Keyboard for WFH setup

Intern in IB - Restr

What keyboards are you guys using for your WFH setup? I don't have a good keyboard yet so I'm looking for some ideas. It has to be mechanical.

Comments (19)

May 16, 2020

It all depends on preferences (how customizable you want, backlit or not, etc).

I go with the tried and true das (4 professional). It is sturdy, responsive and does everything I need (which isn't really much). I never got into the RGB keyboards or any of the newer stuff.

I have also heard good things about Corsair

  • Intern in IB - Restr
May 17, 2020

Thanks, will check out the Das 4.

May 16, 2020

I have a thinkpad x1 carbon and if you have a thinkpad you know that they have awesome keyboards.

So I purchased the trackpoint II external keyboard, it is the same as the ones on the laptop. Its awesome would highly reccomend.

  • Intern in IB - Restr
May 17, 2020

I'll check it out thanks

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 16, 2020

There are other threads on the best keyboards for IB which could be helpful in deciding what keyboard to get. Look through those as well, but here are some things to think about.

Switches:

The most important element for any mech keyboard you pick will be the switch you choose. The switch is essentially what is between the key and the board and will determine how fast your typing registers. The switches register keystrokes at different speeds, through different ways, and with different feels.

The most common mechanical switches are created by Cherry MX and the three main ones (Red, Brown, Blue) are a good barometer for the different things you should be looking for.

Red is a linear switch with a very fast response time. This is good for gaming because you want to activate a certain command as quick as you can. However, this may not be great for typing because you can easily activate a key you didn't want, slowing your typing. It is not a terrible typing experience by any means however.

Blue is a clicky switch that will provide feedback, almost like you are using a typewriter. This probably has the best typing experience, as it will feel great using it, however, it will be extremely loud. This will not be a problem in WFH, but if you bring it into the office, people may get annoyed.

Brown is a tactile switch that is essentially a middle-ground between Blue and Red. It provides a good typing experience but it is not as loud. This is the one I recommend for a first keyboard, and then you can experiment later.

Size:

You can get keyboards that range from 60% to Full size. The Full size will include the numpad on the right side of the keyboard. This will be helpful for IB if you are entering in numbers into excel. The TKL or tenkeyless will be the traditional keyboard excluding the numpad. Any smaller, and the keyboard will lose the function key row, which is absolutely essential for shortcuts and functionality within IB.

So based on how much room you have on your desk, I would decide between a TKL and Full size. I personally went full size and while it is a large keyboard, having the numpad is useful.

Macros:

One of the best things about having more keys on your keyboard, is that there is more room for functionality. You can customize each key to execute a specific command, so you can create even faster shortcuts. While it may be a bit overkill, it can certainly save you time for those shortcuts that are really annoying to execute. I specifically looked for keyboards that had dedicated macro keys, essentially additional keys that you can customize to execute any function you want. This is extremely helpful.

RGB/Keycaps:

A lot of high-end keyboards include RGB backlighting which is frankly very useless. I would not care much about this feature, but most keyboards that have everything else you want also offer RGB.
The keycaps are the actual keys that have the lettering on them and they can be of varying quality. The ABS keycaps are the cheapest plastic keycaps possible that will wear down after a year or two of use, they also feel pretty average. PBS (doubleshot) are higher quality keycaps that last basically forever and feel a bit better.

Build Quality:

One of the most important determinants of the typing experience is the build quality of the keyboard. Most mass-produced keyboards will have key 'rattle". This is because the switches and stabilizers (which are placed underneath larger keys such as the spacebar) are not lubed. Lubing them will make the key pressing smoother, reducing rattle and creating a much better typing experience. Unless you manually lube switches and stabilizers, you will be forced to deal with this subpar build quality.

Keyboards on the Market:

Essentially, most of the mass-produced gaming mechanical keyboards on the market will be lacking in some category. First of all, if you go below $100, most keyboards will either not be mechanical, have bad build quality, or compromise in some other fashion.

In the $100-$200 price point, most of the "premium" keyboards will still have compromises. Either they have crappy keycaps, no dedicated macro keys, and almost always the build design will be subpar. The typing experience will not be as great as if you were to build a custom mech or get a keyboard that has limited release from websites such as KBDfans. It is incredibly frustrating that none of these mass-produced keyboards are that great, and you could probably build your own keyboard that surpasses all of the ones available for a similar or lower price.

Recommendation:

While I think building your own keyboard is the way to go, and it is not that hard to do if you dedicate a few hours to watching youtube videos on the subject, for a first keyboard you might as well just get a mass-produced gaming keyboard and go from there. That is what I did, and I am relatively happy with mine.

I wanted dedicated macro keys and a fully mechanical keyboard with Mx Browns, and the only keyboard that offered those two elements was the Full-size Corsair K95 Platinum. I think this keyboard provides all the functionality one could possibly need, and while the build quality isn't amazing, the layout is non-standard, and the keycaps are ABS, it gets the job done. I paid $145 for it, which is a lot, but I am happy with the product.

Razer and DAS have similar build quality, but do not offer dedicated macro keys, which is why I went for Corsair.

If you are not willing to spend that much on a keyboard, which I totally understand, I would try to at least get a full-size truly mechanical keyboard with MX browns or equivalent. Definitely ditch the RGB to lower the price point if you can.

Hope that helps!!!

TLDR:

Corsair K95 Platinum is a a great option for $145 that has dedicated macro keys for added functionality.

If you want a cheaper one, try to get any fully mech keyboard with MX Browns or equivalent.

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  • Intern in IB - Restr
May 17, 2020

Thanks for the thorough response. I will check out your suggestions. I'm leaning towards MX blue switches as of now. How much does the number pad help (I like the look of a compact keyboard)? Otherwise, I've been thinking about the red dragon K552W. I understand what you said regarding price and quality, just hard to spend that much on keys.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 17, 2020

I found the numpad very helpful when I was doing things such as inputting historicals into excel. You can quickly type in basic formulas into excel as well, and the added keys give you more room to code macros onto duplicate keys.

That being said, it is not a massive improvement and going TKL does give you access to a wider amount of keyboard options at a lower price point. You can always get an external numpad later (they are expensive though, around $80 which is ridiculous given you can get a full keyboard for that).

Essentially, just decide how much you value incremental efficiency gains when deciding between TKL and full-size. If you go TKL, the red dragon is definitely a great budget option.

May 17, 2020

It's also all about the switches. I use Cherry MX Blues but they can be quite loud, so I put some 0.2 O rings on them. If I could go back, I'd opt for Mx Cherry Browns instead.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Previously Malta Monkey

May 17, 2020

I agree about the switches, I also went with blue and prefer those. In the office brown is probably safer unless you have your own office, as the blue will be loud and may piss people off.

  • Intern in IB - Restr
May 17, 2020

Yeah considering this will be for a WFH setup, I'm leaning towards blues

May 17, 2020

I don't mind the sound of keyboards typing but I know others do. For WFH the blues are super nice to type on and very tactile. I put the O Rings on to not drive my wife crazy.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Previously Malta Monkey

May 18, 2020

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May 18, 2020

Check out Razer Chroma Ornata.

1) It's mechanomembrane, meaning that you will still get the same tactile response as with mechanical one but the sound is not as annoying and you can type a lot faster IMO.

2) It was originally made for gaming so you can easily record macros and/or customize it to your liking in user-friendly Razer interface.

3) Get the version with the palm rest, it's super comfortable and you hands will never get hurt.

May 18, 2020

Logitech ergonomic keyboard. I like it a lot as a keyboard. My main criticism is that it connects with a USB unifying plug. My new laptop is pure USB-C so I have to use an adapter. But the keyboard itself is super nice and easy to use.

May 18, 2020

If budget is a concern, consider this: Loud AF with knockoff blues and tenkeyless: https://www.amazon.com/Redragon-K552-Mechanical-Ke... $37. I use it along with an ancient numpad, because I'm a lefty, and I want it to the left of my mouse.

May 18, 2020

Filco MJ2 with 67g Aqua Zilents with GMK Classic Retro keycaps with the Filco Numpad also with 67g Aqua Zilents.

If you're not willing to learn how to solder switches to pcb's (which I'm sure is 99.99% of this website) then you should buy a high quality keyboard that you can use at the office when WFH is done.

I highly recommend a TKL Leopold with Silent Reds. Google "Leopold FC750R Silent Red"

That will be infinitely better than the keyboard you're typing on right now and won't look out of place in an office environment like a gaming or enthusiast keyboard would. It will also be infinitely better than a fucking Razer or Corsair keyboard garbage wave soldered piece of shit. Don't buy a goddamn Corsair keyboard for $150 like the most SBed post on this thread says to do.

Also - macro keys are overrated. This is coming from someone with the Genovation KB170 (look it up). 132 dedicated macro keys. The most macro keys on any consumer keyboard on earth. Unless you're willing to learn to code AutoHotKey then macro keys for work are NOT worth it. Learn the Windows/Excel shortcut

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 18, 2020

Good recommendations. Do you prefer reds to browns or blues for typing? My impression was they weren't as good so I didn't even consider red switches.

I totally agree that Corsair doesn't have great build quality for such an expensive keyboard and the RGB is over the top, I only got it because I wanted those dedicated macro keys. That primarily was driven by your post on a different thread where you mentioned the Genovation KB170.

I didn't want to desolder the Genovation, so I tried to find a mass-produced one that had Cherry Mx browns and Corsair was the only one I could come up with.
The functionality pretty much covers everything one could want in a keyboard for IB and it's simple enough to set-up the macros for a novice.

I am definitely thinking about building a custom mech next time, probably going to try to find a hot-swappable pcb so I can experiment with switches without having to learn how to solder. Once you go down the custom keyboard rabbithole there is no turning back! Your comment on the other thread started my interest in this area so thank you for that.

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May 21, 2020
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