The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Review: An Ergonomic Masterpieceby E. Fylladitakis on July 16, 2019 1:30 PM EST
Kinesis is a computer peripherals manufacturer solely focused on the design and manufacture of ergonomic input devices. They were one of the first companies in the field, with their earliest ergonomic products released nearly three decades ago. That makes Kinesis one of the oldest peripherals manufacturers, with the brand establishing a solid number of followers over the years.
Until recently, Kinesis designed and released products exclusively targeted towards professionals that work long hours in front of a computer. Despite their peculiar appearance and the narrow target group, virtually every one of their products has been a memorable success. Last year Kinesis took a huge leap of faith and started a crowdfunding campaign for an ergonomic mechanical gaming keyboard, giving birth to the Freestyle Edge, the world’s first ergonomic gaming mechanical keyboard. This summer Kinesis is giving the Freestyle Edge an upgrade via the release of the Freestyle Edge RGB, which we'll be looking at today.
Though before we even start, we should note that Kinesis did not merely add RGB lighting, as the keyboard’s name suggests. It is true that most companies just added an “RGB” suffix next to their keyboard’s original name and released virtually the same keyboard with RGB lighting added to it. Kinesis, on the other hand, took their time correcting issues and making improvements to the underlying Freestyle Edge design, making the Freestyle Edge RGB a true upgrade over the previous version.
Packaging and Bundle
Kinesis supplies the Freestyle Edge RGB in a well-designed cardboard box. The artwork is centered on the keyboard and its most prominent features. Inside the box, we found the keyboard very well protected with layers upon layers of cardboard packaging, plus nylon bags. The company has provided us with the optional Lift Kit as well, which we will examine alongside with the keyboard.
Save for the keyboard itself, there is nothing in the box but a simple quick start guide. The guide is very helpful to have handy due to the numerous advanced functions of the keyboard. Kinesis does not provide any other accessories. A keycap puller would have been nice but that is not the end of the world.
The optional lift kit allows for the keyboard to “tent”. The mechanisms are large and plastic (ABS) but they are well designed, durable and practical. Their movements are very smooth, and their construction is very solid. Still, they are unlikely to survive excessive mechanical shock while the keyboard is fully elevated. Short-tempered users notoriously known for rage punching are advised to steer away from the lift kit (or take much-needed anger management lessons).
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Voo - Monday, July 22, 2019 - linkAh yes, I think that's the natural progression: normal keyboard => ergonomic MS one => getting tired of replacing them once a year or more often => need good mechanical ergonomic keyboard.
bldr - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - linkThat's a rare feeling! The response is appreciated :) thank you Ryan
mode_13h - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - linkTalking about Kinesis keyboards as an ergonomic masterpiece should only be done in reference to their Advantage series.
Not recommended for gaming, due to the weird layout, but there's no better comfort or efficiency for serious typing.
parmand - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - linkMan, I love my advantage for gaming. Sure, I have to rebind all my keys, but it works great.
Ktracho - Monday, July 22, 2019 - linkI'm on my third Advantage - one at work, one at home, one to use while on vacation. The one I use at work was my first one, and it is over 20 years old. It took me maybe an hour or two to get used to it. The only down side, which I think is shared with the Freestyle, is that it's hard to use one-handed, such as when you have a coffee cup in the other hand. I use the Dvorak layout, which took me a half day to be comfortable with, and this makes one-handed typing even harder. I suppose the one-handed Dvorak layout would fix this, but it's easier to just put down the coffee cup. :-)
kmo12345 - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - linkDamn... I just upgraded from a Freestyle2 (non mechanical and no backlights) two months ago...
BenSkywalker - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - linkSo close to perfect, but deal breaking no number pad, meh....
twtech - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - linkI typically never use the number pad, so I actually appreciate that it doesn't have one. But keeping in the spirit of a split keyboard, you can buy a separate mechanical number pad.
Yeah, overall it's a big investment to get everything you need - and I don't know that it's worth it if all you're actually going to do with it is gaming - but if you have an IT/programming job for example, I think you could do a lot worse in terms of dollars spent vs. the hours of use you'll get out of it.
The_Assimilator - Monday, July 22, 2019 - linkNo. Numpad must die. It is nothing more than a waste of space.
jjthejetphan - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - linkIt appears that the author did not attempt to use this keyboard on macOS.
I bought the Freestyle Edge and nearly had to return it due to the non-standard spacebar and modifier key layout, specifically on the left hand. If you try to use the "alt" or "win" keys as your "cmd" key on macOS, you fill quickly find your thumb and and wrist in a decent amount of pain due to the contorsion necessary to press these keys with your thumb.
Are there people out there that do not use their thumb to press the left hand modifier keys?
Anyway, I was able to resolve the issue by remapping the left spacebar to "cmd". It turns out that I am exclusively a right handed space bar user, so no adjustment was necessary. I wager that most Windows users do not run into this issue because they use their pinky to access the more common "crtl" based shortcuts on Windows.