Last week I ordered a Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 and this morning it was sitting on my desk waiting for me. What is it you ask? It’s a very small keyboard. No number pad on the right, no Print Screen and Scroll Lock keys (that almost no-one ever uses), and the Page-up/down, end, home etc keys are condensed into the main key area. You can see a keymap here.
Why would I want such a thing? Because with my recent change of office space, my desktop is really quite small. Getting rid of the number pad doubled my mouse space. I never used it anyway.
This is a first impressions review, but I think I have a good sense for it already.
It seems to be a quality piece of hardware. It doesn’t feel cheap, the plastic is well made, and well formed. The keys have good response. They’re relatively quiet, not like the giant clickety IBM keyboards that pcg likes so much.
This is the cheapest of keyboards they make (I paid $60 before shipping), and the only one with real arrow keys. I don’t think I could live without them. The CAPS LOCK key is removed to needing a meta key, which is good. There’s only one control key, and it’s where the CAPS LOCK key would normally be. I don’t really have a problem with that, but I miss having one by the arrow keys. I used to switch virtual desktops with one hand, and now it takes two. The place where the old control key was is blank, so fortunately I don’t send a bunch of whacky characters when I swipe for it.
The function key row was removed, they’re under a meta key now. This means the escape key is next to the 1 on the number row. That’s not a problem at all, except the ~ moved all the way to the other end of the keyboard. That’ll take some getting used to.
There’s a SMALL bit of modification that can be done in layout. There are 4 small dip switches no the back of the keyboard for adjusting a couple things. The Delete key for example, uses a meta to turn it into backspace. There’s one switch to swap that behaviour. The meta keys are on either side of the space bar, with alt keys just to the outside of them. The alt and metas can be switched, and I found that I needed to, just because that’s where my thumb reached for it,
The actual letter keys are the same size, and in the same relative position as my big keyboard, which made transition time very minimal. My actual WPM didn’t change very much at all. I find I have fat fingers when reaching for backspace and alt, but I think I’ll get over that quickly.
All in all, I’m very happy with it, and would suggest it to anyone who wants to reduce some space, and potentially increase their typing speed.