Oct 23 2016
On Wednesday of this week I purchased a new Advantage 2 Keyboard from Kinesis . It is not a cheap keyboard, nor has it been easy adjusting to the new layout, but I think in the long run it will be well worth it. The key for me is the ergonomics of the keyboard. I have a bad right wrist because of some prior injuries, and while I don't yet have a whole lot of pain typing, I sometimes feel it after a long day and I want to develop good practices as soon as possible. This post will focus my initial impressions and some difficulties to watch out for.
As you can see this is not your average keyboard. This article written by Avdi Grimm lays goes into great detail about the particularities of this keyboard better than I could, and was a major reason why I decided on the Advantage 2. If you are interested in it at all, I recommend reading it (and there is a promo code in there for $30 off the keyboard).
The Advantage 2 feels like nothing I have ever typed on. My first impressions when using the Advantage were that it felt very natural to have my wrists rest on the keyboard with my fingers sitting in the keywells. It is really more the bottom of your palm that rests on the keyboard but my wrist still feels much more supported than on a regular keyboard where it is often stuck in a strange angle. The regular QWERTY keys were easy enough to get used to, with the tough keys being those that are right on where the split is, as I tended to forget which side keys like B and Y were on.
My first scores with 0 practice on Type Racer were in the 12-24wpm (I'm generally around 90-110 on a regular keyboard). By far the biggest issue for me at the start was the Space Bar and Backspace Key. The Space Bar is on the right thumb and the Backspace on the left thumb. If you are used to being able to space with either thumb like you can on a regular keyboard, this will be a big initial stumbling block. The amount of times I would delete a key instead of spacing, type it, delete it again, etc.. was incredible.
One of the cool things about learning something new is that you somehow become better at it overnight after practicing. After practicing for a few hours the first night, and becoming increasingly frustrated, I went to bed and somehow jumped 20 wmp while sleeping. The next day I was consistently in the 40's, and no longer wanted to throw the keyboard out my window. This felt great because the best thing about this keyboard is how fun and comfortable it is once you've got the hang of it. The key wells seem so natural, with each key being in the perfect alignment with my fingers. Another little feature that I really like is that there is a small audio beep (that can be turned off) to let you know when you are not bottoming out on the keys. This has already helped me avoid that which will reduce stress in the long run.
I'm now on Day 5 with this keyboard and I am starting to love it. The mechanical keys feel great, and I have never felt more comfortable while typing for extended periods than with this keyboard. I'm still quite below my regular speeds, maxing out at about 75, but for some reason it feels faster than that. I still have a ways to go with getting up to regular speeds with coding and MacOSx shortcuts, as the special character and command keys are in very different spots, but that will come with time. All in all I do not regret my purchase at all, and am looking forward to getting even more comfortable with my new keyboard.