Objective Review of the Kinesis KB600 Advantage2 Mechanical Programmable Keyboard (2023)

December 11, 2020

If you are starting to experience discomfort when using your traditional keyboard, then it’s a good time for an upgrade. And why not upgrade to the very best? Kinesis has been at the forefront of ergonomic keyboard designs since 1991. It’s been 29 years since then - so, will the newer Kinesis Advantage2, released in August of 2016, still provide the same level of comfort and productivity?

Our team has spent over 100 hours testing the Kinesis KB600 Advantage2 Mechanical Keyboard analyzing its features, pros, cons and other helpful information will help you determine if the Advantage2 can help you have a more comfortable, healthier typing experience day.

RATINGS : 9.8

Kinesis KB600 Advantage2 Mechanical Programmable Keyboard Quick Preview

Summary

Recommended by pro gamers, coders, programmers, authors and pretty much any “veteran” who works with a computer keyboard on a daily basis, the Kinesis KB600 Advantage2 is considered one of the very best ergonomic, mechanical, and programmable keyboards available in the market today. However, to experience its benefits, you have to:

  • fork over more than $300
  • get used to its unique, ergonomic, non-traditional concave layout (which could take days or weeks)

However, based on our comprehensive testing, the money and time you spend on the Kinesis Advantage2 is truly a sound investment.

PROS

  • Concave design keeps hands relaxed and in a natural posture
  • 20° tenting feature significantly reduces wrist pain
  • Handy, compact, 16.5" width
  • Responsive, authentic Cherry MX switches
  • Programmable macros and key layouts in inclusive software
  • Add-ons like palm pads and footrests
  • 3-year manufacturer's warranty
  • 60-day return policy

CONS

  • Will not do well for people who do not touch type
  • Getting used to Advantage2's layout may take time
  • Expensive price tag (over $300)
  • You might need to get another one (or two) because you might not want to use another kind of keyboard ever again

Manufacturer Information

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  contoured design of the Kinesis Advantage2. 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.

What Makes The Kinesis Advantage2 Different From The Original Kinesis Advantage?

If you owned the original Kinesis Advantage (now a discontinued line) and are looking into purchasing the Advantage2, it may be helpful for you to know exactly what makes the Advantage2 different from the original Advantage:

  • The Advantage2 now features the SmartSet Programming Engine which provides the Advantage2 with powerful programming capabilities that will allow you to customize your keyboard.
  • The original Advantage keyboard’s rubber function keys are now replaced with low-force Cherry ML tactile, mechanical key switches with plastic caps.
  • Kinesis' signature home row keys now standout in an attractive shade of Kinesis Blue.
  • Country-specific layouts are now available on the Advantage2:German Layout
    Scandinivian Layout
    Japanese Layout
    French Layout
  • The original Advantage only had 2 megabytes memory, the Advantage2 features 4 megabytes.
  • The Advantage2's macros and layouts are stored within a text file in the embedded flash drive. The user can simply open, edit, and load the text file. You can even share it. You do not require special driver software.

In terms of size, the Advantage 2 and the Advantage are exactly the same:

Dimensions: 16.5” (width) x 8” (depth) x 2.9” (max height)

Product Specs & Features

Specifications

  • Device Type: Keyboard - ergonomic
  • Interface: USB
  • Layout: QWERTY / DVORAK
  • Key Switch Type: CHERRY MX Brown
  • Keyboard Technology: Mechanical
  • Hot Keys Function: Programmable
  • Width: 16.5 in
  • Height: 2.9 in
  • Palm Rest: Yes
  • Depth: 8 in
  • Weight: 35.2 oz
  • Included Accessories: keycap puller, 4 keycaps
  • Cable Length 6 ft
  • Service & Support: Limited warranty of 3 years
  • OS Required: Linux, Apple MacOS 8.6 or later, Android, Microsoft Windows 7 / 8 / 10

Features

  • Unmatched durability: It is rated for 50 million key presses
  • Boosts productivity
  • Convenient to use
  • US Tech support
  • Premium performance and typing feel
  • Low-force switches for maximum comfort
  • Customization of switches available

Current Price

$349.00

Reseller prices may vary.

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

Shipping Policy

US shipping options are available upon checkout of the Kinesis item you order:

  • Ground
  • 2nd Day
  • Next Day service

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 [email protected]. 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.”

Returns Policy

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.

Warranty Information

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”.

Warranty Period

  • Advantage2 Keyboards: 3 years from date of purchase
  • DXT2 Mice: 2 years from date of purchase
  • All other Kinesis-brand products: 2 years from date of purchase

For more specific warranty information, click here.

Kinesis KB600 Advantage2 Mechanical Programmable Keyboard: Product Details

The Ergonomics of the Patented Concave Design

Oddly-shaped and downright weird to those who are unfamiliar with the cutting-edge design of Kinesis keyboards, the Kinesis Advantage2 features the same patented, concave design that made the original Kinesis Advantage famous.

First, there are some considerations to be made before we move on to the ergonomics:

  • You should be able to or learn how to touch type before using the Kinesis Advantage2.This is because, to begin with, it is a bit too hard to learn and adjust to the non-traditional keyboard layout of the Kinesis Advantage2. So, it may even be more difficult for people who cannot touch type.Based on our own tests, touch typists spent a frustrating first 2 hours trying to master the keyboard layout of the Advantage2. One tester who normally had an 88 WPM typing speed, resulted in less than 60 WPM during an initial typing speed test on the Advantage2. A member of our team who did not touch type at all tested less than 30 WPM.However, as time went on and as their hands and fingers adjusted, it became almost magically comfortable and even enjoyable typing on the Kinesis Advantage2.
  • Once you get used to the comfort of the patented concave design, you may not be able to work on another keyboard again.This sounds a bit “negative” and we did include this bit in our list of “cons” in the introductory sections of this article but it actually isn’t. Because the concave design just works so well for almost all people, lots of Kinesis Advantage2 fans actually buy 2 or even 3 of these keyboards so they don’t have to unplug and bring to and from work/school every day.The concave design adapts to the human hands so well, it’s impossible to re-learn or work on traditional keyboards.

So, considering that you touch type and that you have the patience to re-learn a new way of using the keyboard - then you should be all set with the Kinesis Advantage2.

How does the concave design actually help?

  • Bowl-shaped, concave keywells are designed to relax the muscles. It also reduces hand and finger extension which are the usual causes of stress when typing.
  • To help reduce abduction and ulnar deviation, the separated keywells also positions the arms naturally at shoulder-width. This helps in keeping the wrists straight and at exactly 90° to the home row.
  • The Kinesis team designed the keys to be arranged in vertical columns because they found that this follows the fingers' natural motion and movement.
  • To keep the hands in a neutral, relaxed, "handshake" posture and to reduce stress most often caused by forearm pronation, the two keywells are tented at 20° angle. This then comfortably raises the thumb side of the hand.
  • Palm supports are integrated into the keyboard design. This helps reduce bending of the rests which can cause stress, as well. If you're not typing, then it can serve as a convenient place for your palms to rest. You can also attach included, self-adhesive palm pads.
  • Frequently used keys like Backspace, Enter, Delete, and Space are included in the thumb clusters. This is a genius way to transfer work from weaker, little fingers (and sometimes over-used on the traditional keyboard) to your thumbs, which are much stronger.

SmartSet Programming Engine

The Advantage2 comes with Kinesis's SmartSet Programming Engine. It supports customization of the keyboard’s layout without having to install special drivers or software. Remap keys and record macros make it much easier to use onboard shortcuts. Almost all major operating systems support SmartSet. So, you can easily view, share, create, edit, and reserve the custom layout.

Some features include:

  • Dual-layer layout
  • Secondary actions present in the keypad layer
  • Onboard, one-touch key remapping
  • Customization of the layout to match your preferences and writing style
  • 9 playback speeds
  • Heavy-duty macros (up to 300 characters)
  • Native Dvorak layout
  • Customization available to QWERTY layout
  • Settings are preserved in the keyboard’s flash memory (4MB)
  • Windows/Mac/PC Switchable (US version)
  • Extra keycaps (US version)
  • Extra Windows keycaps (International version)

Cherry MX Tactile, Low-force Key Switches

The keyboard comes with semi-custom tactile and low-force switches. The tactile response prompts your fingers about activation. This prevents a hard impact on the switch and easy, low-force typing.

Cherry ML Mechanical Function Keys

Previous rubber function switches on the original Kinesis Advantage are now replaced by Cherry ML switches. These switches have tactile and low-force functions.

Key Clicks

This keyboard comes with an electronic click to support the optimal typing form. It prevents unnecessary impacts on the muscles. You can deactivate the click sound with just a button touch.

Smaller Footprint

The Advantage2 keyboard comes without the numeric 10-key. This lessens the footprint compared to traditional and even some other ergonomic keyboards. A smaller footprint allows you to keep the mouse closer to the body, preventing overreach. The traditional 10-key is embedded in the right key. You can also choose to get a low-force keypad that can be placed according to your convenience.

Sculpted Home Row

Cupped keycaps help to keep you anchored while you type. They are also built with iconic Kinesis blue for better visual reference.

Conclusion

Did our team find optimal comfort with the seemingly complex, concave design?

Yes, we did. Overall, we found that its design adapts to the human hands in the most comfortable way. Although it took some time and effort to adjust to its layout, once we actually did, it was a fully life-changing experience. One of our testers actually has actually been a Kinesis Advantage2 user for the past 3 years. He likened it to owning his first smartphone years ago - it was a new piece of technology but it works and now he can’t think of going without it. The same can be said for his two Kinesis Advantage2 keyboards (one he uses for home and one for work).

In terms of its $300+ price tag, it is 100% worth it. In fact, if you want to get the ergonomic facts from the experts who have studied the concave design of Kinesis Advantage and Advantage2 keyboards, you can find it all here.

Also, it helps that Kinesis has a very generous 60-day risk-free return policy. Based on our own tests, it took us a maximum of 2.5 weeks to finally get used to the layout of the Kinesis Advantage2. Two months is plenty of time to determine whether this is the keyboard that will change your life, as well.

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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