I have used Apple keyboards forever, going back to whatever came with the used Power Macintosh 7600 I started college with.1 I generally used whatever came with the computer I had. A dual processor G4, some titanium PowerBooks, etc. I’ve been using the Apple Magic Keyboards (with the number pads) at home since they came out. I tried other keyboards here and there, but generally really like the Apple Magic Keyboards: low profile, good key action, and they look decent. I think I’ve had 2 or 3 of them, starting with the USB plug-in one, and ending on a black Bluetooth one. I also have one at work.

There were a few dark years where I had to use Windows machines at work. The first one had some crappy keyboard. When I changed jobs, I got a Logitech solar powered keyboard. Decent keyboard, kind of similar to the Apple Magic Keyboard in a lot of respects. That keyboard prompted me to try out a nicer Logitech for home. After it and the warranty replacement both broke in the same manner2, I had them send me a the Mac version of the solar keyboard. I didn’t like it as much as the Apple keyboard, so I ordered the black Apple keyboard when I got my now ex-Mac Mini.

While I like the Apple keyboard, I kind of wanted one that I could a) program and b) didn’t have a number pad. I don’t use a number pad at home much and wanted to reclaim some desk space. I really wanted to get a HHKB, but couldn’t stomach losing the arrow keys while not being truly programmable. I’m perfectly happy with Vim keybindings for arrows, but the HHKB has some goofy layout that I could tell was just not going to work for me.

About 6 months ago, I decided to try a Keychron S1, a low profile mechanical keyboard. I figured since I was so used to flat keyboards, a low profile keyboard was the way to go. Nice keyboard, well built and programmable. I just couldn’t type on the thing. Not sure if it was the profile or the switches, but it was super touchy and I was constantly hitting neighboring keys by accident.

Unfortunately, several days after I got (and before I came to the realization that I couldn’t type on the damn thing), I also ordered a Mode Designs Envoy. The thinking at the time was the Keychron was good, I could maybe take it to work, and I was going to get something more customizable for home. Once I decided the Keychron had to go, I started to regret ordering the Envoy, but water under the bridge and all.

The Envoy came in about a month ago. I built and am happy to say it is GREAT. Looks super nice, is well built, the keycaps are great, and I even like the switches.3 All the misgivings I had with the Keychron (it really is a nice keyboard) aren’t present in this keyboard. I highly recommend it if you want a 65% keyboard. I’m tempted to also order a Tofu60 or Tofu65, but I know I have no use for a second keyboard like that.

  1. AppleDesign Keyboard? I don’t think it was the Apple Extende Keyboard II, but it could have been. ↩︎

  2. I think they pulled that model off the market. The switch mechanisms would break where the keycap attached, so your key would get off center and wobble around after the first attachment point broke. ↩︎

  3. I went with quiet tactile switches. At some point I’ll try a different type. ↩︎