Classic/old 7-row style keyboards

I’m going to start by saying that I love the idea behind the framework laptop and from my point of view the laptop itself is a huge improvement relative to the current competition (seriously, this can’t be understated. Thanks for your work guys!).

That said, I want to make a point about the keyboard. The keyboard is without a doubt my biggest gripe about this laptop. I spend many hours every day typing away at a keyboard, both for my work and study (taking notes, etc). Very often I do this at in the library or on the go (especially during the semester), so it’s not really practical to carry around an external keyboard; this leaves me relying on my laptop’s keyboard, making it one of the single most important features of any laptop I own. If it’s not just right, I’ll really feel it after 8 hours of typing.

In particular, I find it very tiring to type on the so called island-style keyboards that have become the default in the laptop industry nowadays; might be due to the key travel, shape of the keys of keys or just general “feel” of it. Not being a keyboard enthusiast, I find it hard to determine what exactly is causing this, so I’ll just quote some else’s post talking about the particular case of thinkpad keyboards:

It’s not even a matter of placement of the keys, the 7 row just feels better to me: the travel is just right, not short but not too long, and when a key lands it’s soft on the fingertips yet firm, coming to a full stop, all the while
producing a clicky, typewriter-like sound that’s satisfying to hear without being too noisy or high pitched. I have three 7 rows on my x200-x201 machines and they’re all slightly different, especially in the texture on the keys, but they all share the traits above, more or less.

I find the 6 row on my T430 to be pretty nice, but slightly more tiring for my fingers to type on after a while: the key travel is there, but it suddenly comes to a stop and it’s a “hard” place, that is, I find the landing to be a little harsher than on the 7 row. The keys are not concave, so sometimes I get this weird feeling that I don’t know exactly where the tip of my finger is on the key, if in the middle or near the edge. Also, it doesn’t sound as good as the other one imho.

For me, I could buy any cheap classic style (not island-style) external keyboard off amazon, and it would be considerably more confortable to type in than any modern laptop’s keyboard that I’ve tried to date.

Obviously, this whole post is just my opinion, but I know I’m not alone in this. People have gone to great lengths to get the typing experience of something like a pre-2012 thinkpad in a laptop as little as 1-year newer! I know I have, as I’m typing this from a keyboard-modded T430.

The point of this post is not to criticize your work; I know I’m probably part of a relatively niche group and not part of your target audience. However, I’d imagine it’s not a small number of people that would love to see a return of (in my opinion) nicer keyboards in a laptop, and should you release a laptop variant with something resembling a 2011 thinkpad 7-row keyboard or the keyboard in the MNT Reform I’d buy it in a whim, even if it was sold at a premium (since
there’s really nothing like it in the market now).

Cheers and have a good day!


Created an account just to second this.


Exactly what i wanted to suggest. The last useable laptop keyboard in the whole history of humankind was the T420 line, after that only in the Anniversary edition had the same keyboard, but it was available only in english layout.
Personally for me the old (C600) latitude style keyboards were my favorite, where the ctrl/function keys weren’t switched and there was no paging key over the left/right cursor keys. Something like that with a proper ins/del/home/end/pgup/pgdown block would be great. Also an instant get.
I suppose with a modular design like framework, all of this is totally doable.


Hmm, I’m now realizing I made basically this same exact thread. I created my account to say I need a trackpoint, but obviously getting the keyboard any closer to the greatest laptop keyboard ever made would be ideal.


I’m also a fan of ThinkPads, and the classic 7-row was, at least, very interestingly designed. I’d love to see the community come up with a mod for it as well as the TrackPoint and buttons. If this Framework chassis gets any more modular than it is now, we could see parts physically being able to latch in and out of it with custom front plates that involve the current keyboard + trackpad right now. There is a good possibility we could have a modernized take on the 7-row without a trackpad at all to fully embrace it if we really want it, like the style of the ThinkPad of long ago.

All you’d need is a dimensionally-compatible set of parts IMO and the software to drive it. I’d personally be down to see the layout in new-fashioned keycaps and I doubt the old ones with the existing switches those FRUs had would allow this current device to fully close.


I’m eagerly waiting for somebody to bring back the 7 row keyboard

Please, please, please! This is really a must for the IT Pros

Feel free to vote and declare your interest. If we get to 100 voters I am moving on with this.