This article may be updated by request at my leisure. I don't photograph the generic cord provided.
I type so often that it has long begun to pain me. I decided to purchase a chording keyboard, in an attempt to prevent or lessen further damage to myself; I considered the MicroWriter or its successor in the CyKey, but the former isn't intended to replace a keyboard, and the latter is unavailable. I settled for the BAT, and decided to learn its chording scheme, rather than making it resemble either of those two. I bought the left-handed model from Boundless Assistive Technology, for roughly $200.
It's uncomfortable to consider how many millions of keypresses I've made with the typical keyboards.
I reasonably enjoy using it so far. I'd learned the primary letters of the chording scheme within a day or so, and have become reasonably fast at using it over weeks; I have no issue believing I'll be able to switch to another chording keyboard, if I so desire. The primary letters are represented by those black keys, encompassing the twenty-six letters of the alphabet and space. I was skeptical of this scheme, assigning common letters to chords, but it's more pleasant to move three fingers for an s, or all for an o, than but the pinky for a w; the awkward chords, such as b or q, are rather rare.
The red and blue keys are primarily for modifiers, with the red leaning towards symbols and having a dedicated locking mode, with the blue existing for meta-purposes such as shifting, enter, backspace, and for miscellaneous keys, such as for navigation, and with its locking mode chord being caps lock.
This keyboard features a latch mode, which can persist a string of modifier chords, for ease. These modifiers will affect other keyboards connected to the machine, and this is convenient; any modifier chords are only consumed by the keyboard, so latching is unnecessary for this. Pressing those thumb keys in-unison resets the keyboard, but I've seen it doesn't unlatch, which was bothersome to learn.
The keyboard offers a repeating mode for held chords, but it usually just punishes me for taking too long in chording. The question mark has a shorthand, as does the dollar sign, but the card reverses their listings, and I'm inclined to believe the card was supposed to be correct, and the software is wrong. Listed on the bottom right of the card are some convenience chords which enter multiple keys at once; I've intentionally used that which writes two double quotes and a left arrow movement once, and by mistake in every other instance. Fortunately, having good chords used for unwanted functions stings less than dedicated keys would; being able to heavily customize layout would've been enjoyed.
The pinky key is raised, so that it is much easier to use. The cushion rest is better than nothing, but I may augment it later. I find the meta chord easy enough to use, but not the control; however, my layouts already rebind super to control, so it's no issue. It's pleasant, to be able to hold the keyboard in my lap, with my right hand steadying it or at my trackball. I've tried resting the tips of my fingers directly on the keys, but much prefer hanging them on the edges instead. Observing my chording technique or the lights, on during mode shifts, are the only reasons to watch the keyboard.
Those keys closer to the thumb require more force to register, which can be inconvenient, and I find myself leaning my hand in to compensate for it. It doesn't perfectly fit my hand; particularly, the index finger stretches slightly too much for my taste. I find the discomfort after prolonged use is in different areas of the arm than from typical keyboards, which has me wonder if I be strengthening dormant muscles, or causing damage to myself. Of course, my poor right hand is now entirely spared.
I'm not aware of how much force is good to use; I'm fastest and most consistent when using more than I know is required. I find myself trying to press and release in-unison, though it's pleasant to be able to serially press them, when I find myself struggling with a chord. I occasionally find myself typing ahead, to notice I've not been chording well. I can press the blue key to exit its shifting, and yet I can't do this with the red key, with it inserting a space instead, and this is bothersome.
I typed the entirety of this article using this keyboard, and will discuss more technique elsewhere.
It's a good starter chording keyboard, and I may find myself using it for years before replacing it.