Thoughts on the brand new System76 Launch Keyboard

It’s not as good as someone inexperienced with keyboards might think, when they look at the features and specs.


Let’s put this into perspective

This keyboard, in its cheapest configuration, costs $285. This of course does not include any taxes. So you probably still have to put 20 to 80 dollars onto that price, depending on where you live.

What are you getting for this price?

Well, if you have any experience with the world of ergonomic keyboards, you are honestly not getting that much. You are getting all the standard specs and features most ergonomic keyboards deliver. However, this keyboard is not even ergonomic, so it makes things worse. It’s a plank with non-orthogonal key order. This is pretty much the most un-ergonomic and standard keyboard design you can choose.
So, even when paying easily over $300 dollars, you are still getting an un-ergonomic keyboard, that could eventually harm any user, that is seriously using their keyboard at least 1 hour per day in pure typing. (Most people think, they are using it for more than 1 hour a day. However, if you only count the time, that you are actually typing on the keyboard, most people do not reach 1 hour typing per day, not even close.) This is, for example, very important for professional programmers or other people, that just have to type a lot for work.

Looking at all the features, even if they seem really great for an inexperienced user, they are still pretty standard and nothing special. I want to emphasize this point, as it seems like you can configure it so amazingly and do tinker with it as much as you want, yet – this is just a normal thing in the ergonomic keyboard world, when you pay more than $250 (without taxes) for a device.

The only feature, that is distinctive from the default you would expect from other keyboards in this price range is the USB-C Hub, where you can attach further peripherals. This is literally the only extra feature you are getting for this price. Nice to have, but it is still far from convincing that this keyboard is appropriately priced.

As I did not want to make a thorough review, but just mention a couple of thoughts I had when looking at this “amazing new product”, I will finish this post with a couple of ergonomic keyboard examples, that more or less in the same price range, yet have a lot more features and are actually ergonomic. I.e. the following keyboards are way more your money’s worth, when you want to pay more than $300 for a keyboard, anyway.

It’s not everybody’s thing to have a split keyboard. Sure. So here we go with non-split keyboard examples, that are still ergonomic:

I am not able to provide too many examples for non-split keyboards, as they have never interested me that much.

Here a lot of explanations and showcases of ergonomic keyboards of all types:


One of my personal favourites. A $150 dollar minimalist keyboard, that has all the features, perhaps even more than the Launch keyboard. Yet, the only “downside” is, that it’s very small and limited in terms of key amount. Still, this one is an ergonomic keyboard, whereas Launch is comparatively far away from that definition.

Despite having at least all the features the Launch delivers, it costs at least $100 less!

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