We haven't really covered anything from the ergonomics fanatics at Kinesis. That's a shame, because at varying times both our editor-in-chief Jeff and TR alumnus Geoff Gasior used Kinesis keyboards as daily drivers. The company has resisted the siren song of the lucrative gaming market for a long time, but after 25 years in business, it announced its first gaming-focused keyboard: the Kinesis Freestyle Edge.
This isn't the first time Kinesis has used the Freestyle name. The company sells a keyboard called the Freestyle2 that's similar in its basic design. The Edge (keyboard, not U2 guitarist) is certainly a new product, though. Like the regular Freestyle2, it consists of two separate keyboard sections connected by a cable. Unlike the the regular version, though, it registers keypresses with Cherry MX mechanical switches and includes a bounty of gamer-oriented features.
The Freestyle Edge supports per-key backlighting, ten fully-remappable layouts, and complex macro programming. The keyboard has eight extra keys intended for game-specific functions or macros, and perhaps my favorite feature: a double-width Esc key. Despite all that, much like the Rosewill RK-9000V2 RGB we reviewed a while back, the Freestyle Edge doesn't require any software to do its thing. There's a configuration app available, though, and Kinesis helpfully made the Edge appear as a flash drive so you can run the configuration utility directly from it.
The Edge wouldn't be a Kinesis keyboard if it wasn't ergonomic, though. Kinesis says the ability to place the two halves of the keyboard anywhere you like (within the reach of the 20" cable) drastically improves user comfort while typing or gaming. As the company points out, most games don't really require the right half of the keyboard. That means you can set it aside to bring your mouse closer to your left hand, or place a microphone or joystick right in the middle of the desk without sacrificing typing comfort.
The Edge is ergonomically sound in other ways, too. Twisting your wrist to rest your palm against a table is not really a natural position for your hand. To help with this matter, Kinesis offers a lift kit that allows you to angle the inner portions of the keyboard in order to provide a more natural angle for the typist's wrists. If that last sentence confused you, just look at the picture above. The lift kit isn't included with the keyboard, and it requires the use of the included wrist-rests.
If all of this sounds peachy-keen, head on over to Kinesis' Kickstarter page. There are still some First Edition pre-orders up for grabs, which net you the Freestyle Edge keyboard for just $125, or $94 off of the $219 expected retail price. Once the early backer promo is over, the standard Kickstarter pricing will be $150. The lift kit will set you back another $20.
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