Let’s say you’re a gamer and you wanna finally upgrade from the crappy free keyboard that came with your system. When looking at mechanical keyboards, I’m sure you’ve come across the term ten key less by now. But first let’s start with the most common layout. This is a standard 104 key full size keyboard. It features everything you’ve come to expect by now – the alphabet, numbers, functions, arrows, and a number pad. And for most people, this is probably the layout you’re used to. Even though this is the most common set up, it doesn’t make it the most ergonomic. In fact, it can actually be quite bad for you. Since we’re located in British Columbia, let’s take a look at the Workplace BC standard for a computer workstation. The ideal position is to have your arms, wrists, and hands in a straight line in front of you, shoulder width apart. Any angles in your wrist can cause excess strain, which could lead to things like soreness or even carpal tunnel. Now, unless you have the shoulder width of a gorilla, you can start to see where the problem lies.
For most human sized humans, a standard keyboard is just too wide. When you have your left hand positioned correctly on the home row, and your right hand on your mouse, your right wrist will have to strain in order to reach the home row. If you have your right arm positioned correctly, then your left hand is too far to the left. All of this translates into a bad time. Especially while gaming. You’ll be sitting there for hours on end, often tense from the action. So what’s the solution? Well, you just get rid of that big chunk on the right side of the keyboard. Yeah, that thing called the number pad. Now, if you’re in the office doing spreadsheets all day, then by all means keep the number pad because that thing is just so much more efficient than the row of number keys on top.
But for gaming, this is where ten key less comes in. Let’s use this as an example. This is the Ozone Strike Battle keyboard. It’s a ten key less mechanical gaming keyboard designed with input and feedback from their sponsored professional gaming teams. Ten key less simply means a layout that’s missing the number pad and its modifier keys. Without that pesky number pad in the way, you can now shift the keyboard more towards the center and have your wrists at a more pleasant angle. When you keep your left hand on WASD and your right hand on the mouse, you should have an almost perfectly ergonomic set up. It also looks pretty nice, as well. The top plate is made of aluminum, so it’s surprisingly heavy and dense even though it’s so small. Our version here comes with Cherry MX Brown switches, but it’s available in Black, Red, and Blue switches as well.
Some people take this a step further and even go with a 60% keyboard – one that gets rid of the arrow keys and the navigation keys. Yes, that little section with insert, delete, home, end, page up, and page down are called the navigation keys. The more you know! Even if you’re not an extreme gamer, having a smaller keyboard on your desk can help reduce clutter as well. And we’ve spent the entire video assuming you have a large table to work with – if you’re on a tiny student sized desk, then you’ll definitely need a TKL or 60% keyboard in order to get enough space to move your mouse. Have you seen the size of those built in keyboard trays on most desks?!
And that about wraps it up for ten key less keyboards. A great compromise nowadays is to get a TKL keyboard and a separate number pad. That way, you get the best of both worlds. Better yet, companies like ASUS even have mechanical numberpads that simply clip on and off. No separate cables to deal with, and you can even switch it to the left side of the keyboard for macros.
And if you’re after the perfect ergonomic set up, especially for work instead of gaming, then you’ll need to look into something like those Microsoft wavey Ergonomic keyboards or a 2 piece keyboard like the ErgoDox. Thanks for watching and leave a comment below on what kind of keyboard you use!