My First Week With The Glove80

Adam Drake
6 min readMay 20, 2024
Glove80 keyboard

I recently bought the Glove80 keyboard which is a split ergonomic keyboard. I had always (well, ever since I saw how many cool developers were using them) wanted a split keyboard and this particular model had been getting plenty of positive reviews. I have to admit its not the cheapest model on the market but I figured if I was going to get a split keyboard then I would go all in.

Words Per Minute are Very Slow

I thought I would dive straight into the deep end with my new keyboard, after all I bought it ultimately to go faster so I might as well start with the setup I plan to use long term.

A massive 4 words per minute

That meant changing the default keyboard layout I am used to — QWERTY to Arno’s Engram keyboard layout. This is very weird at first and I am writing at a pace of about 4–10 words a minute. Quite frustrating actually! However I have noticed straight away that my hands are moving much less due to the layout of the keys. I should also note that I am using ‘home row mods’ which mean that the ‘shift’, ‘ctrl’, ‘alt’ and ‘cmd’ keys are all directly under my fingers.

During this first week I have also decided to only spend half my working day using the Glove80 and then the other half to switch back to using my old keyboard. I wasn’t initially planning to do this but the cognitive strain of using a new keyboard with a new layout was much more than I expected.

Sunaku’s Engrammer Keyboard Layout

One thing I stumbled across pretty quickly was a website by someone going by the name of Suraj N. Kurapati — His intro on his site goes like this:

I program, incessantly,
and I fear it will be the
end of me.
I cannot stop, for it commands my will,
thus I am the terminal programmer, nil.

As you can imagine I was immediately intrigued. He has a whole host of content on his site related to keyboard layouts and more recently the Glove80. This is where I discovered the Arno’s Engram keyboard layout and thanks to this Github page I was able to set up my Glove80 with this layout.

Also here is a very useful pdf of all the different keyboard layers.

I can literally feel my brain rewiring

It’s been a very interesting experience with this new keyboard and layout. The new keyboard definitely takes some getting used to, especially with the thumb clusters but I have quickly adjusted, this being mainly due to the amount of times you use ‘space’, ‘enter’ and ‘backspace’. The sheer amount of repetition gets your mind adjusted pretty quickly.

The curvature also doesn’t take too long to get used to. It was a little strange at first and I didn’t know quite where to rest my hands. However when adopting this new Engram keyboard layout it leads straight away to your hands finding a natural resting position.

However the new layout is a completely different matter. It’s very slow going. But just over this first week I can really notice my brain learning. Words like ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘some’ and repetitive letter combinations like ‘st’, ‘ing’, ‘th’, ‘ld’ are all starting to come quicker.

I thought I would go full into using this new keyboard and never touch my old keyboard again. That strategy went out the window on day 1.

I’m on the fourth day as I write this and I can already feel a slight ease in my using of this new keyboard and layout. But it’s still not easy by any means and it’s really teaching me about patience. My wife and a few others have told me they would never have the patience or the will to learn a whole new keyboard layout. They think I am crazy. I can now understand where they are coming from

Its frustratingly slow at first

I can’t reiterate this enough but this first week has been so frustratingly slow. Much more than I could have imagined. I thought I would go full into using this new keyboard and never touch my old keyboard again. That strategy went out the window on day 1. By lunchtime my mind was a mess and I was really struggling. I also had a load of work to do so I bit the bullet and changed back to my old keyboard.

Oh my god!! What a sense of relief that enraptured my body. Quite unexpected but I suddenly felt so free and able. I was moving around that keyboard with such speed and precision I could barely believe my own eyes!

I was also blown away by the muscle memory in my hands that I had built up over the years. It was like I was just watching my fingers move around the keyboard and I had no actual participation in that process. It was a truly bizarre experience.

I can feel my hands are not moving as much

One thing I have noticed with this new keyboard layout is that my hands are not moving around as much when I type. On a standard QWERTY layout my hands physically move around the keyboard quite a bit when just typing standard English words. When coding they move around even more! However with the combination of the Glove80’s curved keyboard and the Arno’s Engram keyboard layout my hands are much more settled. I assume (and hope!) that over time this will lead to me not having as many ergonomic issues that I might have had if I would have stayed on the standard QWERTY layout. Who knows but lets see.

Spending more time on Monkeytype than I probably should

Soon after opening my new keyboard and watching a few Youtube videos, I discovered Monkeytype. It’s a website where you can practise your typing and find out your typing speed as well as compare yourself to others. I have been on it everyday since I got my new keyboard. It’s been great for just practising the repetitive task of learning where the new keys are and also for giving me quick feedback on how I am improving (or not improving!).

It’s a great site if you are interested in things like this. Although be careful, it can get a little addictive and you can start becoming a little too obsessed with how many words you can type a minute.

It’s near the end of the week now and I am up to around 25 words per minute! You have to celebrate the small wins.

Learning to be patient

I think my biggest takeaway from this first week is that you have to have patience. This is not something that I am going to learn and master overnight. I am doing this ultimately for the betterment of my health (ergonomics) and to gain a more powerful tool for my profession (coding). This is a journey I am on and it’s going to take some time to reach the destination. Especially at 24 wpm.

Conclusion

All in all I am very happy with my new Glove80. The way it feels when typing is very comfortable. The curvature didn’t take too long to get used to whereas the new Engram layout will take a whole lot longer. From doing some quick reading and watching it seems it takes people about a year to get up to a good speed (80+ words a minute). If it means I’m setting myself up for a pain free coding career then I am prepared to play the long game.

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About me

I am a Frontend Developer working mainly with React and Typescript in my day-to-day professional life. I love exploring new tools and libraries and love the Javascript Ecosystem.

I like to write blog posts that share exciting new tools I’ve discovered, how-to articles, and also the occasional opinion piece.

I live in Prague in the Czech Republic with my family.

Check out the original blog post on my blog.

Check out my LinkedIn and Github if you are interested.

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Adam Drake

I'm a Frontend Developer and I write about all things Frontend Related - Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. Based in Prague, CZ