Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

The Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard came out in .

I've been using it for 5 years now, since 2016-08. It is my current keyboard. (2021-01-04 updated: in fact, bought a new one, with silent linear switches)

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Kinesis Advantage2. Buy at amazon

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

Size Comparison

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4032×3024 Kinesis Advantage and HAVIT Keyboard.
Note: on Kinesis Advantage, there is no moving hand to mouse problem, because there is no number pad gap..
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Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 vs Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard

more, see Ergonomic Keyboards Size Comparison

Video Review

Typing on Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard
Xah Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard Review
Xah Talk Show 2021-10-15 grep/sed find/replace in WolframLang elisp golang python perl PowerShell

On-The-Fly Key Remap and Macro

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Kinesis Advantage2, right side. the functional key buttons are mechanical keys, Cherry ML switch, with plastic key cap. The progm 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 Advantage2 Programing Guide]

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 Advantage2 Programing Guide]

Typing on Kinesis

xah kinesis keyboard typing 1
xah kinesis keyboard typing 1 2018-05-21.mp4
xah kinesis keyboard typing 2
xah kinesis keyboard typing 2 2018-05-21.mp4

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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Side view, atop kitchen sink. Note the bowl shaped surface. When your hands rest on the keyboard, your wrists don't bend up. Your fingers naturally dip in on the keys.

Tenting: Middle Higher Than Sides

There is 20 degree of tenting. That is, the key G is about 2 cm higher than key A. This helps reduce forarm pronation problem.

keyboarding RSI forearm Pronation-33159
Keyboard Tenting, Forearm Pronation

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 Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms]

Mac, Linux Support, Yes

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

Kinesis cmd key  key puller 36h7s
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 F1 to F12 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]

Default Layout

Vim/Emacs Keymap Recommendations

For vim, i recommend: Make CapsLock do Escape.

For emacs, i highly recommend one of the following:

Where to Buy

Buy at amazon

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

Key Remap/Macro tutorial

What is 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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Kinesis Advantage2 LF model. Cherry MX Silent Red Switch. 2021-01-04. 4032×3024

Bought a new one with Cherry MX Silent Red switches. My old one is Cherry MX Brown switch. Love the new one. The keys are sooo smooooth, easy to type. If you have Repetitive Strain Injury, or really type a lot, i recommend you get the light linear switches.

xah desktop 201811 011-s1155x866
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