The Alice Layout has risen in popularity due to the designer Yuk Tsi providing free files for an acrylic version of the Alice available online. Yuk Tsi releasing the design has allowed several designers to adapt and create their cases with this layout, becoming increasingly popular.
Alice Keyboards claims to be better than standard layouts as it requires users to position their hands and wrists in a tilting manner to reduce muscle strain. Thus, Alice Keyboards are great for long hours of gaming, providing a more comfortable gaming experience.
However, these layout types are new to most people and require some adaptation process. Adjusting periods will vary depending on the user and the game they play, as Alice keyboards may not be accommodating to all computer games. This article aims to give an overview of Alice keyboards in gaming, especially the positive and negative effects on gamers. This article will also discuss different types of online games and how Alice keyboards work best for them.
What is an ALICE Keyboard?
Developers made the Alice or “Arisu” keyboard to accommodate users that prioritize ergonomics and comfort. Compared to a standard keyboard, it has a space that divides the board into two halves, with the keys stretching outward in a wingspan-shaped pattern.
The problem is that a keyboard that works for one person may not work for another. We are all varied in shape and have distinct typing methods, typing postures, and issues. As a result, while the Alice layout may be ideal for certain people, it may not be suitable for you.
In an Alice layout, the keys are slanted, aiming to accommodate a more relaxed position. This layout type claims to be “ergonomic,” requiring users to arrange their hands and wrists to reduce muscle strain.
Some keyboard enthusiasts swear by Alice-style keyboards, while others say they have trouble adapting to the unique layout. The typing experience, while it stands out with its unique design, is not suitable for all users. Regardless, learning more about the Alice Keyboard can assist users in determining whether they regard this ergonomic arrangement as something worth trying.
Regardless, Alice layout keyboards still let users rotate the wrist outward, solving the problem of regular keyboards forcing a user’s hands in an unnatural position. This layout is exclusive to mechanical keyboards and is not available for membrane keyboards. Alice layouts either have a stacked acrylic case or an aluminum case made to fit the format. Lastly, Alice keyboards usually only fall in the 65% and 75% form factor, which is a disadvantage for those who prefer smaller or bigger-sized keyboards.
Perks of Using an ALICE Keyboard
- Let’s users position their hands more naturally compared to regular keyboards.
- Lessen hand muscle strain and fatigue.
- It lets you angle your hand inwards when you put it narrower than your shoulder width for a more comfortable position.
- Intended for people who use their keyboards for an extended period.
- It gives you a unique keyboard experience.
- Alice keyboards are visually appealing.
Downsides of Using an ALICE Keyboard
- You need a period of adjustment for the layout.
- Mostly available on group buys or aftermarkets that are more expensive than the selling price.
- Not all keycap sets accommodate the layout, especially the spacebar set.
- Limited form factors and are usually only 65% or 75% in size.
Using an ALICE keyboard for Gaming
Alice Keyboards are recommended for gaming as it allows gamers to lessen hand strain even after hours of playing. As gamers tend to use keyboards every day for an extended period, Alice keyboards let their hands be more comfortable and natural than prevalent form factors.
Gamers may have difficulty adjusting to the layout as most gamers touch type and are already used to formats such as ANSI. However, some players usually prefer their keyboards tilted while gaming; thus, they may have a shorter adjusting period.
Although Alice layouts are not as compact as 60% keyboards, it is still a smaller form factor than TKL and full-sized boards. However, the size of an Alice Keyboard may be an issue for those who use 60% sized keyboards for larger mouse space.
These gamers’ standard keys are WASD, yet some may remap their keys and prefer ESDF as it has a more natural position. Gladly, most game software allows easy remapping of keys through their settings.
ALICE Keyboards in MOBAs
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games are usually played by two teams with five players each. The main goal for each team is to destroy the monument in the center of their opponent’s base. Players will try their hardest to amass gold by defeating minions, while opponents will do the same.
MOBA games heavily rely on QWER keys for skills and number keys for frequently used items. Thus, MOBA players don’t need much time adjusting as needed keys for MOBA games are all available in the Alice layout.
ALICE Keyboards in FPS Games
FPS is a very competitive genre that takes a lot of skill. Games such as CS: GO, and Valorant will heavily rely on the type of mouse being used. However, the type of keyboard being used also plays a part in the whole experience.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of gamers tilt their keyboards while playing FPS titles. Given how the keys of Alice keyboards are naturally titled, gamers should have no trouble adjusting to Alice keyboards. All the required keys for these games are present, meaning little to no adjustment period is required.
The only thing that gamers should take note of is the size of the Alice keyboard they are using. For FPS, smaller Alice keyboards are preferred to maximize the space available for their mouse.
ALICE Keyboards in MMORPGs & RPGs
Role-playing video game (RPG) is an electronic game type where players advance through a story mission and multiple side quests, gaining experience that improves various traits and skills for their character or party of characters. On the other hand, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) mixes role-playing games with multiplayer online gaming world gameplay features.
MMORPG and RPG games heavily rely on the function row keys or the number keys assigned to character skills, located in the top part of the keyboard for a smoother gaming experience.
Some players utilize the function row keys to assign more skills which can be a problem for Alice layout boards as it usually only accommodates the number row. However, RPG and MMORPG players also use alphanumeric keys for skills. You can remap each key control according to your preferences as a remedy to the ALICE keyboard’s lack of keys depending on the game you are playing.
ALICE Keyboards vs. Other Keyboards for Gaming
Gamers usually choose their keyboard’s form factors depending on the keys required in the games they play. For example, an FPS game and an MMORPG game have different go-to keys and keybinds.
Alice Keyboards have evolved and mainly offer different form factors like 60%, 65%, 75%, and even 50%. Comparing the same size Alice keyboard to standard keyboards, the latter has a better gaming experience as it lessens the user’s hand strain.
The only advantage of a standard keyboard is the adjusting period Alice keyboards require since the keys are tilted and divided into two. This will prevent users from practicing touch typing if they’re new to ALICE but can be developed over time.
However, consider that gaming with an ALICE keyboard is not generally good and is hugely subject to your preferences. Users report that gaming with an ALICE requires some remapping, especially in the W, A, S, and D keys, given that hand positioning on these keys is quite weird if you are gaming for a long time. On the other hand, others are fine with the ALICE design for gaming.
Remedy to the ALICE Keyboard’s Lack of Keys
Since the ALICE lacks some keys that a full-size keyboard has, the manufacturers have allowed most ALICE PCBs to be easily remappable in different software like VIA and QMK. Game developers have also provided setting features that let gamers remap their keys directly in the game.
However, the Alice layout cannot accommodate users that heavily rely on full-sized keyboards or function row keys as the layout still does not have that feature. Gamers may still opt for an extra number pad if needed, but that will double the cost and will take up more desk space.
ALICE Keyboards Recommended for Gaming
Akko ALICE Plus
- 65% Hot-swappable mechanical keyboard
- RGB Backlighting with Underglow
- Gasket-mounted keyboard
- Aluminum and Poly Carbonate Plate
Akko Alice Plus is an up-and-coming ALICE keyboard by Akko Gear slated to be released in 2022. Akko Gear offers both a barebones version and a pre-built version ready to use. The pre-built version comes with a variety of Akko switches that users can choose from and quality keycaps from Akko. This is suitable for those new to the hobby and who want a ready-to-use keyboard.
- 65% Hot-swappable Keyboard
- Wired Connectivity
- Acrylic Case
- Case and Plate Foam included
- Hotswap or Solder PCB depending on your choice
- It was made available through a group buy.
The Gerald65 keyboard is an ALICE layout from papercraneskeyboard.com. Gerald65’s layout differs from other 65% keyboards due to specific alterations in the design. The right column has four keys aligned with the arrow cluster, resulting in identical space. Furthermore, the ‘P’ is horizontal, encouraging an appropriate typing style. It also comes in a variety of colors and plate configurations.
KBDFans Mountain Ergo Keyboard
- 60% Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- Aluminum Case and Aluminum Plate
- Case Foam Included
- Hot-swap / Soldered PCB, depending on your choice
- Wood Wrist Rest, included
The Ergo Keyboard from KBDFans is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux devices. It is also programmable via Tmk firmware for better customization. The Ergo board also comes with an aluminum top and bottom case and a bottom weight for the premium feel. The downside of this board is that it does not support LED and only has a caps lock light support, which may be frowned upon by gamers who love RGB.
Conclusion: Are ALICE Keyboards Good for Gaming?
Despite the many benefits of Alice keyboards, they will not be able to satisfy the needs of all types of gamers. Some gamers may not be comfortable with the adjustment period associated with learning Alice keyboards, while others may find these keyboards to be too small for their needs. For those types of gamers, a more traditional keyboard layout is recommended.
However, for those who want to try something new and are interested in the health benefits that Alice keyboards provide, these keyboards are an instant recommendation. Most Alice keyboards have adequate keys for the vast majority of games. They are also pretty customizable to meet the needs of most gamers. Just remember to pick an Alice keyboard that has the right size and right keys for the games you play.