Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard Review

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

The Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard came out in .

I've been using it for over a year now. It is my current keyboard.

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Kinesis Advantage 2. Special white model. [image source twitter jasonamyers]
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Kinesis Advantage 2. 2592×1944 Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard

Total Key Count

68 full-sized keys, plus 18 small function key buttons.

Size Comparison

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4032×3024 Kinesis Advantage vs HAVIT Keyboard
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Microsoft Natural Keyboard vs Kinesis Advantage

Video Review

Xah Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard Review

On-The-Fly Key Remap and Macro

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Kinesis Advantage 2. Special white model. [image source twitter jasonamyers]
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Kinesis Advantage 2, right side. Those functional key buttons are mechanical keys, Cherry ML switch, with plastic key cap. Also, see the “progm” key on the right? That key lets you switch key layouts, or set your own key remapping, or program key macros.

Driverless Programable Keys

To Remap Keys

Suppose you want to make CapsLock do Ctrl.

  1. Hold progm then press F12. Release both.
  2. Press Ctrl, release, press CapsLock, release.
  3. Press progm again to stop.
  4. That's it. Now, pressing CapsLock will send Ctrl signal.

Do this to remap any key.

To make a key back to default, you can simply start remap and press the key twice.

[see Kinesis Keyboard Key Remap/Macro/Layout How-To]

To Record Key Macro

Suppose you want to make F2 do Ctrl+c (copy).

  1. Hold progm then press F11. Release both.
  2. Press F2, release.
  3. Press Ctrl+c.
  4. Press progm again to stop.

That's it. Now, pressing F2 will do Copy.

The triggering key can be a key chord. For example, you can make Ctrl+n do , so that when holding control, right hand keys can become arrow keys.

[see Kinesis Keyboard Key Remap/Macro/Layout How-To]

Design Advantages

There are several quality designs that went into this keyboard. I explain each item below.

Thumb for Modifier Keys

Control key is now pressed by the most powerful finger the thumb.

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Sculpted thumb keys, with different height and shape, designed for comfort.

The ⌫ Backspace key is one of the most frequently used key, now it's under your thumb too.

Straight Key Columns

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Left side. Look at the keys 1 Q A Z, forming a straight line.
mechanical typewriter keyboard
Keys are staggered so that the levers underneath can be evenly spaced.

Palm Higher Than Finger Tips

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[image source ]
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Kinesis Advantage 2. Special white model. [image source twitter jasonamyers]

Mechanical Key Switch

Mechanical switch is very nice to press, lighter, easier on the fingers, and gives you tactitle feedback.

Mechanical switch also lasts hundreds times longer than common rubber dome switches used in normal keyboards. Many people i know have Kinesis for over 10 years, and the keyboard is still going strong.

Which type of key switch to get depends on the person.

I now prefer Cherry MX Red (linear feel) (Model LF). (but the one i have is Cherry MX Brown (tactile))

[see Mechanical Keyboard and Repetitive Strain Injury]

[see Guide to Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms]

Mac, Linux Support, Yes

I use it on Linux and Mac. It's plug-and-play.

Works in Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux.

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Included 4 extra keys, for the Mac. And comes with a key puller.

How long does it take to get used to?

I thought it might take me sometime to adjust to the bowl-shaped surface, but to my surprise, i typed on it like a pro the first day. I've been typing on a grid-layout keyboard for past 3 years, but never on bowl-shaped surface before.

If you never used a grid-layout keyboard before, it'll take about 2 weeks to stop mistakes, 3 weeks to become fluent. (based my experience when using grid-layout for the first time, and from Kinesis user comments online.)

Bad Points

Tiny Function Keys

The function keys F1 to F12 are tiny.

I prefer full-sized keys, because full-sized keys are easier to use.

Most people don't use the function keys, but i use them heavily. [see Why Function Keys Are Useful]

Not Designed for Small Hands

I'm Chinese. My hands are smaller than average white people's hands.

The 2 primary thumb keys are easy reach, the ⌫ Backspace and Space.

Other thumb keys require reach.

If your hands are small, do not try to press the thumb keys by stretching. Press the thumb keys by moving whole hand.

For example, I move my whole hand to press Alt key, and move hand slightly to press Ctrl key. Moving hand is healthier than stretch.

If you are Asian Female, Kinesis may not be for you.

[see Best Ergonomic Keyboards for Small Hands]


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Kinesis Advantage2 US default layout.
  1. By default, QWERTY and Dvorak layouts are builtin, in any of the Kinesis models.
  2. You can create your own layouts. For example, placing Escape key on the thumb, place Ctrl Alt ⌘ command ⌥ option ❖ Window or arrow keys on any key position you like.
  3. You can easily switch to any layout by pressing a few buttons.

For some layout design, see

Kinesis and ErgoDox Optimal Thumb Cluster Layouts

Using vim, Emacs?

Kinesis is perfect for vim or emacs.

For vim, i recommend:

For emacs, i highly recommend one of the following:

  1. ergoemacs-mode at You should set the ⌫ Backspace as Alt. For small hands, set right arrow key as Alt.
  2. evil mode (like vim keys) or use
  3. Most efficient, modal. Emacs: Xah Fly Keys. Set CapsLock as Home.

Where to Buy

Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard

Here's specific models:

Note: all models has Dvorak layout builtin. The one with Labeling Qwerty/Dvorak provides you dual key labels.

Kinesis Keyboard Key Remap/Macro How-To

Kinesis Keyboard Key Remap/Macro/Layout How-To

What's the difference between Kinesis Advantage and Advantage2?

Advantage2 is newer model, released in .

The shape and size of keyboard is exactly the same.

Photo Gallery

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Xah desktop 201811 • Logitech M570 Wireless TrackballKinesis Advantage2 KeyboardTruly Ergonomic Numeric KeypadLogitech G502 Mouse

Xah Keyboards 2018-11

Xah Keyboards 2017-09

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Kinesis Keyboard Unboxing Gallery

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Kinesis Keyboard Gallery

Concave Surface Keyboards

  1. Kinesis Advantage2
  2. Maltron
  3. Dactyl
  4. Dactyl Manuform
  5. Lime40
  6. Colosseum
  7. Naive
  8. ErgoWarp

If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.