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Lifewire / Emily Isaacs
Easy to set up
Excellent battery life
Modular, split design increases customization options
Can connect to multiple iOS devices at once
Blue function keys difficult to see in low-light conditions
No numeric keypad
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue for Mac is an excellent split ergonomic keyboard for the price and is well worth the splurge for Apple lovers looking to better their typing posture.
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue (Mac) joins the Kinesis keyboard family with its easy-to-use modular design. Better yet, this ergonomic keyboard supports up to three connected devices at a time, allowing you to easily swap between a Mac, iPhone, or iPad with the press of a few hotkeys. With its compact build, the Kinesis Freestyle2 is a welcome addition to any Apple user’s collection, whether they’re at home or on the go, thanks to the excellent battery life of up to 300 plus hours of extended use.
For people who are tethered to their computers, ergonomic keyboards are a must. These keyboards tend to be large thanks to the frequently employed swoop design that opens up the keys to provide additional spacing, so fingers feel less cramped, and a wrist-friendly position that prevents repetitive stress injuries while typing. These keyboards are typically space hogs, taking up large portions of any surface that they’re placed on, often forcing users to reach further for mice. This can lead to shoulder injuries in place of wrist injuries—a trade-off no one wants.
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue for Mac breaks free of these norms by using a split, modular design that features two keyboard halves, one for each hand, connected via a 9 or 20-inch cable depending upon the chosen model. These pieces were designed with comfort in mind. They may be used separately or connected with a pivot tether at the top of the two halves. This allows you the opportunity to customize your setup and maximize your comfort, whether that’s by placing the halves closer together or further apart.
The Freestyle2’s minimum size is 15.4 inches in length, but it can extend to a maximum length of 23.5 inches (37.75 inches for the 20-inch model). It uses a standard key layout, so it’s familiar and easy to adjust to, while the low-impact design means that the keys need less pressure to type and are quieter. Additionally, its backside is free of risers letting your wrists sit in a neutral, comfortable position that helps prevent injuries over time.
Once charged, the battery life can last up to 300-plus hours of regular use.
Clocking in at 2 pounds, it’s also lightweight which makes it easy to pack. Whether you’re commuting between the home and the office or you’re heading out of town for a vacation, it’s easy to break down and bring anywhere so long as there’s a flat surface to place it during use.
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue arrives with the two keyboard halves, the instructional pamphlet, and a six-foot USB charging cable. Designed for use with iPads, iPhones, and Macs, the setup process is quick and easy to complete. First, we flipped the switch on the right-hand side of the keyboard from the off position to the on position. Then, we flipped the keyboard over and pressed the connect button on the backside. We knew it was ready to begin pairing when the lights on the frontside began flashing blue.
From here, we followed the instructions in the provided instructional pamphlet and enabled Bluetooth on our iPad. After about a minute of scanning, the Kinesis KB800MB-BT keyboard appeared as an available device. We simply tapped to connect. From here, it prompted us to input a numeric code and press return. Once we’d done this, setup was complete.
Better than its modular design are the easy-to-use hotkeys on the left-hand side of the keyboard. These make it simple to copy, paste, cut, go back or forward in a browser, or even switch between the keyboard’s connected devices smoothly and efficiently. They take a little getting used to but once you get the hang of it using them is a breeze.
One pet peeve we had with the keyboard design was the Caps lock key. Instead of having a light on the button itself that glows when the function is enabled, this light is placed alongside the Bluetooth connectivity lights on the right-hand side of the keyboard. While this isn’t the end of the world by any means, it’s less intuitive since you need to retrain yourself on where to look to see if it’s enabled. Additionally, you should be aware that leaving this button on or using it frequently can lead to faster battery drain.
Its split design is comfortable, following the natural arc of your fingers and hands as they rest upon its keys.
The battery life on the Freestyle2 is excellent. It arrives with a partial charge, so it’s important to remember to fully charge it after receiving it. Once charged, the battery life can last up to 300 plus hours of regular use. The Freestyle2 does an excellent job of letting you know when its battery is getting low—battery lights will flash red to indicate when there are about four hours of battery life remaining. This ensures you’re never left hanging.
Full-size ergonomic keyboards tend to retail anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on the features involved. Generally retailing for about $100 on Amazon, the Freestyle2 sits comfortably at the front of this curve. While $100 may seem expensive for a keyboard, consider the features involved. Its travel-friendly build, adjustable setup options, extended battery life, and ability to switch quickly and smoothly between multiple connected devices make it an excellent choice for the features.
Not all keyboards are created equal, and while the split, modular design offered by the Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue creates wonderful customization options, there’s something to be said for having a full keyboard. For Apple users willing to take a leap into Microsoft products, the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard shines through as an excellent option.
While it may seem odd to lean into Microsoft products for Mac lovers, its split design is comfortable, following the natural arc of your fingers and hands as they rest upon its keys. It also arrives with a mouse and detached numpad, which are some nice perks as the Freestyle2 doesn’t include the numpad, although it is available as an accessory for an additional $40. The Windows key may also be mapped to the command key on the Sculpt. Generally retailing for about $80-$120, the Sculpt is around the same price as the Kinesis.
Clocking in at 2 pounds, it’s also lightweight which makes it easy to pack.
One drawback to this device is that the receiver dongle used to pair the Sculpt to your computer is associated with the keyboard at the factory. This is because the keyboard features encryption technology in order to protect your keystrokes. If this dongle is lost, there simply is no replacing it. With this information in mind, this keyboard would do best in an environment where it stays put rather than the Freestyle2 which is much more travel-friendly thanks to its compact nature and Bluetooth pairing capabilities.
An ideal keyboard for Apple users with its compact design, portability, and long-lasting battery.
The Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue for Mac is a compact, user-friendly ergonomic keyboard that takes comfort and customization to the next level for Apple users thanks to its split, modular design. Its extended battery life of up to 300 plus hours combined with its ability to connect to multiple iOS devices at a time is a game-changer, making it well worth the splurge.