Yes, the issue is using the combinations. In particular when recording macros in text editors.
It is, of course, a matter of getting used... but since we are discussing the variants and what would be best, I feel that the best solution, instead of having to get used, would be... something else.
The best has always been having dedicated keys. When that's not possible, I feel that having the key at the same place as the arrows causes more difficulty in getting used.
For example, assume you are recording a macro where you want to remove the quotation marks from the second last word of every line. Take a line as the following:
A macro would need to record:
END,CTRL+HOME,ARR LEFT,BACKSPACE,CTRL+HOME,BACKSPACE,HOME,ARR DOWN
If you have all the keys readily available, it's easy. If you have to start using combinations, it's much harder. Now, let's say you have the HOME and END keys on top of some F[n] key and you can have some sort of "fn lock" (like Dell lets you do if you press Fn+Esc). You can record the macro easily, without using any 3-key combination.
On the other hand, if you have HOME and END on the arrows, the "fn lock" becomes useless, as you wouldn't be able to use the arrows then... and you'll then have to start using combinations of three keys. In particular, you would have to press:
FN+ARR RIGHT,FN+CTRL+ARR LEFT,BACKSPACE,FN+CTRL+ARR LEFT,BACKSPACE,FN+ARR LEFT,ARR DOWN
Boy... even reading it I'm not sure when I have to use an arrow with or without the FN...
And if we want to be annoying, there's even worse scenarios, like removing the second last word. In that case, you have to use combinations of 4 keys! That's mental for me.
Personally, there are then combinations that I believe to be over-rated:
- Increasing and decreasing lightness on two different keys is, to me, useless: on outdoor light you just want maximum brightness, whereas indoor you probably want a medium brightness and when saving battery a low brightness. Looping through the three with just one key is probably sufficient: finer tuning can be done through windows power profiles.
- Same goes for the audio: you want to turn it down when it's too loud but why dedicating two keys on the keyboard when the device already has the volume buttons on the side? If you are using it from far away through Bluetooth, you can mute it and then use the Windows icon to increase/decrease it so it's not a big deal... and it's two more keys available.
Nevermind a couple of FN combinations I have on my current laptop. I have an FN combination to launch the "feedback hub" of the producer. The most utterly useless key combination ever. Then there's a keyboard backlight button that, ok... it's cool... but I never used it. Interestingly, they felt like leaving the F7 key without an alternative use.
That's my two cents.