Kinesis Freestyle Pro Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 20, 2020 at 09:11 am
Kinesis Freestyle Pro Picture
Test Methodology v0.8
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.

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.

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

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.

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, 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. 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, which is unfortunate and hard to use in low-light situations.

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 Name 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

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.

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.

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.

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