Is a one-handed keyboard useful?

Are single-handed keyboards useful? Regular keyboards are too wide. Suppose you’re using a wireless mouse, have you ever thought about the range of movement for your mouse? As long as the desktop is large enough, theoretically, you can move “infinite distance” to the right. But can you move “infinite distance” to the left? Usually not. Why? Because for most keyboard and mouse users (excluding those who stagger the placement), the keyboard and mouse are placed flat, and if the mouse moves too far to the left, it can easily hit the right edge of the keyboard!

For everyday Windows applications, this may not be a problem. If the mouse hits the keyboard but the cursor on the screen hasn’t moved left to the target position, you can simply lift the mouse to the right and continue moving left (this process is referred to as “resetting” the mouse). However, in some games, especially FPS games (such as the classic CS, “Counter-Strike”), where all other factors are the same, whoever has a narrower keyboard can move the mouse further to the left, resulting in less need for mouse resetting. If your keyboard is wide and your opponent’s keyboard is narrow, when facing each other and both appearing on the left, you will certainly need to move the mouse to the left. However, if you haven’t aimed at them yet but your mouse hits the keyboard, causing you to reset the mouse. In that moment of resetting the mouse, although it may only be a fraction of a second, your opponent, whose keyboard is narrower and therefore does not need to reset the mouse, has already aimed at you and taken you out. This is why narrower gaming keyboards are better, not because narrow keyboards themselves have any advantages, but because they ensure that there is more space to move the mouse to the left.

In reality, our mouse rarely actually hits the keyboard because before the mouse hits the keyboard, we unconsciously reset the mouse. This shows that our consciousness is actually somewhat attentive to the position of the mouse or the posture of the wrist. In FPS games, accuracy is improved by the movement of the wrist + forearm, and relying solely on sensing the wrist posture is not enough. In order to avoid distraction, it is necessary to address this problem once and for all, so using a narrower keyboard is very necessary.

Some people think that this problem can be solved by adjusting the mouse sensitivity. To be precise, this can only be considered as “bypassing the problem” rather than “solving the problem”. Indeed, some people do this and play FPS games quite well. However, this still does not solve the problem of the mouse hitting the keyboard. Moreover, the higher the mouse sensitivity, the finer the wrist operation required, and the DPI of the mouse also matters. Not everyone is suitable for this method. I think this just shifts the investment from the keyboard to the mouse.

As for the price issue, making a non-mainstream keyboard actually has a high cost in terms of design and manufacturing. The cost of molds alone is considerable. Regular keyboards have large production volumes and sales volumes, so costs can be spread out, naturally lowering the price. Single-handed keyboards, as niche products, are not bought by many people, so the only way to recoup costs is to increase the selling price. There’s not much else that can be done.