 that both have the beveled scissor switch keys and I love them both. I had bought an Asus U56E and it had a very horrible chiclet style keyboard. I hated it so much that I rarely used it and ended up just selling it. These PC manufacturers need to stop doing the trendy (Cr)Apple bull and reimplement the old scissor switch style keyboards as they are much better for typing and have a more natural layout.

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