Despite the advent of touch screens, speech recognition and eye-tracking, the keyboard still reigns supreme as the input device of choice for many of us. Somebody who places a lot of value on this intermediary is programmer and prominent blogger Jeff Atwood who, disillusioned with the range of mechanical keyboards on the market, set to work in producing the CODE Keyboard.
In conceiving and developing the device, Atwood sought the help of a like-minded keyboard enthusiast, Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards.
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"I told him that the state of keyboards was unacceptable to me as a geek," Atwood writes on his blog. "I proposed a partnership wherein I was willing to work with him to do whatever it takes to produce a truly great mechanical keyboard."
With both 87 and 104-Key versions available, the CODE keyboard uses either Cherry MX Clear or Cherry MX Green mechanical switches, the latter fitted with sound-softening O-rings.
Supported by a steel backplate, the keyboard features white LED backlighting which can be adjusted to seven different levels of brightness or disabled completely, with an onboard memory for storing user preferences.
The keyboard can be configured to different layouts such as QWERTY or Dvorak, and the keys to different functions such as Alt (PC) or Command (Mac), via a row of DIP (Dual In-line Package) switches on the back, with a dual layer PCB (Printed Circuit Board) on the inside.
There's plenty of scope for those time-saving keyboard shortcuts with a 6-Key USB Rollover, which means that up to six keys can be pressed at once (not including Ctrl, Alt, and Shift, bringing the number of keys that can be pressed simultaneously up to nine).
The keyboard hosts its media keys on the navigation cluster, meaning Page Up will turn up the volume, for example. Users are alerted to an active Caps, Num or Scroll lock through 1 mm LED indicator lights, while a wire keycap puller comes included for removing, cleaning and modifying the keys.
Windows, Linux and Mac compatible, the keyboard sports rubber pads and rubber flip out feet on the back to stop it slipping around the desk.
The 87-Key version weighs in at 907 g (2 lb), measures 363 x 142 x 39 mm (14.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 in) and is priced at US$145 (with MX Clear switches) or $165 (with MX Green switches with O-rings).
The 104-Key Code Keyboard weighs 1098 g (2.42 lb) and measures 445 x 142 x 30 mm (17.5 x 5.6 x 1.2 in). With MX Clear switches, it is priced at $150, while the MX Green with O-rings will cost users $170.
Product page: Code KeyboardsView gallery - 10 images