At last, a nicer keyboard

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2010-03-01

Ever since the up-arrow key on my beloved Cherry G80-5000 keyboard (no longer manufactured, alas) died a few years ago, I have suffered through a series of lousy, lightweight membrane keyboards. My hands got used to Samsung keyboards after a while, but I was never very happy with them, and they needed to be replaced every year or so.

I did try out some "better" keyboards, but their higher price owed more to bells and whistles ("multimedia keys!") than to better keys; and so I always ended up buying the cheapest keyboard I could find. Last year, I couldn't find a Samsung keyboard to replace my dying one, and I had to buy a slightly more expensive entry-level Logitech model instead. It looked nice enough, but it was too flimsy to use. Two or three days of typing broke off both its legs and cracked the casing.

A little over six months ago, after much searching, I found a black TVS Gold keyboard in Nehru Place. At INR1200, it was six times the price of the Logitech, but it had mechanical keys and was sturdy enough to not flex or slide around when I used it in the shop. I bought one, and I'm much happier now than I've been for a long time.

Typing on this keyboard is such a pleasure that I'm willing to overlook its all-plastic construction; but it is nevertheless very disappointing that, at this price, it isn't nearly as rugged as my first TVS keyboard, fifteen years ago (that one had a heavy metal backing plate and no flex whatsoever). The keys deserve a better chassis. Still, it's stood up to a few months of use with no ill effects. And typing on this keyboard is such a pleasure that I'm willing to… type some sentences twice.

The TVS Gold is not a great keyboard, but it's good enough to make me swear off sticky membrane keyboards.

Update (2012-11-24): Three years later, this keyboard is showing signs of reaching the end of its road. The first symptom was some keys becoming unresponsive or "stuck" (not physically) until I mashed them around a little. Later, I noticed that the machine wouldn't boot until I pressed a few keys. Now I have to contend with the occasional random escape sequences being generated (and the lettering has faded too).