The proven 3-dimensional concave design of this latest version of the Kinesis Contoured Keyboard family delivers unparalleled levels of comfort and productivity for touch typists of all body types and builds. The Advantage2 serves as a neutral ergonomic data input interface for touch typists ranging from 4' 6" to 6' 4". Anyone who considers their keyboard a core tool for their job should consider this keyboard. It is the only keyboard that addresses ergonomics down to the level of the fingertips. It does this by intelligently redistributing the repetitive activity associated with typing to minimize the potential of fatigue. . This keyboard is especially popular with those who perform keyboard intensive work, including programmers, transcriptionists, writers and web content developers.
The Advantage2 keyboard has several improvements over the prior generation Advantage model. Cherry ML tactile mechanical keyswitches have replaced the elastomer keyswitches on the function row at the top of the keyboard to provide a more consistent "feel". The Smart Set Programming Engine facilitates the development and storage of multiple custom keyboard layouts, reducing repetitive or awkward keystrokes and maximizing productivity. Far more and longer macros are now supported, with up to 100 unique macros of 200 characters now available, sufficient to satisfy even the most rigorous productivity and exacting customization demands. The Advantage2 is PC and Mac compatible, and includes additional hard-wired features such as unlimited custom key remapping, macro playback speed, optional audible key clicks and keyboard status reports.
The KB600 is the most popular model of the Advantage2, featuring standard QWERTY key legends and Cherry Brown tactile keyswitches. It is also available with Cherry "Quiet" Red linear keyswitches (KB600LFQ), dual legended QWERTY-DVORAK key legends (KB600QD) or with an eye-catching painted silver gloss finish (KB605).
Based on years of research the Kinesis Contoured keyboard was designed not only to reduce the known risk factors associated with repetitive stress injuries but also to provide a more comfortable and productive interface than other keyboards. Its unique contoured design reduces the force and stressful postures that contribute to discomfort and limit productivity. Since its introduction in 1992, this keyboard has undergone extensive independent testing and has proven superior in both comfort and productivity when compared to traditional and other alternative keyboards.
The Kinesis Contoured keyboard allows users to retain their familiar QWERTY layout while incorporating a comprehensive collection of ergonomic features as indicated below:
Separate Thumb Keypads - The thumb keypad includes high frequency keys, such as "Enter", "Space", "Backspace", "Delete", and modifier keys, such as "Control" and "Alt" on the PC ("Command" and "Option" on the Macintosh). This redistributes the workload from the relatively weaker and overused 4th and 5th fingers to stronger thumbs. Combination keystrokes are effortlessly generated without the requirement to leave the home row with either hand.
Separate Keywells for Each Hand - These keywells minimize strain and stretching by positioning the arms approximately at shoulder width and eliminate the need to twist one's wrists while keyboarding. This separated design greatly minimizes elbow abduction as well as ulnar deviation (twisting out) at the wrist through the elimination of the requirement for users to reach in to the midline of their body to the keyboard. It also largely reduces radial deviation (twisting in) at the wrist when reaching for the mouse as the mouse can be located immediately to the left or right of the home row (unlike on traditional keyboards). These non-neutral postures have been shown to lead to repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, which is why addressing them is an obvious ergonomic benefit.
Learn More About Ulnar Deviation
Concave Keywells - The keys are located within curved depressions that vary in depth for each finger, reducing and usually eliminating hand and finger extension. The non-neutral posture of extension occurs when the joints in the fingers curl up and extend forward from the hands rather than relaxing down slightly in the direction of the palms. A flat typing surface assumes that all fingers are of the same length, forcing the longer fingers to arch up over the keys, which inclines the hands up at the wrist. The positive incline of standard keyboards forces the hands to incline upwards at the wrist, resulting in further wrist extension. The result is wrist (and finger) extension which adversely impacts and can result in inflammation in muscles and tendons. The fingers then are prevented from operating at maximum efficiency and this will generally lead to more rapid fatigue, discomfort and pain. Concave keywells reduce extension by accommodating the various lengths of fingers and placing the hands and fingers in a more relaxed and neutral position.
Learn More About Wrist Extension
3-Dimensional Layout - Keys on a conventional keyboard are arranged on a flat 2-dimensional surface, resulting in the same piston-like firing action by each finger every time a key is actuated. The only variance is the position of the hand over the keyboard; the muscle action and orientation of the fingers is unchanged regardless of the key being targeted. The 3-dimensional layout of this keyboard encourages distinct key travel movement (i.e. angle and orientation) for the finger when pressing each key. Consequently, different muscles and tendon sheaths in the fingers are used with every keystroke. Instead of a repetitive action that soon fatigues muscles and leads to strain, the fingers get a mini-calisthenics workout, increasing circulation and eliminating actual repetitive actions.
Vertical Key Layout - Keys are arranged orthogonally in vertical columns to better align with the natural motions of the fingers and reduce the reach between keys. Traditional keyboards use rows offset from each other, resulting in unequal finger travel and unnecessary hand and wrist movement. This orthogonal matrix layout increases typing accuracy and decreases the wrist distortion. Of course, the embedded numeric keypad is also in a familiar grid pattern and benefits from the same 3-dimensional concave design noted above.
Closer Placement of Function Keys - High performance Cherry ML tactile mechanical keyswitches are used for function keys which are also located closer to the alphanumeric keys to reduce awkward motions and reach, particularly for key combinations involving thumb keys (Control and Alt, for example).
20° Lateral Tilt Design - The keyboard housing is designed to support the hands at an angle of approximately 20°, elevating the thumbs higher than the pinky fingers. This design helps to minimize stresses associated with pronation and static muscle tension while enabling maximum keying productivity.
Learn More About Pronation
Integrated Palm Support - The built-in palm support with optional self-adhesive Lycra pads enhances comfort and prevents wrist extension. This provides a place to rest the palms during periods of inactivity on the keyboard.
Low-Force, Tactile Mechanical Keyswitches - The low-force (45 grams) tactile mechanical keyswitches are engineered to provide both tactile and audible feedback. They are full travel (4.1 mm) and activate at approximately 2 mm. This reduces the likelihood of experiencing regular jarring impacts when "bottoming out" at the end of every keystroke since the final 2 mm of key travel can be used as a braking area for the fingers. The peak force (55 grams) prior to activation provides a subtle tactile indication of the fire point, serving as a clear indication of how much force and travel is required to generate keystrokes.OR
The low-force (45 grams) linear mechanical keyswitches are engineered to provide no tactile or audible feedback. They are full travel (4.1 mm) and activate at approximately 2 mm, however unlike the standard model that offers a slight increase in force to provide tactility, the force curve on the LFQ model of the keyboard is linear. Some individuals prefer to sacrifice tactility in order to have a silent, non-tactile keyboard although evidence has shown that without tactility, the amount of effort exerted when typing is actually higher due to a lack of feedback and the difficulty in creating "muscle memory".
For a comparison of the above two mechanical keyswitch types, see our Comparison Page.
Low-Force Quiet, Linear Mechanical Keyswitches -
Embedded 10-Key Layout - A traditional numeric (10-key) keypad is embedded into the right alphanumeric keywell, providing ergonomic advantages for number-intensive operations. The 10-key legends are located at the top of the front facing edge of the key caps. The 10-key can also be manually programmed to operate from the left keywell.
Key Re-Mapping - Individual keys can be re-mapped or copied to other key locations. As a result, individuals can create their own custom layout to optimize the keyboard for specific work patterns, applications and keying frequency.
Macro Programmable - Up to 100 macros of 200 characters each can be programmed and stored in the on-board memory. Macros are ideal for eliminating awkward key combinations or for minimizing the repetitive action associated with typing the same word or phrase repeatedly.
Optional Foot Pedals - Up to three foot pedals can be used to perform keystrokes, redistributing a portion of the workload away from the hands. For instance, a foot pedal can be used to activate the embedded 10-key pad or "Shift" key.
Smaller Footprint - This keyboard is smaller than a traditional keyboard, and is 16.625" Wide x 8.125" Deep x 3" High. This smaller footprint reduces the reach for the mouse by allowing the pointing device to be located much closer. While on traditional keyboards the reach from the right hand home row to the mouse is on average 12", with the Contoured it is reduced to an average of 5".
Remap: Any or all keys and custom key combinations, including the embedded layers (numeric keypad and multimedia). Macros: 100 macros of 200 characters each can be configured. Hardwired QWERTY/DVORAK Toggle: Instantly switch between QWERTY and DVORAK layouts. View and Edit Layouts: All custom layouts are stored as basic text files (i.e. .txt extension) in the non-volatile memory on the Advantage2. Status Report: Get a complete report on all current keyboard settings, remaps, etc. at any time. Modifier Keys Can Be "Sticky": If required, make multi-key combinations involving CTRL, ALT and SHIFT easier with sticky keys. Audible Clicks and Tones: The user can toggle audible key clicks on and off (for all keys) and audible tones (for change-of-state keys such as Caps Lock, Num Lock, Keypad, Scoll Lock and Insert). Adjust Macro Playback Speed: Playback of macros can be adjusted globally or on a macro-by-macro basis from 4.2 characters per second (CPS) to 250 CPS in 9 increments.
Supports Foot Pedal Accessories: The keyboard includes a RJ11 connector for connection of a dedicated a single or triple action "dumb" foot pedal. These can then be mapped to perform any desired high-frequency keyboard action (including toggling on the numeric keypad). Models supported include the Single (FS007-RJ11) and Triple (FS007-TAF) foot pedal accessories (see the Accessories section).
Dual Legended Models: Looking for dual legends? Buy a "QD" Qwerty-Dvorak dual-legended model or if an upgrade is desired in the future, buy a keycap upgrade kit. Dvorak-only legends are not available.
Embedded Keypad: The embedded keypad offers maximum productivity and comfort for those who make regular use of the 10-key, especially when using a foot pedal to toggle it on and off.
Cupped Home Row Keys: The home row keys are cupped with a special sculpting to aid in finger locating and positioning.
Images (Click on any thumbnail to view larger image)
For a comparison of the above two mechanical keyswitch types, see our Comparison Page
Function Row Keyswitch Type: Cherry ML Low-Force Tactile Mechanical Switch.
Number of Keys: 86
Actuation Force: 45 grams (1.59 oz)
Cherry MX Brown - Tactile - 55 grams (1.94 oz), Function Row – 50 grams (1.76 oz)
Cherry MX Red - Linear - 45 grams (1.59 oz). Function Row – 50 grams (1.76 oz).
For a comparison of the above two mechanical keyswitch types, see our Comparison Page.
Pre-travel: 2 mm
Total Travel: 4 mm (Function Row – 3 mm)
Keyswitch Rating: 50 million actuations
Audible or Silent Click Mode: Available by toggle
Cherry ML Keyswitches: 18
Embedded Key Actions:
Numeric Keypad Actions: 18
Windows Key Actions: 3
International Key Actions: 2
Other Programmable Key Actions: 60
Foot Pedals (Optional; single and triple available):
Default is "Keypad Shift" (numeric keypad mode is enabled until foot pedal is released)
Second default foot pedal action is "Shift"
Compatibility: Instant configuration for Mac, PC and Non-Windows PC environments, including Mac and Windows Legended keycaps. No drivers required, only requirement is one free USB port, one combination keystroke instantly reconfigures the keyboard.
PC - Windows 7-10 Mac - Mac OS X Other - Supports non-Windows PC operating environments (e.g. LINUX, Android, Chrome, etc.)
Interface: USB only (will not work with a USB to PS/2 adapter).
Layout Options for the Advantage Contoured Keyboard:
All Advantage keyboards models can switch between QWERTY and DVORAK key layouts with a combination keystroke. Here are the three configurations available for this keyboard in QWERTY (when switched to DVORAK only letters and core symbols are altered)
Embedded Numeric Keypad: The embedded keypad offers maximum productivity and comfort for 10-key users, especially using a foot pedal.
Windows Keys: The Windows keys are easily accessed by pressing the embedded function key assigned to them.
Legends: Pad Printed with a clear extra-durable UV coating
Be aware of the learning curve. The ergonomic benefits of the Advantage2 Keyboard are significant, and represent an investment in your personal health. It will take some time to become comfortable and proficient using this keyboard. The first change to get used to could be the 3-D layout of the keys, which require less movement or "reach" to target each key. For example, you may hit the number 3 when you want to hit the letter E because you're used to moving your fingers farther than is required on this keyboard. Most will have a learning curve associated with the thumb key wells. When learning the keys that your thumbs now are responsible for, make yourself a "cheat sheet" on a sticky note that you attach to your monitor. That way you don't have to look down and you can quickly teach your thumbs where the keys are. Finally you may have to adjust to the orthogonal layout of the keys which improve targeting and touch typing, as it is different than the staggered layout on conventional keyboards.
Due to the height of this keyboard, you may need to elevate your chair, and possibly your monitor to achieve optimum positioning. If you are using a Sit-Stand-Lean workstation, you may find yourself needing to adjust the workstation height. AND, if the angle doesn't feel quite right, you can always raise the front edge (closest to you) with erasers or something similar.
Don't go back and forth between your existing keyboard and the Advantage2, as this will interfere with training yourself to use the new keyboard. You need to build up muscle memory and shift your touch typing skills over to this keyboard - switching back and forth will only needlessly extend your learning curve.
During periods of keyboard intensive input, consider placing the keyboard in your lap (you may need to recline a bit, or use a footrest so that the keyboard doesn't slide off). However, it may be difficult to have the mouse close enough at the right height, without having to change your body or head position which may cause other risk factors. If you can't find a way to use your mouse comfortably, using the keyboard in the lap might only be appropriate solely for periods of typing with little to no mousing.
Use the programmability of this keyboard. If you prefer a key to be in a different location, you can remap it. If you have different job tasks where you need different keyboard layouts, you essentially have this one keyboard that acts like 5 keyboards.
Are you someone who had an older Contoured Keyboard? The SmartSet Programming Engine in the Advantage2 keyboard provides a wide range of powerful tools for customizing the keyboard's layout and macros. Take a moment to read the Quick Start Guide before using the keyboard as programming commands have changed from earlier models, along with new added programming capabilities.
Once you get used to this keyboard, it may be more of a challenge to return to using a standard keyboard. Most people find they can still touch type on "regular" keyboards after becoming proficient on an Advantage2 but they often find the lack of ergonomics on standard keyboards to be much more apparent.
If you have existing thumb pain, consider giving some time for the thumbs time to heal before trying this keyboard. Once they have healed, you will be able to properly test the Advantage2 Keyboard to see if it is right for you.
This keyboard is not compatible with certain mice, such as Central Pointing Devices.
If you like the 3-D concept of this keyboard, and are looking for a 3-D mouse that actively positions the hands in a similar way, consider the Handshoe Mouse, as it compliments this keyboard.