Kinesis Contoured

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Kinesis Contoured
Part number KB500USB-blk (black), KB-500USB-wht (white)
Manufacturer Kinesis Corporation
Keyswitches Cherry MX Brown
Interface USB (two port USB hub included)
Weight 0.96 kg
Years of production 2002 - present
Price $299, $359 (Pro model)

Successor to the Kinesis Contoured. The main differences is that this keyboard has a USB interface. It also has a two-port USB hub.

Design and features

Physical Layout

The alphanumeric keys are separated into two dished key-wells where each column has a different depth to account for different lengths of the fingers. The key columns are also slanted inwards at different angles. Several often-used keys are also on the thumbs. In those ways, the layout is quite similar to the Maltron's, but there are some differences. For instance, the pinky columns are not just higher but also offset from the others.

Most keys are cylindrical, except for the home keys which are spherical (and blue). The top row, which includes Escape, Function Keys and programming keys do not have Cherry MX switches but simple calculator-style rubber buttons.

Logical Layout

The keyboard can switch between QWERTY and Dvorak in hardware with a special key combination.

Earlier models (the Kinesis Contoured) came with keys that sported both QWERTY and Dvorak legends, but the Advantage has only QWERTY. The keys also have different shapes for different rows so you can not just move them around to get Dvorak legends without altering the physical layout. However, keys with Dvorak legends can be purchased separately from Kinesis.


The keyboard has a built-in speaker. By default, it will emit a click on each key press and beep when it engages/disengages a locking mode. These audio signals can be switched off.

Embedded numpad

There is no separate numeric keypad. Instead there is one embedded in the right key-well that can be activated with the special keypad key. There is an indicator light for this mode.

Configuration and programmability

On the highest level, there are preset modes for Windows, Macintosh and PC non-windows.

Almost all keys can be remapped using special key combinations.

It is possible to record macros as key sequences mapped to key combinations.

Because all configuration is stored in non-volatile memory inside the keyboard itself it will survive power failure and no special drivers are needed on the host computer.


The standard Kinesis Advantage MPC USB (KB500USB) comes in two colour choices: black or white. (The home keys are always blue, though)

Kinesis Advantage Pro

The "Pro" model (KB510USB) has a case that is silver in colour and comes with twice the on-board memory for programming. It also comes bundled with a foot switch and has a DIP-switch for locking the current programming.

Kinesis Advantage LF

This special model, which was introduced in 2011 comes with linear Cherry MX Red switches. The "LF" in the name stands for "Linear Feel". In all other respects it is just like the Advantage MPC USB.

See also


External Links

Kinesis Keyboards : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary Kinesis (keyboard) on Wikipedia