Most durable numpadless keyboard?

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Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:45 pm

I've got a user who goes through keyboards every 3-4 years. She leaves them in pretty good mechanical condition, she just wants a new one when the key labels are worn off. I seem to remember that dye sublimation is one way to make a keycap that's proof against this.

Are there other durable ways to label a keycap?
Can someone recommend a quality USB keyboard without a numpad, preferably one with long-lasting key labels?
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:50 pm

well you could look at one of the various mechanical keyboards, some of them feature laser cut labels or the like: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Keycap_printing

edit: my tenkeyless Coolermaster Quickfire Rapid has "laser-etched keycaps with infill" according to the same site. After about 10 months of use (mostly gaming), there's some wear on the WASD keys, with the print on the S key being a lot darker than the rest of the keyboard
Last edited by Firestarter on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:01 pm

You may want to look into http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/ You can order a full keyboard with laser etched keys or just get the keys and toss them on a current KB.

EDIT: Well.. They don't have laser etched keys anymore... I'll keep digging and link them to you.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:11 pm

Assuming it has to be a mechanical keyboard, probably she'd want one with MX Browns since it'll be used exclusively for typing, no gaming. I was disappointed to see that Unicomp doesn't have any numpadless keyboards for sale, since their keycaps use dye-sub.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:40 pm

You could get her an illiminated keyboard and the keys never wear out. I got this on a shell shocker and it's pretty good azio http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823839013&cm_re=azio-_-23-839-013-_-Product

Only thing I suggest with these is that they should slide under the drawer so they're not lighting you up although this model can be turned off.

edit:
I didn't see the part about the numpadless so you might want to look for a different kind.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:44 pm

bthylafh wrote:Assuming it has to be a mechanical keyboard, probably she'd want one with MX Browns since it'll be used exclusively for typing, no gaming. I was disappointed to see that Unicomp doesn't have any numpadless keyboards for sale, since their keycaps use dye-sub.


Browns would be ideal.

I also found that wasdkeyboards uses UV printing for all of their caps now. I have no idea if this is going to be good enough for you as I've no knowledge of how well this printing method hold up tot he test of time.

http://support.wasdkeyboards.com/customer/portal/articles/1375109-what-printing-methods-do-you-offer-

Here is another link that lists some users of Dye Sublimation. http://deskthority.net/wiki/Dye_sublimation#Dye_sublimation

ThatStupidCat wrote:You could get her an illiminated keyboard and the keys never wear out. I got this on a shell shocker and it's pretty good azio http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823839013&cm_re=azio-_-23-839-013-_-Product

Only thing I suggest with these is that they should slide under the drawer so they're not lighting you up although this model can be turned off.

edit:
I didn't see the part about the numpadless so you might want to look for a different kind.


I hadn't thought of that. Coolermaster has some nice ones to look at... The Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i would be perfect. I can't find it on newegg though, so here is an Amazon link for you.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cooler%20Master%20CM%20Storm%20QuickFire%20Rapid-i
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:57 pm

I have nothing of value to add. I just find it odd that she would need to look at the keys if she's typing enough to wear the labels off. Unless it just bothers her aesthetically.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:07 pm

The Egg wrote:I have nothing of value to add. I just find it odd that she would need to look at the keys if she's typing enough to wear the labels off. Unless it just bothers her aesthetically.


She's got enough rank that asking her about it would be counterproductive.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:17 pm

I found this one that has dye-sub labels and Topre switches:

https://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?pid=rf_se07t0

Not cheap, but maybe it'll pay for itself after several years of use.

edit: but in case that's too much $$$, keep sending suggestions.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:39 pm

Since she is big shot enough I guess there is no way around it. Two things to consider:
1. Replacing a cheapo $20 keyboard every 3-4 years may be just cheaper than to find an expensive one only to have other accidents (her spilling coffee on it?) destroying it?
2. Put "key cap protector" (you can just cut up from larger screen protector sheets) on the keys? (I know, this may be too labour intensive)

Or, just buy her a pure black keyboard? (ok, may be a career limiting move :o)
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:14 pm

I have this *ancient* Toshiba membrane keyboard that I have been using for a long time. I have taken it apart for cleaning more times than I can remember. Would still be using it now, if the key jamming when playing games with it hadn't finally gotten to me. Anyway, the labels on the keycaps aren't printed on - they're all some kind of sticker-like material glued onto the caps. The keys originally all had a slight texture that has since been worn off most of them, BUT the labels have not been affected in the slightest.

If you could get near a collection of OEM keyboards and press your eyeballs against them I bet you could find one with similar keycaps. Remove the manufacturer's name, give it to her and it'll probably be the last time you have to deal with it.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:26 pm

Get mechanical keyboard.
Replace caps when they wear off instead of the whole keyboard.

And while browns are good, also consider Blues or Greens with dampening rings. Browns are just way too weak for me, so they feel no different from linear switches. Actually, consider dampening rings regardless. It won't get rid of the Blues' click, but you can get bottoming out noise regardless of switch type.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:28 pm

I won this puppy from TR a few months back, the Quickfire Stealth.

The style is a little different, but because the labels are on the side, there is almost no way they will wear off. Unless she has nails long enough to actually scratch the key above while typing. Cherry MX switches and no number pad make it a win otherwise.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:12 am

Philldoe wrote:I hadn't thought of that. Coolermaster has some nice ones to look at... The Cooler Master CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i would be perfect. I can't find it on newegg though, so here is an Amazon link for you.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cooler%20Master%20CM%20Storm%20QuickFire%20Rapid-i

this sounds like a great solution, the only way she can wear through those labels is if she manages to wear through the whole cap! Hopefully you can turn the lighting off or put it in a non-tacky mode.
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:43 am

There is a Filco Ninja Magestouch-2 Tenkeyless that has the legend printing on the front-side of each key, instead of on the tops. Nothing to wear off the key-tops, so problem solved. (Though, the current prices on Amazon seem about 50% higher than they were a couple of years ago.)
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Re: Most durable numpadless keyboard?

Postposted on Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:28 am

I've had the Quickfire Rapid TK for three months, and it's a great keyboard to type on. The letters themselves show no sign of wear, but the textured top is definitely wearing smooth on the commonly-used keys (like so: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... attern.png ). It's not nearly as bad as that picture, but it's something to consider if your user is bothered by the aesthetics of the keycaps.

(I use the same keyboard at work and home, cleaning with alcohol wipes, so it may be wearing quicker than it usually would)

Still, I'd recommend it anyway since the WASD keycaps are compatible, which should make for easy replacements in the future.
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