In the goings-on of daily life, your choice of keyboard isn't likely to rank among the most important things you have to think about. Heck, it's unlikely it'll even crack the top 20. That said, we could all be doing so much better with the piece of kit that a lot of us spend hours in front of every day.
Or at least that's the conclusion I've come to over the past couple of years as I've discovered the world of low-profile keyboards. Barring accessibility needs, which trump any other preference by far, I'm puzzled as to why these slim typing marvels are still a relatively small portion of the best keyboards on the market. And it's not all about looks (though, to be fair, they often do look great).
Low-profile keyboards: Losing the chunk
I spent most of my computing life typing much as I'm sure most people have: tapping and typing away on large, chunky keyboards. That includes the basic whatever-came-with-the-unattractive-Dell-tower kind we used in my high school typing class, but I also grew an affinity for gaming keyboards as I dipped my toes more into PC gaming. Several hundred hours of my life spent in front of a PC were done so with World of Warcraft and some of the best gaming keyboards from Razer and Logitech.
Naturally, for the longest time, that meant accepting that my keyboard would forever occupy a stupidly large amount of desk space, especially if I wanted all of the various macro keys, volume knobs, and even secondary screens (anyone remember the Logitech G15?). As mechanical keyboards started becoming the standard, I also grew to love the clickety-clack sound and feel of well-built keyboards like the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition.
The thing is, I also used a laptop as a second PC for nearly that entire time. Not long after I picked up a Surface Book 2 several years ago, I found that I actually enjoyed typing on that keyboard far more than I did at my desk. Surface PCs typically have great keyboards, and my hands grew so used to the feeling that I started to prefer the shallower key travel and key spacing on the Surface Book 2 keyboard deck.
My goal from there was to find a desktop keyboard that replicated that feel, but I still wanted mechanical keys if at all possible and going wireless was a must. Checking all of those boxes was difficult for a while, but I finally settled on the great, albeit very expensive, Logitech G915 as my first low-profile keyboard.
Low-profile keyboards: Slimming down
The G915 Lightspeed was something of a revelation for me at the time. It has an extremely attractive design, a low profile, and shallow mechanical keys that feel great to type on. Eventually, I also tried out the G915 TKL, which eliminates the number pad in favor of an even smaller footprint.
Perhaps the biggest thing about going low-profile though is that I could get close to that laptop keyboard feel without sacrificing on what I still enjoyed about more robust desktop keyboards. They're the perfect middle ground for someone who writes and communicates over email and Slack all day, then jumps into a game or two in the evening. The shallower depth also means low-profile keyboards are closer to the surface of my desk, which mostly eliminates the need for a dedicated wrist rest.
Eventually, wanting to experiment outside of the gaming realm, I picked up the Logitech MX Keys, which takes much of the aesthetic choices of the G915 and "office-izes" them. You get a durable, largely metal shell with keys that are a dream to type on.
Low-profile keyboards: Seriously, I can't go back
I realize this is coming off very Logitech-heavy because those are the low-profile keyboards I've had the most experience with. However, I'm not advocating for a single brand here; I'm a fan of keyboards from Razer and Corsair, and I plan to give the Ducky Channel One 2 Mini a try soon. I genuinely think everyone would benefit from reassessing whether that large, chunky keyboard sitting on your desk is really necessary.
You don't even necessarily have to go all-in on the "low-profile" aspect, either. There's been a huge surge in the number of 60 percent keyboards on the market lately. Even some of the bigger gaming brands are now getting in on what was once a rather niche space.
I guess what I'm really asking is this: Do you really need 20 macro keys, a second screen, and a gigantic volume knob? Or would you benefit from a little more simplicity on your desktop?
I know what I'm sticking with.
Do you have a preferred keyboard style?
Do you feel as passionately about any particular keyboard style as I do? Or am I just insane? Let me know with the poll below, and feel free to chime in in the comments!
Silent and Sleek
The Logitech MX Keys is one of the best office keyboards you can buy. A low profile, solid build, and exceptional typing experience make it a solid pick.
I use a Havit KB395L, and I've been really happy with it as a low-profile mechanical. I do wish we'd see some with low-profile Brown switches, but the market doesn't seem to have that as an option. The big-name offerings thus far (Logitech, Cooler Master, etc.) don't seem to be notably better (with the Cooler Master having some rather underwhelming reviews), but I'm also in the camp of sticking to low-profile keyboards going forward. My wrists don't get nearly as tired during long typing sessions or when playing games for extended periods.
This article is a bit of a revelation to me. I didn't know that there were low-profile mechanical keyboards. But to Keith Wallace's point, I prefer the Brown switches, so maybe there's not a good option for me yet. Also not sure I care about low-profile, but I do now feel I should try one out to see if I would like it. I prefer my desktop keyboard to my laptop keyboard by a fairly wide margin. I would never type on my laptop if I could work on my desktop and only work on my laptop when I can't be at my desk. But of course, my laptop does not have a mechanical keyboard, which could make all the difference.
Yes, though, I do need my volume knob. :-)
I have the MX Keys and love it!
I moved from low profile to a chunky gaming keyboard and can't say it was a downgrade. I picked it up quickly. The only reason I'd move back is for aesthetics really.
just gone for the Microsoft compact keyboard, low profile and a little small. Was worried then the muscle memory from my Surface pro kicked in and now I am flying with it. Got the detachable number pad too but have it on the left. that is taking more getting used to.
I ordered a Dell KM717 and holy crap, I never new how good keyboards could be. Not only is it extremely comfortable to type on and low profile, but it can pair with up to 3 different devices (1 usb receiver + 2 bluetooth). Finally retired my trusty beige model m clone.
I'm currently using two Logitech Craft Keyboards ( each paired with a Logitech MX Master 3 Mice ) which I'll probably use until their non-replaceable batteries ( or their soft touch coatings ) have kicked the bucket. They got almost everything I'd want - They're simple but stylish in design with backlit keys, they offer pairing up to 3 devices with per application specific profiles and the possibility of expanding this in combination with supported Logitech Mice and they have USB-C charging. My only two gripes are the lacklustre battery lifetime when the backlit functionality is being used and the lack of a biometric authentication like a Fingerprint ID Reader that would have spared me the extra purchase ( and installation ) of a separate Fingerprint Reader to my bed in order to secure my HTPC as well - Don't care for people casually walking in on my stuff with access to everything.
I have the Logitech MX Keys. Replaced a mechanical keyboard with longer travel. Absolutely love the MX Keys. Like you, I will not go back to loud, clicky, long travel keyboards ever. The MX Keys is a joy to type on.
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