Kinesis is a computer peripherals manufacturer solely focused on the design and manufacture of ergonomic input devices. They were one of the first companies in the field, with their earliest ergonomic products released nearly three decades ago. That makes Kinesis one of the oldest peripherals manufacturers, with the brand establishing a solid number of followers over the years.

Until recently, Kinesis designed and released products exclusively targeted towards professionals that work long hours in front of a computer. Despite their peculiar appearance and the narrow target group, virtually every one of their products has been a memorable success. Last year Kinesis took a huge leap of faith and started a crowdfunding campaign for an ergonomic mechanical gaming keyboard, giving birth to the Freestyle Edge, the world’s first ergonomic gaming mechanical keyboard. This summer Kinesis is giving the Freestyle Edge an upgrade via the release of the Freestyle Edge RGB, which we'll be looking at today.

Though before we even start, we should note that Kinesis did not merely add RGB lighting, as the keyboard’s name suggests. It is true that most companies just added an “RGB” suffix next to their keyboard’s original name and released virtually the same keyboard with RGB lighting added to it. Kinesis, on the other hand, took their time correcting issues and making improvements to the underlying Freestyle Edge design, making the Freestyle Edge RGB a true upgrade over the previous version.

Packaging and Bundle

Kinesis supplies the Freestyle Edge RGB in a well-designed cardboard box. The artwork is centered on the keyboard and its most prominent features. Inside the box, we found the keyboard very well protected with layers upon layers of cardboard packaging, plus nylon bags. The company has provided us with the optional Lift Kit as well, which we will examine alongside with the keyboard.

Save for the keyboard itself, there is nothing in the box but a simple quick start guide. The guide is very helpful to have handy due to the numerous advanced functions of the keyboard. Kinesis does not provide any other accessories. A keycap puller would have been nice but that is not the end of the world.

The optional lift kit allows for the keyboard to “tent”.  The mechanisms are large and plastic (ABS) but they are well designed, durable and practical. Their movements are very smooth, and their construction is very solid. Still, they are unlikely to survive excessive mechanical shock while the keyboard is fully elevated. Short-tempered users notoriously known for rage punching are advised to steer away from the lift kit (or take much-needed anger management lessons).

The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard
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  • twtech - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - link

    It's not easy to keep the two halves perfectly in-sync timing wise. I've had split keyboards before that didn't always do it perfectly - and as a touch typist, that made them more or less worthless.

    I use a pair of Freestyle Edges (non-RGB version) at home and work, and they are currently the best split mechanical keyboards available if you want a mostly standard key layout.
  • twtech - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - link

    It looks like it comes with a better wrist rest than the original Freestyle Edge has. I wonder if it will be possible to purchase that separately? My adhesive foam wrist rests are looking pretty ratty at this point.
  • EJ42 - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - link

    That doesn't make any sense. It looks like it's trying to be one of these, but only worse:

    If you're going to do something, don't half-ass it.
  • twtech - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - link

    I don't know why they market it primarily as a gaming board.

    The people who most commonly buy these boards are probably programmers, writers, etc., who want a split mechanical keyboard for typing. It's a lot of money to spend on a keyboard if all you really wanted to do with it is move half out of the way.
  • Powerlurker - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    Because they already make a cheaper office-targeted version that doesn't have the RGB or gaming features like NKRO and game mode:

    Something like this may finally convince me to retire my 17 year-old MS Natural Elite because I would really like a mechanical keyboard, but can't stand how cramped a traditional setup makes my wrists feel.
  • twtech - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    They added that after the original Freestyle Edge, so the Pro wasn't even an option when I signed up for the crowdfunding campaign several years ago. I'm not sure I'd want a keyboard that didn't have NKRO anyway though even for office use.

    Also, curiously in terms of product positioning, they provide the choice of several switch options on the Edge - including the MX Blues, which is what I have - but not on the Pro. Since the blues are considered to be more oriented toward typing than gaming, it's odd to me that they didn't make them available for the Pro.
  • khanikun - Friday, July 26, 2019 - link

    I want nkro for office use. I have some cheap Dell whatever keyboard, cause that's what the office gives us and many times I've type fast enough for it to not register. I feel it must be something stupid low like 2kro.

    Sure you can probably try to find something like a 6kro to suit my office needs, but not like anyone advertises such. So easier to just find an nkro keyboard. Been contemplating purchasing my own keyboard for office use.
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - link

    "And for people who are accustomed to pressing keys with the hand that now sits on the other half of the keyboard, it might take days, even weeks before your 'muscle memory' fully catches up with how the keyboard works."

    And yet they still didn't duplicate the B and Y keys. I don't get it, I really don't. I've used split keyboards with this layout before and I swear they're worse for you than a regular QWERTY layout. I guess if you've learned to type "properly", they're an improvement, but...
  • purerice - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - link

    I agree. I get "Y" with my right hand 99% of the time but "B" about 50/50 left/right. When b follows anything else typed with the left index finger it'd be inefficient to type b with the same finger.
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    I'm not certain what percentage of the time I type "Y" with my left hand but it's approaching 100%. I think that I might use my right hand for the "Y" in "You", because I can hit shift with my left pinky and type all three letters with my right hand, which feels more efficient to me.

    I used a split keyboard for a data entry job (it was forced on me, basically), and rather than relearn, I just made a whole slew of Word auto-replacements; the example which springs immediately to mind is "prettt" -> "pretty".

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