Separate thumb keypads
The thumb keypad includes often used keys such as Enter, Space, Backspace, Delete and the combination keys, Control and Alt on the PC (Command and Option on the Macintosh). This redistributes the workload from your relatively weaker and overused little fingers to stronger thumbs.
Separate key wells for each hand
This separation minimizes strain and stretching by positioning your arms approximately at shoulder width and with wrists straight. This design reduces abduction and ulnar deviation (common symptoms experienced with repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis).
Concave key wells
Concave key wells reduces hand and finger extension. Extension occurs when the joints in your fingers curl up and extend forward from your hands rather than relaxing down slightly in the direction of the palms. A flat typing surface assumes that your fingers are all of the same length, thus your longer fingers must arch up over the keys. The result is extension of the muscles and tendons in your hands. Your muscles do not operate at maximum efficiency and the result is more rapid muscle fatigue.
Concave key wells reduce extension by accommodating the various lengths of your fingers and placing your hands and fingers in a more relaxed and neutral position.
Vertical key layout
Keys are arranged in vertical columns to reflect natural motions of your fingers, and the keypads are sculpted and concave to fit the varying lengths of your fingers.
Closer placement of function keys
Soft-touch function keys are positioned closer to the alphanumeric keys to reduce awkward motions and stretches, particularly for key combinations involving thumb keys (Control and Alt, for example).
20-degree lateral tilt design
The keyboard design places your hands so that your thumbs are positioned approximately 20 degrees higher than pinky fingers. This design helps to minimize stresses associated with pronation and static muscle tension while enabling maximum keying productivity.
Integral palm support
The palm support with optional self-adhesive pads enhances comfort and reduces stressful extension of your wrist. This provides a place to rest your hands while they are not actively keying.
Cherry MX (Brown) Low-force, tactile key switches
The standard Advantage contoured keyboard utilizes the Cherry MX low-force tactile switch (brown stem). It is a semi-custom low force tactile design created in 1992 to Kinesis’ specifications. “Tactility” is a slightly elevated force around the midpoint of the stroke of the key which lets you know the switch is about to be activated. A tactile response is preferred by many ergonomists, because it cues your fingers that activation is about to occur and is thought to reduce the likelihood or incidence or “bottoming out” the switch with a hard impact. The peak (tactile) force is ~55gm, following by an activation force of ~45 gm.
Embedded 10-key layout
A traditional numeric (10-key) keypad is embedded into the right alphanumeric keywell, which provides ergonomic advantages for number-intensive operations. The 10-key legends are located on the front edge of the key caps. The 10-key can also be programmed to operate from the left keywell.
Individual keys can be re-mapped or copied to other key locations. As a result, you can customize the keyboard’s operation for your personal use to reduce stressful reaches and establish an optimal hand workload.
Up to 48 macros can be programmed and stored in the keyboards on-board memory. Great for eliminating awkward key combinations or for individuals that type the same word or phrase repeatedly.
Optional foot switches
Up to three foot switches can be used to perform keystrokes, redistributing a portion of the workload away from your hands. For instance, a foot switch can be used to activate the embedded 10-key pad or “shift” key.
Another benefit of the embedded 10-key is that reduces the overall width of the contoured keyboard measuring only 16 5/8 inches x 8 1/8 inches x 3 inches making it much smaller than a traditional keyboard. This smaller foot print allows closer placement of any pointing device reducing over-reach issues.
Compatible operating systems
The Advantage is shipped from the factory configured for Windows. Users can instantly change the configuration to a Mac or Non-Windows PC layout. Please click on the appropriate link below to the view the three configurations:
|Feature||Advantage||Advantage QD||Advantage Pro||Advantage LF|
|Mechanical key switch features||Tactile (Brown)||Tactile (Brown)||Tactile (Brown)||Linear (Red)|
|Programmability features||Standard||Standard||Longer Macros (Double the Memory)||Standard|
|Fixed separation Measured between G & H key||~7″||~7″||~7″||~7″|
|QWERTY legends Print||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|QWERTY/Dvorak dual legends Print||No||Yes||No||No|
|Non-US language version
( Swedish Print & UK Print )
|Memory locking Prevents accidental erasure of custom programming||No||No||Yes||No|
|Bundled single foot pedal default action is ” momentary Keypad ”||No||No||Yes||No|
|Color||Black||Black||Metallic top, black bottom||Black|
Allan, M (UK)
Kinesis Advantage Pro
Kinesis user since 2006
Ten years ago I started developing pains in my arms, wrist and chest from typing too long on a normal keyboard. I tried voice recognition, but it’s just not good enough for detailed programming work. I also tried so-called “normal” ergonomic keyboards, but found them more awkward than useful.
Since switching to the Kinesis Advantage, I can now type uninterrupted for 12 hours a day with no problem – and that is still the case more than 10 years after I started using the product! I use the Advantage for programming, general office work, and even gaming. My favorite features are the “hollows” for my hands and the thumb-keys. And being able to type and therefore do my work! I recommend the Advantage to anyone who is concerned about RSI. It’s just life changing to be able to maintain your career.
Wes F (USA)
Kinesis Advantage QD
Kinesis user since 2000
As a history major in college and a budding journalist to boot, you can imagine I did a lot of typing. By the time I reached my senior year in college, I was having some measure of wrist discomfort but I handled it with rest and ice. By the midway point of my first year of graduate school, I was writing two or three papers a week and more or less in agony.
I first tried changing from QWERTY to Dvorak. It worked, but only for a couple of years and the pain came back. I stumbled across Kinesis’ site looking for an ergonomic keyboard and read as much as I could about the early versions of the Advantage. At that point I thought it couldn’t hurt to try, because the minor “ergonomic” keyboards I’d used up to that point weren’t helping much. I talked my boss into paying for half of my first Kinesis keyboard and the rest, as they say, is history.
I type a lot, so I acclimated to the Advantage very quickly. Within a week I was typing with my Kinesis keyboard like I’d had it all my life. The Advantage is so well designed that the only part that took any thought at all was training my thumbs.
My wrist problems disappeared within a few weeks and have never come back. I never needed surgery like so many folks do. I went from typing 30 or 40 words a minute in Qwerty to over 60 a minute in Dvorak to – at my peak – nearly 85 words a minute with the Dvorak/Advantage combination. My favorite features are the thumb areas – so intelligently laid out and I can’t believe I ever typed SO MUCH and had to use my PINKY to backspace/delete/enter. My poor pinkies!! No wonder they always hurt when I was using regular keyboards. For my use as well, I also love the QD switchable feature, though honestly I haven’t had my keyboard set to Qwerty in years.
I would absolutely recommend the Advantage to anybody who is interested in preventing and even possibly repairing wrist problems that arise through incessant typing. I have also gotten good customer service from Kinesis, and that’s just as important as having a good product.
I’m on my THIRD Advantage, having worn one out completely. I keep a backup that has a PS/2 connector and a USB adapter, but the Advantage MPC USB/QD is like an old friend even though I’ve only had it for a couple of years. This is the most brilliantly designed ergonomic keyboard I’ve ever seen and I’m SO GLAD it’s the first one I chose after doing all my research years ago. .
Zack L (USA)
Kinesis user since 2013
I use my Kinesis Advantage keyboard for everything! Programming, writing, emails, showing off and sometimes games. Before switching to the Advantage I had been feeling RSI symptoms in my hands after using a regular mechanical keyboard for a couple years. I researched a lot of different ergonomic keyboards but everywhere I looked, the Advantage was the most recommended. Using Advantage has improved my life because it made me want to use my computer again. It was the first ergonomic product I bought and the improvements I got from it caused me to invest in a chair, mouse, and properly raised monitors, all of which have paid off greatly. I recommend the Advantage to friends all the time. It’s the best keyboard I’ve ever used and it shows no signs of giving up anytime soon.
Jared R (USA)
Kinesis user since 2015
As a Ph.D candidate in astrophysics I am in front of a computer no less than six hours a day. Around March 2015 I developed mild but annoying pain in the top of my right hand (felt like the tendons were inflamed). I went to the doctor and they told me I had a repetitive stress injury from typing too much. They gave me a hard brace for the hand which made typing impossible. I wore the brace at night while I slept. The problem seemed to go away but six months later the pain came back and was worse than before, extending from my hand all the way down my forearm. I began to compensate for the right hand pain by using my left hand more. Then the left hand developed the same symptoms! Worst yet, my hands would tingle after only a short time at the keyboard (using the standard Mac keyboard for desktops). I started looking at the ergonomics of my desk and quickly realized the cause of all my pain: straight keyboard, standard mouse, chair without arm rests, computer screen at wrong height, all the while leaning forward in my chair. I was able to bring in my awesome ergonomic chair from home, change the height of my screen, and be mindful of my sitting position. After those changes, the pain and tingling remained.
I chose Kinesis mainly because of the testimonials I read on kinesis.com. People described similar symptoms to mine and the removal of their symptoms through the use of Kinesis products and being more mindful of ergonomics. I thought “I want my symptoms to disappear too!” By using the Advantage and DXT 2 mouse in combination with advice from my physical therapist, my wrist and forearm pain is completely gone. For others looking to decrease their pain I recommend the following: get an Advantage and ergonomic mouse, take little breaks often and bigger breaks on the hour, look up proper hand stretches and do those. My favorite Advantage features are thumb cluster keys: backspace, space, delete, and enter. Also, it is super comfortable and my wrists aren’t bent in weird ways. I look like I am doing more important stuff than I am when I type.
I would recommend Kinesis products without hesitation. If you are concerned about the price, think of the per-use price and the price of ignoring your pain. The pain will not go away on its own. Make the investment and be sure to follow every ergonomic practice possible. It becomes second nature. My coworkers are jealous of my super awesome keyboard and its mechanical clickety-clack as I type away looking like Mr. Cool Over There. I think you should sell them a keyboard so we become the most ergonomic office on campus. Overall: I feel more “Star Trek” and less “Wrist Wreck”.
Dachary C (USA)
Kinesis user since 2012
As a writer, I regularly type more than 100,000+ words per month. I was having pain in my hands due to how much I type. I didn’t go to see a doctor for a formal diagnosis, but the pain directly correlated to my time spent typing. I presumed I was developing carpal tunnel. My husband had used a Kinesis Advantage keyboard for years and had been trying to get me to switch, so he got me one for Christmas in 2012.
Before the Kinesis Advantage, I used a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard – but it was only a split keyboard, it wasn’t truly ergo. It reduced my hand pain versus typing on the laptop keyboard, but it didn’t eliminate the pain entirely, so I wanted to try something more truly ergonomic.
My favorite feature of the Kinesis keyboard is more a by-product of its good design: no longer experiencing hand pain with extensive typing. Using the Kinesis Advantage keyboard has dramatically improved my quality of life by reducing aches and pains in my hands. However, there are still months when I type 100,000+ words and I experience minor hand pain, even with the Kinesis Advantage. But I believe no other ‘ergo’ keyboard on the market would perform better.
I also appreciate the ability to remap the keys, because some of the default key functions (delete, space, backspace) weren’t optimally positioned for me. On the downside, the fact that I have remapped my keyboard means my husband can’t use it when he works from home, because my keys no longer match their labels, and if he resets it, I have to remap all over again when I come back to it.
If you’re someone who works in an industry that involves heavy typing, the Kinesis Advantage keyboard is absolutely going to save your hands. You’ll experience less pain, and hopefully, the onset of arthritis due to typing will be delayed or somewhat mitigated. As a writer, I’ll be typing as long as typing is the primary input device for text – and I feel that my Kinesis keyboard will enable me to keep typing long past the traditional ‘retirement’ age. I hope my hands will still function as well when I’m 80 as they do today, due to my attempts to take care of them with an ergonomic workstation.
On the downside, my Kinesis keyboard makes it harder to work mobile, as I prefer not to type on my laptop keyboard now – and the Kinesis keyboard is a bit large for traveling. I would say that for someone who types only casually, though, the time it takes to adjust to the Kinesis Advantage, as well as the permanent loss of speed, may not justify the switch. When I switched to the Kinesis advantage, my WPM went from 110 to around 20-30. After 2 weeks, I was up to 43 WPM. It took me between 4 and 6 weeks to reach close to my pre-switch speed, but even now, years later, I only type 90-100 WPM on my Kinesis keyboard. I’d say switching to the Kinesis Advantage keyboard has cost me a permanent 10-20 WPM loss in typing speed.
I’ve been really happy with the longevity and reliability of the Kinesis Advantage keyboard. As someone who types a *lot* for a living, I tend to go through keyboards – I’ll wear them out mechanically, typically in 6 to 12 months. The Kinesis Advantage has held up extremely well. I thought I was beginning to have trouble with it after about two and a half years – which would have been completely understandable, due to the heavy volume of typing it has to withstand – but I cleaned it with compressed air, and it’s been working like new since then. Kudos for making such a well-built product! I really appreciate the longer replacement interval.
Kinesis Advantage Pro
Kinesis user since 2009
I use my Advantage Pro keyboard for programming, writing, internet browsing, email, etc. I sought out an ergonomic keyboard because I want to be able to type comfortably when I’m 80, and I saw far too many people succumbing to carpal tunnel. I’m not recovering from pain, I’m preventing it. I researched all the ergonomic keyboards that actually took the mechanics of the human hands into account and then I chose the Kinesis Advantage Pro because it seemed like the best balance of serious ergonomics and features.
It probably took me a week to become acclimated. It’s hard to say exactly because I *also* switched to Dvorak at the same time, *and* forced myself to learn to touch type correctly at the same time. All three combined too me about 2 week to get to roughly 60wpm. Now I’m back to my normal 110wpm.
When I use my Advantage Pro I simply don’t feel any tension in my wrists. Whenever I have to switch back to a laptop keyboard I can feel the discomfort building in my tendons. Switching to the Kinesis Advantage Pro is the single best thing you can to protect your typing future. Protect your hands. Invest in their future, and don’t cheap out.
David F (Denmark)
Kinesis Advantage Pro
Kinesis user since 2004
I use my Kinesis Advantage for a variety of personal and work related tasks like sound design, audio editing, file-handling, email, word-processing, web browsing and I have ten global shortcuts for my primary applications.
My number one reason for seeking out the Advantage was speed. I work fast but I wanted to work even faster. I first tried the Touchstream by Fingerworks and the Truly Ergonomic but they all slowed me down.
With the Advantage I am able to work without thinking about the interface. It’s like riding a bike – it’s just natural. The remapable keys feature is my favorite! It makes the fantastic Advantage Pro even better.
I strongly recommend the Kinesis Advantage. It’s efficient. It’s humane. Its technology made for your hands – not something your hands must struggle to adjust to. I’m spoiled for life :)
Ag I (USA)
Kinesis user since 2015
I use my keyboard at work for programming in Spacemacs (Emacs with Vi keybindings). I was suffering from neck pain, back pain, and pain around my wrist etc due to my conventional keyboard. I saw some Clojure programmers from another company using the Kinesis Advantage so I decided to give it a try
I’ve only been using the Advantage for a couple weeks now but I can say that it is just ridiculously comfortable. Also it forces you to maintain a certain discipline while typing which has improved my touch typing on conventional keyboards as well. I highly recommend this keyboard to other software developers. I like the Advantage so much that I am planning to buy another one for home use.
Ethan W (USA)
Kinesis user since 2012
I had developed pain and numbness in my hands from too many hours at the keyboard programming, writing and emailing. My doctor told me that I would likely need surgery. I looked at a bunch of different keyboards but the reviews from people in my situation who had switched to the Kinesis Advantage were so universally positive it seemed like the obvious choice. The Advantage allows me to work long hours at the computer without pain or numbness. If your life revolves around a keyboard you should definitely get a Kinesis Advantage keyboard.
Matt K (Netherlands)
Kinesis Advantage Pro Kinesis user since 2008
I use my Kinesis Advantage Pro as my daily driver at my programming job. I had back and shoulders problems caused by bad posture and lots of time at my desk. I had a colleague who swore by the Advantage, and after watching him use it for a few months, I took the plunge and bought an Kinesis Advantage Pro. It’s been seven years and I haven’t used anything else since.
It only took a couple weeks of using it to get back up to my original typing speed but it’s vastly improved my RSI symptoms. I love the way the keyboard feels, its super high quality and reliable. I actually own two of them, only because I wanted one at home and work. They have not had any problems in 7 years. It’s easy to clean and maintain.
Think of a Kinesis as an investment in yourself. If you spend hours a day typing it can be hard on your body. My Kinesis Advantage has paid for itself several times over in my well-being. Thanks for making an amazing keyboard that makes my job easier.
Linda H (USA)
Kinesis Freestyle2 w/ VIP3 for PC and Advantage Kinesis user since 2010
I spend at least 8 hours a day in almost constant keyboarding, editing patient hospital records. Since I spend so much time using a keyboard, I knew I needed to use the most ergonomic one out there. I began by using the Microsoft split keyboard but still was not happy with the ergonomics. Since I discovered Kinesis I have not looked at any other ergonomic products because I am so pleased with their keyboards. I started with the Freestyle which I loved, but was intrigued with the Advantage. If I had to go back to any other keyboard, it would be the Freestyle, but I absolutely love the Advantage. I don’t suffer from any carpal tunnel symptoms while using it.
I was able to quickly go to the Freestyle keyboard but the Advantage was so much different than any other keyboard I have ever used. I spent several days learning the keyboard with the practice lessons included with the keyboard. I would say it took me less than a week to become proficient with it. It is hard for me to type on anything else now.
I no longer suffer from any carpal tunnel symptoms that I began to have with a standard keyboard. My favorite feature is the fact that you don’t have to move your wrists up and down while using the Advantage keyboard. Your fingers move smoothly through the keys. The keys are all located in such at way that the motions are fluid and smooth with no undue stretching of the wrists.
I would definitely recommend any of the Kinesis products to others. If your job consists of major keyboard use, you are doing yourself a favor using the most ergonomic keyboard out there, and I believe Kinesis has mastered that.
Darcy Conroy (AU)
Kinesis user since 2012
As a full time writer I can spend anywhere from 6 to 12 hours at the keyboard on most days and often suffered RSI and carpal tunnel before the Advantage. Before switching to the Advantage I tried the Microsoft curved keyboard, Logitech Wave Keyboard, and the Microsoft Ergo 4000 keyboard. I’d heard of the Kinesis Advantage before but never seen it – as soon as I saw the curved key wells and that it had Cherry MX Brown key switches I knew I had to try it. I’m so glad I did! I also use the Evoluent Vertical Mouse (and, oddly, the MadCatz MMO7 mouse is fabulous ergonomically, too!). It took quite a few days to get acclimated to the Advantage- I was already used to the split so that wasn’t an issue, the hardest keys to get used to were the bottom row which you really can’t see (not that I’d change that!) I’ve been touch typing since I was 10 years old so I was probably primed to adapt easily. I haven’t had RSI that I didn’t thoroughly deserve (12 hours at the keyboard is my own damned fault) since I received my keyboard (which you very kindly shipped to Thailand for me at the time!). I regularly recommend the Advantage to others. And I’ve just posted a review on my blog: http://www.narrativedisorder.com/2015/04/28/writing-tools-kinesis-advantage-keyboard-review/
Matt L (USA)
Kinesis user since 2005
I’m a UNIX/Linux user with a lot of very heavy command-line use, so a good keyboard is paramount. I was suffering from wrist pain and discomfort which prompted me to look for an ergonomic keyboard. I considered quite a few but ultimately chose the Advantage. It took about a week to become comfortable. The first few days were tough and it got a lot easier very quickly once I got used to the keyboard. The Advantage completely eliminated the wrist pain and fatigue I was experiencing and, as a bonus, the split key well design forced me to realize that my typing (I was self-taught) was not quite right and I had been stretching my left index finger to reach keys my right hand should have been typing – which was probably causing the pain. Although I was a very fast typist already, the keyboard forced me to correct my technique which increased my speed even more. I would enthusiastically recommend the Advantage keyboard, they’re really great.
Jon S (Canada)
Kinesis user since 2013
I always struggled with contorting my hands to fit them on a cramped traditional keyboard with staggered keys. It felt unnatural to me. I chose the Kinesis Advantage based on positive feedback, availability, and because it was one of the more extreme options. There are many so-called ergonomic keyboards that are look like they’d be slightly better than a traditional keyboard, but stop short of greatness and retain features that I don’t like and find nonsensical, such as staggered keys.
It took me about a month to become fully accustomed to the Kinesis Advantage. I had to correct some bad typing habits in the process. My wife, on the other hand, who is a better and faster typist than I, was comfortable on it and typing over 100 wpm after about 30 minutes of practice. The Kinesis Advantage has made typing much more fun, comfortable, and natural.
Keep up the good work, Kinesis. We need companies like you to continue exploring creative solutions.
Ryo F (Japan)
Kinesis Advantage keyboard and Triple Footpedal
Kinesis user since 2004
I use my Kinesis Advantage at home for word-processing. I’m an amateur novel writer.
I suffer from occasional but mild tenosynovitis in my wrists. I used to use a Silitek SK-6000 ergonomic keyboard before I learned about Kinesis. I also tried the TypeMatrix keyboard. I liked the key layout on the TypeMatrix but I did not like the key switches which caused finger pain.
The contoured Kinesis Advantage keyboard is perfect for me. The only thing I didn’t like was the function keys but I barely use them and so I just remapped F2, F3 and F5. It only took me 3 days to get acclimated to the keyboard and now I can type as much as I want and without any pain. I would definitely recommend the Advantage because of its comfort. The Advantage is expensive but the build quality is excellent.
Jason M (USA)
Kinesis user since 2010
My wrists were bothering to the point where I had to buy wrist braces. Once I switched to the Advantage I was able to stop wearing the wrist braces and my wrists no longer bother me. It took me roughly 1-2 weeks to get back up to 100% typing speed and now I use the Advantage for nearly everything I do on my computer such as programming, writing, browsing the internet, and email. I’ve also found that the Advantage increased my coding speed thanks to the thumb key clusters. I would absolutely recommend this keyboard to anyone who uses their computer all day. This keyboard can save them from RSI. Thanks for making such an awesome product! It is unfortunate that the keyboard is so expensive because many people will never get to experience how great the keyboard really is.
Pete K (USA)
Kinesis user since 2009
I use my keyboard mostly for programming and also some gaming. I was using a Happy Hacker keyboard and loved the key feel, but after a while my wrists started hurting quite a bit, so much so that I found it hard to do my job (In the past I’ve used Microsoft Ergonomic keyboards, but I was never very happy with them). As a professional software developer only two years into my young career, this was super concerning. I looked around at work and a bunch of people were using Kinesis Advantage keyboards, so I decided to try one out. After the first week my pain was gone, and has stayed gone, even with switching between the Kinesis and a laptop keyboard frequently throughout the day. It took me about two weeks to get back up to full typing speed. My wrist pain is completely gone, allowing me to keep working at the job I love.
I would recommend the Advantage without hesitation and I have recommended them in the past for wrist pain issues.
Kurt K (USA)
Kinesis user since 2009
These strange-looking keyboards have a pretty steep learning curve, but now I can’t imagine my life without one. About two years ago I was getting horrible repetitive strain injury (“RSI”) from working on normal keyboards, especially on my Macbook Pro. I started to get really worried that I was developing carpal tunnel syndrome (when I was only 24 years old!). These keyboards saved my wrists (and possibly my career). They’re worth their weight in gold! I really can’t recommend these highly enough.
Stephen J (USA)
Kinesis user since 2000
I have been using my Kinesis Advantage for programming for the last 15 years. I used to suffer from very bad wrist pain and I was at the point where I could not type for more than a few hours a day without serious pain. I had tried a bunch of different keyboards that were offered by my company but none of them worked so I decided to try a Kinesis Advantage keyboard myself.
The Advantage has saved my career. I got up to speed in less than one day and now I can type for 8+ hours a day no problem. I highly recommend the Advantage! This product is worth more than the $325 price tag. If you have a career that requires lots of typing you will not regret buying this keyboard. I have bought 5 of these keyboards over the last 15 years and I have never once regretted it. I also switched to using Dvorak for my keyboard layout. It took some adjusting to, but it is totally worth it.
Thank you for such a great product!
Daniel W (New Zealand)
Kinesis user since 2013
I was getting a little pain in my hands from typing. I wanted an ergonomic keyboard, but I also wanted try a mechanical keyboard. I tried the Microsoft Natural keyboard but I don’t think I ever got comfortable with it. Despite the layout being much more traditional than the Advantage, I never adjusted to the keyboard. The Advantage was a struggle at first, but after some practice it is by far the best keyboard I have used.
Before this keyboard my typing was very non standard but the Advantage forced me to use the correct fingers for the correct keys. Not only have I lost all the pain in my hands from typing, typing is now a pleasure. I love the tactile feedback I get from the mechanical keys, and the layout is fantastic.
Most definitely, this is the only keyboard I have experienced that is truly ergonomic. I had no idea typing could be this effortless.
Kinesis user since 2015
Reprinted with the reviewers’ permission. Original review can be found on her blog: https://makelifememorable.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/kinesis-keyboard-review/
I was going to wait until the 4 week mark, but I’ve already made up my mind after 2 weeks.
First, a bit of backstory. I am an idiot. I type around 4k a day, four days a week, and up until now, I’ve done so on my Macbook Pro keyboard. In April, I had a bonkers stint and wrote the first draft of my New Shiny – 78k – in sixteen days.
After that, my wrists and fingers were sore. It got quite bad. I couldn’t write more than 500 words without stopping at one point. But the worst thing was how it affected my handwriting too – I couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t. My wrist would go weak and click and spaz out if I tried to pick up a pen.
Ladies and gents, let me tell you… RSI sucks. Big time.
Enter the Kinesis keyboard. Now. These bad boys retail at a ridiculous price. Like £280 or more, new. Just researching them made my eyes start to stream. But then, I got lucky. I found a poor defective mite on eBay with two ‘b’ keys for a fraction of the price. Um – SOLD. I could touch-type anyway, right? They could all be ‘b’ keys for all I care.
Well… not quite. Turns out, I couldn’t touch-type as well as I thought, and I’d urge anyone looking into buying one of these keyboards to evaluate their skill level. For instance, I used to (used to! Not anymore! I’m tapping away like a BOSS on the Kinesis right the hell now) type the ‘t’ key with my right hand, and the beloved ‘b’ key as well. This is impossible on the Kinesis, for obvious reasons.
I took a little diary of my first few sessions with the Kinesis. I’ll type that out now for your viewing pleasure.
I WANT TO KILL SOMEONE. I want to kill someone with this keyboard. That way I can simultaneously take away my frustration and the cause of my frustration in one handy death-blow. ARRRRGHHHHHH. So hard. SO. Not. Cool.
(I spent an hour doing online touch-typing lessons, which I’d highly recommend, it got me out of bad habits quick.)
Much better! Sleep-brain has processed all my hard work and I’m getting better. I have moments where I feel like a BOSS… and moments where I keep making the same mistakes, over and over – the ‘b’ and ‘q’ and ‘z’ – basically my entire left hand. My left hand sucks. Ironically, my left hand is hurting more today than when I was on the other keyboard. But I must have patience. People say this is a one month learning curve… so I must carry on.
Getting better. Still slow. Like SLOW. It’s the punctuation keys that are screwing me over now. And OH GREAT – I just tried to use the Mac keyboard, and I can’t even use that right anymore! I’m in keyboard limbo! Nooooooo.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m typing slower, but my wrist pain has gone. Like… gone. It got so bad B.K. (Before Kinesis) that I couldn’t even hold a cold glass without getting shooting pains up my arms. I was even trying to learn how to steer my damn car with just my left hand because gripping the steering wheel hurt. But this morning… it seems fine! I wrote 4k today, which is about my usual output, but a bit slower than the norm. Less mistakes. More speed. YAY!!
I AM A BOSS. I AM A BOSS CONTROLLING A SPACESHIP WITH MY FUTURISTIC SOOPER COOL KEYBOARD. ARRRRHHH! COME AT ME, WORDS! And the clicking. I love the clicking. Click click click. Weeeee!
This is… almost normal. Not quite as fast as I was, but honestly, not far behind at all. I wrote 3k today with no issues. Only my mouse finger is kicking my arse now, because I can’t use my Magic Trackpad thingie on the Mac. I’ll have to buy an external one. This is wonderful. BEST BUY EVER.
If you write a lot and suffer from RSI – or even just want to protect yourself – get this damn keyboard. Yes, it is clicky. No, it doesn’t have a backlight. No it won’t control your music. But it might save your damn career. I honestly think it’s saved mine.
The learning curve does suck, and in all honesty I struggle with “normal” keyboards still, but it’s a small price to pay.
Jordan B (USA)
Kinesis user since 2012
I’m a software engineer, so my hands are on a keyboard 8 – 10 hours a day. I do everything from writing code & documentation to emails and web browsing. Currently I only have a Kinesis Advantage at work, but that’s where I do 90% of my computing. I plan on buying another Advantage for my home though ASAP.
I have mild carpel tunnel in both of my wrists caused by breaking them in snowboarding accidents (two separate occasions). I wasn’t able to type for more than 20 or 30 minutes before my wrists & hands would start tingling and a going numb. I tried various ergonomic keyboards from Microsoft, Logitech, etc. Slightly curved, flat models, curved models that arched in the middle, and curved arched models that were split in the middle. None of them made too much of a different.
After the adjustment period with the Advantage, I can now type as long as I need without my wrists & hands going numb. I do still get some slight discomfort after extended periods of typing, but it’s no worse than the discomfort you would experience performing any activity for extended periods of time (sore feet from walking, sore legs from yard work, etc.). All I have to do is take a short break (go get some coffee or something) for a few minutes and I’m back to work.
I would absolutely recommend the Kinesis Advantage. Not only has it alleviated the pain & numbness I had previously been experiencing, but I’m far more productive because of it. I’m a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts and macros – the less I have to move my hand from my keyboard, the better. Being able to execute keyboard shortcuts without having to perform uncomfortable hand movements is amazing. I love my Kinesis Advantage. It’s the best keyboard I’ve ever used and I think everyone should try one for at least long enough to get over the learning curve. It’s quite frustrating to go from 80 wpm to 8, but once you get used to the layout and get back up to speed it is absolutely worth the effort.
Piet N, (Canada)
Kinesis user since since 2014
As a web-developer I use the Kinesis Advantage on a daily basis for at least 8 hours a day for a variety of tasks (e.g., mail, coding, browsing, writing etc). Before switching to the Advantage I was suffering from tendonitis (chronic tendonitis) in my left forearm. I could not type without pain and could not even twist a doorknob without excruciating pains. My pain was so severe at this acute stage that I was forced to miss work for 2 weeks. As a result I went in search of the best possible ergonomic desk / chair and keyboard solutions. I tried the Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard (TECK) and the Type Matrix before I read the reviews and stories on the internet about the Kinesis Advantage in which people were raving about the product. There are many stories to be found that will discuss the benefits of choosing Kinesis Advantage when having medical issues due to typing.
It took me quite a while to fully adapt to the Advantage (like 2-3 months) as the keyboard does not allow “hunt & peck” typing, which I have been doing for 15 years. The Kinesis Advantage forced me to learn touch typing. The Advantage has allowed me to keep doing what I do! I could not type for longer than an hour and after changing my desk setup and switching to the Kinesis Advantage, I can work full days again! It has saved my career! I would absolutely recommend the Advantage to anyone who makes a living by working on a computer all day!
Frank R, (Luxembourg)
Kinesis user since since 1997
I had a bout of tendonitis when I started writing up my PhD while working full time and creating my own company. It was a wakeup call and I have been very careful about ergonomics ever since, going as far as writing my own RSI prevention program for the Mac called “MacBreakZ”. I have tried most alternative keyboards out there including the Maltron 3D, TypeMatrix, TrulyErgonomic, DataHand and other even more exotic devices.
In the end, the Kinesis Advantage provides the best overall solution particularly because it allows me to type without moving my hand. That way the words just flow out of my finger tips while my eyes never leave the screen. The Kinesis Advantage was my first “proper” ergonomic keyboard and I switched to the DVORAK keyboard layout at the same time, so it probably took me around a few weeks to get productive and a few months to become comfortable. The Advantage has contributed to remaining pain-free and helps me concentrate more fully on what I’m doing rather than on the typing.
I would recommend the Advantage to anybody who is prepared to learn to touch type correctly.
Michael F, (UK)
Kinesis Advantage (Home) & Freestyle2 (Travel)
Kinesis User Since 2008
I’ve had RSI for about 13 years due to continuous computer usage. Primarily wrist and forearm pain. At it’s height I had some pain *all the time*. Ergonomic products (chair, wrist wrest, vertical mouse and trackball, ergonomic keyboard) kept the problem at manageable levels. Recent exercise (a lot of it) has eliminated the RSI altogether. I used to use a Microsoft Natural keyboard, which I was very happy with. I tried the Kinesis Advantage at a conference and fell in love.
The Kinesis Advantage is the best keyboard I’ve every used. It’s comfortable, well built (good mechanical keys), and most importantly I can type *fast* on it. The key layout in wells, so you can reach every key without moving your hands, is pure genius. The palms rested position, and the keys in wells, are why the Advantage is great for reducing wrist strain and RSI and also why it’s such a fast keyboard to type with. You really *have* to be able to touch type though. As a software developer, who uses his keyboard continuously during the working day, I can’t imagine having to use another keyboard.
I vociferously recommend the Advantage to anyone who will listen. A keyboard is a “core tool” for software developers, so finding a quality ergonomic keyboard that enables fluid interaction with the computer is gold.
The Freestyle is a quality keyboard. The lower cost and the fact that it’s split, so better for packing, make it a great “travel keyboard”. The build quality is excellent, even more robust feeling than my now-aging Advantage. For every day use I would still recommend the Advantage. It can be a hard sell to many people because of the cost. Worth every penny in my opinion of course.
Victor Q, (USA)
(2) Kinesis Advantage QD’s (Qwerty/Dvorak) for Home & Work
Kinesis User Since 2008
I am always looking to optimize my workflow. Back when I first found out about the Kinesis Advantage, I was already typing in Dvorak and had a Microsoft Natural keyboard but was left wanting more to ensure the next years of my career were fast, efficient, and not plagued by Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). I was constantly looking for something better but didn’t find too much at the time until I heard about the Kinesis Advantage. Not only did [the Kinesis Advantage] look/feel much more along the lines of what I wanted with its curved keys and nice split, but the Dvorak labels pushed me over the edge as few keyboards offered such a thing. The mechanical Cherry MX switches are also very, very nice though I didn’t really know how nice until after I had received and was using the keyboard.
If you are a computer professional, your keyboard is your interface to your machine and your career. Being the interface to your well being, there is not a single piece of equipment you will use with more in your lifetime so there is no need to settle for anything but the absolute best. Just as an accomplished violinist would play a nicely crafted violin rather some cheap, mass-produced one, an accomplished computer professional should likewise not skimp when choosing their keyboard. In my opinion it doesn’t get any better than the Kinesis Advantage and I am proud to say that I own one.
I’ve been doing nothing but typing for the majority of my days over these past 7 years on a Kinesis Advantage and have zero RSI!
I am just writing to let you all know that the Kinesis Contoured keyboard has been an excellent purchase for me. As a writer I am on the keyboard for hours at a time. I have had bouts with carpal tunnel and after this last episode, I had to get serious about making changes to my workspace.
My husband had worked with a programmer who also dealt with carpal tunnel. I figured he was a great person to ask for a recommendation on ergonomic products. He raved about the Kinesis products, and I decided I’d give them a try.
At first I was afraid of the price tag and the seriously unique contoured keyboard, but I decided to have an open mind so I made the purchase.
Truly it has been the greatest purchase I have made for my business! It took a few days to get used to the keyboard and then I was on my way and I’ll never look back.
Thank you for making such a great product.
Shortly after classes started this spring (2002) I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel and was required to wear a wrist support. I remember seeing your keyboards in a magazine a couple of years ago, and decided to look into them. When I originally saw them I thought they would be perfect for someone like me. So I logged onto the internet and found your website, and ended up purchasing your contoured Essential keyboard, which is perfect for the college student that is usually broke. When I got it I thought it would take me forever to get used to but after about 20 minutes, I found it wasn’t that hard to adjust to after all. I spend a great deal of time in front of the computer, I play a lot of video games, as well as write. After a week using it I found I was able to type faster than I could before and was actually able to use it without my wrist strap on.
The design is very comfortable. It’s very convenient, I really like having the backspace, space, and enter keys where they are, I really don’t know how I got along with a conventional keyboard. I’ve used many kinds too, even the microsoft keyboards, but nothing can come close to comparing to your keyboards. All of my friends ask me what kind it is and I tell them, I also tell them how wonderful it is too. It is very easy to switch back to a conventional keyboard when I’m in the computer labs as well, even though I do find them awkward. I want to say thank you for making the best keyboard ever. I think everyone should own at least one.
I’ve acquired some spare keyboards, too, for work as well as home. Every time I go to a new office (getting ready for a new job right now), I end up selling one to three programmers on the keyboard! Everyone loves the comfort it provides. When people ask, “$300 for a KEYBOARD?”, all I need to do is remind them that they have no problem spending money on a monitor, why not protect their hands as well as their eyes.
So just a thank-you from a long-satisfied, delighted customer.
I thought you might be interested to what happened to one of your “children”!
I own a Kinesis contoured keyboard, Serial # 001086. When I bought my keyboard from you, Kinesis was just beginning to sell keyboards and I happened to see your ad on the back on a computer magazine.
What have I done with my Kinesis? * Written 175 computer software teaching tape scripts as freelance writer * Written 4 software manuals and 2 training manuals for PIA/Spar Group * Written over 18 Software manuals, 3 on-line Help files and various Marketing tasks for NeTrue Communications (Current) * Writing this letter to you now on my Kinesis!
My Kinesis has NEVER failed. It has never needed any type of maintenance whatsoever. Once people get over the odd shape and try it, they agree with me that this is the way keyboards should be!
I LOVE MY KINESIS!
In my opinion, Kinesis makes a very very good keyboard. I wanted to tell you folks, “Thank you very much!”Sincerely, Camille Goodin Sr. Technical Writer NeTrue Communications
After a growing number of painful years typing on standard keyboards at speeds in excess of 100WPM, and a very dedicated few years typing on some of the first generation ergonomic keyboards, I had experienced enough stiffness to last a lifetime.
When I finally found Kinesis–I had a gut feeling that I was in the right place. I settled on the Essential QD*.
Within two months of dedicated drills, I went from a halting 10WPM to speeds that routinely exceed my widely gaped-at speed of 100WPM, with fewer mistakes, and no strain. My efficiency (mistakes made and corrected) increased from an already high 94% to a somewhat startling 98%.
In addition, the keyboard is very small, and is light enough that I can transport it easily when I work at home, or need to do extended amounts of typing at a client’s site. Even still, I have ordered another Contoured keyboard and foot switch for use at other locations.
Last year, I experienced some minor hardware problems with the keyboard (why not, I log millions of keystrokes per year). Any other keyboard would have been discarded at that point – until now, keyboards have been a consumable item, not an asset. Kinesis’ limited lifetime warranty, coupled with their world-class support team, got me the field-replaceable PC board I needed within 48 hours. The service technician I was assigned followed up more than once to ensure that I was back up and running.
Second only to the farm of eight servers and monitors that it controls, my Kinesis Essential QD is the best piece of computer equipment I own.
*Note: The QD version is now only available in the Advantage model.
Several years ago I began developing a problem with the pinkie side of my right hand, which would become numb and painful after a day of keyboarding. The problem, which seemed particularly related to motions with the heavily used little finger, and which was related to an old injury to that side of my hand, steadily got worse, and was aggravated by my tennis playing, to the point where I had to stop playing tennis in order to continue earning my livelihood as a software developer. I wasn’t too happy about that, you can bet, but before long my concern over the loss of my beloved tennis became concern over being able to continue in my profession and support my family.
At that point I began research into alternative keyboards, having been tipped to their existence in an RSI online discussion group. I ultimately settled on the Kinesis primarily because of its programmability – though I was also sold on the separated and inverted keywells. I bought a Model 120, the equivalent of today’s Classic model, and remapped the SHIFT, CTL, and ALT keys to put SHIFT and CTL under the control of my (strong!) thumbs. I remapped ALT, which I use much less than the other two, to the key normally used for SHIFT.
Between these remappings and the more comfortable ergonomics of the scooped out keywells, my RSI problem immediately began receding. I later switched from a right-handed mouse to a left-handed trackball to take further work away from the right hand.
My hand problems effectively went away, and both my tennis playing and my software development career have flourished.
I bought two of the Kinesis keyboards – one for work, one for home. At the time they were $450 each, and I was very glad to be able to solve my problem for $900. Today I’d be able to solve it for under $500!
[Please feel free to use this story for your publicity. I hope it will help others.]
I’m a software engineer working for Sun Microsystems working on the Java programming language.
As with most, my hand/wrist pain had been going on for years, slowly getting worse. I was having horrible pain in my wrists and up my forearms. At the worst (when I was typing 14 hours plus at the keyboard a day working on a new project) the sensation from my fingers started to go away, my hands tingling all night.
Right in the middle of the above demanding project, a co-worker turned me on to the Kinesis keyboard: I ordered one. To my delight and amazement, ALL of the pain in my hands disappeared within two weeks of switching to the Kinesis. It’s been three years now with no pain whatsoever.
Interestingly enough, if I switch back temporarily to an old style keyboard (using someone else’s computer, for instance) all of the old pain comes back within an hour or so – again reminding me of how much I love my Kinesis.
Since becoming a Kinesis convert, I’ve turned over a dozen JavaSoft employees on to your keyboard. Every single one has told me that their wrist and hand problems have gone away in very short order.
You truely have an amazing (and essential) product.
Take care, and continue the great work. You quite possibly may have saved my professional career.
Mike H (USA)
Recommending Kinesis contoured keyboards since 1993
I own a medical transcription firm that has 30 employees and provides services to 350 doctors. Half of the transcriptionists in our office use a Kinesis contoured keyboard [Advantage] and they refuse to type on anything else. We have one individual who had developed carpal tunnel syndrome so we put her on the Kinesis keyboard. Initially it slowed her production but within 3-4 months her carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms disappeared and she has now increased her speed to the point that she is now our second fastest transcriptionist. She’s now quite a bit faster than what she used to be. Another transcriptionist was forced to move to part time work because she couldn’t use a standard keyboard anymore. We convinced her to switch to the Kinesis keyboard and now she is back to full time production. It works! The name of the game in my industry is employee comfort and with that you see increased productivity.
I would recommend the Kinesis contoured keyboard for a variety of reasons. Number one, most of the keyboards that we have wear out…and we haven’t worn one these out yet. Number two, they are repairable. Number three, employees are hard to replace and keyboards are a whole lot cheaper than training new employees.
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