Kinesis Freestyle 2 Pro v. Keyboardio - finger/wrist fatigue?

#1

Any Kinesis Freestyle 2 Users here that have tried/switched to Keyboardio?

I been typing on a Kinesis Freestyle 2 Quiet Pro with VIP3 kit. My ring and middle fingers get tired after even short 30 - 60 min bouts of typing. Installed WASD “O” rings a few days ago which helps. Wrists sometimes bother me as well.

Am interested in hearing if benefits of Keyboardio are significantly better than what I got.

Keyboardio concerns:

  1. Layout/buttons - noticeably better for finger fatigue over Freestyle 2 Quiet Pro?

  2. Function button - do users press or hold down the button to switch to next layer? Thinking a press would be better to toggle between two layers. How difficult for button combinations that use buttons from 2 layers such as highlighting a section of text (control+alt, function then Left arrow?)?
    Concern of having to switch between layers super often
    Easy to accidentally press function or other buttons?

  3. Lack of buttons - arrow keys primary concern due to example above. Difficulty of “CTRL+ALT+DELETE” since Delete button on a different layer? How big of deal is the lack of f1 to f12 buttons, "media options such as sound on/off, louder/quieter, etc and Print screen buttons?
    Least important - extra side buttons to program basic macros to.

  4. Sharp buttons - a few users say they found the knobs on some of the buttons sharp/uncomfortable. Is it noticabely bad?

  5. Palm rest - do users find it better to hover or rest palms/wrists? If rest, is it comfortable or need a palm rest?

  6. Stable while tented - heard in the past, keyboard would wobble typing in tented form, has this been addressed?

  7. Tenting - max degree angle 10 or 15 degrees with default legs?

  8. Wood - how heavy is the keyboard? How thick?

  9. DIY- I am not a DIY guy and overwhelmed with the array of suggestions for palm rests and tenting solutions (looking for one that allows 5-50 degree tenting). Concerned about finding a solution that rests at correct height/angle and doesn’t interfere with button access.
    Any wide consensus on best solution for:
    Palm Rests? Seen Purple Pillow swatches came up. Anybody been able to buy the sample swatches without buying the pillow?
    Tenting-read some users using various mounts, such as RAM mounts:
    https://www.rammount.com/components
    If so, what type/size all components did you buy for your set-up?

Thank you for reading my post and sharing your thoughts!

1 Like
(Andrew McCauley) #2

Hiya there. Obviously I can only talk for myself:

  1. I’ve found, as I expected, that a columnar layout makes so much sense once you get used to it. That said, I’ve never used it on qwerty and designed my own layout specifically for a columnar layout, where I could imagine it being less flexible and feeling stilted for a qwerty typist, but plenty of people use qwerty on columnar layouts and seem to enjoy it, so whatever.

  2. I definitely prefer holding rather than pressing. I’ve made sure that all the shortcuts I need are available without having to switch layers to use all the keys involves in them, others have done other solutions like using the stickykeys plugin. I don’t find I ever accidentally press the palm buttons.

  3. Much like previously, I don’t use the default layout, and I would highly recommend you have some thoughts about modifying your layout too - it isn’t nearly as hard as I’d imagined to do so, even doing relatively complex things, and people here are super helpful. I’ve moved F1-12, delete and several others to be keys on my main layer, added media keys to a function layer, made shitloads of macros of various sorts etc. - if you’re curious, I’d be happy to share my layout with you.

  4. The orientation bumps are a little sharp to begin with, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

  5. I don’t find it uncomfortable to rest my palms straight on the keyboard without a rest, it probably depends on what angle/orientation you make your keyboard rest in.

  6. I’ve found that by making sure that where the weight of my hand pushes down (specifically, my palm) is between 2 arms of the octopus stand, it is very stable.

7&8. Something like that, haven’t measured.

  1. People are pretty individual in their approaches here, I doubt you’ll find much of a consensus, and even if there were, I’d not get too caught up in that until you’ve actually used it a little, my ideas of how I’d use my keyboard were not the same as the way I’m using it now.

Best of luck!

1 Like
(depaula) #3

Hi there,

My daily typer is a first generation Kinesis Freestyle and is going on ten years old. It’s doing okay but some of the keys now seem a little softer than others. Before that, I used a Kinesis Advantage.

As for the Keyboardio, I used it for five months as my daily typer, but somehow (re)hurt my wrists either with the Keyboardio or something else so I switched back to the Kinesis Freestyle because I knew it was safe. I’m mostly better now, but I’m a little afraid of switching back, so for now I keep the Keyboardio as a backup.

  1. I barely noticed the columnar keys, maybe because of finger memory from the Advantage. I really believe it makes for easier typing. The mechanical switches feel so much better than the membrane on the Kinesis Freestyle. I’m a Dvorak touch-typist that uses macOS and Windows virtual machines, so I immediately started remapping the key layout for Dvorak, adding Command meta keys, a different arrow-key arrangement and even a couple of email signature macros.

  2. I’m 6 feet tall and have L/XL size driving gloves, and to me the keyboard and meta keys feel like they were designed for smaller hands. My RSI acts up when I do too much key-chording, which on this dimension makes the Keyboardio worse (for me) than the Kinesis Freestyle.

  3. I’d prefer having more buttons and dedicated arrow keys. I bought a USB 10-key pad to go with it, but the pad has it’s own driver problems. I’ve remapped my Any key to Delete so Ctrl-Alt-Del is no problem. The F1-F12 are mapped with the meta keys, but I don’t use them much since the OSes and VMs I use tend to get the scan codes messed up, or treat them as media keys.

  4. I like the shape of the buttons. Cups and channels my fingers. Never even thought of them as sharp.

  5. I rest my palm on the wood, but have to raise it to type. As mentioned earlier, I have to twist my palm a bit more than I wish, or bring my thumb under a fair bit, to press the meta keys.

  6. My left stand can wobble a tad depending on how it’s rotated, but how I typically tent them, it doesn’t do it.

  7. I’m not in love with the default stand. It’s already a fat keyboard and these raise them even higher, but it does have just enough tenting for what I need on my work desk.

  8. Beautiful keyboard and I get compliments from my coworkers. Wood slab is 7/8 of an inch thick, and well constructed. I do wish it was a bit thinner.

  9. I used my amateur woodworking skills to build a variable tenting stand that lets me tent them to 75-ish degrees (like I’m holding a basketball) for when I’m at a standing desk, but other threads have been talking about camera stand clamps that might work better for me. Currently having trouble justifying more money on an expensive keyboard that isn’t my primary.

Good luck!

Judah

1 Like
(Tré Ammatuna) #4

@SlowHand I’m happy to comment on my personal thoughts on your concerns. I’m actually in Seattle as well!

  1. Layout/buttons - noticeably better for finger fatigue over Freestyle 2 Quiet Pro?

Having never used the Freestyle, I can’t say for sure, but I will say I love the layout I have going and am now ruined (in a very good way) on any other keyboard

  1. Function button - do users press or hold down the button to switch to next layer? Thinking a press would be better to toggle between two layers. How difficult for button combinations that use buttons from 2 layers such as highlighting a section of text (control+alt, function then Left arrow?)?

One of the best thing about the Model01 is the plugins you can bring in. I use OneShot to solve the issue you are talking about. This plugin allows a key to be held as a momentary switch, tapped once to be automatically held for the next button, or tapped twice to be turned into a lock hold that key (like caps lock for anything). I use this on all modifier buttons (which I have moved all inline on the left thumb keys) and my palm key.

I also have macros set-up on my 2nd layer, in leiu of the mouse control keys, for basically every chord possible with modifier keys. So I hold or tap the palm key, then tap my chord, release palm key, hit the button to be modded.

Concern of having to switch between layers super often

Honestly, yes, I am CONSTANTLY switching layers, however, the palm key makes it insanely intuitive and fast. I never even notice it until I’m on a keyboard that doesn’t have it (Like right now actually).

Easy to accidentally press function or other buttons?

This completely depends on the layout you use. I do have a bit of a thing with hitting the wrong thumb button at times still, but that’s the only one.

  1. Lack of buttons - arrow keys primary concern due to example above. Difficulty of “CTRL+ALT+DELETE” since Delete button on a different layer? How big of deal is the lack of f1 to f12 buttons, "media options such as sound on/off, louder/quieter, etc and Print screen buttons?
    Least important - extra side buttons to program basic macros to.

Honestly, because of how intuitive it is to use the palm key to access the 2nd layer, I’ve found the Model01 has more buttons than I need. I actually have some buttons that still do basically nothing because I’ve optimized the 2nd layer to have everything I use on a consistent basis right at my home row keys.

I have my function keys on the 2nd layer number row, plus custom slotted buttons for audio controls (right under my arrow keys)

Once again, with the 2nd layer so accessible, I believe you actually have faster access to more buttons, without ever taking your fingers so far away from the home row.

  1. Sharp buttons - a few users say they found the knobs on some of the buttons sharp/uncomfortable. Is it noticeably bad?

This is fully subjective. I’ve found them more appealing and comfortable than others.

  1. Palm rest - do users find it better to hover or rest palms/wrists? If rest, is it comfortable or need a palm rest?

To me, the bare wood actually feels really good. I could say it feels grounding to have my hands rest on wood while I’m surrounded by electronics.

  1. Stable while tented - heard in the past, keyboard would wobble typing in tented form, has this been addressed?

I think this was with the octostands themselves, which some reported issues (though mine are stable). It’s only as stable as the mounts. This is because it uses something others don’t, camera mounts! That means you have infinitely more options on the ways to mount it.

  1. Tenting - max degree angle 10 or 15 degrees with default legs?

Yeah, not a lot of tent in default legs. But as I said just a moment ago, you can get a set of camera mounts for decent that will solve any and all of your tenting needs. No other keyboard let’s you do that!

  1. Wood - how heavy is the keyboard? How thick?

It’s pretty light actually. I travel with it a lot (without the octostands, really need to buy a 2nd one though) as I commute by bike and bus, and it’s never been a nuisance.

Size, well, it’s not small (especially with the octostands), but smaller than I thought and I know there are a lot of people that said the same. It fits in my 15" computer sleeve and is highly transportable, but is not the “take everywhere with my computer” kind of way.

  1. DIY- I am not a DIY guy and overwhelmed with the array of suggestions for palm rests and tenting solutions (looking for one that allows 5-50 degree tenting). Concerned about finding a solution that rests at correct height/angle and doesn’t interfere with button access.
    Any wide consensus on best solution for:
    Palm Rests? Seen Purple Pillow swatches came up. Anybody been able to buy the sample swatches without buying the pillow?

I would honestly try it without them first. I had bought 3 different wrist rest things to try with it, ended up scrapping them all and just relaxing with the wood.

Tenting-read some users using various mounts, such as RAM mounts:
https://www.rammount.com/components
If so, what type/size all components did you buy for your set-up?

I can’t answer this one as I don’t have them… However, I will say that I’ve seen many people here use these: https://www.arkon.com/product/RM0861420-camera-clamp-mount.html

Anything else I’m happy to comment. :smiley:

2 Likes
#5

Thanks for all the comments/feedback thus far, very helpful.

I decided to order an ErgoDox EZ for the time being. They accept returns and have more buttons to allow for less chording and to map to on layer 1.

If Keyboardio accepted returns, would be easier to consider.

ErgoDox EZ supports some of the functionality Keyboardio shares with layers. It has a button to tap between layers or a button to “CAP LOCK” to a different layer.
I am new to layers so having the option to do either and decide from there is appealing.

They offer dual switch buttons which sound interesting and sound like it could potentially be used as Keyboardio’s function button?

Perhaps if I love Ergodox’s features may lead me to buy a Keyboardio in the future? Hopefully Model 02 and a return policy will be in the future.

Not too keen on Ergodox’s thumb clusters but am planning to use less often pressed buttons for the buttons further away.

The camera mount, keyboard layout, function button, OneShot plugin all sound interesting.