When comparing CODE Keyboard vs Kinesis Advantage2, the Slant community recommends CODE Keyboard for most people. In the question“What are the best keyboards for programming?” CODE Keyboard is ranked 2nd while Kinesis Advantage2 is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose CODE Keyboard is:
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to. There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Available with 4 different kinds of Cherry MX switches
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to.
There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
Pro Solid construction
This keyboard is built solidly, using sturdy parts made of robust materials. It's mounted on a solid steel backplate, weighs over 2 pounds and has a dual layer PCB board. In this aspect, it’s comparable to other keyboards renowned for their build quality, such as those from the Ducky series.
Pro Full white backlighting
The CODE keyboard comes with backlighting that feels similar to the one found on Apple products. You can pick from seven brightness levels and the onboard memory saves your lighting preferences. They also have gone to a lot of trouble getting the backlighting even by painting the backplate white and positioning the key symbols just right.
Pro Minimalistic design
The CODE keyboard has a textured finish that resists fingerprints and scratches. It has no stickers or logos and the back-lighting is very clean and elegant.
Pro Removable/replaceable USB cable
Many keyboards come with a permanently attached cable, meaning that if it gets damaged, you need to get it fixed or replace the whole board. CODE keyboards come with removable cables, which means they're easy to replace if broken. This also has the added benefit of allowing for more customization options: braided cables, different coloured cables, or longer/shorter cables for different setups without having excess cables hanging around.
Pro Highly configurable
DIP-switches on the back of the keyboard can be used to disable the Windows key, switch Caps Lock with Ctrl, swap Alt with Command (if you're on macOS), and change to QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak layouts.
Pro Available with or without a numeric keypad
Users can choose between versions that have and don't have a numeric keypad.
Pro Media control
Even though there aren't any dedicated media keys, the navigation cluster has secondary media control functions. To access these functions, the keys should be pressed in combination with the Fn key.
Pro Consistent design
FN labels are on the front of the keycaps (i.e. media labels). This improves the user experience.
A consistent design is an outstanding aspect in this keyboard.
Pro Saves time with complex key combos
Key combos can be configured, supporting combinations of up to six keys. However, Ctrl, Alt and Shift don't count to this total. As a result, using these keys actually increases the combo key limit to nine.
Pro Very portable
This keyboard’s detachable cable, dimensions, and weight make it extremely easy to carry around.
Pro Optimised, ergonomic shape that significantly reduces the risk of RSI
This keyboard is sculpted to fit the curvature of your hand more naturally than regular flat boards. This helps reduce the risks of suffering repetitive strain injuries.
Pro Clusters of keys under each thumb means less reaching
Having multiple keys under the thumbs lets you keep the rest of your hands still, and helps prevent reaching. For example, the backspace key on a regular keyboard is way in the top right corner, while on the Kinesis keyboard it's under the left thumb. So, to hit the backspace button you just need to move your thumb while on regular keyboards you need to move your whole right hand and stretch your pinky to reach it.
Pro Tweaked layout that saves your hands
This keyboard has numerous ergonomic advantages over a keyboard with a standard layout. Some of them are obvious and some are subtle, but they are synergistic and result in a typing experience that places far less stress on the hands. Learning a tweaked keyboard layout is a small price to pay to avoid RSI (repetitive strain injury).
Pro No need to constantly move hands sideways
One of this keyboard's best features is that the keys are vertically aligned in straight columns, so that you're not constantly exercising the muscles to move your fingers slightly to the left or to the right. It makes a huge difference.
Pro Comfortable palm rests
The large, raised palm rests provide comfort while typing.
Pro Very programmable
This keyboard has several programmable options, like Macro recording, key remapping or keyboard layout (the keyboard can be changed from QWERTY to Dvorak with the touch of a button).
Pro Prepared for macOS, Windows and Linux
Besides the option of easily changing between pre-programmed layouts of these 3 systems, extra OS-specific keycaps come with the keyboard.
Pro No thumb conflict over the spacebar
On common keyboards, both thumbs rest over the spacebar, meaning they can knock against each other. On the Advantage 2 keyboard, only one thumb can press the keyboard, eliminating this problem.
Pro No undesirable movements
Because of its size, this keyboard stands firmly on the desk and doesn't suffer from unwanted movement during use.
Pro Good for learning how to touch type
This layout, because of its uniqueness, is perfect to learn touch typing. Even for those that were never able to learn it with common keyboards. It still requires practice to get proficient, of course.
Compared to alternatives which offer RGB lighting, USB passthrough or other features, this keyboard is pretty expensive.
Con Sculpted keys make switching to Dvorak difficult
Dvorak is a keyboard layout that's an alternative to the commonly used QWERTY layout. While QWERTY was designed in the early days of typing, Dvorak is a more comfortable, modern layout which is technically superior. It is designed to have more flow than QWERTY, where the left hand does most of the work. Here, keys are strategically placed to spread the typing out more evenly. This creates better flow (left hand types a letter, then the right hand, then back to left and so on). In this keyboad, the keycaps are sculpted for the QWERTY layout, which means that, when you switch the keys around, each of the keys is at a slightly different angle than the one next to it.
Con No wireless connection
CODE keyboards connect via USB. No Bluetooth or any other form of wireless connection is available.
Con Spare parts and keycap sets can only be obtained from third parties
The manufacturer doesn’t sell spare parts or keycap sets, so if users want to change the layout, they have to get these components from a third party.
Con Too small for some, particularly those with big hands
This keyboard's small size may prove difficult for some people to get accustomed to.
Con Lacks numpad
This is a tenkeyless keyboard which means that it doesn't have the numpad.
Con It's hard to source the MX Clear version
The version of the CODE keyboard that comes with the MX Clear switches is constantly out of stock.
Con Can be a bit flakey at times
The downside of this keyboard is that it can occasionally act up. The biggest problem is that the up-event for a key occasionally gets lost and then some key will auto-repeat until you press it again. Or even worse, it's a key that has no visible effect like an Alt key, and then you have to figure out which key it is that is in the virtual down position, and press it again. It has had this same problem for the last 20 years. You learn to live with it for the sake of your hands.
Con Not great for gaming
This keyboard is amazing for typing, but not great for gaming. Many games make intensive keys such as the Arrow keys or the Alt, Control and Shift keys. With this keyboard, it's not very comfortable to use them so frequently.
Con Proficiency means overcoming a learning curve
Becoming an expert at using this keyboard’s optimized design needs time and patience, since it’s so different from what most people are used to. Some of its drastic layout changes can be disorienting at first. For example, the four arrow keys are separated: up and down on the right side cluster; left and right on the left side cluster.
It’s also built to enforce healthier hand posture and movements, that may feel weird at first. For instance, the keyboard trains you (using a deactivatable key feedback) to press keys smoothly instead of smashing down, which reduces hand strain. Usually, it takes between two to four weeks of regular use to feel completely comfortable at using this keyboard.
Con Not for heavy shortcut users
Con Different switches for the function keys
The functions keys are not build with the same switches than the other keys: they use Cherry ML switches instead of Cherry MX Brown switches. Because of their shorter travel distance, the ML feels quite different. It's awkward to have such different sensations for different parts of the keyboard.
Con Quite bulky, therefore not very portable
As a direct consequence of its unconventional ergonomic shape, the Advantage2 is quite bulky. At 16.5 in’ x 8 in’ x 2.88 in’ (419 mm x 203 mm x 73 mm), it's not the most portable keyboard.