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Kinesis Freestyle Pro Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 20, 2020 at 09:11 am
Kinesis Freestyle Pro Picture
7.3
Mixed usage
7.7
Gaming
1.2
Mobile/Tablet
7.9
Office
7.1
Programming
Connectivity Wired
Size
TenKeyLess (80%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is an ergonomic split keyboard with a good overall typing experience, although it can take a bit of time to get used to its design. This keyboard features Cherry MX Brown switches, which give you a tactile bump right before the actuation of the key. Unfortunately, although this is an ergonomic keyboard, it doesn't have any tilt settings or a wrist rest, which must be purchased separately at extra cost.

Our Verdict

7.3 Mixed usage

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a decent mixed usage keyboard. While it's designed to be an office, ergonomic keyboard, it can still be used for gaming or programming thanks to its Cherry MX Brown switches. It might take some time to get used to the split design, but it feels natural once you are. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with wrist rests or incline settings to make it a great ergonomic keyboard.

Pros
  • Good ergonomic design.
  • Many keybinding options.
  • Can be used on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Cons
  • Cheap plastic build.
  • No backlighting.
7.7 Gaming

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a good gaming keyboard as it features Cherry MX Brown switches that have a low actuation force and pre-travel distance. It feels rather responsive but the keycaps might disappoint a few people. You can also only use the left half of the keyboard, which can give you more room for your mouse. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any backlighting and might not be ideal for gaming in a dark room.

1.2 Mobile/Tablet

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro isn't designed to work with mobile devices and tablets.

7.9 Office

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a good office keyboard thanks to its ergonomic design. You can set it up the way you prefer and it provides a great typing quality, although it might take you some time to get used to the split keyboard design. Although it has good ergonomics, it doesn't come with some accessories like wrist rests and incline settings, which need to be purchased separately, at extra cost.

7.1 Programming

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a decent programming keyboard but might take some time getting used to due to its split design. Its Cherry MX Brown switches provide good feedback without being too noisy, which offers an overall great typing quality. However, its keycaps feel a bit cheap and it also doesn't have any backlight. On the upside, it's fully compatible on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

  • 7.3 Mixed usage
  • 7.7 Gaming
  • 1.2 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 7.1 Programming

Check Price

Black Freestyle Pro
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.3" (3.2 cm)
Width 15.5" (39.4 cm)
Depth 7.2" (18.4 cm)
Weight 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)

This keyboard is rather large and due to its split design, it can take even more space than a typical keyboard. The maximum length of the cable between both parts is about 20 inches (50.8cm).

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is well-built but feels a bit cheap when using it. The chassis is made from very stiff plastic that feels fairly durable, but the pad printed ABS keycaps feel very cheap and unstable when typing. The cables are also thin; they don't feel very solid and have white markings on them, making them look quite cheap. If you want a keyboard with a better build quality, check out the Dygma Raise.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Ergonomical
Incline Settings
0
Wrist Rest No

This split keyboard has an ergonomic design, but can take some time to get used to. Also, it doesn't have any incline settings or a wrist rest like the Matias Ergo Pro, which is disappointing. The keyboard is tilted to the back, making it quite uncomfortable for the wrists, especially during long periods of typing. You can purchase two wrist rests on Kinesis' website, but they aren't included in the box with the keyboard. For even better ergonomics, check out the split ErgoDox EZ. If you don't like a split board design, check out the curved Logitech K860.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color No Backlighting
Brightness Settings
No
Individually Backlit Keys
No

This keyboard doesn't have any backlighting, but if you're looking for a split design keyboard with backlighting, check out the very similar Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB or even the cheaper Adesso Tru-Form 150.

Design
Cable
Detachable
No
Length 5.9 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side) Not Detachable

The cables are thin and don't feel very durable. There's also a cable linking both keyboard halves. It's 20 inches long (50.8cm), but the default separation is about 12 inches (30cm). If you want to increase it further, you can open up the cable compartment cover and thread the cable to your desired length.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is wired-only and can't be used wirelessly.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
No

This keyboard has good extra features. You can use the 'fn' key to access the media keys and can program every key inside the software.

Design
In The Box

  • Kinesis Freestyle Pro
  • Keycap puller
  • 4x Mac keycaps
  • Manuals

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Cherry MX Brown
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
40.2 gf
Pre-Travel
1.85 mm
Total Travel
4.00 mm

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro has mechanical Cherry MX Brown switches that have a tactile bump right before their actuation point. There's also a model variant that has MX Silent Red switches.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The Cherry MX Brown switches have a nice tactile bump which gives a general good typing quality and feedback, but the ABS keycaps mixed with the cheap feeling of the board give off an unsatisfactory sound when typing. The alphanumerical keys also seem to be slightly unstable, but this isn't too noticeable and shouldn't impact typing that much.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

The typing noise is fairly quiet and shouldn't bother the people surrounding you.

Software and Operating System
8.1
Software and Operating System
Software
Software SmartSet
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
RGB Programming
No
Macro Programming
Yes
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
Yes

The SmartSet software allows a lot of different key customization. You can have up to nine different profiles and create two layouts per profile, giving you a total of 18 different keybinding options. You can also access the software using the keyboard.

8.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Full
Linux Full
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

Since the software is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux, you can use the Kinesis Freestyle Pro on pretty much every computer and customize it to your preference. However, since it's not wireless, you won't be able to use it with mobile devices.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

There's also a model variant that has MX Silent Red switches, but we tested the one with Cherry MX Brown switches, which provides a tactile bump, but without the clicky noise of blue switches. 

Compared to other keyboards

Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is better than the Freestyle Pro. The Edge comes with a wrist rest, RGB lighting, and an ever-so-slightly better build quality. If you're simply looking for an office keyboard, go for the Freestyle Pro, but if you game for long periods, especially at night, the Edge RGB is the better option.

Matias Ergo Pro
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a better overall keyboard than the Matias Ergo Pro, although the Matias is a bit superior for office use. It has a wrist rest and incline settings, plus the build quality is also better. However, the Kinesis has full compatibility on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems with dedicated software with a few customization options.

Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Split Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a very different ergonomic keyboard than the Logitech ERGO K860. The K860 features a curved board design while the Freestyle is a fully split keyboard. The K860 features scissor switches, while the Freestyle Pro has Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches. Also, the K860 is a full-size board, while the Kinesis is a TKL 80%. The ERGO K860 is wireless and the Kinesis is wired-only.

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is significantly better than the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard. The Freestyle Pro has a much better build quality, typing experience, and better software support. It also has better compatibility with different operating systems, but the Sculpt Ergonomic is much more comfortable to type on due to its dome design and its reverse incline that relieves pressure on the wrists.

ErgoDox EZ
Unavailable
Amazon.com

The ErgoDox EZ is a better ergonomic keyboard than the Kinesis Freestyle Pro. It feels better built, has a wider switch variety, and has incredible ergonomics. However, it might be noticeably harder to get used to than the Kinesis.

Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard is very different than the Kinesis Freestyle Pro. It features a curved board with a split-key layout while the Kinesis' board is separated into two halves that you can place how you want. The Kinesis also uses mechanical switches, which feel more pleasant to type on than the rubber domes of the Kensington. The Kinesis also feels a bit better-built, but office workers might not like the fact it doesn't have a NumPad.

Dygma Raise
Unavailable
Amazon.com

The Dygma Raise is much better than the Kinesis Freestyle Pro for most uses. The Dygma is better in almost every aspect and it's a lot more customizable, but the Kinesis has better software support and you can program macros or remap keys directly on the keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a bit better than the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. The Freestyle Pro's split keyboard design lets you place the two halves any way you want, but the Surface Ergonomic is more comfortable due to its great Alcantara wrist rest. The Freestyle Pro has mechanical Cherry MX Brown switches, programmable keys, and software support; however, the Surface Ergonomic has significantly better build quality.

Logitech K350
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Logitech K350 and the Kinesis Freestyle Pro are very different ergonomic keyboards. The K350 has a slightly curved design, while the Kinesis features two halves that you can place however you prefer. On the other hand, the K350 has rubber dome switches that feel very heavy and provide a much less satisfactory typing experience than the mechanical switches of the Kinesis.

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is much better than the Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard. The Freestyle is a drastically different keyboard with its split design, which may require some getting used to. Some may find it more comfortable and the Cherry MX Brown switches will surely please those who prefer more tactile feedback. The build quality isn't as good as the K840 and the keycaps are also pad printed; however, this keyboard does have full compatibility with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Adesso Tru-Form 150
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a much better keyboard than the Adesso Tru-Form 150. It's smaller, so it takes up less space on your desk, but the typing quality is far superior. The Kinesis also has a dedicated software with macro programmable keys. However, it doesn't have any backlighting unlike the Adesso, if you need to use it in a dark environment.

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