It has been about nine months since I switched to a label-less, mechanical keyboard and I wanted to document my experiences after spending many hours with the keyboard. For reference, I am using the Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Silent Mechanical Keyboard.
By far, the best advantage of the keyboard is the mechanical confirmation provided by the key switches. The Cherry MX Red switches have a smooth resistance followed by a satisfying click action. There are several different types of key switches you can choose from, each of which offer a different type of resistance.
Kicking the Crutch
Regardless of your touch-typing abilities, you likely have a subconcious habit of glancing at the keyboard for specific actions. Switching to a keyboard with no labels will help you quickly identify and elminate those habits. I don’t peek at my keyboard often, but I noticed that I would tend to glance at the labels when typing symbols on the number row. This habit was gone within a week of my switch.
My wife and I share an office when she is not traveling. She quickly found my typing to be really annoying. To reduce the noise, I purchased a pack of Cherry MX Rubber O-Ring Switch Dampeners from WASD Keyboards. These o-rings help to dampen the sound of the keycaps bottoming out during a key press. The o-rings are available in different sizes and hardnesses. I went with the 40A-L (0.2mm Reduction) o-rings to reduce the sound while maintaining the natural keystroke feel. If you decide to add o-rings to your keyboard, purchase the keycap removal tool also, it will save you a lot of frustration.
For some reason, there are certain key combinations that I still mis-type. At this point, I’ve decided that I’ll never get it right. To help with this, I purchased a few blank keycap singles in a different color. I placed one on the, ‘5’, ‘0’, ‘F5’, and ‘F10’ keys. If you use the number row in leiu of the number pad, this will help you a lot.
Overall, my experience with the new keyboard has been great. If you are going to spend over eight hours at a computer every day, it pays to make your experience as good as possible.