Kinesis Freestyle Edge

Discussion in 'Mice and Keyboards' started by NamelessPFG, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    I was surprised to see that nobody had posted about this yet, so here I go. There's still a few days left on their Kickstarter:


    I've actually been looking for a split keyboard option with mechanical keyswitches that won't break the bank for a while now, and this might just be the ticket.

    Conventional keyboards tend to get in the way of things like center-mounted monitors, flight sticks, yokes, racing wheels, etc., and shunting them off to the side is awful for typing. Split keyboards don't have that limitation, but examples are few and far between, with high price tags to match. It's the big reason I hadn't bought an ErgoDox yet, since they tend to be around $200-270 compared to $140 for one of the early bird Freestyle Edge options.

    So far, the Freestyle Edge looks promising enough. Easily firmware-reprogrammable at the key code level across every key, NKRO, Cherry MX keyswitches (sadly no option for Clears, but I can make do with Blues), and the folks at Kinesis are testing extra-long cable runs between the halves to make an under-the-chair keyboard mount feasible, since I'm planning on a setup not too much unlike those decorative control panels in an Elite: Dangerous cockpit above the pilot's legs.

    I was hoping for a split version of the Kinesis Advantage with its more sculpted design and non-staggered key layout just for a change, but I guess we'll have to wait on that.

    Perhaps the rest of you might want in on a mechanical split keyboard? Just note that any prices you see will need at least an extra US$15 in shipping, so factor that in if you plan on pledging.
     
    cucumbers likes this.
  2. cucumbers

    cucumbers n00bie

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Nice price and the board looks nice. From experience, a 1.75 shift key will be a motherfucker to replace, and I have no idea what the fuck they're thinking with 1.5 keys on the very bottom row - outside of that, a tented split board is something I've been after for a while.. might need to pull the trigger on this and just deal with some oddball caps that I'll basically never be able to replace :3
     
  3. Sycraft

    Sycraft 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,987
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    !!!!!

    I need this! I have used a Kinesis Freestyle 2 for years on account of having repetitive strain injury. A gaming version of it with good keys would be amazing.
     
  4. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Oh, hey, look who got his first edition Freestyle Edge with MX Blues today!

    [​IMG]

    First impressions are pretty good, though I need some time to experiment with placement for maximum ergonomic comfort. Split keyboards allow you that sort of freedom in a way that contiguous keyboards don't, after all.

    And yes, that's an extended linking cable - a very nice bonus from Kinesis after I'd mentioned during the Kickstarter that I wanted a longer linking cable to test a cockpit mounting arrangement (think Elite: Dangerous for my future plans for this keyboard). While it does require some more extensive disassembly than usual to swap out, I thankfully don't need to warm up my soldering iron to do so; there's JST connectors on both ends.

    Also, while the directory structure on the keyboard's internal 4 MB V-drive has changed since they first offered up a beta of their SmartSet programming software, the profiles (which are plain text files that are easy to edit by hand if you know all the keycodes used) are unchanged, so I can just drop in a profile I whipped up months ago and be good to go right out of the gate. Honestly, it's the sort of approach to peripheral programming I wish more manufacturers did, and that goes double for more gaming-oriented brands with bloated-as-hell software that sometimes demands an Internet connection.
     
  5. deadlift1

    deadlift1 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,257
    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    I've got their old Freestyle two split board that I just brought out of storage after a few years. Love the design but would really prefer the mechanical keys. Looks like November availability for those that missed out on KS.
     
  6. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    At the very least, everyone waiting for general availability will most likely not have to deal with eye-searing, flickery PWM backlighting out of the box. Most of the firmware updates since First Edition release have been targeted squarely at toning that down.

    Aside from that, mine has functionally been just fine, no complaints about hardware-level remapping or support for F13-F24 (which some games will gladly let you bind, giving you an extra 12 keys without having to worry about existing binds elsewhere). My only issue is that I'm just starting to see the right half space bar and possibly my most-used keys smooth out a bit texture-wise, but that's a problem I have with every keyboard that uses ABS keycaps. I don't think my DSI Modular Mac lasted its first month before I hammered the texture out of some of the main keys. Only my IBM Model Ms seem to retain their texture, and they use PBT.

    I'd consider swapping in a set of PBTs and just have the backlighting accent the gaps between keys (because double-shots like the stock keycaps are only feasible with ABS), but that'll be easier said than done until someone starts producing a set specifically for this board.

    Oh, and before I forget: it's pretty awesome to be able to finally do this with my desk setup, which simply wouldn't be possible without a split keyboard.

    [​IMG]