The Freestyle Edge is a beautiful, new development in split gaming keyboards. Using onboard programming and ergonomic “lift kits” this innovative keyboard revolutionizes gaming. We had the privilege of digging deeper into what Kinesis Gaming is tinkering with as they develop this new board.
I recently chatted with the developers at Kinesis Gaming and got a few answers to the most popular questions about the Freestyle Edge. The split keyboard is a new and catching trend, and Kinesis does it right. But we wanted to delve deeper into what the keyboard will offer and what it currently lacks.
While split keyboards offer the capability to game more efficiently, not everyone prefers a split board all the time. According to Kinesis Gaming, they have “discussed various accessories for keeping the keyboard together[,] but it’s not a high priority.”
The lack of keyboard locking and any solid plans to introduce locking was a little disappointing to us. Keyboard locking is not mandatory for this style of keyboard. However, locking the two halves is a feature found on similar split keyboards that are also in development.
Though functionality holds a high standard, gamers crave a beautiful build. The current design of the keyboard only facilitates blue LED backlighting. Unfortunately, the model featured on Kickstarter will not have RGB capability, but Kinesis let us know that a follow-on model may include it.
The RGB option will probably hinge on the success of the Freestyle Edge and the feasibility of a follow-on model. Therefore, if the Freestyle Edge is not very successful, RGB will probably be off the table. Currently, the Kickstarter campaign has not reached wild popularity. But the internet is crazy place where viral attention is entirely possible.
Additionally, with a market to gamers, a Cherry MX board demands the option of custom keycaps. Custom keycaps are not hard to come by, but the split board adds a level of difficulty. Most of the Freestyle Edge keys are a standard size. However, the spacebar is two awkward 1 x 3.5 keys. Additionally, the control and shift keys are 1 x 1.75. These keys differ from the standard 1 x 6.5 spacebar keys and the 1 x 2.25 control and shift keys.
Custom keycaps are not a mandatory accessory, but the ability to customize is part of the appeal of a Cherry MX keyboard. We asked Kinesis if they had any intentions of providing customized keycaps for the awkward sizes. Unfortunately, Kinesis has no plans to develop any. Instead, they hope to see third-party keycap suppliers take on the challenge. Our only concern is that the consumer will foot a larger bill as a result.
Debugging and Features
Finally, the Freestyle Edge is making great progress toward a final product. Kinesis Gaming is an established company with a tested product line. Therefore, testing is progressing smoothly. Kinesis let us know that they are building off of their “Advantage2 firmware so a lot of low-level debugging has already occur[r]ed.” Meaning funding the Freestyle Edge is safe bet with low risk. With debugging mostly taken care of, Kinesis is freed up to work on “game-specific feature[s] around macros and lighting.”
Kinesis Gaming has excited us about the Freestyle Edge. The developers are on top of their work and are nearing a completed project. The Kickstarter campaign has exceeded funding and introduced a professional gaming product. With only minor disappointments, the split keyboard is poised to change gaming. Let us know what you think about the Freestyle Edge in the comments. Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter!