Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard review: Mastering this split-style keyboard takes patience

It may bring relief to aching arms, but it's not for everyone.

Credit: Pro Fit

The Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard joins standing desks and ergonomic chairs as another means of defense against the beating our bodies take at the office. Its “ergonomist-approved design” (quirkily shaped, as you’d expect) presumably provides relief for those who have repetitive stress injures, and an ounce of prevention for those who don’t yet.

Measuring 19 x 10 x 1.5 inches and weighing 2.18 pounds, the Pro Fit is clearly built for comfort rather than space savings or portability. All that real estate accommodates six rows of keys including a dozen function keys, shortcut keys, and a full number pad.

The keyboard has a “split and sloped” design with an adjustable reversible tilt—courtesy of three flip-down feet—that positions your hands, wrists and arms in optimal alignment. A thick cushion running along the bottom of the keyboard provides added support for your wrists.

pro fit ergo top Pro Fit

The keyboard takes up a lot of desk space but has a slate of alphanumeric keys, short cuts, a number pad and a wrist support.

The Ergo runs on a two AAA batteries, provided in the box, and connects via a 2.4GHz USB dongle or Bluetooth 4.0 LE. To use the USB receiver, you have to toggle a switch on the bottom of the keyboard to 2.4. Flip the same switch over to “Bluetooth” when you want to connect that way and press the button labeled Connect under the keyboard. A pairing button above the number pad blinks green, and the Ergo appears in the list of available Bluetooth devices on your keyboard or tablet. I used both methods during my testing, and each time the Ergo responded to typing immediately.

My experience with split keyboards is that they require practice and patience to master, and the Ergo was no exception. The slightly angled positing it put my hands in didn’t feel unnatural, but it did make key discovery a challenge. I had many of the same issues I had using the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard, overshooting keys much of the time and needing to seek them out visually, which slowed my typing considerably. Over time I got more acclimated to the off-kilter key positions, but the learning curve was steep.

pro fit ergo side Pro Fit

The Pro Fit Ergo has a “split and sloped” design with a reversible tilt that places your hands and wrists in the optimal position.

The Ergo’s keys have responsive bump in each keystroke and emit a quiet and satisfying click. They’re also well spaced, so I didn’t feel any cramping moving to the Ergo from my laptop.

The keys are advertised as “spill proof.” That doesn’t make them impervious to liquids, but it does means liquid beads up on the plastic finish for easy clean up.

I can’t say how The Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard will prevent or ease RSI, but typing on it was comfortable enough that it’s probably worth trying if you’re suffering. If you’re an RSI-free touch typist like me, though, you’ll have to decide if the time spent learning the new layout—and cleaning up all those typos—is a worthwhile cost for added comfort.

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Michael Ansaldo

PC World (US online)
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