Atreus incredible major flaw

First of all I want to congratulate the team for this almost perfect keyboard which has a very good build quality. The software seems to be under a very active development, so I am convinced that in time it will provide all the necessary functionalities, such as macros, etc.

However, I consider that the advantage of such a small keyboard is not the fact that it is portable as the fact that paradoxically fewer keys enables more accuracy. I think it’s because the keyboard is so small my fingers don’t get “lost” as easily. This automatically leads to increased comfort and also increases the typing speed, things that I think are most sought after by heavy typists.

From this perspective I consider that Atreus keyboard has a major flaw, namely the center columns staggering which is very very wrong, these instead of being lowered are in fact raised above the adjacent columns. This forces (as can be seen in this video) the hand to move sideways, which is not comfortable at all.

By lowering the central columns, the CTR and ALT keys can be accessed by the natural extension of the thumb finger, (see the attached file and video) which is much less prone to errors and also increases comfort and typing speed.

Moreover, this lowering of the central columns will increase insignificantly the total size of the keyboard and will even allow the eventual addition of two more keys that can be used for layer changing or why not for macros.

That is a good point. On the original Atreus I put a much longer (2u) keycaps on the center keys to bring them a bit closer to the thumbs. Unfortunately that does not work so well on the Keyboardio Atreus because of the proximity of the 2nd center key. Still, I remain extremely happy with my Keyboardio Atreus.

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Yeah those keys would be more reachable if they were a half U lower like you mentioned, but if I were to play the devil’s advocate, I’d say the current design with Space and BkSp keys sticking down helps me easily guide my thumbs to their “home” position. For me, Atreus is the first attempt at using all 1U keys including Space, and the layout as it is helped me adjust a lot.


I agree. The center columns should be lowered. I am doing the “twist” as described above a lot.

The Atreus is nevertheless the best keyboard I have ever used.

I also have an ergodox, which is also a very very good keyboard, but I have the impression that I always have to make an effort to place my hands on it. This is not the case with Atreus, and I agree it is also a very good keyboard, which is why I offer this feedback precisely in order to make it THE BEST OF THE BEST possible.

PS: A wirless version, possibly with wirless charging would be a very nice thing too. :wink:

I concur. I like that the Ergodox has more keys than the Atreus, but overall, the Atreus just feels much better. I believe it is because on the Atreus the vertical shift of the columns is more than on the Ergodox.

I agree about the difficulty of nailing those center keys. It’s the biggest ergonomics flaw, though I think the biggest UX flaw is that there’s no way to tell what layer you’re on just by looking at the keyboard.

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This is a very opiniated topic, for example I disagree. When I first backed it on Kickstarter I had a lot of concerns about the bottom row, because it is very much out of reach from homerow, but I have no paoblems with the first two collumns near the thumb, I start to flex when I need to reach for the third collumn and beyond.

Frist thing I did when I received my Atreus was to swap every single key and place the most used function keys near the thumb and center keys. Now I am experimenting with homerow modifiers to see if I can cut down the use of the bottomrow even further.

One thing I would like to change is to have a full center collumn instead of just two keys, but this would result in a larger keyboard.

But you shouldnt need to look to know which layer you are on. A good layout should be non-modal or quasi-modal i.e. all layer shifts should be activated by holding down a layer key.

I know this may be a controversial opinion.

I don’t find it controversial, but I do think it’s not fully thought out. I use the keyboard in a variety of contexts- for travel, plugging in to strange computers, my windows desktop and MacOS laptop that the company I work for provides. Depending on what environment I’m in, I may need different types of keys to be available, and some key types aren’t functional in all operating systems. It’d be nice to see at a glance if I’ve accidentally shifted into my linux config or failed to trigger from layer to another.

I’ve got a total of six layers on my Atreus layout. (Two of them are just “tweaks” on other layers.) All layers above zero are only activated by layer shift keys. I would find a “modal” keyboard with no indication of which mode it’s in to be…problematic.

However, I can see uses for toggled layers.

I’m starting to learn Plover. Having a steno layer I could toggle on and off would let me leave Plover running and active, and just use my steno layer toggle to switch between QWERTY and steno “modes”.

I can also see…

  • A numpad layer for those who do heavy numeric data entry
  • Using layer toggles for gamers with game-specific layers
  • In fact, any profession that uses special-purpose software might benefit from having a toggle-activated layer dedicated to software they spend a lot of time in.

I’m just a computer programmer, so I simply want all my modifiers and special character keys accessible. My desire to have everything accessible while keeping the most-used things easiest to reach means I don’t really have typing “modes” that would benefit from toggled layers. But I can definitely see some use cases for toggled layers, and therefore a need for indicators to show what mode the keyboard is in when I get back from a break/meeting/lunch.