Author Topic: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage  (Read 27524 times)

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Offline hackderz

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Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« on: Tue, 22 October 2013, 19:24:53 »
I want to buy an ergonomic mechanical keyboard, so i've been looking for a good one, and now I'm stucked in the election of Advantage or Ergodox.
I've seen how many people complain about Ergodox because of the space key is far, and hard to reach.

If you own both, then tell me which one you prefer and why.
Or even better, suggest me what to do.
Example: Buy ergodox with cherry mx clear and use this dock.


The principal thing that I actually do is programming and typing, second is gaming so it doesn't matter if the keyboard isn't good for gaming.
Oh, and I almost forgot, please suggest me a good layout.

Thank you guys.
« Last Edit: Tue, 22 October 2013, 19:30:32 by hackderz »

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 22 October 2013, 20:04:26 »
I want to buy an ergonomic mechanical keyboard, so i've been looking for a good one, and now I'm stucked in the election of Advantage or Ergodox.
I've seen how many people complain about Ergodox because of the space key is far, and hard to reach.

If you own both, then tell me which one you prefer and why.
Or even better, suggest me what to do.
Example: Buy ergodox with cherry mx clear and use this dock.


The principal thing that I actually do is programming and typing, second is gaming so it doesn't matter if the keyboard isn't good for gaming.
Oh, and I almost forgot, please suggest me a good layout.

Thank you guys.

The space-bar could be an issue for some people with they are not "Tenting" the keyboard up in the middle..

It may also be an issue for someone with especially small hands.


The kinesis is "pre-tented" as far as the space bar goes.

To tent the ergodox buy a set of standoffs it's cheaper and more versatile than a "dock". http://www.amazon.com/Standoff-Hex-Head-Screw-Pcs/dp/B00CTWD4EQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1382490240&sr=8-5&keywords=standoffs

If you need xtreme tenting, look into 50mm m3 bolts. or 40mm m3bolts. With the standoffs you can combine 2 bolts to make 80mm or 100mm.. subtract 20mm for the thickness of the ergodox.

Offline Oobly

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 23 October 2013, 02:37:24 »
I don't own either, but I have experimented with various layouts and made my own ergo keyboard. In my opinion the Kinesis is more ergonomic due to its curved and staggered keywells and angled thumb clusters. The ErgoDox is more flexible in terms of tenting and hand distance / splay, though, due to being a separated design, and you can get community support right here on this forum. So it depends which factors are more important to you.
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Offline kurplop

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 23 October 2013, 05:36:34 »
Welcome to Geekhack.

It's nice when you have to decide between 2 good choices. You should be happy with either. Without repeating what others have already said I'd just add this. Do you want to become a keyboard enthusiast or just buy something that serves your needs, use it and forget about it?

The ErgoDox does require more 'involvement' because there is more to consider. How to build it? How to configure it? What kind of caps? Tenting? You get the idea. The Advantage can be plugged in and you're ready to go.   


Offline davkol

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 23 October 2013, 06:08:21 »
I don't have any issues with "spacebar" on my ergodox, but the other thumb keys are a bit too far. I have rather short fingers. ErgoGP will hopefully solve this. I need as many palm/thumb modifiers as possible.

Offline hackderz

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 23 October 2013, 06:28:54 »
I'm more software than hardware, so I don't really know how to 'build' a keyboard such as ergodox, it would be sweet if I build and configure my own keyboard, but I often wonder 'What if I spoil it?'.
The fact is that I want my hands relaxed and in a correct position while I'm typing. And which layout would it be good for a programmer. Then if I find the keyboard world really neat I'll use more than one keyboard. But by now I just want to start correctly and make a good decision.


However, I can learn to build the ergodox and that's it. (I hope)

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 23 October 2013, 16:52:30 »
I have owned both of these keyboards at the same time, and I eventually decided to keep the Ergodox and sell the Kinesis.   For the me, I liked the flexibility, programmability, more buttons, and typing feel of the Ergodox.  I outsourced my assembly, so I did not worry about that.

But the Kinesis is a good board out of the box and has a more ergonomic design.  Those hand wells take some getting used to, but typical flat, staggered boards feel inferior after using it for awhile.  Those rubber F-keys are terrible, though.  And I felt like it had a shortage of keys for what I want to do.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 24 October 2013, 15:21:04 »
I have owned both of these keyboards at the same time, and I eventually decided to keep the Ergodox and sell the Kinesis.   For the me, I liked the flexibility, programmability, more buttons, and typing feel of the Ergodox.  I outsourced my assembly, so I did not worry about that.

But the Kinesis is a good board out of the box and has a more ergonomic design.  Those hand wells take some getting used to, but typical flat, staggered boards feel inferior after using it for awhile.  Those rubber F-keys are terrible, though.  And I felt like it had a shortage of keys for what I want to do.

I felt the kinesis was too wide giving me no space for the mouse.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 24 October 2013, 15:56:32 »
I think the Kinesis is more ergonomic. Better layout for the fingers - the ErgoDox has not enough vertical offset between columns. Tented from the start. Angled key cluster that is not too far (OK, the two large thumb keys in each cluster are not too far, the others are). You can reprogram the layout.
The rubber F-keys are bad, but who uses F-keys anyway... and the ErgoDox doesn't have any function key row at all.

The biggest drawback with the Kinesis, is, I think the height. It is best used in your lap, not on a desk.
The width (41.5 cm) is right in-between a "full-size" PC keyboard (45+ cm), and a tenkeyless (~35.6 cm) . You can place a trackpad onto the area between key wells.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 24 October 2013, 16:36:06 »
I think the Kinesis is more ergonomic. Better layout for the fingers - the ErgoDox has not enough vertical offset between columns. Tented from the start. Angled key cluster that is not too far (OK, the two large thumb keys in each cluster are not too far, the others are). You can reprogram the layout.
The rubber F-keys are bad, but who uses F-keys anyway... and the ErgoDox doesn't have any function key row at all.

The biggest drawback with the Kinesis, is, I think the height. It is best used in your lap, not on a desk.
The width (41.5 cm) is right in-between a "full-size" PC keyboard (45+ cm), and a tenkeyless (~35.6 cm) . You can place a trackpad onto the area between key wells.

well, you could say the problem is height.. Or your table isn't low enough.. :D


Offline ElectronicFur

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 28 October 2013, 06:01:04 »
Or you could say your chair isnt heigh enough. My desk height is fixed so I raised my chair and got a foot rest.
Kinesis Advantage Pro (silver) | Kinesis Advantage (black) | Microsoft Natural Elite | Ergodox (on order)

Offline xmagusx

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 28 October 2013, 16:15:37 »
I have used both and ended up getting an ErgoDox, though really I think this will come down to what your priorities are. That said, here were the pros I found for each.

I prefer the ErgoDox for a few reasons:
* split -- this was one of the big ones for me, as it allows for a lot more fluid hand placement
* smaller -- makes it more portable, more manageable on the desktop
* configurable firmware -- I ended up using an odd layout which is nice to have hard coded into the firmware rather than having to rely on the OS/software layer
* more comfortable overall -- this is probably the most personal point and probably the most critical, but also the one which you more or less just have to try both and see which one feels better to you

On the flip side, I did consider Kinesis/Maltron strongly as well for these reasons:
* 3d -- I really liked the contour and how my hands slipped into the typing space, I found it much more natural, and while tenting improves the Dox, it's still not quite as nice as a full contour
* established companies -- DIY is nifty, but warranties count for a lot with me, so having a company I can go back to if the thing melts/arrives broken/attempts to eat my face/whatever is a selling point for me
* pre-configured -- plug and play out of the box means that the time sink required to actually use the device is pretty much nil

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 28 October 2013, 18:10:43 »


On the flip side, I did consider Kinesis/Maltron strongly as well for these reasons:
* 3d -- I really liked the contour and how my hands slipped into the typing space, I found it much more natural, and while tenting improves the Dox, it's still not quite as nice as a full contour
* established companies -- DIY is nifty, but warranties count for a lot with me, so having a company I can go back to if the thing melts/arrives broken/attempts to eat my face/whatever is a selling point for me
* pre-configured -- plug and play out of the box means that the time sink required to actually use the device is pretty much nil

I agree with these points.

I also agree with your thoughts about the Maltron layout in your sig.  They really miffed on that name.  Although Maltron sounds, and always will sound, very futuristic.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 30 October 2013, 02:28:35 »
Or you could say your chair isnt heigh enough. My desk height is fixed so I raised my chair and got a foot rest.

yup.. it comes down to the 4 components interplay with each other.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 31 October 2013, 02:12:59 »
I was looking at both but AcidFire seems to have quite the keyboard in the works http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.0

Modular, ergonomic, and the possibility of full function keys?  Color me curious.

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 31 October 2013, 14:43:45 »
I was looking at both but AcidFire seems to have quite the keyboard in the works http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.0

Modular, ergonomic, and the possibility of full function keys?  Color me curious.

I do like what he is doing, but I love those 1.5 unit keys on the inside of the Ergodox.  They allow for proper slamming when I use backspace or delete.
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Offline Niomosy

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 31 October 2013, 17:02:46 »
I was looking at both but AcidFire seems to have quite the keyboard in the works http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.0

Modular, ergonomic, and the possibility of full function keys?  Color me curious.

I do like what he is doing, but I love those 1.5 unit keys on the inside of the Ergodox.  They allow for proper slamming when I use backspace or delete.

If I'm not mistaken, that should be possible with AF's board as the goal was to be able to customize the thumb cluster the way you want.

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 31 October 2013, 17:44:14 »
I was looking at both but AcidFire seems to have quite the keyboard in the works http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=44940.0

Modular, ergonomic, and the possibility of full function keys?  Color me curious.

I do like what he is doing, but I love those 1.5 unit keys on the inside of the Ergodox.  They allow for proper slamming when I use backspace or delete.

If I'm not mistaken, that should be possible with AF's board as the goal was to be able to customize the thumb cluster the way you want.

Oh, the thumb cluster is great.  I was referring to those middle keys above the thumb cluster, if you know what I mean. 

Even though I am the owner of two Ergodoxen, I will be tempted to get one of Acidfire's boards.  What he is doing with those keyboards is great, and I hope he is able to make them come to fruition and profit off his designs.
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Offline boli

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 03 November 2013, 03:29:55 »
Just a quicky, have to leave soon. I have 3 Kinesis Advantage (2x red and 1x brown), and 2 soon to be 3 Ergo Dox (1x blue, 1x clear, and 1x red soon).

Overall, I prefer the Kinesis Advantage, its shape is just more ergonomic (but then again I'm biased since I've been using one for 5 years or so).

The ErgoDox is easily the second best keyboard I know (replaced the TECK as my #2), and I like its extra keys vs. the Kinesis, and its better configurability (unlimited layers). Both are great keyboards overall.

More later, hopefully.
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline czarek

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 03 November 2013, 05:32:54 »
Kinesis, you order online, pay and get in couple of days.
Ergodox, you wait for group buy (days, weeks, months), you send your money (more or less same as Kinesis), you wait for group buy to finish (weeks), then you wait for part to arrive (weeks, months), then you build it yourself (hours).
As for layout, can't say as I don't have either (yet), but Ergodox has more usable keys, they're all mechanical and it's fully split, but the halves are all flat, while on Kinesis it's nicely contoured which seems very ergonomic.
My little ErgoDox / GH60 factory: http://falbatech.pl

Offline boli

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 04 November 2013, 02:58:22 »
OK, now let's expand on what I wrote earlier. First off, at the moment I'm using a Kinesis Advantage LF (Cherry red switches) at home, for general computer use and playing StarCraft 2 (with grid layout). It's comfortable and feels very natural, since I'm well used to it by now. The layout I'm using with the Kinesis is also linked in my signature.

Allow me to elaborate on a few of its key points:
  • Number row shifted one column to the left: to make the relative position of those keys to the home row roughly the same as on "normal" keyboards with staggered rows, which means I can touch type numbers on both.
  • Arrow keys on the left: so I can use the mouse with the right hand at the same time.
  • Extra Enter key on the left: can be used while right hand is on the mouse.

At work I'm currently using the ErgoDox with Cherry blue switches. I program in Java using Eclipse. I'm using a similar layout as on the Kinesis, there are however a few changes, particularly on the left side.
42477-0
  • It has basically one extra layer, which can easily be temporarily enabled (as long as key is pressed) with the ~L1 thumb key on the left or right side, or "permanently" enabled (toggled) with the +L1 key in the right thumb cluster (I almost never use this "numpad mode", since I don't really use the numpad for work)
  • Esc key on top right of left side: It's nice to use the index finger rather than the pinky.
  • Tab key below Esc: again, it's nice to use the index finger, also in combination with Command (LGui), Alt or Ctrl
  • Del key below Tab: the position I used on the Advantage is used for layer switching, this was just the next best place. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • ALL F# keys are on the left hand side: so I can use the mouse with the right hand at the same time. As you must have noticed by now, I have lots of keys on the left side for this reason. :)
  • Arrow cluster in inverted T arrangement in home position on Layer 1. They're comfortable to use, I still use the ones on layer 0 more often, probably due to being used to that.
  • [{ and ]} keys close to left home position on layer 1. Also barely used, still using the bottom right ones instead.
  • Page Up/Down on innermost column of right side. I barely use those keys, they just had to be moved there to make room for +L1 and ~L1. I almost never use the second Esc above those either.
  • The three "blank" keys on layer 1 in the second column of the right side, are used as media keys (this had to be manually added to the ErgoDox firmware files). From top to bottom: Previous, Play/Pause, Next.
  • I don't use layer 2. There is no key to switch to that layer. The extra numpad is a leftover from the default config.

Anyway, this might give you some ideas. I found everyone has their own ideas and no two people will end up with the exact same layout. :) Both keyboards allow you to be creative with the layout, and while the ErgoDox definitely has more options, the Kinesis is easier to configure (no software needed, all done on the keyboard). Both have their merits.

Two of my buddies at work also have at least one ErgoDox keyboard, one of them also has a Kinesis. I think he's also using the Kinesis at home and ErgoDox at work currently. The other guy's still using his HH I think. ;)

Finally here's a picture of my work ErgoDox (and the Kinesis I used prior to that is behind).
42479-1
« Last Edit: Mon, 04 November 2013, 03:04:56 by boli »
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 04 November 2013, 14:04:43 »
Kinesis, you order online, pay and get in couple of days.
Ergodox, you wait for group buy (days, weeks, months), you send your money (more or less same as Kinesis), you wait for group buy to finish (weeks), then you wait for part to arrive (weeks, months), then you build it yourself (hours).
As for layout, can't say as I don't have either (yet), but Ergodox has more usable keys, they're all mechanical and it's fully split, but the halves are all flat, while on Kinesis it's nicely contoured which seems very ergonomic.

The Egdx is not flat....   you need the standoff kit to tent it up... In feel it will be similar to the kinesis but better, because it is adjustable in EVERY AXIS...

http://www.amazon.com/Standoff-Hex-Head-Screw-Pcs/dp/B00CTWD4EQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1383595472&sr=8-2&keywords=standoff+kit




You also need 40mm or 50mm m3 bolts for the Center and top columns.

50mm link

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009183QNK/ref=biss_dp_t_asn

40mm link

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009183NLU/ref=biss_dp_t_asn

also m3 nuts...

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NBIH92/ref=biss_dp_t_asn

Offline oneproduct

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 04 November 2013, 16:03:53 »
Typing on an Ergodox right now with a dock that tents it. However, I prefer the Kinesis. The keywell feels better and even with a fair amount of tenting, the far thumbs keys (1 unit) are too far to reach. It should be noted that I do have small hands however.

The only thing I like about the Ergodox is that it's programmable. I basically just use that so I can switch between Colemak and QWERTY and to use a few function layer things like arrows and page up/down, home/end.

Because the keys are just flat on the Ergodox instead of in a curved keywell, some of the buttons, notably the 1 unit keys beneath the bottom row (ZXCV) are not really easy to use.
Layout: Colemak
Fastest typing speed: 131 WPM on typeracer, 136 WPM on 10fastfingers.
Daily driver: Filco Tenkeyless MX Brown with ergonomically weighted, lubed springs.
Ergo keyboards: Truly Ergonomic, Kinesis Advantage, Ergodox

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #23 on: Mon, 04 November 2013, 18:21:42 »
Typing on an Ergodox right now with a dock that tents it. However, I prefer the Kinesis. The keywell feels better and even with a fair amount of tenting, the far thumbs keys (1 unit) are too far to reach. It should be noted that I do have small hands however.

The only thing I like about the Ergodox is that it's programmable. I basically just use that so I can switch between Colemak and QWERTY and to use a few function layer things like arrows and page up/down, home/end.

Because the keys are just flat on the Ergodox instead of in a curved keywell, some of the buttons, notably the 1 unit keys beneath the bottom row (ZXCV) are not really easy to use.

Which dock are you using

Offline oneproduct

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 05 November 2013, 08:48:33 »
Layout: Colemak
Fastest typing speed: 131 WPM on typeracer, 136 WPM on 10fastfingers.
Daily driver: Filco Tenkeyless MX Brown with ergonomically weighted, lubed springs.
Ergo keyboards: Truly Ergonomic, Kinesis Advantage, Ergodox

Offline madereth

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 05 February 2014, 19:16:30 »
I have a Kinesis Advantage with reds, one with blues + O-Rings, and an ErgoDox with blacks.  The thumb keys on the ErgoDox are way too high up for me and I can't easily access the keys on the top.  It was incredibly fun to build, but I just can't make it my primary keyboard, so it's only for travel.

My favorite is the Advantage LF.  It tooks some getting used to, but I now feel like everything is in the perfect place.  The reds are super light, which I think reduces my finger fatigue.
Kinesis Advantage LF - Kinesis Advantage with Cherry MX Blues - ErgoDox with Cherry MX Blacks - Cherry MX 8100

Offline davkol

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #26 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 03:30:15 »
Since it's been necrobumped...

After using a Kinesis Advantage for a month, I have to say it. Ergodox > Kinesis Advantage. Every single ****ing time.

It's not like the kinesis is a bad keyboard, there certainly are some nice features (emulated click, curved keywells, etc.). However, resting hands on it while typing hurts my palms and hackable firmware of the ergodox is vastly superior; I can't even press kinesis' bottom-row keys with my thumbs/palms, which greatly limits the number of available modifiers.

Offline wuqe

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #27 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 08:59:15 »
Agree: as a software guy, I find the real differentiator is the software. While the Kinesis has great design and more buttons, the Ergodox wins my heart. NKRO over USB, media keys, six Fn layers (in everyday rotation)... It's just a hacker's dream.

Custom modding a Kinesis might yield similar results.

Offline kod

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #28 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 10:30:51 »
I think if you're willing to type on your lap and use a trackpad in the space between the keywells, the kinesis is superior.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #29 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 11:46:40 »
Agree: as a software guy, I find the real differentiator is the software. While the Kinesis has great design and more buttons, the Ergodox wins my heart. NKRO over USB, media keys, six Fn layers (in everyday rotation)... It's just a hacker's dream.

Custom modding a Kinesis might yield similar results.

I'd love an Ergodox if ever one was made with dedicated function keys.  While the Fn layers are nice, I find I use the F keys enough to warrant them not being on another layer. 

Offline osi

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #30 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 12:09:10 »
I have a Kinesis Advantage with reds, one with blues + O-Rings, and an ErgoDox with blacks.  The thumb keys on the ErgoDox are way too high up for me and I can't easily access the keys on the top.  It was incredibly fun to build, but I just can't make it my primary keyboard, so it's only for travel.

My favorite is the Advantage LF.  It tooks some getting used to, but I now feel like everything is in the perfect place.  The reds are super light, which I think reduces my finger fatigue.

Travelling with your ergodox?? What do you use for transport?

Offline davkol

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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 12:13:04 »
Travelling with your ergodox?? What do you use for transport?

Beyerdynamic headphone case with additional padding/bubblewrap works pretty well.

Offline madereth

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  • Location: United States
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Re: Ergodox vs Kinesis Advantage
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 06 February 2014, 18:17:43 »
Travelling with your ergodox?? What do you use for transport?
So far, just throwing it in my backpack.  I've got an acrylic case and nylon screws+nuts, so I'm not too worried about damaging anything else in the bag.  I figure if it breaks, I know exactly how to fix it.
Kinesis Advantage LF - Kinesis Advantage with Cherry MX Blues - ErgoDox with Cherry MX Blacks - Cherry MX 8100