Find out which keyboard reigns supreme–the Freestyle Pro Quiet or the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard.

Image: iStockphoto/vbacarin
After my overview of the
Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK)
, Kinesis reached out to me to level out my comparability between the UHK and the Freestyle keyboard included an older mannequin Kinesis Freestyle. To set proper that exact “wrong,” Kinesis despatched me a loaner unit to check in opposition to my now daily-driver UHK.When the field arrived, I opened it to disclose a Kinesis Freestyle Pro Quiet mannequin. After unpacking the unit, I pieced it collectively to seek out one essential characteristic had modified and a few had not. SEE: Flash storage: A information for IT execs (TechRepublic Premium)Kinesis Freestyle Pro Quiet specs Before I dive into the comparability, let’s check out what the Freestyle Pro Quiet gives. OS Support: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, ChromeMechanical key switches: Cherry MX Quiet Red, with an activation pressure of 45 grams and a journey distance of 4.1 mmDimensions: 15.5 inches by 7.25 dimensionsWeight: 2.6 poundsAdjustable linking cable size: 12-21.5 inchesUSB cable size: 6 toesThat’s the bottom unit. Kinesis additionally despatched together with the keyboard the Freestyle VIP3 Pro, which incorporates wrist rests and tenting items.

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro Quiet sells for $179.00 and the Freestyle VIP3 Pro accent sells for $40.00. So your complete for the keyboard, wrist rests, and tenting unit is $219.00 (with out transport/dealing with). In comparability, the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, full with wrist rests and tenting sells for $275.00 (with out transport/dealing with).  Is the additional cash for the UHK definitely worth the worth? Let’s discover out. Comparing the Freestyle Pro Quiet and UHK keyboardsFirst I need to deal with the keyboard. They Kinesis comes filled with some actually attention-grabbing options, not all of which can be found for all platforms. For instance, the no-install SmartSet App, which lets you view keyboard layouts and create/edit macros, is simply obtainable for Windows and macOS. Because there isn’t a help for Linux, I could not take a look at that characteristic.  The UHK keyboard, however, does help Linux, so adjusting the structure or including/enhancing macros is only a matter of putting in the
UHK Agent
and studying the not-so-challenging process of making macros. Outside of that one slight, the Kinesis keyboard is simply pretty much as good as I remembered. Even although I’ve grown accustomed to the UHK, the Kinesis was like coming house to an previous pal. The structure is extremely nicely designed and cozy. One enchancment Kinesis has made to the Freestyle is that every part appears to really feel way more strong than with earlier incarnations. It’s not fairly as strong because the UHK (which is a tank of a keyboard), however it’s strong sufficient to face up to some fairly heavy day by day pounding. And, not like the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, the Freestyle Pro has a typical set of cursor keys (Figure A), so there is not any want to coach your fingers to make use of a MOD button together with the JKLI keys for cursor motion.  Figure A At this level, the keyboards appear to be about even given the pliability of the UHK macros vs. the Kinesis’ normal cursor keys, so the selection as to which is superior is likely to be up within the air. Until… The wrists rests This is the place the Kinesis falls quick. I can converse from fairly a little bit of expertise on this difficulty, as I’ve needed to substitute just a few units of wrist pads on my previous Kinesis (Figure B). Figure B The put on on my previous Kinesis wrist pads (this keyboard has been tucked away because the UHK was put into use).The factor in regards to the Kinesis wrist rests is that they’re plastic and make use of a replaceable foam pad. That foam pad in a short time breaks down if you happen to are likely to lean your wrists on the rests. For no matter cause, I are likely to solely lean my left wrist down–or a minimum of I did, till adopting the UHK. From my expertise, if you wish to preserve these pads in good situation, you will be changing them each six-12 months, relying in your utilization. The excellent news is that the wrist pads are solely $12.00 for a set, so you will not be out an excessive amount of. On the opposite hand, the UHK makes use of a stunning set of wooden wrist rests. You will not be changing these anytime quickly, if ever. You would possibly assume that wooden is not materials for a relaxation. However, if you happen to kind appropriately, you will not be utilizing these rests a lot. Which brings me to a different level. Kinesis has accomplished one thing good with the VIP equipment. The previous tenting unit used to increase past the keyboard and required using the wrist rests. The new tenting equipment would not prolong previous the keyboard itself, so it is potential to make use of the Freestyle Pro with the tenting choice however with out the rests (Figure C). Figure C The Kinesis Freestyle Pro Quiet with tenting and no rests.Not solely does this imply you may bypass the less-than-stellar wrist rests, the keyboard will even take up much less house. With the wrist rests hooked up, the keyboard takes up a big quantity of desk actual property. If you’re taking this keyboard on the go, you will end up having bother making room in tight areas. Without the rests, you ought to be good to go. Finally, the important thing motion. This might be one of the vital essential elements of a keyboard, particularly to those who spend a great deal of time typing. The motion between the UHK and the Freestyle Pro is sort of related. In reality, each used crimson switches so the activation and journey was nearly similar. The solely distinction is that the UHK keys have been fairly a bit louder (sounding like a really tiny horse trotting round in your desk). Although the Freestyle Pro wasn’t silent, it produced fairly a bit much less noise than the UHK. If you or these round you might be delicate to keyboard noise, the UHK can get a bit annoying.  If you are like me, and you’re employed alone and hearken to loads of music (at loud volumes), the tiny horse hooves of the UHK aren’t an issue. The verdict I nearly hate to confess this, given my long-term relationship with the Freestyle Pro, however the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard remains to be the last word. Because of a budget wrist pads and the shortage of help for macros on Linux, I will not be returning to the Kinesis keyboard anytime quickly. That does not imply the door is shut. Hopefully future iterations of the Freestyle Pro will add Linux help to the no-install SmartSet App and dispose of a budget wrist pads, in favor of one thing that can final. Outside of these two points, the Kinesis remains to be a stellar keyboard, and one that can carry important reduction to anybody who suffers from power fatigue from an excessive amount of typing.

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