Our team did some comprehensive research and testing on one of today’s top ergonomic contoured keyboards, the Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard. It comes highly recommended by users who are suffering from RSI or who need some ergonomic relief when it comes to typing on a keyboard for hours at a time.
Aside from our review, we have also provided important info and FAQs so that all your questions will be answered. Our goal is to help you make an informed buying decision but, more importantly, to help give you a productive, healthier work day.
KINESIS FREESTYLE2 ERGONOMIC KEYBOARD QUICK PREVIEW
After we tried out the Kinesis Freestyle2, we understood why its split-design won various ergonomic awards. The Freestyle2 is truly an ergonomic keyboard created for the purpose of human comfort and health while typing. Not only does it stylishly accent your workspace, but it’s also fully adaptable to the specific preferences of each user and it minimizes awkward typing postures that may cause health hazards such as back or shoulder pain. Check our full review here and you may just want to get one for yourself.
Founded in 1991, Kinesis has 29 years of experience in producing innovative, ergonomic computer keyboards specifically designed for the human experience. They launched their first contoured keyboard in 1992, the Kinesis Model 100. Today, Kinesis has sold ergonomic keyboards to millions of happy customers who previously had serious issues with RSI.
So, don’t feel daunted by the split, contoured design of the Kinesis Freestyle2. It may look nothing like a comfortable keyboard but, trust us, once you’re past the Kinesis learning curve, its ergonomic advantages are enormous.
Kinesis COVID-19 Update
Kinesis takes the health and safety of their employees and clients very seriously. That is why their physical store has been closed since May 2020 and will remain closed until further notice. They have also outlined their support services, COVID-19 protocols and general operational changes here.
Product Specs & Features
Windows 7-10, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS & Chrome
Tenkeyless layout (PC USB version includes embedded 10-key) & 8 office hotkeys
15.4” (width) x 7.1” (depth) x 0.9” (height)
Keyboard, Quick Start Guide, (Bluetooth models include micro USB charging cable)
Low-Force membrane switches with tactile feedback
Separate the modules to shoulder-width to keep wrists straight. Choose 9″ or 20″ linking cables.
Tenting accessories enable 5, 10, and 15 degrees to reduce forearm pronation caused by flat keyboards.
Zero-degree slope and available cushioned palm supports eliminate wrist extension.
Tenkeyless layout results in a smaller footprint for closer mouse placement. * PC USB includes embedded 10-key.
Low Force Keys
Custom membrane key switches offer tactile feedback and 25% lower activation force than traditional keyboards.
8 Office Hotkeys
Boost productivity and eliminate awkward key combinations with convenient hotkeys for Windows or Mac
Connect the pivot tether to splay the key modules to achieve a neutral wrist angle to eliminate ulnar deviation.
For individuals with special needs, the Ascent accessory supports tenting from 20 to 90 degrees.
Available Pre-Assembled with Tenting Accessories
Without Palm Supports
5˚ / 10˚ / 15˚
With Palm Supports
5˚ / 10˚ / 15˚
US shipping options are available upon checkout of the Kinesis item you order:
Shipping fees and other details depend on your purchase and the reseller’s own policies. Should you order through email or fax, it’s best to contact the Kinesis support team or the authorized reseller you are purchasing from.
For international shipments, we quote the Kinesis FAQ page to avoid any misinterpretation:
“For all overseas orders, Kinesis ships via UPS Expedited or Express. For orders to Canada, Kinesis ships via UPS Ground, Expedited, or Express. Each order must be quoted individually. To request a quote please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the product and quantity with your complete shipping address, including your postal code.
Shipping terms are EX Works Kinesis. Recipient is responsible for all duties, customs, and any other fees charged by their respective country in association with the shipment of the product. If the recipient refuses shipment, a credit will be issued less the cost of the shipping and handling fees (including return shipping) plus any fees charged to Kinesis as mentioned above.
For Canadian orders shipped to the ground, recipients will be charged (by UPS) a brokerage fee of at least $US35.00 in addition to any other fees referenced above.”
If you would like to return your item, Kineses offers a limited 60-day money back guarantee for Kinesis products purchased from their store. If you purchased from Amazon or another reseller, your Kinesis product will be subject to the reseller’s return policies.
If you are returning a product in a like-new condition with an item purchased directly from the Kinesis store, you are eligible for a full refund less any shipping and handling fees.
For more specific details, you can find their return policies here.
Kinesis provides a limited, 2-year warranty for all “Kinesis-brand keyboards and accessories, plus DXT2 mice sold by Kinesis or by an Authorized Kinesis Reseller, are backed by a limited manufacturer’s warranty provided by Kinesis to the original purchaser”.
Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard: Product Details
Customizable Split Design
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard has a revolutionary feature: it actually splits into two modules between the “H” and “G” keys! This makes it incredibly customizable, easily adapting to an individual’s working position.
With its split modular keyboard design, you can position the contoured keyboard halves so that your hands, wrists, and forearms are always properly aligned. The entire row of home keys is always at a comfortable width. You don’t have to contort or bend your wrists just to reach the home keys. Connected with either a 9-inch or 20-inch linking cable, the Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard can accommodate any body type or typing posture.
You may not want to separate the unit, but you still want an ergonomic keyboard to induce a natural typing posture. Well, that’s easy! The Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard has an optional pivot tether in which you can attach to the upper corners. The tether allows you to split and splay the modules to an angle that is comfortable for you while keeping the keyboard as a single unit.
You can definitely say that your Kinesis keyboard is a welcome addition to your computer ergonomics.
If you look at your flat standard keyboard design, you would notice that it is slanted, with the front end pointing upwards. The slant becomes more pronounced if you engage the small plastic supports under the keyboard.
This position is called positive tilt, and it is detrimental to your posture; we wonder why the majority of keyboard manufacturers still insist on making these designs. If you type with the base of your palm flat on the table, you need to bend your wrist upwards for your fingers to reach the home keys. That puts undue stress to your wrists.
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard does the opposite; that is, the front of the keyboard points downwards. With a negative tilt and thinner profile, the keyboard helps keep your wrist in a proper typing position by keeping it straight and aligned with the back of your hand.
No Numeric Keypad
Here’s another Kinesis advantage. Because the Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard can be split in two, it needs to be compact so it can fit keyboard trays and tables. As such, the designers at Kinesis forgo the standard numeric keypad.
But that’s just part of the reason. More importantly, based on extensive computer ergonomics research, the Neutral Reach Zone—the area in front of you where you won’t feel any strain on your forearms—from the left edge of your standard keyboard to the cursor direction keys. The numeric keypad and the mouse are actually too far from your Neutral Reach Zone. To use the keypad or the mouse, you need to extend your hand out of the Neutral Reach Zone. Repeated or prolonged positions out of your Neural Reach Zone can cause discomfort and strain over time.
By eliminating the numeric keypad, you bring the mouse closer to your Neutral Reach Zone, allowing natural and less strenuous movement. In case you need a numeric keypad, you can purchase the Kinesis Freestyle2 keypad accessory and attach it to your PC. The keypad has the same ergonomic properties as the Freestyle 2 keyboard.
Strategically Placed Driverless Hot Keys
Press Ctrl and X at the same time to delete something you highlighted. Press Ctrl and C to copy something. Press Ctrl, Alt, and Del to interrupt or terminate an application task. These combos, while faster than using a mouse, can really stretch your fingers unnecessarily.
You can say goodbye to that awkward positioning and stretching with the Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard. That’s because these combos are combined into “hot keys” at the left of the qwerty keyboard. Simply press Undo, Cut, Paste, Copy, Delete, and other functions to perform the tasks you need; no need to fumble around the keys for combinations. These hot keys allow you to work more efficiently and rapidly while reducing the number of unnecessary movements.
The Kinesis Freestyl e2 Ergonomic Keyboard is designed to be used for long durations. The keyboard uses silent, low-force, tactile membrane switches so you can type rapidly and comfortably with the lightest touch. Only 45 grams of pressure is needed to press any key; this is 25% less pressure than many other ergonomic keyboards. Therefore, the light-touch, tactile keys significantly reduce finger fatigue. That’s a great Kinesis advantage, don’t you think?
Since the Kinesis Freestyl e2 Ergonomic Keyboard can be split in two, you can carry it around. The modules don’t take a lot of space in your bag, so you can enjoy “ergonomics on the road.” It is one of the most portable Kinesis keyboards.
The basic Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard is already a wonder in itself. However, you can make it even more ergonomic—subsequently making your typing session more comfortable and enjoyable—if you equip your keyboard with more Kinesis accessories. This applies to all Kinesis keyboards.
When you order your Kinesis Freestyle 2 Ergonomic Keyboard, you can opt to have it pre-installed with a tenting brace. To understand what these things do, put your arms forward and rotate your palms so that they’re facing each other. Your wrists and forearms feel more relaxed in this position rather than facing down, right?
That’s what the tent braces do. It orients the two halves of the keyboard to lean sideways, allowing your wrists, hands, and forearms to type in their most natural position. You can choose for the company to install 5, 10, or 15-degree tenting. Of course, you can purchase the tenting accessory and install it yourself.
The soft cushioned palm pads of Kinesis keyboards including this one are made of a quarter inch of closed-cell foam covered with a silky, lycra fabric. The soft, gel-like texture feels quite comfortable as you rest the base of your palm on the pad while typing.
Adhesive backing allows the palm pads to be affixed to the keypad easily. When they get worn out, you can easily remove without leaving sticky residue.
If you’re doing a numbers-heavy task, you may want to use a numeric keypad for faster and more efficient typing. The Kinesis Keypad for PC and Mac is perfect for this. It has the same low-profile structure and the light-touch tactile keys of the Kinesis keyboard, so you can enjoy the same ergonomic benefits its bigger brother offers. Finally, embedded hot keys allow you to Cut, Copy, and Paste quickly and easily.
Why A Split Keyboard Works
Our computer is among the most important tools to live our daily lives. To interact with our computers, we need to hook it up with a keyboard. The standard flat keyboard is so common that we don’t actually think a lot about it. Typing on our keyboards is almost as instinctive as breathing, eating, or sleeping.
But there lies a hidden but insidious problem. The standard flat keyboard that we use is actually an old design dating back to the typewriter keyboard layout in the 1800s. Ergonomics wasn’t a thing yet, so people don’t know how using it will affect a human being’s physiology.
As science, medicine, and health technologies become more advanced, more issues have been addressed and solved. One of these issues involves the interaction and effects of using everyday objects on the human body.
As research shows, using flat keyboards for an extended period of time actually poses a health risk. That’s because our standard keyboard is unnaturally shaped. When we type on it, our hand and body posture aren’t positioned in a natural way.
Simply put: keyboards are flat and straight. By nature, your hands, wrists, and forearms aren’t.
An Unnatural Posture on a Flat Keyboard
Let us show this concept to you. Sit down on your desk and hold out your hands with your palms flat in front of you. Relax your shoulders and arms, and allow your elbows to rest in a natural position. You will notice that your hands are not completely flat or horizontal. They’re slightly tilted sideways and aligned straight with your wrist and forearms. This is the natural wrist-to-forearm position.
Now, put your hands on the keyboard and type normally. You will see a change in position. If you look at your position directly from above, you will see that your fingers are facing straight forward, but your wrists are facing inwards to each other. From the side, your hand and wrist are bent like an upside-down letter V. The natural tilt also disappears as you lay your hand flat to type.
These are unnatural contortions that put your hands and wrists in strained positions and awkward angles. In fact, you can actually feel your wrist strain as it tries to maintain the unnatural twist for long periods—the strain is the result of your muscles and tendons trying to deal with the unnecessary pressure.
If you continue typing in this position for hours and hours each day, the muscles and tendons in your wrists and forearms become strained. They incur minor tears that can cause the area to swell. When the swelling puts pressure on the carpal tunnel nerve in your wrist, you will feel weak and fatigued. You will experience a lot of pain in your wrist, sometimes to the point of being unbearable. This condition is referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). If this goes on for a long time, you may need to undergo surgery.
The human body is one complex system, but everything connected. If your hands, wrists, and forearms are poorly positioned due to your flat keyboard, it naturally follows that the rest of your body will also be poorly positioned. Slouched shoulders, bent back, stressed neck—these are just some of the bad postures caused by your misaligned typing position. All these can cause headaches, body aches, and muscle pain that becomes worse over time.
And that’s the sole purpose of the Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard – to help you type better and ultimately, live better.
Frequently Asked Questions
It cannot be avoided that you’ll be using your desktop and laptop for long hours each day. That is all part of a modern, technologically advanced society. However, it is not worthwhile to sacrifice your health and efficiency just because you need to use your computer for those hours.
Thankfully, the Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard allows us to type without compromising your health and incurring lasting injuries. It is designed with human physiology in mind, allowing you to type in your most natural and relaxed posture. The split-or-splay design accomplishes this wonderfully.
Kinesis also offers a myriad of other accessories to go along with the keyboard, which makes your typing experience even better.
It’s time for modernity to take over an obsolete design. It’s time for ergonomics to reign. It’s time to replace your old clacker with the modern Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard!