Mi­crosoft Sur­face Er­gonomic Key­board

PC & Tech Authority - - MOST WANTED -

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.

MOST WANTED:

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.

NOT WANTED:

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).

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