Mechanical Keyboard with Thinkpad Trackpoint

Mechanical Keyboard with Thinkpad Trackpoint

Love Thinkpad Trackpoint? You've found the right page. This article goes through all possible options you may have to use Trackpoint with desktop/mobile devices with very similar (if not better) experience.

I am a huge fan of IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad keyboard, especially love the trackpoint module.

X60 was my first Thinkpad laptop (my second laptop ever), after that I bought tons of Thinkpad laptops, from famous 701C to X220. I haven't bought anything newer than X220 simply because the design and layout of the new "chocolate" 6-row keyboard is not "thinkpad" anymore.

SK8855

For desktops I use daily, I try to use keyboards with trackpoint as well. At first, I use SK8855(picture comes later), which is the only dedicated keyboard I can find with 1) trackpoint 2) no touchpad 3) Windows key. I bought two of those and use them for years at home and office. Inside SK8855, it's indeed a T420/X220 keyboard with USB conversion board. Lenovo provides a basic driver to make it uses like their laptops.

SK8855 has some disadvantages make me want something better.

  1. It's wired. I don't mind wired, in fact I try to use everything wired if it's possible(ethernet, wired mouse, wired charger, etc) because it's more reliable. But it's always good to be able to use it with mobile devices.
  2. It's not customizable. I might not need it, but it's nice to have it.
  3. It's expensive. Believe or not, it's more expensive than most mechanical keyboards. And as time passes, it's harder and harder to buy one. And of course, there are only used ones available on ebay/aliexpress. I don't mind used stuff, but for keyboard I use daily, I prefer new ones.

Wireless keyboard with trackpoint

That brings to this. A wireless keyboard with trackpoint. I have 3 major revisions so far. I am pretty happy with the last (hopefully final) revision. It's built with X60/X61 keyboard, nRF51822 BLE module and 3D printed enclosure. But after all it is still a laptop keyboard lacking noise and percussion comes from mechanical keyboards.

Tex Shinobi Mechanical Keyboard

I ordered Tex Shinobi Mechanical Keyboard from MechanicalKeyboards.com designed by Tex. It's a pre-order and the estimate arrival date is pushed to June 2020 now.

The design is interesting, it features 7-Row mechanical keyboard with TrackPoint, all keys programmable, can upgrade to BLE wireless with external module.

Will update once I got it.

My own design

I am not sure if I want to design my own mechanical keyboard with trackpoint yet, I probably would wait for Tex Shinobi to arrive.

In the mean time, I ordered some used IBM X60/T60 keyboards, just to make use of the trackpoint module. A note is coming on how to drive it. Stay tuned.

If I decide to design the keyboard, I hope it features:

  1. 2.4GHz dongle/ BLE 5.0/ Wired USB connection.
  2. All keys and key-combinations programmable.
  3. Module form factor design, can be 60%/65%/75%/Tenkeyless/Full size.
  4. Ergonomic design

It's my very initial idea, and it might be changing over time. Will update this page if anything comes in my mind.

This post is created on May 07, 2020 and last updated on May 24, 2020