Alex, I’m still using the M01 and I still think it’s definitely much the better of the two. However, a few more weeks, I can be a bit more specific. The M01 is a slightly bigger commitment, it’s more different from a normal keyboard.
The sculpting of the M01 commits you to the “touch typing” stance for everything. That may seem like a weird thing to say, but there are times when I’m not intensively typing (e.g. web research, or using the AWS console), where copy/past, tabbing etc. are done with muscle memory on a normal board. You’re not thinking “hold command and hit X” - you just do the thing you know is “cut”, and I’d always use my thumb and index finger (at least, on a Mac keyboard). With the M01, I have to “approach” it as though I were starting to type, and then think “command X”, and use my ring finger.
My EZ is a “glow” with plain (not sculpted) caps, so it’s more like a regular keyboard in this respect - it’s a compromise, for sure, but there are upsides. Now, I think in another three months, when I have my Keyboardio black belt, I may be grateful for this enforced change.
I got my EZ with Kailh Thick Gold Clicky switches (I work from home) and I absolutely love them. The M01 with the Quiet Click Keys is technically brilliant, but when you’re typing it feels a bit “rattly”. I think it’s to do with the sculpted keys inevitably meaning you don’t push them straight down - and the way the QuietClick’s actuate. You have to remember to force yourself not to push them to the bottom of their travel. They don’t feel as though they’re going to work with that light touch, but when you do it’s a marvel. However, they lack the audible feedback you get from a click, which helps you learn to only push them as hard as you need to.
However, I compared my speed with the two, and guess what - I’m way faster on the M01 - peaked at 117wpm (no caps or punctuation) compared with about 105 on the EZ. For actual typing I reckon it’s got to be the best keyboard ever invented. And it is an invention, not an evolution of someone else’s design.
Key cap printing
I prefer the Ergodox approach to printing on keys - i.e. the non-“letter” keys are blank. Is it US or UK? I say it’s UK and have no OCD angst that it’s a # above the 3 not a £. I’m anally retentive and wouldn’t remap keys if it contradicts what’s printed on them. I’d find that too confusing whilst I’m learning and it would grate. I’d rather have completely blank caps for the left and right most columns on both sides, as well as the thumb clusters, so I don’t feel like I’m “hacking” it if I want to remap things. I’d probably stick 95% with the defaults, since Jesse’s design is so great and the result of months of research and testing, but why print “any” on a key? Or even “prog” for that matter? Same goes for cursor keys. It’s going to take me a very long time to get used to HJKL but my OCD stops me remapping them because it would confuse me too much. Maybe in the end I’ll be faster with the defaults. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m forced (by my own nature, plus the printing) to keep them. But I’d still rather have the option.
EZ wins hands down. It just works, and although it’s not “live” like Chrysalis (which is a work in progress), for me that’s not a big deal, and personally I don’t like having to copy the firmware (read-only) layers and set the default to my new one. My OCD doesn’t like having those unused ones sitting there. I have a bit of programming knowledge but am no expert, and I’ll confess to being a bit frustrated by the compromises - use Chrysalis and you have to copy layers, reset the defaults, then you lose the numlock colour change without installing the colormap thing, and even then I couldn’t get it to work and reproduce the default behaviour. The only plugin I want is SpaceCadet, but of course as a plugin it’s more clunky to configure than the Chrysalis version, where every key has a switch for “do something else when held”, which is precisely what I want. As a result I still haven’t managed to set the M01 to include the minor changes I want. Despite valiant efforts in the Wiki and on GitHub it’s just not there “out-of-the-box” as it is with Ergodox, and you have to invest a lot of time figuring out how to do it, as well as choose between manually editing the sketch and going with the Chrysalis work-in-progress - and those two things are incompatible with one another and can’t be combined. I just want to make tiny tweaks to default, print a nice PDF and leave it on my third screen.
On three occasions over the past few weeks, I’ve got the Ergodox out to use instead because I love the switches so much and I kind of want it to be as good as the M01. I set it up in a way that’s really inspired by the M01’s thumb clusters. I enjoy the clicking, then realise I’m actually slower on it and it’s less comfortable, unplug it and go back to the M01. I also find I’m in no-mans-land muscle-memory wise - half the time I’m still page-downing on the M01 when I want shift, the other half I’m hitting the plastic board on the EZ with my thumb. Need to commit for a few months, and the M01 gets that committment.
I just wish it had blank keys except the actual letters (a la Ergodox), and a simple online configurator that works out of the box. OpenSource is obviously a beautiful, glorious thing, but it does mean you get lots of options and none of them really ready yet. If I were selling the M01 I’d have prioritised getting a simple GUI working that simply creates the map sketch for you, or compiles firmware ready to upload.