Author Topic: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?  (Read 8977 times)

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Offline urpcor

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From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« on: Sat, 28 September 2019, 13:40:29 »
Hello,

I just joined the forum. Having snap finger issues lead me to buy a used Kinesis advantage 1 just 2 months ago. Its really great in many aspects, apart thumb cluster being a bit hight, smallish function keys and that its not dividable - I need both keyboard halves in an angle/shape  tented somehow at least like the Microdoft ergonomic keyboard.

Now I found the possibility of the dactyl manuform 6x6. Since it has two halves(freely selectable angle), lower thumb clusters and a full upper row for function keys, it seems the best solution for me. It even has a slight tenting, even more than the original dactyl.

Is that a proper conclusion? or should I look at some other designs? How about the 6 rows? Having no experience with mechanical ergo keyboards lets me worry, if the dactyl manuform 6x6 is the right thing to get...

Thank you for any hint


Offline vvp

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 28 September 2019, 16:22:37 »
I used kinesis before as well. Dactyl/manuform is probably a goods switch. At least it is split. That alone is a significant advantage. I do not like its thumb cluster though. It takes too much space and has little keys. If one is OK with little thumb keys then I think oobly has somewhat better vertical thumb cluster.

Edit: Edits in italic.
« Last Edit: Sun, 29 September 2019, 11:58:24 by vvp »

Offline urpcor

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 29 September 2019, 11:12:27 »
What is oobly?

Offline vvp

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 29 September 2019, 11:56:42 »
« Last Edit: Sun, 29 September 2019, 12:00:19 by vvp »

Offline geewiz

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 30 September 2019, 08:00:10 »
There's also the option of mass-market ergos. My experience with the Matias Ergo Pro was terrible (QS for their switches seems non-existant) but I
I'm very happy with its replacement, the Kinesis Gaming Edge.

Offline urpcor

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 17 October 2019, 16:08:06 »
I have rather small hands, can only use the 2u thumbkeys on the kinesis. Now the dactyl thumb cluster looks quite similar, so i conclude manuform is better for me.
I found no conclusive hints and wonder if there is a real Difference concerning thumb reachability between dactyl and dactyl-manuform?
Does anyone habe both and can give some advise on that?

Offline RSanders

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 24 October 2019, 10:22:14 »
Assuming the primary issue you are having with the Kinesis Advantage is that the thumb cluster is too high vertically and that you want to stick with a commercially available solution as opposed to a custom build, consider purchasing a Maltron. I would have recommended a DataHand Pro II but the manufacturer is sadly long gone. My understanding based only on third-hand accounts and internet "lore" is that the Kinesis design was likely "borrowed" from the Maltron with a few changes made partly to avoid legal problems and mostly to allow for a more automated assembly process and a resultant lower price point.  One of the design changes was the very poor ergonomic choice of raising the thumb cluster keys vertically. I use all three keyboards with my preference being the DataHand followed very closely by the Maltron with the Kinesis a distant third option. Between the Maltron and the Kinesis, I strongly prefer the Maltron, mostly due to the thumb cluster placement and partly due to the, in my opinion, significantly superior geometry of the rest of the keys, though the central bank of keys do require rotating the entire keyboard slightly clockwise or counterclockwise depending on which hand is being used to avoid rather uncomfortable left or right bending at the wrist.  Typing for significant periods of time on the Kinesis results in, at least for me, some cramping and discomfort related to having to hold the thumbs up physically while typing. No such issues with the Maltron, though I can still type for far longer on a DataHand.  Having worked in the past in a high output production setting requiring constant transcription/data entry, I would strongly recommend against procuring any keyboard that is not "split" and/or has a "flat" arrangement of the keys.

Note the relaxed hand position while resting on the home row keys of the Maltron:


Note the tendons obviously under strain while resting on the home row keys of the Kinesis:


The DataHand, just for comparison:




Offline ergonaut

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 25 October 2019, 08:38:31 »
One of the design changes was the very poor ergonomic choice of raising the thumb cluster keys vertically. [...] Typing for significant periods of time on the Kinesis results in, at least for me, some cramping and discomfort related to having to hold the thumbs up physically while typing.

I don't have any experience with the Maltron but can confirm that the height of the thumb clusters is one of the main downsides of the Kinesis. I'm even contemplating selling mine because of that. Judging from pictures, their height and orientation does indeed look much better on the Maltron.

BTW, it might be off topic here, but could you tell me whether the Maltron keycaps have any kind of homing bump on the F/J keys, or are they uniform?

Offline RSanders

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 25 October 2019, 11:30:17 »
BTW, it might be off topic here, but could you tell me whether the Maltron keycaps have any kind of homing bump on the F/J keys, or are they uniform?

All the keycaps on the Maltron are laser etched and uniform in dimension (in contrast to the Kinesis which uses several different key dimensions) with the exception of the space, enter, return, tab, and shift keys, which are all uniform double length keycaps. There is no "homing bump" as it is unnecessary once the user has acclimated to the Maltron due to the way the two halves of the keyboard are sculpted.  The vertical row containing F and the vertical row containing J are significantly higher than the vertical row containing D and vertical row containing K. The palm "support" is also not flat but concave. Additionally, there is a pronounced ridge in the top shell of the keyboard between the two primary key wells and their respective thumb clusters.  The combination of resting the thumbs on those ridges plus the tactile feeling on the palms as relates to the concave palm support area plus the high vertical row for F and J means it is instantly obvious to an experienced user if the hands are "floating" over the wrong keys.  My thumbs go down first, locate on the ridge mentioned above. Almost simultaneously, the middle/long finger on each hand locates against the sides of the F and J keys. Lastly, my palms lightly contact the palm "rest". A mismatch in any of those three tactile points is immediately obvious to the end user. When switching between the Maltron and Kinesis, I actually feel "lost" for a second or two on the Kinesis as the vertical separation for the F and J row is not as pronounced, the palm "supports" are completely flat, and there is no pronounced ridge for the thumbs to locate on between the key wells and the thumb clusters.  For the Maltron, I more or less instantly know where I am spatially due to the three different tactile points mentioned above. With the Datahand, it is simply impossible to not know where your hands are in relation to the home row as the fingertips never depart from it in the traditional sense.
« Last Edit: Fri, 25 October 2019, 11:43:07 by RSanders »

Offline vvp

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 25 October 2019, 14:44:05 »
One of the design changes was the very poor ergonomic choice of raising the thumb cluster keys vertically. [...] Typing for significant periods of time on the Kinesis results in, at least for me, some cramping and discomfort related to having to hold the thumbs up physically while typing.

I don't have any experience with the Maltron but can confirm that the height of the thumb clusters is one of the main downsides of the Kinesis.
I agree that Kinesis' thumb cluster height is an issue. But it was not significant for me nor the biggest issue I had with it. I used Kinesis Advantage for about 12 years before I switched to a custom build. Kinesis never caused me any sores. My biggest complain about it was too small column stagger and vertical separation of the pinkie columns. It was not comfortable to press especially the top two keys in these columns. Kinesis' thumb cluster is also a bit too far away from the key well (the same issue as on Ergodox where it is even a bit worse). Another big problem with Kinesis is that it is not split. You cannot adjust angles.
Maltron fixes only the the thumb cluster height from these issues. Therefore Maltron was not a worthy update for me.

Offline VimLover

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 03 December 2019, 20:49:29 »
The fixed width of the Kinesis is indeed a big issue. A true ergo keyboard would allow making adjustments throughout the day so you're not fixed in a single position. I did my own print of the Dactyl and it's my end game.

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 05 December 2019, 11:22:13 »
The fixed width of the Kinesis is indeed a big issue. A true ergo keyboard would allow making adjustments throughout the day so you're not fixed in a single position. I did my own print of the Dactyl and it's my end game.

Is it me or do i find ergo boards uncomfortable just because i'm used to typing on the standard layout?

Offline tex_live_utility

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 06 December 2019, 10:02:34 »
The fixed width of the Kinesis is indeed a big issue. A true ergo keyboard would allow making adjustments throughout the day so you're not fixed in a single position. I did my own print of the Dactyl and it's my end game.

Is it me or do i find ergo boards uncomfortable just because i'm used to typing on the standard layout?
There are a lot of people who feel this way. Switching to an ergo keyboard will always have an adjustment period.
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Offline RSanders

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Re: From kinesis advantage to dactyl manuform - improvement?
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 09 December 2019, 16:29:34 »

Is it me or do i find ergo boards uncomfortable just because i'm used to typing on the standard layout?

Assuming your workstation is correctly configured, your chair is configured correctly (not possible with many typical office chairs), your posture is correct, and you have typed long enough to truly get accustomed (could be up to several weeks to several months depending on the keyboard and your workload) to whatever ergo keyboard you are referring to, it could be that you have only been exposed to what a marketing department has deemed "ergonomic" as opposed to a well researched and proven ergonomic solution.   

There is also the possibility that you are one of the truly fortunate individuals that doesn't have to do a lot of high volume interaction with a PC and as such wouldn't have any reason or frame of reference by which to appreciate a correctly configured ergonomic workstation/chair/keyboard/etc.