Switching between TextBlade and Kinesis Advantage 2

I previously posted on switching from the Kinesis Advantage 2 to the Text Blade. In that case, I was going from a keyboard that I had used for 15 years to the Text Blade. I documented some of the changes I experienced.

Due to my Text Blade taking a short, unplanned dunking, I had to switch back to my Kinesis for a few hours after 4.5 months on the Text Blade.

One issue I have with the Text Blade is in casual typing. This is where my hands aren’t resting on the keyboard and i then have a need to type a few words. i try to wing it and don’t first home my fingers and straighten everything up. I have variable success. What surprised me is that when I went back to the Kinesis, I had the same issue. I had thought that I was able to casual type on the Kinesis, and maybe i was better at it before I went to the TB. Presuming that I was better, then it would be a learned skill, and I guess I will get better at being casual with the TB.

The other thing that surprised me was the amount of movement my hands made while using the Kinesis. I bought it years ago to reduce repetitive stress issues. It uses two bowls to keep all the keys the same distance from fingers. It also moves a few keys from pinky to thumb. It did remove any RSI issues, and that’s why I used it for so long. I didn’t notice how much finger movement there was as I never had anything like the TB to compare it to. And a key part of this movement is going to the number keys.

I learned a lot in the few hours of switching back to the Kinesis. My memory could only be as good as my experience. And even though the Kinesis served me well, I have no interest in moving back to it now that I’ve experienced the TB.

Fortunately, after a few hours, my TB was quite usable and the Kinesis is sitting back on it’s nearby shelf.

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I think many TREGers, myself included, have discovered this. It’s not that you can’t switch back to your old keyboard, it’s that after using the TextBlade, you don’t want to.

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Reducing RSI stress was a key design goal of TextBlade.

Kinesis has long been one of the best ergo keyboards ever made.

For reference, a photo of the Kinesis layout -

Comparative specs -

Kinesis - $349 and 4 lbs

TextBlade - $99 and 0.09 lbs

There’s been pretty consistent feedback from users that the ergonomics and RSI protection of TextBlade are equal to or better than expensive and much larger specialized ergonomic keyboards.

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Re - dunking -

TextBlade is not intended for underwater use :blush:

However, once the water has dried, it generally returns to normal operation.

Like your iPhone, if the multitouch sensors are wet, they can detect the water, so they just need to be dried off.

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You just convinced me to order a second TextBlade. I’m building a custom split keyboard and I’ve got another custom split in the design phase (both with the goal of minimizing finger travel), but I’m going to wait a few months to invest any more money in these projects in case the TextBlade makes GR (I know it’s a long shot). If the TextBlade can beat the Kinesis Advantage, I might prefer it, or at least consider it comparable, to my custom boards. And I’ll have saved some money, too. A good set of key caps alone costs more than the TextBlade.

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It would be interesting to hear from more people about this comparison (or to other top line keyboards). I’ve never used at Kinesis, but I’d put my money on the TB having more advantages than disadvantages. And having one keyboard for everything (or even 2 - one to keep at home and one for travel) with the TB does save a lot of money. Then there is the considerable hassle of taking a Kinesis with me on trips!

I suspect, if the Kinesis is better at some things, it would probably be mostly because it has more keys though, if they can’t be customized, that may not matter much. But then, I suspect eventually they’ll be new versions of the TB (possibly licensed to laptop makers) that will take advantage of reduced space needed so they can add extra keys around it.

Having more keys does not make a keyboard superior. Well-designed layers and better distribution of keys make a keyboard superior. My keyboards have been getting progressively smaller as I’ve discovered keys I thought I couldn’t do without would be more accessible by placing them within reach of the thumbs or near the home row on another layer. It’s all about keeping the fingers as close to the home row as possible. Well, mostly about keeping the fingers as close to the home row as possible.

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Note that I said “some”. I’d be surprised if many felt like it was better for most. But there are lots of situations out there and many I probably never heard of. So I’m allowing for possibilities.

Extra keys if a tb was on a laptop could be good, even if not necessary. My reasoning would be, “why not make use of the space”.

I guess they may take up space a bigger battery could use, but as long as I could always get through the day, that wouldn’t bother me.

It’s like a mouse. Apple obviously thinks limited buttons is fine and really doesn’t support those with more buttons very well. But my mouse has a bunch and I use them all - but I have to use a third party app to do so. It’s an attitude Apple has that I’ve always disagreed with. What MAY be good for most may not be best for all.

I’ve used other split keyboards, though Kinesis is the best of the lot for me. And yet, TB seems so much better for typing to me. And that’s without considering it’s portability. Add that in, and there really is no contest.

Similar to the OP, I’ve also got a kinesis that I keep at work, and I have an ergodox at home (www.ergodox.io it’s a DIY build, similar to the kinesis, but without the awesome bowlness due to the DIY construction) I got my TREG around a year and a half ago and the kinesis has barely had a look in since. I’ve only used her when I’ve run out of charge in the blade, forgotten to bring it to work, or the couple of times that I had issues with my early blades & needed replacements.

My kinesis is a very crusty old model, so doesn’t have much programmability by modern standards (but still enough for me to convert it from qwerty to colemak, set my capslock to escape for vimming, and a few other customisations) but newer models probably come a bit closer so I can’t talk much about their abilities compare in a meaningful & up-to-date way. The tiny finger reaches required for typing on the blade mean that I don’t miss the bowls at all (whereas that’s something that I really miss on the ergodox). When starting with the blade, I did miss the slight stagger to each finger - having to bring my fingers into a straight line to rest on the home keys felt very unnatural. I’ve got used to that now, but I would still like to see a blade with that sort of physical layout. And as my main use of the blade is as my main keyboard on my desk at work I also miss having a nice cable to attach it all, meaning no concerns about keeping it charged or flakey radio connections. Ooooh but I’d love to see Waytools make a deskblade as a one piece usb keyboard with the same general layout, but getting a bit of a finger stagger and tying in to some of the conversation above, maybe adding a few extra keys like a numpad in the usual position and possibly a matching set on the left for customisation. Using layering & keeping all your functions close to the home row is great when touch typing, but it’s a bit more clunky when you’re not in position, and maybe just want to occasionally tap the cursor keys or something.

At home, I’ve still got my ergodox hooked up at my desk as I don’t tend to do nearly as much typing, so I don’t want to have to get the blade out & wait for it to pair if I just want to bung in a quick password or something. But when I unplug my lappy to take her down to the lounge then the blade comes with me. The built-in keyboard gets approximately no use whatsoever :slight_smile:

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Yes, I would also consider a textblade with a USB cable if that option was available as well.
It might be possible to mod your textblade if you are brave once there is general release.

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Linux4ever - agree on your idea, and we do have a wired mode option in the works right now.

TextBlade is designed for extreme portability, but it is surprising to us how many users keep it on their desk as their main keyboard, replacing much bulkier old tech.

So wired mode has shown up on our radar as useful to some users, and we’re designing an accessory that does it.

In keeping with the rest of TextBlade design principles, it’s uniquely compact and low profile.

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That’s interesting. I expected at some point there would be a wired version, but only as a new version. Having it done as an accessory may be even better as no need to buy another whole unit.

Yes, it’s done without changing the design, and without any ergonomic interference.

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Is the intention for the wired mode to just keep it powered but still using bluetooth, or will it go full-awesome, ditch wireless altogether, and be a straight up USB keyboard? Oh, and will we still get jumps (or something like them) whilst wired if it’s the latter?

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:+1:t3:Full-awesome for sure.

We’re concentrating right now on infrastructure firmware code updates that support several improvements, including this wired mode. Completing + validating these greatly simplifies support for general release.

Will release basic wired mode first. Fancier modes will be added by OTA update after general release, to let GR proceed sooner.

New wired mode capabilities -

  1. Automatically charges TextBlade while in use at desk. Always topped-up tank whenever you grab and go.

  2. Smart charge management to guarantee no risk of overcharge when connected long term.

  3. Jumps to all devices fully supported while wired.

  4. Supports direct USB link to local wired host.

  5. Plug and play pinless pairing automation to wired host.

Most above features will be through OTA updates after GR, but infrastructure will be in place day one.

Comments from current users show these capabilities will be major crowd-pleasers, so it’s smart to get in the foundation parts of this code now.

Above gives you some idea of why we’re busy working on infrastructure right now.

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And this scope creep isn’t impacting GR how?

Upgrading the foundation obviously takes some time, but overall, makes users happier way faster than trying to change in the field at scale. We defer all nonessential features until after GR to minimize impact, but releasing with high grade foundation at start is smart.

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This sounds fantastic!

+1 on jumps while wired

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