In Praise of Cheap Keyboards

I’m typing this with a keyboard that is cheap and looks cheap, and I’m loving it.

It all started with my first Chromebook, an Acer C720 I got to learn about and explore Chrome OS. I loved it so much I switched to using Chrome OS as my only desktop operating system. Back then my daily driver was an i3 ASUS Chromebox 2 hooked to the Logitech K120 full travel keyboard I had kept around from my last PC.

Having a main desktop machine, I put aside the Chromebook for a while. But later something motivated me to play with the Chromebook more: its keyboard.

The screen of the Acer C720 has notoriously poor viewing angles. But I realized I could view it more comfortably by setting the Chromebook on a slightly taller desk, which made the angle optimal. This led me to use the device more and appreciate its chiclet keyboard with its good feedback.

Atlantis Chocolate 1300 chichlet keyboard
The Atlantis Chocolate 1300 keyboard I had with my ASUS Chromebox 2.

To have a similar experience on the Chromebox I bought the only low profile chiclet unit I found that had the extended Italian layout with accented letters I wanted, an Atlantis Chocolate 1300 wired keyboard. It was cheap and came from a no name brand, but it worked great. I began enjoying typing on the Chromebox more and more.

When I upgraded to my current i7 ASUS Chromebox 3, I plugged the Atlantis keyboard into it. However, its cable and that of the mouse contributed to the mess on my desk, so I replaced these input devices with wireless units. I bought a Logitech M220 mouse and, again, the only low profile, chiclet keyboard with the required layout I found, a Nilox Kt40W.

Nilox Kt40W wireless chiclet keyboard
The Nilox Kt40W wireless keyboard I use with my ASUS Chromebox 3.

The keyboard cost me all of €14.69. Besides being cheap and from an unknown brand, its plastic finish and feel make it also look cheap.

But I really enjoy using the Nilox keyboard.

Pressing the keys makes a clunky noise, a satisfying kind of clunky with a pleasant feedback. At first the pressure of the keys felt hard, slightly more than the Atlantis. But I eventually got used to the keyboard and came to love it.

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