I'm sold. I was on a consulting job in Dallas when one of my colleagues brought his Kinesis Classic keyboard in to the office for me to try out. After using it for a couple of days, the archaic straight keyboards felt very clumsy. I was in love - I ordered one for home and one for the office and we lived happily ever after.
Is the Kinesis for everyone? Not necessarily. So you can make an informed decision, here are the major ups and downs:
- Quality. The Kinesis exudes quality. Right down to the curvature of the home row keys and the palm palm pads.
- Comfort. Once you get used to it, the Kinesis is far more comfortable than a standard "straight" keyboard. This is of supreme importance to me as a software developer, as I spend several thousand hours a year subjecting myself to the operation of a computer keyboard, so this offsets the cost for me.
- Compactness and layout. I can press any key on the keyboard without moving my hands from the home row. This means comfort as well as speed. No moving your hands back and forth from the home keys to the arrow keys and home/end/pgup/pgdn keys. And the backspace key is right under my left thumb - not that I need it! Ha!.
- Programmablity. Define macros and remap keys. I haven't used this a whole lot, but there are times it's helped a lot. And if you don't like where a key is, simply remap it somewhere else!
- Funkiness. Everyone who sees my keyboard is impressed. "Wow," they say. "That's really cool. You can type on that? Wow." And then the girls want to go out with me. Okay, okay, I made that last part up.
- Price. This quality doesn't come cheap. I paid about $320 for my Kinesis Classic. I convinced my boss to buy me the one for the office, just tell her how much more productive you'll be.
- Funkiness. It is weird and it takes some time to get used to.
Now, it does take a little while to get used to the Kinesis' radical design, but after a few days you'll be almost back to your normal speed.
You can also get foot pedals which can be mapped to any key (usually a modifier key: shift, ctrl, and so on. This makes it much easier to type Emacs commands like