07 Sep 2019

Atreus62 - Best portable mechanical keyboard

As a professional programmer, we spend a lot of time with our keyboards. Having a good ergonomic keyboard is extremely important to avoid RSI. Since I started learning more about mechanical and ergonomic keyboards couple of years ago, I have experimented with many of them - different models, layouts, and switches. Finally, I settled down with following two:

Kinesis one needs couple of weeks to get used as apposed to the Profet Atreus62 one, which took me few hours. They both uses brown switches, Kinesis uses Cherry brown, Atreus62 uses Gateron brown. While there are differences in terms of the point of actuation, peak and tactile noise based on their spec, I personally did not feel strongly enough to tell the difference so your mileage may vary. Both of them are very easy to configure to your liking. Kinesis have done a great job when it comes to how key mapping is done. Here is how you do it:

Atreus62 is a bit involved but it is a joy to hack on it. It uses open source firmware called `QMK` and you can read more about it here: The documentation is great and strongly recommend you check them out. It is a bit overwhelming and you could get lost among so much details. The easiest way to start configuring are to follow these steps:

NOTE: Remember to put your keyboard in flash mode by pressing a thin paper clip through a tiny hole on the back of the keyboard.

One you go through, above process, you will easily find that editing the `keymap.c` file is the easiest way to arrange keys. All you need is the key codes that you can find on the online GUI layout editor. Once you edit keymap files using your favorite editor, save it and run the above make command to generate the firmware to flash it. You can also version control the keymap files in case you want to share or change it later. Here is my layout if you are curious:

Tags: keyboard