The ErgoDox EZ is one of the best ergonomic keyboards you’ve never heard of
Like you’re typing with two boards
It looks like you’re typing with two boards
I wouldn’t call the ErgoDox EZ ugly, but I can’t say it’s attractive either — the aesthetic is entirely utilitarian, and a little thick. For me, the keycaps might be more attractive if they weren’t centered, and had more minimal characters like on the WASD Code.
But I realize that keycaps are deeply subjective, some people love minimal keys, while others dig colorful keycaps. In whichever case, you can always swap out the keycaps with Cherry MX-compatible caps yourself.
The ErgoDox EZ’s two halves are separated and can be individually positioned. It’s great because you can find the position that’s just right for you, and move them around later when you find a more comfortable position.
I’ve placed the two parts shoulder width apart, which is a more natural position for the hands. Imagine, again, standing up while holding your hands in their typing position. Being able to place the ErgoDox EZ so far apart lets me position my hands as if they’re hanging by my sides, which is a more natural pose to stay in. And because the boards are shoulder width, I feel my shoulders opening up as well.
It might look confusing, as if you’re typing with two keyboards at the same time, but I find it very comfortable. My favorite Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic feels constricted now, compared to the ErgoDox EZ.
The one problem I have is that my mouse is now further away because the keyboards are so far apart. The further away your mouse is, the less ergonomic it is, because you have to stretch your arm further away.
Also, the two halves are connected by a cable, and an additional cable connects them to the PC. For someone who prefers everything to be wireless, this has turned my desk into cable central.
Unlike the original ErgoDox, the ErgoDox EZ comes with built-in adjustable stands, three for each half. These stands help you tilt and tent the angle of the keyboard for optimal comfort, and being able to adjust the keyboard like this makes a noticeable difference to typing comfort. I’d highly recommend the ErgoDox EZ over the original for these legs alone.
You can pay extra for ErgoDox EZ’s wrist rests, which I highly recommend. The ErgoDox EZ is thick, and there’s no comfortable way to reach up and over the keyboard without using the wrist rests. The rests are thick, solid, and surprisingly comfortable.
It took me about two weeks just to get started
The ErgoDox EZ’s layout is so different that it took me about two weeks just to get acclimatized to it. At slightly more than one month in, I’m still getting the hang of it.
When I first started using the ErgoDox EZ, I scored an average of 78 WPM with the Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard, and 20 WPM with the ErgoDox EZ. A month later, I scored an average of 50 WPM with the ErgoDox EZ — which means I’m still not up to speed yet.
I still hit the wrong keys from time to time because of the ErgoDox EZ’s unusual layout, and I still pause in between typing because I can’t remember where’s what. It can get a little frustrating — I just accidentally created a new document while writing this sentence.
But there were parts of the keyboard that clicked right away. The thumb cluster, for example, makes complete sense. Of course the Enter key should be placed right next to your thumb, why should such an oft used key be placed so far away? And why shouldn’t your thumb be used to do more than simply hit the Space bar?
I’ve never been a mechanical keyboard fan, but I think I finally get it now. After using the ErgoDox EZ with Cherry MX springs (their most popular order by a wide margin, according to CEO Zukerman), membrane keys now feel mushy and insubstantial. I don’t think I could go back to non-mechanical keyboards anymore.