Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Everyone knows a standard keyboard isn’t very ergonomic, that it can cause RSI or at least wrist-strain, and yet no-one seems to do much about it. Except for Microsoft.
After the brief split-deck revolution of 1994 (Microsoft’s entry was the super-beige Natural Keyboard), every other major manufacturer seemed to lose interest in ergonomic boards, and handed Microsoft the market.
The Natural Ergonomic 4000 remains a workhorse in this office, and the manta-ray-looking Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard ditches dome switches for notebook-style chiclets, wireless USB, and a modular numpad. Now, Microsoft reattaches the numpad, but doubles-down on the minimalism with the Surface Ergonomic. The odd manta-face gap at the top is gone, and the chiclet keys - backed by scissor switches - have slightly more travel and a smoother finish.
The wrist-wrest, like all the new Surface stuff, is wrapped in Alcantara, and you can have any colour you want as long as it’s very grey.
Somehow Microsoft keeps improving these ergo boards, model after model. The Natural 4000 at my desk is dependable but a bit stiff and plasticky. The Sculpt Ergo is good but feels like a mid-tier laptop at best.
The Surface Ergonomic though, it’s a proper premium peripheral. Key action is smooth. The Alcantara feels great under the heel of each hand (though tiny crumbs and grit REALLY stand out - we developed a brush-before-typing ritual). And the key resistance and travel are precisely balanced for long periods of word-churn.
Of course, it’s the least you should expect for $199. This is the most expensive ergonomic keyboard from Microsoft ever. But it’s also their best.
Unlike Apple’s first-party, super-expensive Magic Keyboard, the Surface Ergo uses ordinary AAA batteries. That’s mostly a plus, but the downside is that it can’t be charged or plugged-in via USB. Which means the only connectivity is Bluetooth. That’s fine by Microsoft, since all Surface products also have Bluetooth, but if you want this for your custom desktop, a BT dongle or card will be required (we like the Wi-Fi PCIe cards that include BT and WiDi too).