My experience with the CODE Keyboard

Last week when Jeff Atwood announced that he had designed and developed a keyboard I immediately took notice. His CODE Keyboard seemed to have been very thoughtfully designed and had me intrigued. It is hard to argue with the pedigree of something I’d use everyday designed by someone who does what I do everyday. I ordered one and yesterday it arrived.

It probably makes sense to give a bit of context for my keyboard history. Since 2005, when it was first introduced, I’ve almost exclusively been using the Microsoft® Natural® Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 v1.0. While, thankfully, I’ve never had serious issues with RSI I never wanted to get anywhere close to it. Back then I found that after long sessions of intense work I’d start to get a slight ache in my wrists with a traditional keyboard. So I proactively sought out something to avoid even the hint of danger.

I’ve been happy with my 4000 ever since. I own 4 of them and use them anywhere I work. Since switching I’ve never even had a twinge of discomfort. They are by no means perfect. It is physically massive, making it difficult to arrange my desk the way I’d prefer. The action of the keys is nothing special either. The best way I know how to describe the sensation of typing is squishy. That was why I was interested to branch out.

I expected to test-drive the CODE for a week before writing this review. I knew there was going to be some amount of adjustment that I’d need to go through since it is such a different style.

Turns out. I didn’t need that long. I sadly can’t use it long-term.

After using it for around 4 hours I started feeling the tell-tale ache in my wrists. I’m not sure if this would ever turn into something serious but I can’t take that risk.

The keyboard itself, however, was excellent. It is well built. The sound and action are very satisfying. The backlight is surprisingly useful. I really wish I could use it long term but it just doesn’t fit my physical needs.

Now I’m waiting for my order of the new Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop to arrive. I’m very excited to try this after using its predecessor on a daily basis for eight years (even more so after reading this).

David Smith