Looking for a keyboard

Looking for a keyboard that is like the old Dell or IBM ThinkPad laptop keyboards: concave keys, short travel, light but positive feedback. I am just sick of the chiclet style keys or whatever the square blocks are called now that pass as keycaps. I don’t want big clunky clack clack keys and don’t need a number pad. Bonus points for Mac keyboard layout. Suggestions?

Like so:

Logitech have made a series of Mac compatible keyboards over the years that I think would fit your needs. Definitely concave and short travel.

I bought the Logitech Easy‑Switch K811 last year, and thought it felt good.

I don’t know why, but the price for that keyboard was always out of whack, and now it’s out of stock everywhere. I assume there are other keyboards out there from Logitech that might suit you. Suggesting it while you wait for others who might have better suggestions.

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I have a K810 - almost there, but the travel is just a bit too long, not quite concave enough, a bit sloppy, and I really want keys that are snugged up to each other like on a Dell laptop, so I don’t bash into the sides of the keys (maybe I am a “key slider”, or something? I sure know I am a lousy typist…)

Those are great keyboards, not as concave as you probably like, but they work great:

Also you can choose the key type that works best for your needs.

If you want an old ThinkPad keyboard, you can get an old ThinkPad keyboard. Look up SK-8835, SK-8840, SK-8845, SK-8855. They made them with and without numpad; with and without trackpad. (Lenovo makes a current model too but I can’t recommend this to anyone reading who is particular about key feel. It doesn’t even feel like current ThinkPad keyboards; it is a cheaper, hollower, plastickier imitation of them.)

If you want something more modern with non-island style keys, you can look for a low-profile mechanical keyboard with linear or tactile switches. Many manufacturers make them. Just make sure it says “low-profile” and doesn’t say “clicky” or “blue”. Switches come in linear, clicky and tactile. Linear are the quietest and clicky (for which most manufacturers’ color is blue) are the loudest which you said you don’t want.

However, I would echo the recommendation for a Logitech K811. It has island style keys but they are lightly concave and the travel is 2.5mm, more than the 1-1.5mm you get on modern laptop keyboards. It has a Mac layout, it’s light, wireless, backlit, pairs with 3 devices at once, and the battery lasts forever. Basically it is “the easiest to live with”. It can set you back as they’ve been discontinued but no more than you’ll pay for a ThinkPad keyboard or a mech.

Would the Logitech MX Keys or K750 not be a suitable board? (though they aren’t tenkeyless).
There’s an MX Keys version for Mac.

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You want these from Matias. They have been making keyboards for Mac since the beginning. They have the huge clack, clack style which you don’t want and so, recently they created a “chiclet” ones, much like the Magic Keyboard.


Good suggestions here. You might want to also ask on https://reddit.com/r/keyboards
Lots of knowledgable fanatics there :slight_smile:

But… at least the one that you linked to seems to be just like the Apple Magic Keyboard… and @dsh1705 said in his original post that he was “sick of the chiclet style keys”.

That’s true @tjluoma

Then, he can buy an external Thinkpad keyboard. I used to own one before I sold it off for a mechanical keyboard and it was wonderful.

I can’t vouch for the quality now. Back then, what I owned was IBM-branded.

Lenovo ThinkPad Compact USB Keyboard with TrackPoint - US English

There’s also a bluetooth version ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II (US English) | Keyboards | Lenovo US

Presumably the Bluetooth version would work with a Mac. The USB version says:

  • Operating system Requirements Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

It seems absurd to think about a keyboard only working with a certain OS, but I presume it’s the additions beyond a QWERTY keyboard which may require some sort of software support.

Either that or it would work fine, but they just don’t want to be bothered “supporting” the Mac, so they say it’s Windows only. Hard to tell sometimes before you just buy it.

(While I don’t begrudge the folks who enjoy the little red Thinkpad “nubbin” I also cannot believe that there are people who really enjoy using it. I’ve tried it a few times and had no aptitude for it, and didn’t really see the point. I guess it’s like the chopsticks of the keyboard world, and I’m just a knife & fork guy.)

It works with both my MBA and ipad, except a few function keys on the top. Specifically those on top of F4, F8, and F9-12. Others like volume and brightness work.

I guess they don’t want to support mac officially because of the above non-functioning keys and also there’s windows key in place of command key.

I think the trackpoint is just a bonus when you don’t have a mouse around.

I used ThinkPads for years and preferred the pointing stick. Until the Mac I always had trouble with trackpads. In normal typing I would brush them and move the cursor while typing. They came with both the stick and trackpad. Any time I got a new computer one of the first tasks would be to disable the trackpad.


Great analogy! Thinkpad was my first laptop and I have used Thinkpad for almost 10 years before moving on to a MacBook. So, using the Trackpoint does bring back sweet, sweet memories of good times in computing.

Thanks for this - I also posted on the Relay FM Keyboard Discord, and the Keychron K3 was suggested - and it was pointed out to me that you can get a sample back of key switches to test what type is a good fit. Unfortunately, both the keyboard and the sample pack are sold out!

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Thanks for these part numbers and the heads up about the current models. Seems these old ones are pretty hard to find, though. I may just need to enter the world of keyboard construction, or yank apart an old laptop!

Ah yes, I always forget I COULD ask something on Reddit - not just read the stuff there!

Thanks for this - I had not seen the MX Keys before - the dished keycaps are very appealing. I just wish it was smaller, but I may give it a try since the keychron ones are sold out.