Compact keyboards are great – they let you type comfortably while taking just a fraction of the space of full-sized models. But what if those compact keyboards are still too big for the tiny desk you use when working at home? The Keyboardio Atreus just might be the best peripheral for the job.
A keyboard measuring just 9.6 inches wide, the peripheral allows you to do all your typing in a very narrow space, so you can occupy the rest of your desk with other accessories, like drawing tablets, giant mousepads, and whatever else you use as part of your everyday tasks. Whether you want a small keyboard to maximize your mousepad for gaming, own a tiny desk that can’t fit a regular keyboard-and-mouse combo comfortably, or simply embrace minimalism in every aspect of your life, this thing should make an attractive addition to your workspace.
The Keyboardio Atreus is a unique split-style QWERTY keyboard equipped with a custom layout that aligns the keys 10 degrees inward, arranging them in columns corresponding to each of your fingers. That means, ten columns for each of your ten fingers, which should make touch-typing potentially even faster. Even better, the keys are positioned such that you never need to stretch or twist to reach any of them, regardless of your hand size, as they’re purposely laid out in a manner that matches how a human hand naturally works, making typing a breeze. They use regular-sized keys that match those found on your full-size keyboard, too, so they’re just as easy to hit with every strike.
You know how a regular full-size keyboard has 104 keys? This one has just 44. We know, that sounds like an awfully small amount. That’s because the default layout just gives you the letters, most common punctuations, and most common functions. To type numerals, use arrow keys, and access other symbols, you need to engage the Function button, while the Upper button lets you access the Function keys (F1 to F12) and media controls.
The Keyboardio Atreus uses easily removable keycaps and hot-swappable switches, making it possible to easily customize the keyboard exactly to your liking. In fact, they even provide a graphical configuration software called Chrysalis, where you can remap the keyboard layout to your preferred setup. To change layouts, simply swap the keycaps, update the software, and you’re set. Users, by the way, can opt for one of three available switches, namely Kailh BOX White, Kailh Speed Copper, and Kailh BOX Red. To the unfamiliar, the BOX White is a clicky switch with a tactile bump at 1.8mm, while the Speed Copper provides a tactile bump at 1.1mm, so you get the feedback immediately upon striking. The BOX Red, on the other hand, removes both the click and the bump, while actuating at 1.8mm. All three switches have an actuation force of 50g.
Will using this be confusing? At first, probably. The fact that you’ll have to get acquainted with accessing numerals, punctuations, and symbols by using a modifier does impose some amount of learning curve. Once you get the hang of it, though, we imagine it will feel just the same as other keyboards you’ve used through the years.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Keyboardio Atreus. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $99.