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The Atreus is a super compact, split keyfield, ergonomic, open source programmable, hot-swap, mechanical keyboard by Keyboardio.
£169.00 (£140.83 ex VAT)
Until you see an Atreus in person, it's hard to comprehend just how compact it is. But don't let that tiny package fool you. This is a real mechanical keyboard, with full-travel keyswitches mounted in an anodized aluminum plate and the same generous 19mm key spacing you'll find on a traditional desktop keyboard. Inside, it's powered by a Microchip ATmega32U4 MCU, the same chip that's inside an Arduino Leonardo and a Keyboardio Model 01. It comes with firmware source code, as well as a graphical configuration tool. It connects to your computer or tablet over USB.
But it really is very small. At just 24.3 x 10 x 2.8cm (9.6 x 3.9 x 1.1 inches), it's easy to bring your keyboard with you everywhere.
To get a better sense of just how compact the Keyboardio Atreus is, you can print out this PDF: Downloadable papercraft Keyboardio Atreus
(Make sure your computer is set to print things at actual size, rather than shrinking or stretching them to fit on a sheet of paper. It should fit on a standard sheet of A4 or letter / 8.5"x11" paper.)
The Atreusí layout puts all the keys in columns aligned to your fingers, so you never need to stretch or twist to reach a key. The keys are the same size as on a regular desktop keyboard, but they're laid out in a much more compact way that matches how your hands work. Everything you need is easy to reach. (Since the keyboard is so compact, your mouse or trackball is closer, too.)
Rather than being arranged in rows like a typewriter, the Atreus' keys are arranged in columns, with each column just right for the finger that hits it. Each half of the keyboard is angled inward at 10 degrees, to help keep your arms and shoulders in a more neutral posture.
A traditional keyboard has 104 keys. A compact laptop keyboard typically weighs in at 78 keys. The Keyboardio Atreus manages to fit all the same functionality into just 44 keys. We do this by assigning keys to different "layers".
The standard Atreus layout packs a full keyboard into just 44 keys. The default layer is where you'll find your letters and most of your standard punctuation. Tap or hold the Fun key and your Atreus will shift to the Fun (Function) layer, where you'll find numbers, arrow keys, and the rest of your symbols. From there, press the Upper key (Esc) to get to the Upper layer, where you'll find media keys, F keys, and other similar stuff.
Learning to type on any new keyboard layout takes patience and practice. If you've never typed on a split keyboard before, it can be quite an adjustment, but one we think is really worth it. Your hands and wrists will thank you.
Similarly, learning to type on a keyboard with multiple layers can be a bit of an adjustment. At first, it may sound a little bit exotic, but it's something most folks can adjust to relatively quickly. After all, the symbols above the numbers on a "regular" keyboard are just a layer you access with the Shift key.
The standard Atreus layout has been refined over the past few years and is a great option if you're just getting started with split, columnar keyboards. If you're coming from the Model 01, you might end up preferring a Model 01 style layout, which we're still refining. This layout will use the standard Atreus keycaps and will be available on all Keyboardio Atreus keyboards.
Of course, one of the great things about having a customizable keyboard is that you can customize it. If the layout the Atreus ships with isn't right for you, it's easy to change it to match where your fingers think the keys should be.
The easiest way to change the Atreus' layout is using our point and click configuration tool- no programming required. It runs on Windows 10, macOS, and Linux. (And, of course, it's open source and available on GitHub.)
Chrysalis, the free graphical configuration tool for the Atreus
Once you've customized your layout, you can rearrange the keycaps to match-all of the keycaps are the same shape. Additionally, the laminated layout card that comes with your keyboard is blank on one side, so you can fill it in with a whiteboard marker as you learn your custom layout.
The firmware powering all our keyboards, Kaleidoscope, is open source and freely available on Github. If you want to build complex macros, add in joystick emulation, change how the Atreus speaks USB, or make keys do things we haven't thought of yet, Kaleidoscope is where you'd start.
Kaleidoscope is incredibly powerful, but we've done our best to make it newbie-friendly. We built it on top of the Arduino core, to make it easy for folks who aren't familiar with embedded development or C++ to be able to do amazing things. At the same time, you're not restricted to the Arduino IDE when working with it. If vi or Emacs is your weapon of choice, everything's set up to build from the command line using standard tooling.
Kaleidoscope supports all the things you'd expect, like layouts stored in EEPROM, serial communications, full NKRO, mousekeys, and crazy USB tricks. Most new features can be added to Kaleidoscope as plugins, of which we have many already.
Hot-swap switches and easy to move keycaps make it easy to customize your keyboard. Your Atreus comes fully assembled with your choice of switches. All of our switches are made by Kailh, one of the best switch makers in the world. Kailh rates all of these switches for at least 70 million keypresses. The Keyboardio Atreus features hot-swap sockets designed to let you remove the switches with a standard keyswitch puller (not included) and replace them with just about any MX-style switch, no soldering or disassembly required.
The standard keycaps shipped with the Keyboardio Atreus will be black, laser-engraved keys in the XDA profile. They will be made out of PBT, a high-quality plastic beloved by keyboard enthusiasts for their resilience. The standard F and J keys installed on the keyboard include homing bars.
Your keyboard will also come with extra F and J keys without homing bars. If you want to rearrange your keys to a layout like Dvorak or Colemak, you can use the alternative F and J keys so you don't have homing bars in the wrong place.
Every Keyboardio Atreus comes with: A shielded 1.5M USB A to USB-C cable, a laminated layout card featuring the standard layout on one side and a blank layout for you to customize on the other, four extra keycaps: Alternative F and J keys without homing bumps, a Keyboardio Butterfly key, and an Any key.