Your favorite 2-piece keyboard. Go.

The Kinesis Freestyle2 is a reasonable shape, but the keys are mushy. Rubber domes, I assume, instead of springs.

By "2-piece" I mean QWERTY where the left and right side are physically separated and movable, not connected permanently at a fixed distance or angle.

Kits need not apply. No, I don't want to solder my own.

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23 Responses:

  1. As it happens, I hit exactly the same pain point. Currently hard at work trying to ship an answer. Most of the current prototypes are single-piece with angled keys, though the next prototype is fully split. Hopefully I'll have a couple fully-split test units built out within a couple weeks. When I get there, would you be up for trying one of em out?

  2. If you want mechanical switches with a more traditional layout, but fully split, Matias ( is shipping one this summer.

  3. Jon Konrath says:

    I'm honestly at the point of just buying two fucking Advantages at full price, plugging them both in, and only using half the keys on each one.

    • That'll work just long as you're not on a Mac. On OS X, modifier keys are per USB device. So you can't hold Shift on the left keyboard and type k with your right hand to get a capital K.

      • Jon Konrath says:

        You, sir, just saved me $600. Back to square one.

        • volk007 says:

          I'm seriously considering just stopping by Kinesis office in Bothell and asking "WTF, why there is no split Advantage?" And also "Put fucking switched in the function keys already!"

        • Well, hopefully I'll be able to sell you something a bunch cheaper than $600 this summer/fall. ;)

      • art taylor says:

        This is not completely true. In my particular case, with a MBPr/Mavericks on a riser, I have a Logitech G13 "gamepad" (really, tiny macro keyboard with directional controls), a Truly Ergonomic keyboard, and of course Apple's internal keyboard. Shift on any of the keyboards modifies the keycode emitted by any of the other keyboards. In true pre-millennial multisynth fashion, I typed all upper-case characters in this reply with separate keyboards.

        This may be the case if two of the USB devices have the same vendor and device ID codes, but you could avoid that constraint relatively easily.

        • Fascinating. That hasn't been my experience, but I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong. I have all those pieces in the device library. I'll have to do some testing.

          • ardgedee says:

            Just did a quick test by holding the shift key down on the laptop's built-in keyboard and hitting the t on the Apple Extended keyboard plugged into it (via an ADB->USB dongle). And then vice versa. In neither case did I get a capital T.

            As a data point, rather than proof of a generality. Also, these keyboards are kinda antithetical to the purpose of the post.

        • JonBro says:

          we are probably pretty far OT right now, but yeah there is a way to have modifier keys come from other sources. I had a thing that converted footpedals into shift and mod keys under osx.

  4. nwf says:

    I will forever be a huge fan of the datahand, but they're no longer made. You can occasionally see one go by for $BUXX on ebay; if money's not a problem, that might be a winning proposition?

  5. Elusis says:

    If you've worn out your previous Kinesis, I don't find myself using mine much these days and would be willing to sell it..

  6. Dan Mosedale says:

    Goldtouch. I've had several. They're awesome.

    • freiheit says:

      What kind of key switches to they seem to have?

      • Dan Mosedale says:

        How would I tell?

        • freiheit says:

          What does pushing down on a key feel like? Is it "mushy"? Firm? Clicky? Push down on a key while looking at the screen. Can your finger feel the point where the key activates? Can you hear it? What's the difference between hitting the key gently versus firmly? How much distance is there between the point the key activates and the point where it bottoms out? Are they the same, or is there a bit of distance after the activation point? If you type rapidly, do you bottom out a lot or only a little?

          • Dan Mosedale says:

            They're not mushy. They're not anywhere as clicky as, say, an IBM PC-AT keyboard from the eighties. Not sure what more I can offer than that.

    • crowding says:

      I don't see any pictures of the Goldtouch with the two halves separated (with actual distance between them) though. If there's an easy way to hack in a longer cable to separate them then I'd like to hear about it.

      • Dan Mosedale says:

        They're physically connected with a piece of plastic, so it wouldn't be completely trivial to separate them. However, the plastic that connects them is completely separate from the cable that connects them electrically, so I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to hack something together.

        In general, I didn't like the Kinesis keyboards because it felt like you had to learn a whole new typing style. The Goldtouch, however, just seemed like a better and more configurable version of the Microsoft Natural Keyboard.

  7. mbear says:

    For what it's worth, apparently you can pay to buy a pre-assembled ErgoDox (the kit keyboard). This article at Anandtech says that option will run you an extra $50.

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