titleWhen it comes to ergonomic keyboards there are only a few to pick from and, for the most part, all of those are rubber dome keyboards. Ergonomic mechanical keyboards are really limited to two different models, one being the Truly Ergonomic. Today we are going to take a look to see how it compares to everything I have tested to date. I expect an adjustment period just to its shape alone, but as a writer by trade I am very curious how it will affect me day to day. The gamer in me is just as curious on how it will perform in game as well. Let’s take a closer look.

Product Name: Truly Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Model 207

Review Sample Provided by: Truly Ergonomic

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Model Number

207

Dimensions with palm rest

328 x 235 mm (12.9 x 9.25 in)

Dimensions without palm rest

325 x 170 mm (12.8 x 6.7 in)

Number of Keys

86

Key Switch Type

Cherry MX Brown

Stabilizer type

Cherry

Backlighting

No

Media Keys

With function key use

Interface

USB

OS Support

Windows, Mac OS, Linux

Warranty

1 year



Packaging

My excitement to check out the Truly Ergonomic 207 hiccupped slightly when I opened up the shipping box to find an almost bare cardboard box inside. After looking around the box I did find the Truly Ergonomic logo on the side of the packaging. It’s obviously not the best packaging for a retail setting but considering they sell them online it’s enough to protect the keyboard without going overboard.

When I opened up the box I was greeted with the keyboard right on top. To help keep it protected they shipped it with a formed piece of plastic as well. A peek at the instructions let me know that this is the keyboards dust cover for keeping the keyboard dust free when not in use.  The keyboards cord was tucked in the cardboard up above the keyboard and I also found a one page color instruction sheet up under the keyboard as well. The instructions are double sided and they are labeled in order of how you should read them. You start with the setup section, then language setup, first use, key location and special functionality, embedded numerical keypad, dustcover, removable and cushioned palmrest, and the last covers the keyboards dip switches.

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Pictures and Features

The first time you see the Truly Ergonomic 207 you really have to sit and soak it all in. First you take in the unique shape; there really isn’t anything else on the market with a shape like this. Then when your eyes focus on the keys it is just plain intimidating. While using the keyboard I posted up a picture of it on my Facebook and had a range of responses. A lot of people didn’t thing they could ever get used to it but I also had people that were very interested in how well it was working. The reason for that is because there just aren’t many options for those who want an ergonomic keyboard anymore.

Truly Ergonomic pulls off their ergonomic design without raising the middle of the keyboard up or placing all of the keys in a bowel. They have rearranged some of the keys around the standard QWERTY layout while at the same time changing the keys up and down on the keyboard to better fit the curve your fingers land in when you sit them down. On a standard keyboard the keys are in perfect rows going left to right and the up and down rows are staggered. On this keyboard the rows going up and down are straight and the left to right rows have a major wave in them. In the middle of the keyboard they have moved a few of the keys in between the letters, the keys start smaller on the top and get wider as they go down. This helps angle the other keys to better fit the way your arms will angle towards your keyboard when sitting, unless you are somehow skinnier than your keyboard.

The keys up the middle are (starting from the top) the Windows key, delete, tab, backspace, and enter. That’s right: those are all in the middle now and not on the outside of the keyboard. This means they are easier to reach without moving your fingers around much, but it will take a lot or re-learning to adjust to it. The outside rows on the 207 have three matching keys, the shift key, Crtl, and Alt. For the 207 these are all double wide but on the 209 model the ALT keys are single width giving you a few extra keys to program.

Your spacebar is actually split up into two parts with the enter key in between and under where your palms float are the page up and down keys as well as the direction pad. These are all keys that get used less and when they are used you don’t normally need to use them while typing so it works out. I didn't have any issues with bumping those keys at all, the way your hand arches up when you have the heal of your palm on the palm rest clears them perfectly. One other thing I should point out with the shift and control keys is that they are actually moved up one row. On a traditional keyboard shift would be next to the Z key but in this case it is a row higher next to the A key.

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Because there isn’t any backlighting the key caps are black through and through. On the flip side though (lettering side) we have cylindrical shaped keycaps. The lettering was a little bit of a concern for me. Rather than go with a normal laser etching or double shot injection they went with what looked to be pad printing but after talking to them to find out for sure I was told they are Laser Engraved with white infill printing process. This should hold up to any abuse you give them but they will still show dirt, something that I did see a little on on my A key after a few weeks of use. 

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With the keycaps off I was able to get a peek at what goes on under everything. The 207 comes with Cherry Brown key switches and it also uses Cherry stabilizers under all of the wider keys to keep things stable. If you have ever cleaned your keyboard before, you will be extremely happy for those Cherry stabilizers as they are much easier to reinstall keys onto when it comes to wide keys. No wire stabilizers here!

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As far as thickness goes, the Truly Ergonomic is about a standard thickness for a mechanical keyboard. There is a slight angle naturally in the design and with the wrist rest attached it seems thicker. This is because the wrist rest doesn’t angle down to the desktop like most wrist rest. This one actually holds your wrists up high enough to type properly.

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The last part of the keyboard is the special keys on the top two rows. I will touch on some of their uses more in the performance section but I did want to point out that the top row is your standard F1-12 row with escape and delete in the corners. When you use the Fn key that is in the middle of the second row all of those keys change into media and special function keys. Along with the function key in the second row you also have the caps lock on the left and the key on the right turns on the built in number pad that is on the right side of the keyboard. Both the number lock and the caps lock turn on a blue light when pressed that make the key glow slightly.

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The wrist rest for the Truly Ergonomic 207 like all of their other models comes attached to the keyboard. You might mistake it as part of the keyboard but it can be removed if you prefer. At first glance the two raised areas looked hard and uncomfortable but as you can see they are padded, we will find out in the performance section how well they work.

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On the bottom of the Truly Ergonomic 207 you are going to notice the DIP switches on the center right away. Here you can actually change how a few of the keys function. For example if you flip the 3rd dip switch you will change the left spacebar from space to an alternate. This means the key will show up as an unused key, specifically International-6 (07.8C:0x5C) or if you upgrade the firmware this will use an easier to program Application/Menu (07.65 : E0x5D). That means you can bind it for use in some games as well as use it with third party programs like AutoHotKeySharpKeys, or KeyTweak.

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Beyond the dip switches on the underside there are also wide rubber feet all over the bottom of the Truly Ergonomic 207 to keep it from moving around. Including the three on the wrist rest there are a total of 7. This is considerably more than what you see for larger keyboard even. It should also be pointed out that there are no options to angle the keyboard if that is what you prefer. Speaking of the wrist rest, you can see all screws on the bottom that hold it on (nine in total). If you remove the screws you can remove the wrist rest and make the keyboard even smaller.

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I spoke a little about its size before but until you put it next to something it’s really hard to get a feel for it. This is a photo of a Cooler Master Storm Quickfire Rapid with the Truly Ergonomic 207. You can see that the overall width is about an inch less at the widest point and up toward the top the difference is even larger. The top is actually not even as wide as the Quickfire without the direction pad area. The second picture is from Truly Ergonomics website where they compare it to another ergonomic keyboard, because of the number pad the width difference is even more noticeable in that photo.

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The cord for the Truly Ergonomic 207 is USB and 6 feet in length. There isn’t a sleeving like we have seen on a lot of other keyboard cords recently nor does it detach. But it does get the job done.

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Performance

I’m sure after reading about all of the Truly Ergonomic 207’s features and taking in the unique design through the photos you are very curious about how it performed. Before I jump into its performance I wanted to point out something that I noticed on their website when checking out the 1 year warranty and 60 day return policy. Check out this quote that is in reference to the 60 day return policy.

“Please be aware that you must use your Truly Ergonomic Keyboard for at least 30 days to request a Return.- Love takes time -”

This is most certainly the case with this keyboard. Typically I can pick up a keyboard and adjust to the slight differences in just a few minutes. Because this was such a unique design I had to spend a considerable amount of time with it before I started to feel comfortable. In fact I basically had a few days that I planned on not being very productive when it comes to writing due to this adjustment period. As a writer the last thing I wanted to do was to sit down and try to put words down and struggle with them over and over again. I decided that I should spend more time editing photos and playing a few video games while chatting with people and doing other fairly light typing activity’s. I spent a few days doing this before starting to work my way back into heavy typing but even then I ran into big problems for about a week. One of the most frustrating parts was later in the week as I started to get adjusted I spent a little time on my laptop, going back to a normal keyboard layout was a mess as was going back to the Truly Ergonomic 207.

During my adjustment period I did run into an issue with the keyboard double entering some of the keys while typing. They suggested that we unplug the keyboard and run through all of the problem keys 100+ times to help break them in. This fixed out issue completely and lowered my stress level considerably. If you end up with a Truly Ergonomic that does this, give this a try before going through the additional trouble of an RMA.

Once past our issues and finally adjusted to the unique layout I was finally able to truly put the keyboard to the test. While writing a few long reviews including this one I was finally able to get a feel for the differences between the Truly Ergonomic. Specifically the way my hands rest on the keyboard seemed to cause less fatigue after hours of writing. Here is a diagram that came from their website that shows what I am talking about.

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The interesting placement up the middle of the keyboard and the rearranged shift and control keys was the biggest adjustment for me, even after getting used to the keyboard. There are still times where I will hit to far over and bump enter when trying to hit a space but the biggest issue comes from shift and ctrl. I still can’t seem to go an hour without hitting ctrl when trying to capitalize a letter. This is especially frustrated when you end up pressing key binds like in Gmail when you press ctrl-I and it italicizes what you are writing. The worst came up while writing this specific review where I accidentally exited out and at the same time hit the button that corresponded with do not save on the exit menu.  But don’t worry there are two solutions to this. I can just keep waiting and learn it eventually or I can load the firmware listed on their website that will flip the ctrl and shift keys for you. After you do that you can just swap out the key caps and you are all set.

Even though the Truly Ergonomic 207 doesn’t have a number pad, they did slip in a number pad into the regular keyboard. I spoke about it in the photos and features section but I wanted to comment on its usability. This was very similar to what we saw from Cooler Master with their Quickfire TX and just like with that keyboard I found it hard to remember to put it to use. The times that I did remember it worked perfectly but it will take a long time to fully adjust to remembering to turn the number lock back on for the number pad when I am used to keeping it on all of the time. The same could be said with all of the media and special function keys up top. Going out of my way to hit a function key is a sure fire way to make me forget to use something, but I do understand that this was the only way to fit these keys onto an otherwise small keyboard. Here is a diagram of all of the special keys to give you an idea of what you can do with the keyboard if you try, they certainly did pack it full of special keys.

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We all know LanOC is packed full of gamers as well and I’m sure you are curious how well this worked in game. In most cases I really didn’t notice a difference because the actual letter layout is still QWERTY, but in games that use tab, ctrl, and whatnot it did take some adjusting and in some cases just rebinding. This was just because games were made with a standard keyboard layout in mind. But the ergonomic design of the keyboard did lend itself well to long gaming sessions where just like when writing I did notice less strain on my hands and wrists. TrulyErgonomic recommended to us to consider using a ESDF layout that moved the enter, backspace, and teb keys closer to your hand as well.

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The small keyboard design did help a lot to bring my mouse closer to my keyboard. Normally I would be spread out all over my table when gaming but the compact design cut that down slightly. This is also very helpful for people who don’t have a lot of room to work with on their desk or for LANs as well where you may be limited to a 3 foot wide area.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

So did the Truly Ergonomic 207 live up to my expectations? Well truthfully I really had no idea what to expect other than a long adjustment time. In that case it did live up to my expectation. Beyond that though I was impressed with the thought put into the layout of the keys to save finger reaching and hand movement. I would be really interested to see this same keyboard being used in a dvorak layout, it might make it even more efficient. The layout, curved key rows to match your finger layout, and angled keys all worked together to improve my typing fatigue after a long night of typing. My biggest complaint was with the location of the shift key but they did give an option to fix it with a firmware update if I wanted.

I love that the design is so small and perfect for use at LANs or on a small desk and the built in programmability with the dip switches on the back is nothing like what I have seen on other keyboards. My only other complaints are related. Considering they use a design that no one else uses, I expected the cost to be higher. But I feel like at the price point they are asking it would be nice to have the option for backlighting to help adjust for the costs slightly. All in all the Truly Ergonomic 207 is a great keyboard if you are on the market for a mechanical ergonomic keyboard. You just might want to cover your wallets eyes when you put your order in. But then again that cost is a lot less than what surgery would run you.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #30905 20 May 2013 21:53
Today we take a look at a unique ergonomic mechanical keyboard design
Satansoul's Avatar
Satansoul replied the topic: #30906 20 May 2013 22:34
funny looking keyboard
Leonresevil2's Avatar
Leonresevil2 replied the topic: #30916 21 May 2013 02:05
"unless you are somehow skinnier than your keyboard." Uh oh.

Looks interesting, would be interested in a DVORAK or different layout that is more ergonomic to go all the way. Not sure about the Ctrl and Alt positions, would probably mess me up in League for awhile.
Lersar's Avatar
Lersar replied the topic: #30920 21 May 2013 02:20

Leonresevil2 wrote: "unless you are somehow skinnier than your keyboard." Uh oh.

I lol'd.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #30922 21 May 2013 02:28
I ordered him a sandwich :D
Deb0's Avatar
Deb0 replied the topic: #30937 21 May 2013 06:40
I would get angry at the key layout and smash it against a wall. Just sayin'.

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