Only US$6 to make it much better

Only US$6 to make it much better.

This will not be a popular post on this forum, because nobody likes to read criticism of a product he has already bought.
And I don’t like to write it.

I bought a UHK, total about US$500 with extra modules, genuine walnut wrist rests, shipping, customs and tax.
Whew!
For that kind of money I expected to be delighted.
I am not … In fact I am frustrated and annoyed.
Why so, in a moment, but first the good news:

For only US$6 found an extra keypad (from China) which I think
will cure most of the problems I’m having with this UHK.
Here is a picture of the “cure”.
image

So, what’s the problem?

UHK is presented in reviews as the keyboard for “experts” and “professionals”.
Hah!
“Hot air” with no meaning.
Tells you nothing, but I “fell” for it.

I have been a touch typist ever since I learned in high school, 60 years ago.
I keep my hands on the home row, actually floating over.
For navigation, yes, I move to the extra keys.
But on the UHK navigation requires a “cord” … or a change of layer: must press two keys to get one movement.
Waste of motion and waste more time programming and reprogramming the layers.

It is obvious to me that the UHK is designed for touch typists who type mostly text.
But for anyone who uses a spreadsheet … requiring lots of navigation … it wastes a lot of effort.
For someone doing graphics and photo editing, similar waste of effort.
And for anyone who switches back and forth often, it is very annoying.
But for text with hands on the home row, then very nice.
I wish someone had explained to me BEFORE I bought it.

I keep wanting those single-stroke navigation keys.
So I ordered from China – only US$6.00 for the cheapest.
Or US$30 for better quality and nicer switches – which is what I ordered today.
image

Will this “cure” the problems with the UHK design???
If it does, I will be pleased.
If not, if it is too awkward, I will put this UHK up for sale,
and return to my old keyboard – A GoldTouch, split design which tilts and tents …very ergonomic, just very old and UN-elegant and out of production since many years.

I welcome comments and critique on any of this.
And if someone wants to contact me privately:
vivid.coffee3916@fastmail.com

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You are not alone :slight_smile: . I did exactly the same

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Very interesting keypad.
Thanks, Istep, for that photo.

If layers and keeping your hands in the home row position are not your thing, why did you get a UHK? That’s the whole purpose and selling proposition.

I am super happy with the UHK. I added a number pad layer, I just hold TAB with my left pinkie, and M,. / JKL / UIO / 789 become my number pad.

7 8 9  =  7 8 9
U I O  =  4 5 6
J K L  =  1 2 3
M , .  =  0 , .

Issue solved, I can easily enter numbers into an Excel sheet etc. Hit TAB once to enter the next cell / next field, hold TAB (=osecondary function) to enter numbers.

If that’s not your thing, stay with a standard full sized keyboard. There you have keys for everything and don’t need layers.

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Peter, when you specify your goals we can see if there is a solution that will make the UHK your keyboard.

Navigation (arrows, pageUp/Down…), but also pressing Del, Backspace, Ins and the like is actually much easier than on a standard keyboard when you use layers. Is that already bothering you? It takes a bit of practice, but is much more convenient. That is my experience from now 15 years using this approach. Or is your problem that you do not know how to handle shortcuts like Win+RightArrow efficiently? This is something I have not solved right now (as new to UHK like you are). I personally think the missing arrow keys are most important, therefore I remapped the lower right 4 keys to be arrows. That is my first approach to this. Then I can press key combos like Win+RightArrow like I used too on a standard keyboard. Still I would prefer when I have a solution where I can press those combos also from the home-row, which I currently have no good solution for. Now I am looking into home-row-mods and the like.

How would you have wanted to get that information? You likely knew the layout of the UHK, that it does not have arrow or other navigation keys!?

I think it is good that you touch-type with floating hands. That is most ergonomic for the task of entering data.

Now you want to use the keyboard for a different task. Editing, navigating, using shortcuts. It is important to differentiate the two tasks – which often it is not btw. But it makes it much clearer and easier to find good solutions if one does. On a standard keyboard navigating is always a struggle in that sense that you need to take your hands off from the home-row, disrupting your flow to some extent. I have been using a navigation layer now for 15 years which I created with Autohotkey. For this I use the CapsLock key as a modifier key (when hold down) and only use the right hand for the navigation layer. With this no chording is necessary where you would need to mingle your fingers of one hand. But instead after a little practice it becomes very efficient and requires very low efforts to use the CapsLock as a layer-shift key, like the left and right shifts serve for the capital letters. When you use that type of navigation for a short time.

When you let us know the specific tasks (and context in which you are doing those) you are not satisfied with we can help you likely come up with a solution which is as good as using a standard keyboard or even better. In case you do not want to invest time into thinking about what really bothers you and then trying to fix those by “programming layers” and also get accustomed a bit to a new (likely improved) workflow then I would sell the UHK straight away. But if you think the journey and efforts might be worth it give it a shot and let us help you.

Best regards, Peter

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I have my UHK since 2018, that’s right, this year I’ll complete five years with the same Keyboard. My UHK V1 has continued to function properly without any issues, even after updating the firmware several times.

Indeed I’m a developer and I don’t require a number pad, I just don’t find it valuable for my type of work, and that’s why I bought a called 60% keyboard. The other features, such as customization options, durability, and open-source software, among others, are more valuable for my work.

As you can see in other comments, the keyboard provides solutions for you to customize it in the best way that fits your needs and ergonomy. And if you need a number pad, that’s not “cure”. It’s just another module to your setup, it’s ok. It’s important to note that blaming the tool for not knowing how to use it is not a solution.

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I’m confused about the complaint. If $6 (or $30) fixes it, that seems great, nothing to worry about.

For myself, I bought one on the initial funding round, waited a LONG LONG time before it shipped. I was initially worried that I’d be lost without the additional keys, but it only took about a week for it to be second nature (it helped that I’m a long-time VI user and remapped the nav keys to vim standards). It quickly became so ingrained that I use autohotkey to remap these keys to match (including caps-lock → mod) when I’m using a laptop or other normal keyboard. I then bought a second one, and when v2 came out, a third.

Key to all of this was trying it out and committing to it for a few weeks, then another 2 months while tuning my mapping, before I judged it. And still, my wife and many of my friends strongly prefer a larger keyboard - that’s their option, even if they’re wrong.

Anyway, I hope it works out for you. If not, the resale value of these things is not too bad, and it was a great learning experience to find out what features are critical for you to be happy with a keyboard.

All that said, I’d gladly pay a lot (like $150 or more) for a 22- or 24-key pad with the build quality and configurability of the UHK (in Agent, combined in such a way that layer and keymap switching on the main board affected the keypad). Ideally, it’d be a splitter cable off the keyboard halves, but a separate USB-C would be acceptable (i2c likely easier to sync the state).

Honestly, I find your criticism pretty harsh and undeserved. You clearly bought a keyboard without informing yourself beforehand. I mean just looking at the board you see that it has less keys than your typical regular 100% keyboard. And if that bothers you, you clearly bought the wrong product. I don’t really know what you expected? That the keyboard magically knows what function it should have? Of course you need to somehow switch layers. You don’t even need to hold a key, as you can configure your layer keys to toggle the layer. Also most if not all the information you need to make an informed decision is available on the website. Just because the product did not work for you / or you did not find a way to adapt to it, doesn’t mean its not for professionals, or that false claims have been made. There’s a huge different between “It’s not for me, be cause I feel that” and “The product is bad/not what was promised”. Your issues are clearly extremely subjective and not at all the fault of the product.

And I don’t say that, because “i don’t like criticism of a product I have already bought”, but because I have used this thing for about 6 months now, and am very satisfied with it, as it fits all of my needs and to me personally is better than any other mechanical keyboard I have had so far.

I would argue that most of the features of UHK definitely target professionals. For example: I am a software developer by profession but also do lots of audio editing and post production. The UHK supports both tasks incredibly well - I just need to switch context, by using another layer (or in my case even a completely different keymap, with access to more different layers).

When I am doing audio editing I don’t type much text - so my layout accommodates that need. Vise versa when I am developing software.

While the UHK arguably is not the most ergonomic keyboard, but its a lot more ergonomic than many other boards.

In the end it is a tool and you have to learn it and make it your own, to get the most out of it. If that’s now want you want, you are clearly better of selling it.

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That’s how my numpad is done. Looks pretty solid to me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Thank you, Flelixoid, for that helpful post.
I appreciate the print from Agent screen.

And you’ve shifted the “pad” to be under the stronger fingers: index and middle.
Good idea: less typing fatigue in that position.

keypad

I want to share another option. For me is very confortable because the hands are already in the right position (JKL - 456).
The numlock is on the left side because I touched it many times accidentally.

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I was starting to wonder if this forum had a lot of pedantic complaining people on it, but then I realised it was the same person :joy:.

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