Poor being:

  • lack of travel on keys

  • non standard layouts (not matching a standard keyboard layout)

Do people buy them without checking what they are like to type on ?

  • What does "travel on keys" mean? Jan 4, 2018 at 20:03
  • 1
    The distance a key moves up and down when it is pressed and released.
    – dennislees
    Jan 4, 2018 at 20:17
  • 2
    Many use-cases for laptops never (or rarely) use the laptop keyboard. Where I work, lots of people have laptops that are used almost exclusively in docking stations with "real" keyboards/mice, with only occasional "off-dock" use, where the quality of the keyboard isn't as important.
    – TripeHound
    Jan 5, 2018 at 9:47
  • 1
    Some A have such poor B. Seems like for all values of A, there exists a B. Some cars have such poor gas mileage. Some houses have such poor insulation. Jan 5, 2018 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


There are two different questions here.

The question in the title relates to the cost of design and manufacture. Some manufacturers cut corners where ever possible to save costs and increase margins. It's cheaper and easier to produce a crappy keyboard than a really nice one.

The answer to the second question is obviously, yes. There are many millions of consumers out there that might buy a laptop without having tested the keyboard, simply because they don't think or care about the ergonomics of typing. If you're buying a cheap notebook by some bit-part manufacturer to do a lot of typing on, you're probably the kind of sophisticated user that would do something like test multiple options for ergonomics.

  • I can see that cost savings come into the lack of "travel" (how much the key travels down when pressed). However, putting keys in silly positions just seems like sloppy design !
    – PhillipW
    Jan 5, 2018 at 20:18
  • Well, yes, but everything is relative, and sometimes manufacturing strategy is more of factor than not. A 'silly' position could be one that was forced by some other factor. The keyboard layout person said "I can't fit these keys in this space", but the project manager said "too bad, we have to make it work", so the designer does his/her best to follow convention but has to make some sacrifices. From a design perspective it may have been the beat possible job, so it's not exactly fair to refer to anything that doesn't meet conventioal expectations as silly or sloppy.
    – dennislees
    Jan 5, 2018 at 20:42
  • I've made this 'the answer': a combination of manufacturers saving costs, and a large number of two finger typists who keep buying the things.
    – PhillipW
    Jan 6, 2018 at 9:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.