We have had all sorts of bizarro keyboards through the lab lately,from super ergonomic to super ergo no thank you.
But the one thing that all of them have in common,is.
To be fair, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge isn't uncool,It just lacks the wow factor of the more flashy mainstream keyboard options that are out there.
Introducing, the latest iteration of the infamous ErgoDox EZ Keyboard.
A no compromises ergonomic keyboard, that actually looks as good as it feels.
And, for the first time ever, now comes with user replaceable key switches.
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Looking at it, The ErgoDox EZ is kind of like a mashup of two boards from rival Ergo board maker Kinesis.
It's a split keyboard, like the Freestyle Edge,But it has thumb clusters, and ortho linear keys like the Advantage 2.
It's a small 76 keyboard which lands it somewhere between a 60% and a tenkeyless,so there's no function row.
But, it does have navigation keys,Wherever you decide to put them.
Now since ErgoDox started out as an open-source build your own board company,Customizability is in the EZ's DNA.
They include F and J keycaps that don't have tactile guides,in case you plan on rearranging the letters in a Dvorak or Colemak configuration.
And, even if you order your board with a legend on the keycaps which you're not even required to do,some keys are still left unmarked, so as to not be confusing after you customize your layout.
And customize, you will.
because the default layout is,pretty different.
For example, the backspace is now more easily accessible over here beside the A key,while the Apostrophe is way down here under the Z,that is too far for me, I'm very possessive of my apostrophe key.
Now for his part, James our writer actually went through nine,Iterations before landing on the perfect layout.
That sounds like a lot of work,but that high number actually just goes to show how easy it is, to tweak the configuration.
Just use the online configurator tool, and flash the firmware to save it right on to the board.
and while you're at it you don't have a ton of keys on this thing,so you'll probably want to take advantage of at least a couple of the,32 available layers.
Which you can switch between in some pretty cool ways.
Like switching only as long as you hold a particular key down,or, switching layers but only for a single key press, kind of like how shift works on your phone.
all this customization does mean that, yes this board can take some time to get used to.
Especially if you're not used to ortho linear or non staggered keys.
Which I guess then brings us into ergonomics,the split board lets you tilt each key module to keep your wrists from bending outward.
So that's good, but if you want to cut out wrist extension, You'll need the nice and solid, But sold separately,silicon fuzz collecto- I'm sorry excuse me, wrist rest.
and, same goes for battling pronation.
You'll actually need the ted kit for another 30 bucks extra.
It's not cheap, but the legs are metal, making them nice and durable.
The cute little dipped feet are available in white or black, to match the color of your board.
once it's installed, you can tilt each individual leg through ratcheted steps,or using the included washers steplessly.
It takes longer to set up than Kinesis, also sold separately Lift Kit.
But the end result is more versatile and feels more Quality.
in fact overall, build quality has a lot to do with the EZ's cool factor.
It doesn't look like it was made in the 90s, like many other ergonomic keyboards,and that beauty is more than skin deep.
The key caps for example are made by signature plastics, the printed set is double shot injected ABS plastic.
With a lower profile than most key caps, and a roughened surface finish on the top,So they don't get that gross shiny look as they wear out,and the unprinted set is PBT with a special bonus as well,Since there's no reason to move them around, their sculpted.
meaning that each row, has a differently shaped key cap for improved ergonomics.
Then, underneath the key caps it gets real.
Because you'll find one of 12 different switch types available, right out of the box.
Wait, I'm sorry.
Did I say one of?Believe it or not, our board right here actually has five different switch types plugged into it right now.
The EZ makes swapping them out,Well, easy.
Just use the included dual pullage tool to swap out some, Cherry MX Browns for Reds on the WASD keys.
Maybe some Blacks on the keys you don't want to strike accidentally like Q in Overwatch.
Maybe some, super crunchy kale thick gold for the number keys.
I mean,The hell yeah, why not let's throw,let's throw some cherry MX whites in here for, I don't know, these keys.
In the future, you'll even be able to order small numbers of extra switches directly from ErgoDox.
But for now their ordering system only allows you to buy a complete set.
Which I guess brings us nicely to our gripes.
It wasn't easy to, docks these marks.
[noises]But, I have to talk about the cable.
I appreciate that these are detachable, and therefore replaceable in theory.
But, they stand out as the least premium aspect of the entire package.
Not only are they not braided, they've got like, printing on them like they just went to a store and bought them.
Next up is the lighting.
The Underglow pretty freakin sweet it does contribute to the coolness factor,There's lots of options for colors, patterns, and brightness,But, is this as good as backlit keys?Maybe, that's a matter of opinion but I do hope to see that on a future version of the board.
As for the bottom line, whether to buyThat depends on what you're willing to spend, just the board by itself without even switches,Is $225.
A basic configuration, then it's $270.
And if you add all the bells and whistles, which to achieve proper ergonomic status,We'd recommend, You're sitting at $355.
As for any bonus key switches you want to throw in,Well that's gonna cost you too.
So is it a lot for a mechanical keyboard?Yes.
is it a lot for a programmable mechanical keyboard?Yup.
is it a lot for a programmable mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting?It sure is.
But is it a lot for an ergonomic keyboard?Actually,No.
So if you're looking for a board that's as functional as it is eye-catching,Then the ErgoDox EZ, might be worth making the switch.
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