Musings On The Best Keyboard For Travel

In my previous writing, about using a Mini PC on the Go, I mentioned a 60-65% keyboard as the right size in my opinion for travel. So, what are the different types of keyboards?

  • Full-size
  • Tenkeyless(TKL) – A tenkeyless is the same size as a full-size keyboard, but omits the number pad.
  • 75%  – condenses the function keys
  • 65% – usually retains the arrow keys while condensing the other function keys.
  • 60% – removes the function and navigation keys
  • 40% – the smallest keyboard

I have long since given up on full sized keyboards. All my home keyboards are TKL. This is something of a practical issue. I’m left-handed, and the number pad is on the right side of the keyboard, favoring right handed typists. In the rare cases when you need it, you can try for a keypad such as this inexpensive one from Kisnt, which has Red, Brown, and Blue switch options and PBT keycaps already.

40% is too small. I know people are very passionate about this size once you get used to the combinations to use it. The most economical 40% I found was at the local Microcenter.

For my latest attempt, I opted for a 65% Keychron K6 that was discounted at the time I purchased it and is still reasonable. The K6 is bluetooth and USB-C, but has a hardware rather than a software switch between wireless and wired. Some models of the K6 are hotswappable, meaning you can change the switches.. Compare that to the well reviewed Royal Kludge RK68, which has a software switch. 65% gets you the arrow keys, which I do enjoy having as dedicated functions.

I previously used a 60%, and tried several variations, but missed those arrow keys. However, if I opt to try a 60% again, I might try the Royal Kludge RK61, which is not only hot-swappable, but has QMK/VIA support…which allows you to remap the keys to a configuration of your liking. Since I’m on a Keychron kick of late, they have the K12. The Pro Version has the QMK/VIA support.

By the time you get to 75%, you might as well carry around your tenkeyless on a trip, thus making the 65% percent the perfect compromise between the two.


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