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Christine O.


5 minutes

What are Alice Mechanical Keyboards?

Curious about Alice keyboards? This short blog post will talk about the Alice keyboard layout and how its unique design will impact your daily typing routine!

Keychron Q10 with Whale PBT Keycaps and Alberta Ice Desk MatKeychron Q10 with Whale PBT Keycaps and Alberta Ice Desk Mat

Keychron Q10 with Whale PBT Keycaps and Alberta Ice Desk Mat

When it comes to mechanical keyboard designs, some hold secrets beyond the surface.

Imagine taking a journey deep into a rabbit hole (pun intended!) and discovering the true essence of keyboard design—whether it's about how they look, how they function, or how user-friendly they are.

And then there are those who simply enjoy the quirkiness of unique keyboards.

Enter the Alice ergonomic keyboard, a member of the "weird keyboard" club.

Let's Break Down the Alice Keyboard

Alice keyboards are among the trendiest keyboards around, winning the hearts of both casual users and keyboard veterans for their distinctive design.

Keychron Q8 with Whale PBT Keycaps and Blue Horizons Desk MatKeychron Q8 with Whale PBT Keycaps and Blue Horizons Desk Mat

Keychron Q8 with Whale PBT Keycaps and Blue Horizons Desk Mat

The standout feature of the Alice keyboard? It's the split layout, slightly tilted for added comfort. This is meant to make typing a breeze for your hands, although your experience may vary (we'll dive deeper into this later).

The very first Alice keyboard made its debut in 2018, aiming to strike the perfect balance between functionality, user needs, and visual appeal. And judging by the enthusiastic buzz on the GeekHack forums, people were quite taken with this innovative split design.

What Sets the Alice Keyboard Apart (Or Makes It Special)?

Here's the real scoop: typing on Alice keyboards feels fantastic for your wrists and arms. It's like a mini vacation for your shoulders and upper body. How cozy it feels depends on how well you adapt. Sure, getting used to the layout might slow you down initially, but with a bit of practice, you'll be back up to speed in no time.

These keyboards usually come in sizes ranging from 60% to 70%, and some even stretch to 75%. Plus, many designers are generous enough to share open-source files, so you can embark on your own DIY Alice-style keyboard project.

Keychron Q10 with Galaxy PBT KeycapsKeychron Q10 with Galaxy PBT Keycaps

Keychron Q10 with Galaxy PBT Keycaps

Now, the fun part – these keyboards can be tailor-made just for you, or you can opt for a hot-swappable setup, allowing you to customize to your heart's content.

Different Varieties of the Alice Keyboard

Let's talk about variations. Ever heard of the "Arisu" split keyboard? The name "Arisu" comes from the Japanese word for "Alice."

How can you tell an Arisu from an Alice? It's all about where the shift keys (bottom of the keyboard) and the space key are placed.

And here's where it gets interesting – Alice keyboards come in different flavors. It's all about how the keys are arranged, how many there are, and their orientation. Here are some common types:

  • Keychron Q8: Arrow keys, an extra B key, and a rotary knob
  • Keychron Q10: Arrow keys, an extra column, and a rotary knob
  • Basketweave: Arrow keys arranged through a special hole
  • Meridian: No arrow keys or extra buttons
  • Lumos: Arrow keys, an extra B key, and three extra buttons
  • Ava: Similar to Lumos, but with four extra buttons
  • Chocolice: Like Lumos and Ava, but with five extra buttons
  • Gothic70: Buttons arranged unevenly
  • Bear65: Big right shift key
  • Maja: Straight lineup of extra buttons

Is Alice Truly Ergonomic?

Now, for the big question – does the Alice keyboard really look after your wrists? While it aims to be comfortable by tilting the keys, the full ergonomic story might not be crystal clear. Many folks tried out the Alice layout to ease wrist strain, as those tiled keys seemed to offer a cozy typing spot.

Keychron Q10 with Octopus PBT Keycaps and Octopus Desk MatKeychron Q10 with Octopus PBT Keycaps and Octopus Desk Mat

Keychron Q10 with Octopus PBT Keycaps and Octopus Desk Mat

But here's the twist – compared to other split keyboards, Alice might not let your wrists dance around as freely. Regular keyboards let you type in various positions because they're roomy. Alice, however, might keep you in a more fixed position.

Closing Thoughts

In a nutshell, Alice keyboards want to make typing a comfortable affair by angling the keys. Yet, they might not be the ultimate solution for wrist comfort. That's where split keyboards swoop in—they're like a tailor-made suit, adjusting and fitting better, especially if your wrists need some extra love.

If you're up for a keyboard adventure, check out the Keychron Q8 Alice Mechanical Keyboard at Kinetic Labs. It's like "the Q5 mechanical keyboard by Keychron, but with an Alice layout and hot-swappable powers—switches and keycaps not included." Ready for a new keyboard journey? Get ready to have some fun!