1. Keyboard make, model and price:
Kinesis Freestyle 2 for PC (also available for Mac). Price: Around 250 euros a year ago with palm supports, adjustable sloping ‘stands’, and number keypad.
The Kinesis Freestyle 2 is an ergonomic keyboard that you can divide in half so that the two parts, and consequently also your hands, are right in front of your body instead of directed inwards. This creates a more natural and ergonomic position mitigating stress on the back, wrists and lower arms. With the additional palm supports and the sloping stands, your hands can rest easily and slightly slanted on the keyboard, alleviating or preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.
The height of the stands can also be adjusted to three different levels and the keyboard can be used without them, simply lying flat on the table.
The main keyboard has several extra keys with common shortcuts like cut, copy, paste, undo, etc. The number keypad has two USB ports at the back.
3. My last keyboard was:
A cheap no-frills Microsoft keyboard.
4. Why I changed to Kinesis Freestyle 2:
I started getting problems with carpal tunnel syndrome. A slightly tingling feeling in my right forearm got worse and worse to a point where I lost all strength in my forearm and hand and couldn’t type more than about 20 seconds at a time. This was not only painful and unpleasant, but it also made it impossible to work, so I had to do something. I did some reading and changed everything I could about my work environment to make it more ergonomic. Fortunately, the new keyboard was a super medicine. After a couple of weeks of really easy work, all of my problems went away and I could get back to working full time.
5. What I love about my keyboard:
It is so much more comfortable typing on a slanted keyboard with your hands right in front of you than on a regular one. I also got some office cred points in the shared office where I work, where people call it the ‘James Bond keyboard’ because of the odd design. You can also fit a beverage of your choice between the two parts if you move the keypad.
6. What I dislike about this keyboard:
Contrary to what the company says on their website, the keys are quite loud. Also, since it is so wide, you need to place the number keypad between the two parts of the keyboard, and that makes it hard to reach fast when you use the extra supports to make it slanted.
I also rarely use the extra shortcut keys, mostly because I use the old commands for copy, paste, etc. without thinking, but I guess they would be handy if you wanted to relearn your keyboard and use one button instead of the previous two (e.g. Ctrl+C).
It takes a while to get used to the Kinesis Freestyle 2 because of the odd writing position for your hands and arms. This is not exactly a dislike, but something I think is worth mentioning.
Robin Joensuu is an English into Swedish translator currently based in Berlin, Germany. He mainly translates in the subject fields of IT, marketing, and engineering.
Over to you
If you use the Kinesis Freestyle 2 keyboard, like or dislike it, or have any questions about it, please leave a comment below.
Want to write about another keyboard? Check out this introductory post to the Keyboard Corner!