Review: Kinesis Freestyle Edge for Software Development
On the basic model, you can split them up to eight inches, which is the length of the cord connecting them. This variable split eliminates the need to scrunch your arms inward, and also accommodates different shapes and sizes of users.
The split design also allows you to get exactly the wrist angle you want, and to vary your typing position if desired. Kinesis offers several different kits to configure the Freestyle the way you want it. The only separable accessory you get with the Solo is the pivot tether — the plastic hinge that holds the two halves together. The twisting action inherent to this position can be harmful — which brings us to the first optional kit.
- Ergonomics vs. usability.
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It consists of two leg assemblies that snap on and raise the middle of the keyboard into a tent shape. You can switch between low and high tenting angles by rotating the leg assemblies. Some people get rather tired holding their hands out over a keyboard all day, and want a place to rest between fits of typing.
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Ordinarily these folks would just go out and buy a long, straight palm rest, but the varying angles of the Freestyle make this a dicey proposition. Kinesis sells a set of palm rests that actually snap onto the front of the keyboard, thus staying with it in every configuration. Frankly, it feels like sandpaper to me — but my wrists are more sensitive than most.
If you prefer hard plastic you can choose to remove the pads, or not attach them at all.
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The Incline Kit is a fixed-base platform that holds the two halves of the Freestyle together at an adjustable angle, making it look and work exactly like the old Kinesis Maxim keyboard. Infinite adjustment of splay, for instance, is no longer possible — there are just a few fixed positions into which you can snap the keyboard. This will at least keep you from driving yourself crazy repositioning your Freestyle every five minutes! It may look like a badly-broken accordion and cost twice as much as the keyboard itself! At its maximum elevation, the Ascent puts the Freestyle at 90 degrees from your desk, essentially turning it into a Safetype keyboard.
Alternatively, you could achieve almost the same thing with a Freestyle keyboard, two bookends, and plenty of tape. The Freestyle is missing a dedicated set of keys found on most standard keyboards — the numeric keypad. This allows a narrower footprint, but might be an obstacle to those who do a lot of ten-key. It works just like a typical laptop, though, so you ten-key folks have probably already experienced it. While the Kinesis Freestyle may be missing some familiar keys on the right, it compensates by adding some new ones on the left.
It has dedicated keys for copy, paste, and other commonly used functions — plus an extra Delete key.
One element of the layout that often brings complaints is the positioning of the Alt keys. Users of the Freestyle for Mac will find this particularly annoying. A mild personal gripe of my own is the lack of a Windows logo key on the right. With the Freestyle, I can no longer one-hand Windows-M to minimize all windows, something I do a lot while working.
Although the mechanisms are large and mostly plastic ABS , they are very well made.
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Their movements are very smooth, and their construction is very solid. Still, they are unlikely to survive excessive mechanical shock, like a rage punch on the keyboard while it is fully elevated. Short-tempered users are advised to steer away from the lift kit or take anger management lessons. Packaging and Bundle We received the Kinesis Freestyle Edge in a well-designed cardboard box, the artwork of which is centered on the keyboard and its most prominent features.
Review: Kinesis Freestyle Solo Keyboard for Mac