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Mike
Punch Card
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎11-24-2007
Location: US
Views: 1,444
Message 1 of 6

Wanted: ThinkPad USB keyboard with function key gaps, backlight, and touchpad

I've been buying ThinkPad USB keyboards (first the older ones with the traditional keyboard, now the new one with the six-row keyboard) so I can use a TrackPoint on desktop computers and other non-ThinkPads.

 

The current ThinkPad USB keyboards miss the mark for me in a few ways:

 

1. These are T430-style keyboards with no function key gaps. This makes them much less usable for a programmer or Office user who uses function keys extensively. It's really hard to find the right keys by touch.

 

2. There is no touchpad. I'm a TrackPoint maniac and never thought I would have much use for a touchpad. But the touchpad on my ThinkPads is great for one specific purpose: two-finger scrolling. I use this all the time even if I use the TrackPoint for everything else. It also makes it much easier when someone walks up to my desktop at work and wants to show me something and scroll through it. Even a Mac user will know how to scroll with a touchpad.

3. No backlight. I've gotten to really appreciate the backlit keyboards on all my recent machines - MBPR and ThinkPads - and I miss it on the USB keyboard.

 

If a new model of the USB keyboard added these features, I would replace my existing keyboards immediately.

 

The ThinkPad Bluetooth keyboard has the same problems. Of course backlighting might be bad for its battery life, and I can see an argument for keeping it compact and not adding a touchpad. But at the very least, both the USB and Bluetooth keyboards could be upgraded to a newer keyboard with the function key gaps. That alone would make a huge difference in usability.

 

Guru
Posts: 1,911
Registered: ‎02-27-2012
Location: US
Views: 1,376
Message 2 of 6

Re: Wanted: ThinkPad USB keyboard with function key gaps, backlight, and touchpad

Hi


Very good suggestion. I hope someone at Lenovo will take note !!


Thanks for sharing.


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Martín Itúrbide
OS2World.com NewsMaster
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SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,700
Registered: ‎12-22-2008
Location: CA
Views: 1,360
Message 3 of 6

Re: Wanted: ThinkPad USB keyboard with function key gaps, backlight, and touchpad


@Mike wrote:

 

 

The current ThinkPad USB keyboards miss the mark for me in a few ways... If a new model of the USB keyboard added these features... 


In addition...

 

4. Redesign the microUSB port that connects to the keyboard cable. The current design doesn't support the microUSB plug very well, er, at all. As a result the plug wiggles at lot as the keyboard gets moved around the desk. Eventually this can lead to a loose connection or even connector failure, rendering the keyboard useless. This is a serious mechanical point of failure. A sturdier, more secure design is needed.

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Cheers... Dorian Hausman • ca.gif English community
X1C6, E470, Y900s, [R.I.P. X1C2, T430s, TPT2, SL500, X61s, T60p, A21p, 770, 760ED... 5160, 5150... S360/30]
MountainX
Token Ring
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎11-21-2013
Location: US
Views: 1,280
Message 4 of 6

Re: Wanted: ThinkPad USB keyboard with function key gaps, backlight, and touchpad

Great suggestion! I prefer the TrackPoint with my desktop computers too. I would like to see Lenovo offer something like you suggest. However, I do not care about a touch pad -- I just use the TrackPoint (even for scrolling).

 

My favorite TrackPoint keyboard is P/N 02R0400 (REV A01) MFG 03-NX.

IBM-SK-8835-USB-ThinkPad-Style-Desktop-PC-Keyboard

 

thinkpad-full-size-ultranav-usb-keyboard-nfd

 

This is a full size USB keyboard with a separate numeric keypad. It also has a small touch pad. I think you would call this a 7-row keyboard. It has Fn key gaps. It's really awesome. It would be even better with a backlight.

 

I would like to buy another one of these.

Fr-
Paper Tape
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-08-2017
Location: GB
Views: 1,196
Message 5 of 6

Re: Wanted: ThinkPad USB keyboard with function key gaps, backlight, and touchpad

Definitely agree with the backlit addition. My use case is programming with a big screen on a display arm, and I need a keyboard+trackpad/point to use on my lap when leaning backwards.
Mike
Punch Card
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎11-24-2007
Location: US
Views: 1,110
Message 6 of 6

Re: Wanted: ThinkPad USB keyboard with function key gaps, backlight, and touchpad

@hausman wrote:

Redesign the microUSB port that connects to the keyboard cable. The current design doesn't support the microUSB plug very well, er, at all. As a result the plug wiggles at lot as the keyboard gets moved around the desk. Eventually this can lead to a loose connection or even connector failure, rendering the keyboard useless. This is a serious mechanical point of failure. A sturdier, more secure design is needed.

Excellent point, I also noticed how wiggly the USB cable is.

 

I stumbled into a very nice workaround for this. Instead of a normal micro USB cable, use a right angle cable. This drastically reduces the stress on the keyboard's USB socket.

 

I bought this pair of cables to use for a specific purpose: at work we have "grab and go" ThinkPad Chromebooks that you can borrow. They are nice machines except that they have a Chromebook keyboard layout. I tried plugging in my USB ThinkPad keyboard and it worked fine, and then I got the idea of setting this keyboard right on top of the Chromebook keyboard. It didn't fit very well, but then I got the idea of using a cable with a right angle keyboard. It works great! And then I noticed how much less the plug wiggles even if you move the cable around.

 

The cables I linked are very short (as I bought them for this purpose), but cables like this come in various lengths. Highly recommended!

 

(I will post a photo of this setup later...)

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