Before this keyboard I had a cheap model by Logitech in use, which at least technically still works perfect – but during my work at the office I got used to more flat keyboards, whose tactile feeling I find considerable more comfortable.
Since I also write a lot, I looked for a similar model for private use – so I finally ended up with the not so up-to-date “eVolution” series by Cherry, actually the “STREAM XT” (G85-23100DE-0 with German layout in light grey) for about 20 EUR.
Newer models, as the “Strait” are also flat, but with sharp edges and considerable more expensive. The rounded housing of the eVolution STREAM XT is quite more comfortable. The layout also complies to the standard, while with other keyboards you often have to live with changes due to the design or missing (because assumed not to neccessary) keys.
Another plus factor: The keyboard uses USB, but it can also be used on a PS/2 connection using the provided adapter – a USB keyboard is generally no problem on my PC, but the possibility to turn the PC on with a keystroke, is only possible with PS/2 keyboards.
Despite the flat body the keyboard is quite heavy and lies good on the table. The whole construction seems to be very solid and is held together by not less than 23 screws.
There are also additional stands, to slant the keyboard. These are also done quite robust and snap into place firmly.
The tactile feeling is very comfortable – a well defined keystroke and drop (this text is just written on the keyboard). The keys don’t get stuck, when pressed on the side. The noise is, typically for such design, quite low. Additionally you find six “multimedia” keys above the function key row to control the audio volume (louder, softer, mute) and to control media players (next, previous, pause/play), which also work without special drivers under Windows and Linux. I don’t really need these keys – but due to their position the also don’t disturb.
Not so well done are the status LEDs – they are fairly bright and radiate yellowish out of a small groove, through which dust and humidity could get into the housing. The function is still provided, but such details appear just “cheap” and not typical for Cherry.
It has to be shown, how the keyboard will prove in long-term operation – the impression after the first days is very good anyway.
Update after 11 months
Meanwhile (Juli 2012) I have been using the keyboard around 11 months nearly daily – and it still works as good as in the beginning. The only disadvantage: You can not remove the keys to clean them more easily – but the same applies to all flat keyboards of this kind.