This article explores several different Dvorak keyboards (and multi-use, programmable keyboards) available on the market today after first discussing the unique purpose and value of Dvorak keyboards.
When it comes time to tackle a writing project or other work, we have the choice between pen, pencil, and given that we are now in the 21st century, a computer with a keyboard attached.
For most, the computer is clearly a superior choice in terms of the speed at which writing can be accomplished. It also increases the ease of retrieving and organizing information within typed and digital documents, when compared to hand-written notes. First came the QWERTY typing format, and then Dvorak keyboards emerged.
How We Reviewed
We reviewed seven distinct Dvorak keyboards (and programmable keyboards) available on the market to assess their functionality and features.
Our goal is to help you choose which one might be the best choice to improve your typing efficiency.
What We Reviewed
Matias Half Keyboard
The Matias Dvorak keyboard has a number of features, the most important and instrumental of which is that Dvorak functionality is hard-wired right into the keyboard.
There is no need to reprogram the keyboard upon plugging it in as you do with many of the other options available.
A physical switch is present on the keyboard through which the QWERTY or Dvorak layout is selected, making this keyboard easy to switch over for someone not familiar with the Dvorak layout to use the board.
The overall value of the Matias Dvorak unit is high, as it is priced at just $80 and also features QWERTY functionality hard-wired in with the Dvorak. The user can toggle between the two styles using a simple switch.
iKBC New Poker II Mechanical Keyboard (Cherry MX Brown/Black Case)
Key features of this product include the use of the Cherry MX black switch, alongside PBT caps, macro programming, a 6 DIP switch, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems.
It features 3 programmable layers, and 4 built-in layouts including QWERTY, Dvorak, Colemak, and Workman. The keyboard is fully programmable via the hardware, without the necessity of using the software.
It also has the added benefit of 6 DIP switches to provide for extended and easy customization, furthered by a USB Type C connector, which is detachable and braided.
The overall value of the iKBC New Poker II is high because this keyboard is mechanical in its switching mode and highly convenient. The keys used are high in quality, and the overall customizability of this item is also high. While the price is high-end at around $110, the minimalist design does have its appeal.
Cooler Master MasterKeys S PBT- Tenkeyless Gaming Mechanical Keyboard,...
Key features of this product include gaming mechanical keyboard switches, Cherry MX brown switches, and 1.5mm PBT keycaps. The Cherry MX brown switches are good for 50 million keystrokes, with the keycaps used made for durability. This means there is no wear and tear from sweaty fingers due to busy working or gaming.
This Cooler Master keyboard also features a variety of OS and key layouts, spanning Windows, Mac, QWERTY, Dvorak, and Workman, as well as customizable shortcuts. Settings can be adjusted on the fly as well, allowing for changes in macros, repeat rates, and other settings with a tap.
The overall value of the Cooler Master MasterKeys S PBT is moderate given its $80 price and relatively unrefined appearance. There is no backlighting, and switching between QWERTY, Dvorak, and other systems must be done via software, detracting from the convenience of the product.
iKBC PBT Backlit Doubleshot Mechancial Keyboard Keycap Set for...
The iKBC F87 RGB TKL mechanical keyboard is both reliable and consistent in performance, with mechanical key switches in Cherry MX. Cherry MX ensures the system for up to 50 million operations, meaning the keyboard provides us with reliable consistency.
This keyboard features three built-in, preset layouts: QWERTY, Dvorak, and Colemak. Further, you can adjust the delays between keystrokes through the use of key bindings without having to apply any software action or code.
This particular model is designed for the professional writer and the gamer alike, with its high level of customizability adding marked value.
The overall value of the iKBC F87 is quite high, as it features a technologically advanced, back-lit keyboard with three different modes.
Kinesis Advantage2 QD Ergonomic Keyboard for Dvorak Typists (KB600QD)
Key features of this product include a variety of operating system compatibility options, plus a generic HID driver providing for a unique operating system.
It features unlimited "road mapping" to create dozens of custom QWERTY and Dvorak keyboards/configurations that will work within either a Windows or Mac environment.
Given the price, the overall value of this particular keyboard is moderate. However, the huge level of customization balances this shortcoming out substantially for the ambitious or highly specialized user.
HRH Dvorak Language Silicone Keyboard Cover Skin for MacBook New Pro...
Key features of this product include a silicone keyboard cover we placed over our MacBook keyboard to provide us with visibility of the Dvorak-configured keys.
This is not a functional, separate keyboard like some other Dvorak keyboards reviewed here, but rather it is something that one must already have the appropriate model MacBook to use.
It has both European and American key layouts, and it is available in a variety of colors and decal strippings.
The overall value of this solution among Dvorak keyboards is high and makes your MacBook keyboard a teaching device to better learn the Dvorak technique.
The MacBook has the ability to program keys through the use of the software, and thus this item is valuable as you develop the new, different typing technique.
DVORAK SIMPLIFIED KEYBOARD STICKERS WITH YELLOW LETTERING TRANSPARENT...
Features of this product are not particularly extensive, as the product consists of simply stickers that you attach to your own keyboard to help train yourself in the Dvorak typing method.
The stickers attach individually to the keys, and due to this, there is potential for mistakes, which can throw off your training or force you to replace stickers
The overall value of this particular product is low. The stickers must be placed individually on your keys. This process can take an extensive amount of time and be cumbersome.
Dvorak Keyboard FAQ
Following is a brief rundown of the essential information anyone should know before making a purchasing decision on a Dvorak keyboard.
1. What Is a QWERTY Keyboard?
- Before presenting the key data on the Dvorak keyboard and options available if you choose to try one, we must first know what QWERTY is. The QWERTY keyboard format that most people use today was developed to improve upon the efficiency of typed writing.
Early typewriter designs experimented with letter placement, at first placing the keys in alphabetical order. In time, they would find that a different format was superior: QWERTY. The QWERTY configuration was designed to optimize the speed of typing by intelligently placing the keys in the most efficient manner possible.
2. What Is a Dvorak keyboard?
The Dvorak keyboard features a unique layout. It expands upon the QWERTY layout's intent through further research on practical typing.
Through a decade of research on the frequency and sequencing of letters in the English language, a new keyboard layout was developed. This new layout has been designed to make the typing of English language words even more efficient than with QWERTY.
3. What Differentiates a Dvorak Keyboard?
QWERTY is named as such because the beginning of the letter keys beneath the numbers in the upper left-hand corner of the keyboard begins with “QWERTY”. In the instance of the
Dvorak keyboard, the upper-leftmost letters we encounter first, after a few symbol keys, are ”PYF”. The remaining letters are also organized in an entirely different manner than on a QWERTY board.
4. Will I Be Able to Use a Dvorak Keyboard?
Using a Dvorak keyboard can improve upon the efficiency of our typing. However, this happens only after we’ve put in the necessary time to learn how to type effectively and quickly on it.
As with QWERTY, learning how to use a Dvorak keyboard takes some time and training. It requires learning the different format thoroughly enough to realize those improvements in efficiency.
Where Can I Purchase Dvorak Keyboards?
Dvorak keyboards can be purchased from a variety of retailers online but their limited popularity makes them a hard find in common retail electronics stores. The Internet, however, presents a wide variety of options from which to choose, and we present our top choices below.
There are numerous Dvorak keyboards from which to choose on the market. Each of these Dvorak keyboards has its own unique presentation and functionality, and so it is up to the user to consider the features that they most prefer and desire.
Some keyboards we reviewed are particularly tailored to producing more effective typing; others are designed primarily to boost gaming flexibility. The capacity to assign keys and create keystroke combinations that are programmable on the fly make some of these keyboards more effective for gaming needs than others.
Of the many models reviewed, the iKBC New Poker II is the best option available in our view, as it costs just $110 and has great functionality.