Kinesis Advantage 2

The Ultimate Programming Keyboard

Kinesis Advantage 2
Kinesis Advantage 2 LF
© Mohammed Saed


The Kinesis Advantage 2 is widely celebrated keyboard among hardcore programmers . It is considered the grandfather of split keyboards, and is loved by many writers and programmers from all around the world. If you have wrist or arm pains from countless hours of typing, then look no further! This mechanical keyboard is built with ergonomics and speed in mind. No more finger twisting key combinations, or over-arching pinkie strokes. The Kinesis will awaken your long forgotten thumbs from their slumber, and help you find new, effective, and more natural combinations to achieve flawless, painless typing.

First Encounter

Haru on a Kinesis
© Mohammed Saed

I first encountered the Kinesis back in 2012. Back then I was studying for my master’s degree in Tokyo, Japan. During my lab hours, I sat next to Haru a PhD student working on advanced game algorithms. He had an Arch Linux box running without a mouse and without any GUI whatsoever! On the other hand, I was proudly rocking my 2010 Apple MacBook Pro stuffed with applications from the App Store. I was a hardcore Apple fanboy then, but I always kept peeking across at Haru’s setup and thinking to myself this is why?!

Haru rarely spoke, as he knew very little English, and I very little Japanese. Whenever we communicated, it turned into a hilarious debate spoken in either infant level English or Japanese. None the less, we enjoyed each other’s company and shared a silent, mutual respect knowing we are all nerds with different toys. Haru never seized to amaze! He did everything from within the terminal. From writing code to surfing the Internet to sending emails and more. It was always enjoyable watching him do the things he did as his quick fingers rubbed naturally against the keyboard without ever leaving the home row.

What struck me first about the Kinesis was its design. Most notably, the concave key-wells. I remember thinking to myself, this must be custom made for aesthetic purposes, but then I examined the layout and it had both the traditional Qwerty and Dvorak layouts printed on its key caps. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind the design, and thought if I got used to that I might end up forgetting how to type on a regular, traditional keyboard. I kept making up reasons in my mind to discourage any kind constructive critique or admiration, but little did I know then that traditional keyboards - like the one on my MacBook - were designed after the original typewriters of the 1800s, and that original layout design - although great at the time - remained almost unchanged until now!

Problems of Old

Hansen Writing Ball

The typewriter designers of the 1800s had little consideration to ergonomics and usability. They designed their typewriters to appeal to the niche 1% of the rich class who can afford to buy an exotic machine just to type love letters to their mistresses of the time. These typewriter machines were all mechanical which forced a certain creative design that was dependant on the internal physical wiring. Some of these machines were exotic collectables; such as, the Hansen Writing Ball. Others were more practical; such as,