Does your keyboard make your wrists hurt? A split keyboard may help you like it helped me

Within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I confronted a dilemma that may be acquainted to many pc customers: My wrists have been killing me. I used to be pulling eight-hour shifts at work, then enjoying extra video games on PC than ever on the identical setup to remain linked to associates throughout a bleak time. I hadn’t skilled wrist ache from typing earlier than, however it was so unhealthy that I couldn’t go on with out discovering a extra snug various that had a minimum of a few of the bells and whistles I anticipated from a contemporary gaming keyboard.

I finally discovered an answer that met my standards for a gaming keyboard in addition to an ergonomic one, a mix of wants that I supposed would by no means intersect — at an affordable worth, a minimum of. I discovered the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB, and whereas $199.99 may not be “reasonable” to some, it’s extra inexpensive than different split keyboards which have comparable options.

The primary function that distinguishes the Kinesis from most different keyboards is that it’s split into two components, with every chunk linked by a cable. In case you have been questioning, sure, there’s a studying curve to typing on this type of keyboard. How powerful it’ll be will rely on what your typing is like on a conventional keyboard. If you use the keyboard’s residence rows, like you would possibly’ve realized in pc class as a child, it in all probability received’t take you lengthy to acclimate, but when you hunt and peck for keys, the split structure may be extra of a problem.

For the reason that Freestyle Edge RGB is split, you can place every half precisely how you need so long as the 2 sides don’t stretch past the cable’s 20-inch size. So, as a substitute of bending my wrists outward to sort on typical layouts, my arms and wrists may be extra relaxed, typing at a place and angle that feels extra pure. On my desk, the keyboard halves barely contact one another. It’s bliss. If you play video games like Microsoft Flight Simulator, you may even transfer both half out of the way in which to make room on your desk for a HOTAS controller.

Picture: Kinesis

Regardless of its appears, the Freestyle Edge RGB is just like different gaming keyboards. It has mechanical keys with the choice to pick out Cherry MX Blue (clicky), Crimson (linear), Silver (quick linear), or Brown (tactile) switches in case you have a choice, and every secret’s backlit with RGB LEDs that may be personalized in Kinesis’ SmartSet app. This mannequin additionally consists of removable palm rests that carry your wrists up for a fair cozier typing expertise.

That’s all nice, however this keyboard is a star as a result of it has N-key rollover (NKRO), a function that permits the consumer to press any variety of keys directly. I came upon the exhausting manner that my earlier split keyboard didn’t help it in the course of the heyday of Halo Infinite’s very enjoyable on-line multiplayer; I couldn’t concurrently maintain down shift to dash, hit house to leap, maintain W to maneuver ahead, and toss a grenade with the G key. NKRO is a primary gaming function in lots of inexpensive gaming keyboards, however you’ve received to look a bit of tougher for it in ergonomic fashions. Fortunately, it’s out there with the Freestyle Edge RGB, which is simply as responsive and succesful as the subsequent gaming keyboard, prepared for any sequence of key presses.

An image showing the Kinesis FreeStyle Edge RGB ergonomic split keyboard on a desk. The Lift kit is attached to each keyboard half, and the halves are tilted at different angles to illustrate its feature set.

You may tent every half at completely different angles, if you want.
Photograph: Cameron Faulkner/Polygon

This Kinesis keyboard helps an add-on ergonomic function that leaves different gaming keyboards within the mud. The $29.99 Lift Kit is available in two items, every snapping onto the underside of the Freestyle Edge RGB to offer some carry, so your wrists may be opened (oriented extra like you’re stepping into for a handshake as a substitute of laying flat). These let the keyboard halves be tented independently of one another at a number of angles. The bottom 5- and 10-degree angle choices tilt either side upward barely, whereas the 15-degree angle offers a steeper pitch that may look unusual, however in my expertise, rapidly felt regular to sort on.

One small grievance I’ve with the Freestyle Edge RGB is that, in comparison with pricier choices like the ErgoDox EZ and the Matias Ergo Pro, it doesn’t help sloping, which might elevate your palms in order that they’re increased than your fingers. It might have been very best if the add-on V3 Professional Lifters equipment enabled this. Nonetheless, for the cash, the Freestyle Edge RGB gives simply sufficient for full- or part-time avid gamers and desk staff who wish to catch a break from wrist ache.

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