A few months ago, I decided to give the mechanical keyboard thing a try.
Compactness being an important factor of decision, I hesitated between a Ten-keyless (KUL ES-87) and a 60% (Pok3r). I decided to be a little adventurous and went with the Pok3r.
The Pok3r being a programmable keyboard, I tried different configurations that I’m exposing here.
For more details about the programming feature, here is the keyboard manual.
Being a OS X user, the very first thing I did was swapping
I also enabled DIP Switch 3 to make
Caps Lock a
FN key and I made
HJKL arrow keys.
Verdict: Even if it was fine overall, I terribly missed dedicated arrow keys outside of VIM. Using
HJKL as arrow keys did not really feel natural.
Verdict: It was better but I still really missed dedicated arrow keys. I use a lot of shortcuts that involve arrow keys and adding an additional key to them was not convenient at all.
Fortunately, the keyboard comes with a built-in feature that allows transforming
RCtrl keys into an arrow cluster by pressing
So, I gave this a try and ended up with this layout:
Verdict: That was really great but I then terribly missed the right
PN keys are not programmable by default but that’s where DIP Switch 4 gets useful. By moving
PN to the bottom left, we can make
PN keys programmable.
PN keys to the bottom left made me lose the
Option key. But losing
Option was not an “option”!
DIP Switch 4 is useful but I don’t want to lose a key on a 60% keyboard.
That said, using bottom right modifier keys as VIM-like arrow keys just felt awesome. Can’t we make the world a better place and make this happen without losing a key?
Unfortunately, I think it’s just not possible at the hardware level.
So maybe Karabiner Elements can help?
What if we use
RAlt to turn
RCtrl keys into an arrow cluster and use a Karabiner Elements config to map
Verdict: That looks like the best of both worlds and I’m pretty satisfied with this config. Downside is that I have to press
RAlt each time the keyboard gets unplugged.