Sunday, 26 January 2014

For a few years (from the point I was previously searching to purchase a laptop, which turns out to be the one I'm now typing on...) I have found a disturbing trend in laptop design.

They're called 'chiclet' (or chicklet, or even island-style) keys, I believe it stems from apple? I'm not entirely sure... Whatever started it however has now doomed all of mankind to suffer these cuboid blocks of design disgust.

chiclet, island style, chicklet, keyboard
I wrote this Haiku to sum up my annoyance:

Gaps so frustrating
When typing, letters misplaced
Island keys are bad

These tiny squares often where tab, shift, backspace and even enter are all the same size makes any form of fluid typing a chore with example sentences such as "the qyick beown focd jump3d ovet the ;ZY DOG"

The typing experience on these cruddy keys leave me feeling much like this amusing animation:

So, If Chiclet Keys Suck, What's The Alternative?

laptop, normal keyboard
I have from the time I began typing used  'classic' style keys that is to say non-gapped scissor functioned keys such as the ones on which I regale this tale. While these keys are 'flat' style as opposed to the even more classical bevelled edge keys (which adorn my keyboard on my main PC) The fact that the keys are
placed together and with tactile interaction when passing a finger across them allows much greater typing experience.

The sad part is that these 'classic' style keyboards are now rarer than I like my steak, and I like mny steak to be a little pink ... so that's quite rare.

Why Does Any Of This Matter?

I find myself at the point in time where once again I require to upgrade my laptop, and to do so I must part ways with some hard earned cash for an item which I will most likely use at least once every other day for the next 3 or 4 years, I cannot bear the thought that I have to spend money on something that will annoy me perpetually until such time as I recreate the animation above in reality.

So I put finger to key (non-chiclet key mind you...) to vent my distress and frustration, I shall from this point be using this blog as a collective reference for when I find laptop models which have normal keys and hopefully be able to find one which not only has the magical keys of yore but also the hardware to cope with my demands.

That means that somewhere in the future I shall be spending a few hundred bob on a hunk of plastic and silicone, and by all that is regarded as sacred by anyone on this planet I shall not be buying a laptop which features lego bricks as it's medium of human interface device.


  1. So what have you found. I'm dealing with the same frustration. Driving me bonkers.

    1. so far it's not looking good, I've found only a handful of models / series of laptops that do not have the silly 'island' keys .. and some of them are niche 'gaming' laptops at rather hefty price tags... I just posted up a new blog about a recent find though, take a read over there, and I'f you yourself have found anything I'd love to hear about it.

  2. I just stumbled upon this blog and oh-my-god. It's been driving me nuts. I had a toshiba a500 up until recently and those keys were awesome, and now I'm having a really hard time finding a laptop with decent keys. The ones that have them good are either for business (Thinkpads) or very high end (Alienware).