Review & Consumer Guide: The Cloud Nine C989 Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard (Updated for 2023)

December 23, 2020

Big, bold, and seemingly bulky, will Cloud Nine’s C989 split mechanical keyboard live up to your expectations? Our team has carefully reviewed and tested the Cloud Nine keyboard. From its design to its ergonomic comfort, we’ve compiled the results of our tests in this comprehensive guide and review. This way, you don’t have to do the hard work of finding out if the Cloud Nine keyboard is the best ergonomic keyboard for you.



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RATINGS

9.7

Cloud Nine C989 Ergonomic Mechanical Split Keyboard Quick Preview

Summary

If you prefer a full size mechanical keyboard but also want to enjoy the ergonomic benefits of a split keyboard, the Cloud Nine C989 Split Mechanical Keyboard features exactly both. Its feature-rich design offers RGB programmability, Cherry MX switches (choose from Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Red, or Cherry MX Blue), and 9” braided cable links that allow users to customize keyboard separation. This split mechanical keyboard is made specifically for the comfort of gamers and office workers who are looking to reduce the risk of Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI (carpal tunnel or bursitis, among others).

PROS

  • Authentic Cherry MX Brown switches (users can also choose from Cherry MX Green or Cherry MX Blue)
  • Large, comfortable wrist rest
  • Anti-ghosting keyboard
  • 9" braided cables
  • Keybinds are customizable
  • RGB effects
  • Ten programmable macro keys
  • 1-year manufacturer's warranty

CONS

  • Some users may have issues with its full-size build
  • Tenting angle is inflexible
  • Universal design may not be suitable for people who have smaller hands/fingers (it could take some getting used to)
  • Keys are responsive but may feel slippery
  • Some issues with usability and installation
  • Expensive price tag (but actually more “mid-priced” compared with other brands)

Manufacturer Information

Cloud Nine Ergo is an up-and-coming ergonomic solutions provider based in Torrance, California. The company is passionate about providing comfortable and healthy accessories for pain-free gaming and working. Cloud Nine Ergo spent years developing their flagship ergonomic split mechanical keyboard, the Cloud Nine C989, which promises to relieve wrist pain, fatigue, and even related injuries like back and shoulder pain due to awkward posture/positioning while typing. Cloud Nine Ergo prides itself on offering innovative products that provide true comfort to all users. They currently offer the impressive Cloud Nine Electric Height Adjustable Desk Converter which works perfectly with the Cloud Nine Keyboard.

Product Specs & Features

Features

Split design naturally separates hands for comfortable typing.
The Cloud Nine C989 mechanical keyboard allows users to type comfortably by separating their hands in a more natural, relaxing width. This is especially useful for gamers or programmers who may need to use their keyboard for extended periods of time.

Perfect Tenting Angle
The Cloud Nine C989 split keyboard is built with the perfect amount of support with a 7° tenting angle to help keep hands and fingers in a natural position. Expert ergonomists say that typing with the correct, natural posture helps reduce typing strain and injury.

Crisp Mechanical Keystrokes
Fast, responsive, and crisp to the touch, the Cloud Nine C989 ergo keyboard is constructed with only 100% authentic Cherry MX switches. The result is a highly-satisfying press with each keystroke.

Specifications

Product model: C989M
Interface: USB
Number of keys: 115 keys
Switch form: Cherry mechanical brown, blue or green switch
Key stroke: 4.0 ± 0.5mm
Anti-ghost key design (NKRO)
1 USB 2.0 port
Voltage / current: DC 5V / 650 mA Max.
Product weight: about 1.85 kg
USB-C main line length: 6 feet
USB-C cable length: 9”
Product size: 563 (L) X 256 (W) X 52.5 (H) mm
Warranty period: 3 years

System Requirements:
Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
USB port (Recommended USB 3.0 for best experience)

Dimensions:
Height x Width x Depth:
22.1 in (563 mm) x 10.1 in (256 mm) x 2.0 in (52.5 mm)
Weight: 4.0 lbs (1.85 kg)
SOFTWARE SUPPORT
Cloud Nine keyboard application for Windows 7 and above

Package Contents:
Split Ergonomic Keyboard
1 X USB A connection cable
1 X USB C tether cable
Quick Start Guide

Part Number:
PN: C989M

Current Price

$179.99

Disclaimer:

The price included in this article is the price of the product as of this article’s publish date. Prices may change without prior notice.

Available Colors

Black (base color)

Shipping Policy

Cloud Nine Ergo’s products come with free shipping options within the 48 contiguous states of the US only.

  • Free Freight Truck Delivery
  • Free Ground Shipping

So far, there are no issues in regards to shipping. When we ordered our Cloud Nine keyboard, it arrived within the promised 48 hours.

Returns Policy

If you’re not happy with your Cloud Nine ergonomic split keyboard, they offer an easy, risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. If your item is defective, they’re happy to replace your mechanical keyboard with a brand new one provided it is returned within 180 days from delivery. You’ll have to cover the shipping costs, though. Still, we feel this is a fair deal as you will have a full 180 days to determine if the product is working correctly.

If you opt-out of getting a replacement, you can also get a store credit. You can call the Cloud Nine team during regular office hours to see how their store credit works: 888-232-5824

We recommend for you to view Cloud Nine’s complete return policy here.

Warranty Information

All Cloud Nine C989 Split Mechanical Keyboard is covered by a limited, 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. Their standing desk, however, is covered by a 3-year warranty.

To avoid misinterpretation of terms in Cloud Nine Ergo’s warranty policies, we recommend for you to view their complete warranty policy here.

Product Details

Design

Size

At first glance, the first thing you'll notice about the Cloud Nine keyboard's design is that it's simply big for an ergonomic keyboard. Usually, when people think "ergonomic", the term is largely associated with a slim, streamlined design. The C989 is the opposite - it's just over 22" in length, 10" in height, weighs about 4 pounds, and has a total of 115 keys. It's definitely not designed for portability. Rather, it's designed for a generous desk space in a more permanent setting. If you are constantly traveling and would like a light, travel-sized keyboard, the C989 is not for you.

So, the C989’s design begs the question: is bigger really better? Universally, yes. Lots of gamers (whether casual or professional gamers), programmers, and people who work with computers, in general, prefer full size keyboards due to comfort and more space for the hands and fingers. Ergonomically, full size keyboards allow for more natural and relaxed hand movements. Also, smaller sized keyboards are usually tenkeyless. To those not familiar with keyboard lingo, this means that the keyboard does not include the number pad and arrow keys. Some people may prefer tenkeyless keyboards but full size keyboards certainly offer the advantage of having all keys in place.

However, some people with small hands may not be too happy with the C989. And this is exactly what we found out during our testing. Users with smaller than average hands/fingers did not find the Cloud Nine mechanical keyboard comfortable. Still, they did say that they could probably get used to it after a certain period of time.

Support

The C989 features stable rubber feet. Although quite solidly built, it's flexible enough to keep the keyboard in place but also to slide it to your preferred position. Although adjusting it was quite cumbersome, though. Perhaps because of its size. But like most ergonomic mechanical keyboards, sometimes finding the preferred positioning can take some time.

Split Design

It seems like a new concept, but the split keyboard design can be credited to inventor F. Heidner; he introduced the concept in 1915 (U.S. patent 1,138,474). It was suggested that arm strain experienced by typists could actually be reduced by splitting the conventional QWERTY keyboard in half. However, its ergonomic benefits weren't systematically researched until the 1960s by Kroemer where he published an article in 1972 citing that the split keyboard design can actually improve the comfort of typists and reduce chronic pain, as well. Today, split-type keyboards are commonly sold and its design is the hallmark of almost all ergonomic keyboards regardless of brand.

The Cloud Nine C989 has certainly taken this ergonomic concept and constructed a perfectly ergonomic split mechanical keyboard. As usual, its halves are split with the B key on the life side and the N key on the right side, however, the Cloud Nine keyboard's thick wrist rests are quite comfortable even though they are unpadded. Depending on your preference, you can adjust the height of the keyboard to up to 14". Once adjusted to your preferred height, wrist positioning feels natural and relaxed. However, those with smaller hands didn't feel quite as comfortable as our testers with larger hands.

Keyboard Layout

The C989’s keyboard follows the traditional layout which is easy enough to follow. So there should be no issues with getting used to a new, unfamiliar keyboard layout. However, during testing, while the layout wasn’t difficult to use, it was positioning the keyboard to the right angle that took some time to adjust.

To sum up this section:

The design of the C989 was certainly well thought out. User comfortability was certainly primary in its primary design. Although heavier than most other split mechanical keyboards, it's certainly more stable and its generous size allows for more space and comfort.

Ergonomics

Did Cloud Nine hit the mark with the ergonomics of the C989? After several hours of testing, our answer is: yes, they did. With 10 being the highest, we would rate its ergonomic and comfort properties at a solid 8.5.

As is the usual case with split keyboards, it takes some time to get used to. But it’s customizability and full size proportions helped in ensuring that the correct height and width separation was achieved in order for the user to get the most natural positioning.

Some may argue that keyboard keystroke noise is attributed to its ergonomic design, as well. And yes, we completely agree. As to be expected in most mechanical keyboards, the C989 makes some natural keyboard noises. Overall, however, we didn’t find it to be distracting.

What makes a keyboard ergonomic?

A clear indication of a truly ergonomic keyboard is how comfortable it makes the user feel, especially after long periods of use. The design of an ergonomic keyboard allows for the most natural posture and positioning of the human body. As a result, muscle/joint pain is significantly reduced.

By definition, ergonomics means the study of how efficient people are in their working environment. However, ergonomics in the “working environment” now encompasses more than just the office. It can refer to working or studying virtually from anywhere, home, or otherwise. It also refers to the overall design of the products and tools we use for gaming or entertainment.

Using truly ergonomic products and accessories ensures comfort and reduced pain related to sitting or typing for prolonged periods.

Software

The accompanying software of the C989 is only compatible with Windows at this time. Cloud Nine is currently working on Mac compatibility. They will release an update once available.

We've outlined our review of the C989's software below:

  • The keyboard itself is easy enough to use without the software.
  • You can also choose through the available dial color options and side lighting without the software, as well.
  • For macro recording, users can do without the software as it's designed to work universally (both Windows & Mac), however, during our testing, it only worked on the Mac. The software needed to be used on Windows.
  • The actual recording itself works well and quite easy for either Mac or Windows.
  • For RGB backlighting customization, there are 16.8 million lighting options available and you'll need to use the software for this.
  • The software doesn't update itself automatically - so all firmware and software updates need to be done via manual download from the Cloud Nine website.
  • To select one of the 3 onboard memory profiles, you'll need to open the software so you can choose which one you want.

C989 Downloads

If you’d like to view the C989’s manual and links to their software/firmware, scroll down to the very bottom section of this page.

Performance

When it comes to an ergo keyboard's performance, what we want to look at are its switches. And the C989 is built with 100% authentic Cherry MX Brown Switches which are designed to deliver a 2 millisecond response time from the time the key is clicked to the result on the screen. In terms of actuation force (this refers to the required force for the key to register), Cherry MX Brown Switches are rated with an actuation force of 45 grams. This means that it doesn't take that much force for gamers, for example, to engage each key.

The C989 also comes with other switch options:

  • Cherry MX Blue - typically clicky, more tactile, and louder than Cherry MX Brown Switches as it requires up to 60 grams actuation force is needed to engage each key.
  • Cherry MX Green - heavier as compared with Cherry MX Blue Switches, typically used as the space bar for Cherry MX Blue Switch keyboards, it has a higher actuation force at about 81.5 grams. That’s the only actual difference, though. Cherry MX Green Switches have similar clicky and tactile features as Cherry MX Blue Switches.

While the C989 can be used for several purposes, its design and features really perform best for gaming. Here's why:

  • We first tested the keys on basic puzzle games and the keyboard was consistently speedy and we did not experience any delays or other issues.
  • Serious gamers, however, found the C989 keyboard's features a treat. It offers full customization for catering keybinds to different gaming styles.
  • Gamers won't deal with annoying issues mid-game as the C989 is a fully anti-ghosting keyboard.

For our non-gamer testers, the keyboard's performance during long periods of typing (4 - 6 hours, with about an hour break) was stellar. There were no issues in terms of ease of typing and response time. The issues we did encounter were regarding its overall comfort as our testers took some time to get used to the C989's size and design.

Price

With shipping fees, the retail price of the C989 is about $200. Of course, this isn't considered an affordable keyboard, however, ergonomic keyboards are usually sold at above $200 - $300 price range. However, if you think about its solid build, ergonomic design, generous proportions, full customizability, and the excellent performance of the keyboard's Cherry MX switches, the investment is actually worth it.

Why are ergo keyboards usually expensive?

If you do a 10-minute Google search looking for the best ergonomic keyboards, you won't usually see less than a $100 price tag. That's because you are investing in more than just an office or gaming tool. Ergo keyboards are designed for comfort and health. Since we're talking about price, here's an estimate of how much an ergonomic keyboard will generally cost:

  • High-end gaming keyboards - $100 to $200 upwards
  • Ergonomic, non-split keyboards - $150 - $200 upwards
  • Standard mechanical keyboards - $100 upwards
  • Tenkeypad keyboards - around $100

Why Should You Invest In The Best Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard?

Now that we’ve broken down each detail of our Cloud Nine keyboard review, you might be asking yourself, why invest in such an expensive keyboard in the first place? Do I really need all the above features?

For experienced gamers and avid typists, you already know the answer to that and if the C989 ticks all the right boxes of your preferred ergo mechanical keyboard of choice, then you can jump off to the Cloud Nine website and order their split mechanical keyboard today.

But, if you’re still thinking about upgrading and need just a little bit more convincing, you might want to take a few more minutes of your time to see why upgrading to an ergonomic mechanical keyboard may just be worth your investment:

  • A personalized experience with your switch of choice.The heart of the mechanical keyboard and the reason why it’s different from standard keyboards is its mechanical switches. There are 3 different types of mechanical keyboard switches: Linear (quiet and do not provide clicky feedback), Clicky (provides clear, audible feedback when each key registers), and Tactile (middle ground between Linear and Clicky).Overall, having different choices of keyboard switches available makes using a mechanical keyboard a personalized experience because you can choose which one works best for you. If you don’t quite know what keyboard switch to choose, you can purchase a switch tester and see which one is more comfortable.
  • Ergonomic, human design.Users pay a premium price for ergo keyboards because they are designed differently than standard keyboards. They usually feature an ergonomic, conforming, and adaptive “human” design. Designers of ergonomic keyboards spend time studying the natural movements of the hands and fingers. As a result, they come up with ergonomically-designed keyboards that are both comfortable and healthy.Mechanical keyboards are usually ergonomically-designed, too, because it’s designed for extended hours of solid gaming or typing. One of the most popular ergonomic designs for mechanical keyboards would be the split keyboard. Splitting a keyboard in half allows the user to position the keyboard to its preferred angle that’s most comfortable to them. This then reduces strain caused by hours of gaming or typing. Standard keyboards, on the other hand, are flat and do not necessarily conform to our natural posture. This can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, back, and shoulder pain, among others.
  • Multiple layout options to choose fromJust like a mechanical keyboard’s switches, another feature of the mechanical keyboard that allows for personalization is its layout options. From full size to compact, there are a plethora of options for each user.
  • Extremely durable and will last FOREVER, literally.Short of a natural disaster or you accidentally dropping the keyboard in the water, mechanical keyboards are extremely durable and will last a lifetime. They are usually rated for over 50 million key presses. That’s an equivalent of a whole lifetime of presses. Other factors that contribute to the longevity of ergonomic mechanical keyboards are its durable casing and that it can be easily taken apart for regular cleaning and maintenance.You might also feel a bit skeptical about the durability of split mechanical keyboards. However, split keyboards are just as durable. In the case of the C989, for example, it is encased in solid, high-grade materials.

Conclusion

The Cloud Nine Keyboard is only one among the vast sea of quality mechanical keyboards. But it was a pleasant surprise for our team when we tested the C989 and we can say, after hours of testing, that it definitely stands out.

So do we recommend the Cloud Nine C989 Split Mechanical Keyboard? Yes.

Large and modular, its split keyboard design eases pain points as you go about using it. Also, gamers will love its authentic Cherry MX Switches (choose from Brown, Blue, or Green) and 100% anti-ghosting features. RGB and macro programming is also a key feature that's important for both coders and gamers alike. What we also loved is the generous proportions of its wrist pad and traditional layout of the keyboard - these two features simply make the C989 comfortable to use.

Drawbacks include its high price tag but, it's safe to say that its multiple features and functionalities make its cost worthwhile. Another thing we had a hard time with is getting used to its ergonomic features such as its tenting angle and overall positioning, but after some time, once the user has adjusted the keyboard to their desired position, then it’s smooth, comfortable typing from there.

Another issue for gamers may be the C989’s somewhat-unfinished software: it’s only Windows compatible and it does not automatically update. However, you really can’t complain because all the essential features are found within the software albeit manually having to access it for updates, etc. Still, if gaming peripherals are not high in your list of keyboard priorities, then the Cloud Nine keyboard is an excellent choice for a sturdy, solid, and truly ergonomic split mechanical keyboard.

Disclaimer:

If you are experiencing injuries, aches and pains, please consult a medical professional as soon as possible. This article will only provide general information and should not be used for self-diagnosis and self-treatment.

Margaret made the big switch from her busy, corporate life to online entrepreneur. Since that day, she’s never looked back. Of course, that meant she had to run her business from home. For optimum comfort and health, she has created an ergonomic space that’s allowed her to have safe and productive days. To help others who work from home, she writes practical reviews for various types of ergonomic brands - from keyboards to chairs, Margaret loves to analyze products and give them unbiased ratings. When not writing or running her business, she loves gardening and traveling.
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