Reviewing the Matias Dvorak Keyboard

Ahh, Dvorak. I always wanted to learn how to type using a Matias Dvorak Keyboard.

Now that I have an “actual” DVORAK Keyboard, thanks to the guys over matias.ca, I can now patiently teach myself.

 

Good History Knowledge:

You might be surprised to learn that the reason you see the letters QWERTY, and the others on your keyboard, in the position that they are in is because this makes your typing slower. [Source]

Why, you may well ask, “would keyboards be designed to make typing slower?“. Good question. Back when Christopher Sholes created the Qwerty layout for his new typewriter in the 1800s, it solved a problem.

The main problem Sholes faced was that of bars colliding during typing. If two keys near each other were pressed quickly in succession, the bars they controlled sometimes collided or jammed. In order to avoid this problem, Sholes re-arranged his keyboard so that common combinations of letters were hard to type, thus making the keyboard slower and reducing the chance of jamming.

 

The other reason for the placement of some of the Qwerty keys in certain places was to boost typewriter sales. In order for salesmen to be able to sell typewriters, it was important that they not be seen ‘hunting and pecking‘ during demonstrations. R was moved for this reason, and replaced the period on the left of the T.

That is why, if you look at your keyboard, you will see that commonly typed pairs of letters are well spaced out, and that the word “typewriter” can be typed using just the letters on the top row. (awesome?)

 

The keyboard has revolutionized the way we communicate and input large amounts of information into a digital device. For many users, QWERTY is the only keyboard layout they know. Alternative keyboard layouts, including Dvorak and Maltron, challenge the aging QWERTY interface by moving letters around in a way that requires less motion and strain to form otherwise simple and common words.

Dvorak is a keyboard layout that is more efficient, faster, and more comfortable than the standard QWERTY layout. It has 70% of the most commonly used letters positioned in the home row (middle of keyboard) whereas, QWERTY has only 32%, so your fingers move less.

Shortly after the Dvorak layout was introduced, its users began winning typing competitions. For almost a decade, they swept the field. Contest officials tried to have them banned for “unfair competition”. One year, their machines were sabotaged, leading Dvorak to hire security guards prior to competitions.

In 1982, the Dvorak layout was finally designated as an alternative standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

 

The world record for fastest typing was set using a Dvorak keyboard.

Barbara Blackburn of Salem, Oregon, achieved cruising speeds of 150 to 170 words per minute, and peak speeds of 212 wpm. That’s an incredible 17+ key presses per second! Other famous users include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen. Also, since your fingers work less on Dvorak, you’re much less likely to develop repetitive strain injuries from typing.

 

On to the review…

Their’s not much to review on this keyboard as it’s not a meant for “gaming“, but what makes this Keyboard “really” unique is that it’s in DVORAK format and switchable to QWERTY.

It has a layout selection key that lets you instantly & easily switch the layout to standard QWERTY. The keyboard is labelled with both Dvorak and QWERTY key legends, so you can easily see which key is which.

This Keyboard is Great for Beginners as you have the Dvorak layout printed right on the keys, for easy reference while you’re learning. Plus, with the press of a button, you can switch back to QWERTY, if you decide that Dvorak’s not for you. Lastly to mention, the keyboard has a comfortable tactile feel with enough resistance to hold the weight of your hands.

Also, if your a neat freak like me, this keyboard has a built-in USB hub which lets you connect your mouse or trackball directly to the keyboard.

 

It’s also compatible on both the PC and Mac.

 

Phew, that took awhile to type in Dvorak…

 

Buy it now for $99!