Author Topic: Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.  (Read 5650 times)

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Offline ChrisB

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« on: Tue, 11 December 2007, 23:46:57 »
Hello all,

I've been silently lurking here awhile. What brought me here was a search for a portable compact keyboard I could bring with my laptop that is as comfortable to use as my Kinesis contoured Advantage USB. (Right now I carry a Cherry ML4100 in my bag.)

Mr_sf_applet's recent review of the Majestouch has generated some interest in Cherry brown slider switches. This is what the Kinesis contoured keyboard uses. The Cherry brown "tactile feel ergonomic" switches are not clicky, but if the Kinesis keyboard's "audible keypress tone" feature is enabled, which generates a click noise at the keypress activation point, the keyboard does in fact feel like a super-soft-touch clicky keyboard, because the tactile feel coincides precisely with the click noise. The Cherry browns in my Kinesis feel like they have a softer, smoother, clickier touch to my fingers than the Cherry ML switches in the ML4100 I'm typing this post with right now. (The keys are also a slight bit more wobbly than the ML4100 keys, which is something I generally don't like, but the slight wobble might work to make the keys more comfortable in the unique Kinesis layout.)

When I first got my Kinesis I turned off the click noises (which are enabled by default) and kept them off for many years because it seemed stupid to me to have a feature which makes the keyboard noisier, but in fact the click noises help to keep me from bottoming out the keys and making a clack noise which can be significantly louder than the speaker click noise.

I'll write a longer post or two when I have time (it's finals week for me right now) about not only the Kinesis but also the Model M and some of my own keyboard research and news, but as several of you have expressed interest in buying a Cherry brown switch board in the very near future, I wanted to post right now to make sure that the Kinesis contoured was considered before any of you make Cherry brown switch purchases. Even if you're not a fan of "ergo" keyboards, it's worth giving a chance.

Offline fkeidjn

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 12 December 2007, 00:00:33 »
Used to have one for about a month, but sold it to try the Cymotion wireless pro, though it was big mistake because I really didn't like the Cymotion pro overall.  I couldn't really get used to the contoured layout of the Kinesis though.

There's one on ebay right now
Kinesis Keypad - Filco FKBN104M/EB - Unitek space-saver - Acer 6511-TW - Apple Extended II (M3501) - Scorpius M10 - Cherry G80-1800, AT - SGI Granite - vintage Fujitsu - IBM Model M, 101 and mini - Model F, 84-key AT - Dell AT101W - Northgate 101

Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 12 December 2007, 00:41:38 »
Quote from: fkeidjn
Used to have one for about a month, but sold it to try the Cymotion wireless pro, though it was big mistake because I really didn't like the Cymotion pro overall.  I couldn't really get used to the contoured layout of the Kinesis though.

There's one on ebay right now


I briefly considered bidding on this one.

Offline xsphat

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 21 December 2007, 12:45:01 »
I am thinking about trying one of these keyboards, but I am not quite sold on it yet because my hands / wrists / arms don't hurt the way it is now, so I am not sure it is worth the learning curve. ErgoCanada has a 30 day satisfaction return deal with a minimal restocking fee, so I might check one out. I like that you can turn on the keyclick, and I don't game so I think there might be a possibility I'll like it as a writer. In any case, it wouyld be good to have in my collection / rotation.

Offline mr_sf_applet

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 22 December 2007, 22:36:13 »
I'm curious too about the learning curve for a Kinesis contoured keyboard. I also would like to hear about how easy it is to go back and forth between a Kinesis contoured and a board with a conventional QWERTY layout. I'm thinking that the time I've put in on the TypeMatrix, with its non-staggered layout, would serve me well in adjusting to the Kinesis. Not that I'm planning on getting one at the moment.

After reading ChrisB's post, I installed Noisy Keyboard on my computer to give my Filco the same optional click that is offered by the Kinesis contoured boards. Works pretty well. The click occurs at the actuation point of the key press, and it's sorta like turning the brown Cherries of the Majestouch into clicky blues. A little distracting, though, to have the clicks come from the computer speakers rather than the keys themselves. I think I prefer my Majestouch to be clickless, but ChrisB's conversion to the Church of Click has me thinking I should give Noisy Keyboard a longer audition than the few minutes I've spent with it so far.

Offline xsphat

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 22 December 2007, 23:16:35 »
I am not convinced about it yet, in fact I would prefer to get one off eBay so I can try it and if I like it, I could pick up a new one for home and leave the old one at work. I mean, they cost $300 new and I could end up hating it. Who knows.

Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 23 December 2007, 01:34:47 »
The 2 key wells are fixed and cannot be adjusted in any way.  The keyboard requires to rest one's hands while typing.  A big ergonomic no-no.  Despite the large wrist rest on MS keyboards, resting your hands is optional.  While the thumbs are the strongest fingers, and they seem underused on normal keyboards, they also happen to be the least agile fingers.  I've seen reviews where people say that their thumbs end up hurting from overuse on the Kinesis.  I've also seen reports of questionable reliability.  Too much of a risk, IMO.

Offline xsphat

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 23 December 2007, 01:40:29 »
Agreed, that's why I want to buy a used one. I've seen them for $60 on eBay, and a full set of browns to f*ck with is worth that much to me.

Offline MarinaM

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Experience with Kinesis
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 23 November 2008, 07:51:29 »
I've been using a Kinesis Classic QD (contoured) for about 7 years now. It took me about three months to get back up to my normal typing speed. I thought it might make it hard for me to use other keyboards, but once I've learned a keyboard well, apparently my fingers never forget, so I haven't lost any versatility using it. That would probably be true for any touch typist.

It helped with the problems I was having tremendously, which mainly had to do with my little fingers being overworked.

I need to replace it now, since I have worn some of the function keys out, and I am definitely thinking of buying the same keyboard again. I am also considering the Maltron keyboard instead, which predates the Kinesis keyboard by many years and which sounds good. Though it is hugely expensive and Kinesis is having a holiday sale this year (2008) of 10% off.

Offline Chloe

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 23 November 2008, 12:23:44 »
You might be able to repair the function key membranes by painting the contacts with a thin layer of conductive silver paint.

Offline djones

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 23 November 2008, 14:29:48 »
Kinesis ergo was the first mechanical switch board I tried, about a year ago. Now, brown cherries are my 2nd favorite at the moment (#1 is topre's), but I did not like the kinesis ergo for several reasons:
a) The Ergo forces your hands/wrists/forearm to be 10 inches apart and parallel with each other. (try typing with your arms like that and see how comfortable it is). Huge mistake.
b) It's too damned big. I like my keyboard at/below knee level, and you can't do that with the ergo.
c) Over uses the thumb for modifiers. And the space/enter keys have a fixed angle... if you hands are too big/too small, you'll be contorting your hands every time.  Forget emacs with this board.
d) encourages pinky use, which, for me is a big problem as well.

Offline alexlzl

  • Posts: 50
returned Kinesis Contoured Advantage
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 27 November 2008, 03:08:24 »
Same here, I just returned a brand new Kinesis Contoured Advantage. Interesting thing is when I was replacing a keycap, the stem on the switch below is actually blue (does that mean it is a Cherry Blue instead of Brown?).

I like the feeling of the keyboard, everything else I may be able to get used to it after couple weeks, however, two major flaws:

1) Enter is next to Space on right thumb. Imagine you mis-press Enter for a Space while doing "rm -rf ..." ??? I was too scared to continue getting used to it.

2) ESC key is a small plastic soft button (not a key). I know I can reconfigure it, still, not programmer friendly
Using: Kinesis Contoured (Cherry Brown)
Own:  Realforce 86UK
Wish: Ergo layout Realforce

Offline Chloe

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 27 November 2008, 07:19:34 »
Quote from: alexlzl;12664
Interesting thing is when I was replacing a keycap, the stem on the switch below is actually blue (does that mean it is a Cherry Blue instead of Brown?).

It should. Is it clicky or not? Cherry browns don't click. Could you post a photo of it if it isn't clicky?

Offline alexlzl

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 27 November 2008, 18:36:37 »
I didn't feel the keyboard is clicky, kind of on the soft light side, but still feels pretty good. Sorry the keyboard has been returned and I don't have a photo.
Using: Kinesis Contoured (Cherry Brown)
Own:  Realforce 86UK
Wish: Ergo layout Realforce

Offline zwmalone

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 06 December 2008, 17:40:35 »
There is one on eBay right now, bidding is at US $15.50
Can't get enough of them ALPS

Offline alexlzl

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Considering Cherry MX browns? Try a Kinesis contoured.
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 09 December 2008, 01:41:31 »
By the way, I bought the Kinesis from http://www.fentek-ind.com/ergo.htm, they offer free shipping and no restocking fee on Kinesis (basically your return shipment goes direct to Kinesis). :)

Come back to think it, I definitely like the key stroke feeling of it (it must be Cherry Brown, however,  the stem color is definitely Blue).
Using: Kinesis Contoured (Cherry Brown)
Own:  Realforce 86UK
Wish: Ergo layout Realforce