I recently purchased a Moonlander mechanical keyboard from ZSA. What follows are my thoughts and experiences.
I’ve been using laptop keyboards for 5+ years, and want to get back to full-sized keyboards with more travel.
- More ergonomic use from a split keyboard
- Improve my typing speed and learn to touch type
- Better (mechanical) keyboard feel
I settled on a black Moonlander with Cherry MX Silent Red switches and printed keycaps. I had considered blank keycaps, because I have a bad habit of looking at the keyboard while typing, and blank caps would make that ineffective. I did purchase these later.
ZSA recently released The Platform, an alternative tenting system that doesn’t rely on the thumb cluster for support. I purchased one and am constantly using it.
The tenting is great, and I’m slowly increasing the angle as it feels more natural.
Adapting to it
I’m still using it in its default layout, getting used to the new positions of the enter, delete and other keys. Switching involves flashing new firmware, and rearranging the keycaps using the provided puller.
So far I’ve learned I want:
- I want less finger travel than QWERTY requires
- separation between the space and delete keys
Too Many layouts to choose from
I’ve been looking at the various Colemak programming layouts available, and eventually found a Colemak layout that’s close to the default layout as far as the non-letter keys are concerned.
My suggestion to ZSA is to have example or starter layouts for non-QWERTY layouts, that users can start with, and customise as needed. In the mean time, there are a few tags they could highlight for new users, such as basic, starter, etc.
I’m slowly adjusting to the new letter key positions, but I still have to think where the keys I want are.
Things I’d do differently
- Get blank keycaps - I did buy these later
Suggestions for a Moonlander Mark 2
- Integrate the platform, reducing the added weight and height
- Add a USB C pass-through for use with security keys such as the YubiKeys from Yubico
- Increase the distance between the thumb cluster and the main keys by 1-2mm
- Create some basic/starter layouts for Colemak, Dvorak, and other alternative layouts
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