Several years ago, I was at a trade show and I saw and tried an early-generation Kinesis keyboard. I was hooked. As a starving college student, I certainly couldn’t afford one then, but once I entered the workforce one of the first things I did was acquire a Kinesis, and I have now been using it for about four years. I’ve used a variety of ergonomic keyboards in my time, but none was as comfortable to use as this one.
I’m a decent typist, but once it arrived, it took me about two weeks of hunting-and-pecking to figure out where all the keys were, and another week to get proficient with it. During this time, I kept a standard keyboard close at hand, in case I got too frustrated, or needed to type something quickly. However, once I mastered the keyboard, I found that my typing speed went up by about 15 wpm. The reason for this is that the Kinesis doesn’t enforce any unnatural motions on your hands or fingers. Hold up your hand, make a loose fist, and then open your hand naturally. That motion encompasses 95% of the motion required to operate this keyboard. It’s a remarkably stress-free way to type; very comfortable, and well worth the investment.
I don’t have any specific pain or injuries associated with typing. Like just about anyone who uses a keyboard regularly, I’d occasionally get tired or sore hands or forearms (and I still do, when I have occasion to use a non-Kinesis keyboard at length). But since switching, I’ve found that that kind of pain has dropped off significantly.
The downsides are minimal but worth noting as this is, after all, a very expensive keyboard. The keys are a trifle loud for my taste; I’d definitely prefer a quieter version. Also, the default keymappings are a little odd; the left and right curly braces are in a strange place. While I’m not a coder by trade, I could definitely see that being an issue for someone who does a lot of programming. But it’s never bothered me enough to do any remapping. Also, one caveat: you pretty much have to be a touch-typist to be able to use it — one-finger typing on this keyboard will only end up frustrating you.
What I like best about this keyboard is the natural fit of the keys. The curved cups that the keys rest in are shaped just right for my hands, so the uniquely comfortable typing position is consistently reinforced and supported. I would strongly recommend this keyboard to anyone looking for a comfortable typing experience.