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IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

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snap1
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:01 pm
Location: MSK (aka Moscow), Russia

IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#1 Post by snap1 » Wed May 20, 2020 2:28 pm

Hi all,

My apologies in advance if this isn't the right forum for such questions.
I'm one of the weird ones who enjoys laptop keyboards with shallow key travel, especially with scissor 'switches' (actually just an enhanced rubber dome with a little cross-arm mechanism to stabilize the keycap) and I always wanted such an external keyboard for my PC.
I don't really want a mechanical keyboard as the switches make too much noise.
Looking around I've found the ThinkPad-like SK-8845 and 8835 for sale on aliexpress and immediately fell in love with them however what's stopping me at the moment is the exorbitant price of these items. I have the money however I'd feel a bit ridiculous shelling out ~100 usd on a rubber-dome keyboard.

I've also considered the new Lenovo USB keyboard with TrackPoint (which is a bit cheaper but way less charming), but I really don't like the chiclet keys.

Could anyone please advise if these units are worth the asking price? What keyboard should I go for?

Thanks and best regards,

w0qj
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Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#2 Post by w0qj » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:14 pm

Hello, the prices you've mentioned are about the same as being offered in our region.

As keyboards are a very personal thing (key shape as you've mentioned, the "hardness" of keys when pressed, keyboard layout, any TrackPoint or UltraNav on keyboard, if wireless keyboard how solid is the connection, etc.), it's really up to you to decide if the keyboard is suitable for you!

Wishing you fun choosing your external keyboard!

- - - - - - - - - -
P.S. - There is apparently an older thread about an older model of ThinkPad UltraNav external keyboard (SK-8840) here:

http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=130530
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

crashnburn
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Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#3 Post by crashnburn » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:59 am

snap1 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 2:28 pm
Hi all,

My apologies in advance if this isn't the right forum for such questions.
I'm one of the weird ones who enjoys laptop keyboards with shallow key travel, especially with scissor 'switches' (actually just an enhanced rubber dome with a little cross-arm mechanism to stabilize the keycap) and I always wanted such an external keyboard for my PC.
I don't really want a mechanical keyboard as the switches make too much noise.
Looking around I've found the ThinkPad-like SK-8845 and 8835 for sale on aliexpress and immediately fell in love with them however what's stopping me at the moment is the exorbitant price of these items. I have the money however I'd feel a bit ridiculous shelling out ~100 usd on a rubber-dome keyboard.

I've also considered the new Lenovo USB keyboard with TrackPoint (which is a bit cheaper but way less charming), but I really don't like the chiclet keys.

Could anyone please advise if these units are worth the asking price? What keyboard should I go for?

Thanks and best regards,
I am in complete agreement with you on Mech vs Thinkpad keyboards. I find them perfect.

Hence I bought 2 TP with UltraNav keyboards when / before I left the US for the first time - not for 100 but maybe 40-60% of the 100 $ price. I wouldnt pay it now, but then my Thinkpad addiction was at peak.

I wish they would take UltraNav and put it with a Bluetooth new system and create one.

I've survived till now but have been giving me some GLITCHES and STICKY keys. It means I'll have to do a full cleanup WITHIN - One of these days before end of the year. Until then I am using a different - Wireless Bluetooth keyboard.
T61 8892-02U: 14.1"SXGA+/2.2C2D/4G/XP|Adv Mini Dock|30" Gateway XHD3000 WQXGA via Dual-link DVI
X61T 7767-96U: 12.1"SXGA+/1.6C2D/3G/Vista|Ultrabase
W510 4319-2PU: 15.6"FHD/i7-720QM/4G/Win7Pro64 (for dad)
T43 1875-DLU: 14.1"XGA/1.7PM-740/1G/XP (Old)

mikeshugar
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:11 am
Location: Sarasota, FL

Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#4 Post by mikeshugar » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:40 am

Hello fellow Thinkpadders,

I am a Thinkpads-only person and have been using them exclusively since 1998.

I love this keyboard (SK-8855 AKA 55Y9053). I have 4 of them including 1 unopened that I bought for when one of the others fail. I love this keyboard because of the wrist rest and TrackPoint middle-button scrolling.

I have a new Thinkpad P1 Gen 2 with Win 10 Pro and I have the SK-8855 connected through the thunderbolt dock. The SK-8855 keyboard works and the TrackPoint works for mousing around, but the middle button scrolling only works in some windows and not others:

Middle-button scrolling works when scrolling in:
  • Windows explorer treeview and file view
  • Internet explorer
  • Outlook Message list view
Middle-button scrolling doesnt work when scrolling in:
  • Outlook Message body view pane (the scrolling tooltip appears, but the window doesnt scroll unless I hold the pointer over the vertical scrollbar)
  • Any window at all inside of a VMWare Player virtual machine guest (scrolling tooltip doesnt appear)
  • Excel - trying to scroll up and down causes scrolling left and right when the pointer is over the document, but if I hold the pointer over the vertical scrollbar, then trying to scroll up and down causes scrolling up and down
On prior laptops and prior Windows versions, SK-8855 middle button scrolling was a thing of beauty.

I have tried the latest driver for the SK-8855, which is dated 2011 and doesn't list Win10 as a supported OS.

I have tried the driver for the compact USB keyboard, which is the current model, but it doesnt improve the behavior.

Does anyone have any idea how to get SK-8855 middle button scrolling working in all windows on Win 10?

Thanks in advance.

Mike

mikeshugar
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:11 am
Location: Sarasota, FL

Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#5 Post by mikeshugar » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:41 am

snap1 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 2:28 pm
Hi all,

My apologies in advance if this isn't the right forum for such questions.
I'm one of the weird ones who enjoys laptop keyboards with shallow key travel, especially with scissor 'switches' (actually just an enhanced rubber dome with a little cross-arm mechanism to stabilize the keycap) and I always wanted such an external keyboard for my PC.
I don't really want a mechanical keyboard as the switches make too much noise.
Looking around I've found the ThinkPad-like SK-8845 and 8835 for sale on aliexpress and immediately fell in love with them however what's stopping me at the moment is the exorbitant price of these items. I have the money however I'd feel a bit ridiculous shelling out ~100 usd on a rubber-dome keyboard.

I've also considered the new Lenovo USB keyboard with TrackPoint (which is a bit cheaper but way less charming), but I really don't like the chiclet keys.

Could anyone please advise if these units are worth the asking price? What keyboard should I go for?

Thanks and best regards,
Hi snap1,

This keyboard has entered what I call the extortionary lifecycle phase. It used to be the case that when a product was discontinued by the manufacturer, the price was reduced to clear them out to make shelf space and mindshare space for new models. But some opportunists have recognized that if a shopper is searching for an obsolete model, chances are good the shopper has prior experience with that model and prefers it to new replacements, and is probably willing to pay a premium. So they charge 2x - 10x what the product cost when it was current.

That is the case for me with the SK-8855. I like it a lot more than the current model because the current model lacks the wrist rest. I bought extras when i could see it was discontinued. Unfortunately i am having trouble getting the SK-8855 to have full functionality on my new Thinkpad.

Mike

snap1
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:01 pm
Location: MSK (aka Moscow), Russia

Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#6 Post by snap1 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:44 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks a lot for your replies.
Since my initial post I have been monitoring ebay/aliexpress/Yahoo auctions/etc for reasonable prices for these models. Both my orders for 8845RC (8845 without the touchpad) on ebay and taobao have been cancelled and refunded.
Right now I have made peace with the idea that I may have to pay upwards of a 100 usd for a keyboard that I want. Unfortunately it seems that there is no low-profile keyboard which will have non-chiclet keys, look clean and professional and be cheap at the same time.

Another thing that I've learned that 8855 is probably more practical of the three models, since it's compatible with X220/T420 keyboard modules and it's possible to swap the module if the current one breaks or whatever. But it's also the hardest one to find.
Can anybody please confirm if the modules in 8845/8840/8835 are swappable with any of the Thinkpads?

I have also widened my search to include the new Lenovo keyboard (KU-1255) and I want to try out the Apple keyboard as well.
Could anybody please advise if the module in KU-1255 is swappable as well?

snap1
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 12:01 pm
Location: MSK (aka Moscow), Russia

Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#7 Post by snap1 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:05 am

So I went ahead and bought a KU-1255 from Aliexpress. I love it already. The Trackpoint was ready to be used from the get-go. The keys feel super nice and the click is really satisfying.
The chiclet keys are not as much a distraction as I thought. I can recommend this keyboard.

crashnburn
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:26 pm
Location: TX, USA & Bombay, India

Re: IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Ultranav external keyboards (SK-8845/8835/8855)

#8 Post by crashnburn » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:43 am

snap1 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:44 am
Hi everyone,

Thanks a lot for your replies.
Since my initial post I have been monitoring ebay/aliexpress/Yahoo auctions/etc for reasonable prices for these models. Both my orders for 8845RC (8845 without the touchpad) on ebay and taobao have been cancelled and refunded.
Right now I have made peace with the idea that I may have to pay upwards of a 100 usd for a keyboard that I want. Unfortunately it seems that there is no low-profile keyboard which will have non-chiclet keys, look clean and professional and be cheap at the same time.

Another thing that I've learned that 8855 is probably more practical of the three models, since it's compatible with X220/T420 keyboard modules and it's possible to swap the module if the current one breaks or whatever. But it's also the hardest one to find.
Can anybody please confirm if the modules in 8845/8840/8835 are swappable with any of the Thinkpads?

I have also widened my search to include the new Lenovo keyboard (KU-1255) and I want to try out the Apple keyboard as well.
Could anybody please advise if the module in KU-1255 is swappable as well?
Interesting. I did not know these modules were changeable.
T61 8892-02U: 14.1"SXGA+/2.2C2D/4G/XP|Adv Mini Dock|30" Gateway XHD3000 WQXGA via Dual-link DVI
X61T 7767-96U: 12.1"SXGA+/1.6C2D/3G/Vista|Ultrabase
W510 4319-2PU: 15.6"FHD/i7-720QM/4G/Win7Pro64 (for dad)
T43 1875-DLU: 14.1"XGA/1.7PM-740/1G/XP (Old)

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