I just wanted to let K+J know that you’ve got another happy M01 user!
I had a couple concerns going in:
- Having only previously used keyboards with the standard US layout, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the M01’s columnar key layout and liberal rearrangement of the various non-alphanumeric keys.
- I wasn’t sure if the function keys would be difficult to use, or get in the way of normal typing.
- As someone who typically prefers a more modern metal/plastic/glass aesthetic, I wasn’t really a fan of the maple housing.
However, the M01 had a couple of key features that made it one of my top choices:
- the split layout, with the ability to tent to my heart’s content
- the highly reachable thumb keys. I had tried a coworker’s kinesis advantage, and quickly realized that the thumb clusters were too much of a stretch for my hands. The ergodox had the same issue.
- the open-source firmware which doesn’t require a proprietary, or god forbid, a Windows-only executable to customize the layout
I decided to take the plunge when I spotted a good deal on eBay, and I’m sure glad I did. When I opened up the box, my concerns were quickly assuaged.
- The layout definitely felt odd, but after a few hours of practice, I felt confident enough to use it for work.
- The function keys are very comfortable to use, and I found that they didn’t get in my way whatsoever.
- The maple enclosure is beautiful. The comparison to a musical instrument really is apt – this device feels like a work of art. Wonderful craftsmanship and attention to detail.
- The homing dots are very helpful, especially on the ‘a’ and ‘;’ keys. At first, my pinkies wanted to sit up on ‘q’ and ‘p’, but the homing dots quickly helped retrain them.
- The thumb keys are great! Finally, my strong but underworked digits are given a more fitting workload. They’re still getting used to jumping around after many years of being exclusively on spacebar duty, but it’s absolutely worth it. My pinkies are much happier already. I followed the lead of another forum user and put a couple small pieces of grip tape on my ‘cmd’ and ‘alt’ keys to help my thumbs find their place. I’m very pleased with that small addition. I might put some on my ctrl keys as well – the texture feels pleasant, and I think it would give my thumbs another small leg-up on becoming more comfortable with their new responsibilities.
- I was always a little bit shaky with touch-typing the number keys, but the M01’s columnar layout is proving to be a boon on that front. It also exposed a few quirks with my finger habits which the M01 forced me to revise (e.g. I previously used my left index finger to hit the ‘c’ key)
- I was thinking I might remap some of the keys, but I decided to give the default layout a shot first. Turns out that the defaults are really great! For instance, I like the locations of ‘/’ and ‘’, and ‘-’, ‘_’, and ‘|’ symbols. It provides a nice mnemonic: slanty-slashes are on one key, and vertical/horizontal lines are on another. The attention to detail shines through once again.
Really well done, J+K! I’m very, very pleased with my purchase. I might just have to buy another one so that I don’t have to carry it to the office and back 5 days a week. Thanks for all your hard work!