My MS Ergonomics 4000 keyboard is getting long in the tooth. Good to see there are alternatives out there.
One problem I'd like see solved is n-key rollover.
This reviewer's desk is a temple of the mechanical. I like my keyboards, and I like them clicky and with oodles of tactile feedback. And yet, for the past couple of weeks or so, I've been using a bog-standard scissor-switch keyboard. Specifically, the Logitech Ergo K860, a split ergonomic keyboard designed to take the strain …
Take a look at the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard.
I've had one for years at home, and its a close match to the MS Ergo4000 at work so its not a case of learning a slightly different layout.
Still expensive at about £75 to £100 for the keyboard/mouse Combo but then again so was the MS Ergo 4000.
Only downside is the dongles are linked at the factory and cannot be replaced (short of breaking out a set of screwdrivers and maybe a soldering iron to take parts from a broken donor unit ) so don't lose the dongle, but as its on my home desktop that's not an issue anyway for me.
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With a regular number keypad I often find my keyboard awkwardly set off to the left on my seating position and my mouse (right-handed) set further off to the right than should be comfortable. I like having a number keypad, but I've often felt it could be better positioned on the left of the keyboard (for rightys) and I could just learn to use it with my left hand. For this fact I've always been a little envious of leftys and have thought about learning to use my mouse with my left hand, but it's so damn difficult to be precise.
I'm glad of my numeric keypad.
Having had to enter several thousand numeric values into tables over the last couple of weeks, I would have gone mad, if I only had the numeric row at the top of the main alpha keyboard.
Sometimes a compact design is nice, but if you regularly have to enter a series of numeric values, you are just grateful for a numeric keypad.
You could, but it is a compromise, and finding an external keypad with the same key caps and the same feel is next to impossible. Even the Sculpt's external keypad feels different to the main keypad, at least on my model. Also, the keypad isn't anchored, it moves around more than if it is attached to the main body.
For somebody who does a lot of data processing, it isn't a real alternative.
I learned to left mouse when I was gaming too much in my early 30's. I would left mouse at work and right mouse when [gaming] at home. It wasn't that hard to learn to the extent that I needed to for work (Sys admin at the time). I have since quit gaming and use left mouse only. It does have the advantage of centering my keyboard, as you suggest. And yes, I do have this Logi keyboard.
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A split keyboard is an interesting concept, no complaint there, but I don't see that they take into account accented characters. Changing key positions is an interesting idea, but you cannot change them regularly and still keep your typing speed up, so you won't be doing much of that.
If they have an AZERTY layout for their Moonlander, I'll be looking into that.
I might be the odd ball out here but I ignore "country" layout and only care about the physical placement of keys. I'm in the USA and I've used keyboards from Russia, England, France and even various custom TelTex and "Entry" boards (of course I didn't use all keys on those).
I guess if you actually look at the keys it matters, but I just feel for the little home row bumps. Some of these newer fancier ($$$$) keyboards don't have the little bumps, which seems nuts to me.
All that said, I'm still on the lookout for a board that is JUST the writer+FN row. No nav, 10-key or anything else, JUST the writer+FN... can't find it.
Looks more like a cross between the current Surface Ergonomic and Microsoft Ergonomic keyboards.
I had a sculpt, but the separate numeric keypad was a pain and the batteries in it went flat every couple of weeks, I was constantly replacing them - they use a small Lithium cell, not AAs like the main keyboard.
With the Surface Ergonomic, I replace the batteries every year or so. The MS Ergonomic is wired, so no batteries there.
But I enter too many numbers on a regular basis to ever choose a keyboard without a numeric keypad.
I use a Sculpt daily and haven't had a problem with batteries, including the numpad. I want the numpad anywhere but on the right hand side, which is where my mouse (that I use much more frequently than the numpad) goes.
It's not perfect, though. I'd prefer a much bigger gap in the middle.
I think I've had at least 1 of every model of ergonomic / Natural keyboard that Microsoft ever made, from the original Natural, up to the current Microsoft Ergonomic and Surface Ergonomic models.
From key feeling, the original is still the best, followed by the 2003 Multimedia version (the late 90s multimedia was ok, but felt a bit of a kludge) and the current Mircorsoft Ergonomic.
The worst was the Elite from the late 90s, dreadful soft, squishy key feel and squashed layout, squashing the F-keys to half height.
I struggle with the Sculpt, nice design, but I'd like the keypad built in, I like to the numpad to be in a set place, the separate pad on the Sculpt would wander around the desk, as papers etc. pushed it out the way. But the key action was better than my original 4000, which was very poor. I now have a newer 4000 at work and the key action is better than the original, especially the space bar, which made it all but unusable.
I really like the Surface Ergonomic, and if you are used to typing on a laptop and like relatively short travel keys, it is probably the peak of Microsoft ergonomic keyboards, for you. If you like more travel, the current Microsoft Ergonomic is the one to get - and my current favourite.
I have a 4000 at work for my laptop, a MS Ergo on my private PC and the Surface Ergo for my work laptop at home.
I did try a couple of the Logitech models over the years (E.g. Wave), but I never really felt as at home with them. But this new one looks interesting though.
I have suffered RSI in the past, I still have to be careful.
I am glad I bought 3 Fujitsu Siemens split keyboards when I could they have served me well. I also use a venerable Microsoft Trackball optical which i have managed to keep running ( the only Microsoft thing I use now, though I suspect they were not the manufacture). I did in the past have a Maltron keyboard which was a work of wiring art. I never use mice, they tense up your upper arm. Just remember if you have wrist pain the rule of thumb is every day you work though the pain it adds a week recovery time! There is a good chance a nerve is compressed somewhere and making the things around it inflamed is not a good idea. It takes ages for nerves to heal.
One thing that helped me was :-
0) getting hands on pummel your back neck and arms physio
1) learning and doing lots of stretching
2) taking regular breaks
3) getting the right posture ( use a laptop riser and or a extra screen)
4) using hot water to confuse pain messages
5) don't overuse your hands even if it is not typing, you may have to trade of typing against decorating for example or playing on the play station
A desk with depth (used to be lots of depth to get a CRT in the right place). In the front are a couple of old telephone directories to rest my forearms on so my wrists angle slightly downwards to reach the keyboard.
The other big fix is stress. Think about what is stressing you out and instead of worrying about it, deal with it.
Just out of curiosity. When you buy a new keyboard, how do you check it does not have a keylogger?
It's difficult to find an input device that is not manufactured in unethical countries, so once you give up searching what precautions do you take?
Buying from a well known established brand
Making sure they don't use a custom driver
Running something like Glasswire to look for any dodgy connections
Keyboard always wired
Stocks in tin-foil just went up!
Anyone who installs keyboard or mouse drivers from the item manufacturer has to be a bit of plank, that's when you will most likely get logging if there's any done, standard drivers unlikely.
Let's face it, logging is only an issue for Windows, Linux is very unlikely to be logging keystrokes no matter what's plugged in.
Ultimately, do you really think yours or my boring, mundane little lives are really worth spying on? While I don't wish to share anything without consent, if they're that determined they're welcome to know I waste most of my time playing EvE Online and LEGO games with occassionally coding a little at home! I'm simply not self-centred to think I'm that interesting to anyone else!
Yes, personal data is a commodity these days. Maybe your life seem mundane to you, but at scale it can give valuable insight into what population is up to.
For example your data could be used to train AI models, to separate boring people from those possibly posing a threat.
Imagine a corporation then convincing the government to mandate the use of self-censoring keyboards.
"Making sure they don't use a custom driver"
Pretty much this. My keyboard talks to a UHCI driver. Should it try to connect to the outside world through a network interface, it gets the software equivalent of, "You wot, mate?"
I'm sure that a highly motivated bad actor could build a keyboard that would get directly on to a cellular network. But the service plan cost times the number of units sold would discourage that.
... is a vertical mouse.
I bought an Anker one a few years ago and it has been great for
This is combined with a standing desk (just a small table on a slightly larger table) and learning to stand for long periods. Once you are in the habit it's much better for your back too.
I did try out the MS 'Natural' keyboard back in the day and got used to it a bit.
Problem was that I was doing a lot of deskside support work at the time so threw the muscle memory out of whack every time so ended up doing hunt and peck making things a lot slower.
But maybe that was just me. :-)
I have had this keyboard for just over a year. I have been working full time from home (programmer) since. So it's gotten a ton of use. I have not replaced the batteries yet, so their claim of 2 years is likely not far fetched.
I use a Mac and a Windows machine, so it's really nice to have support for both.
The one thing that I can't believe they didn't plan for is how many crumbs this thing collects. There is a crevice between the keyboard and the wrist pad. The wrist pad isn't detachable, so crumbs accumulate. I removed the 7 screws that attach the wrist pad, so I can remove it when necessary. (It just snaps in now and feels no different in use.)
But I really like this keyboard overall. I'm a fan of low-travel keys, split key layout and I really hate not having a number pad. So this keyboard was a no-brainer for me.
like has been state repeatedly above, it means that it projects to the right because of the number pad...I can deal with that. I bought it because when I look at it, it smiles back at me.
What I really want to get is another K360 - I've had several, but the quality has dropped considerably since I got my first one...
What kind of timeframes are we talking about here? My K350's probably about 9 years old now, and I've been thinking about swapping out mostly just so I can get used to the UK layout (moved here about 5 years ago, brought the keyboard with me). Unfortunately, it can't be easily changed just by system keyboard settings, or as far as I can tell, I lose my \| key, which is pretty necessary for me.
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"allows you to type while limiting the amount of movement your wrist does"
Limiting the amount of movement (long periods in a fixed position) is one of the aggravating factors of RSI. This keyboard might feel like an improvement over your old one due to the change in hand position caused by the new hardware. But after a few weeks or months, your tendons will take a new set and you'll be susceptible again.
Non-typist here. I owe my avoidance of RSI after many years of hunting and pecking lots of code to the use of different, randomly selected fingers to poke the same key.
Perhaps the best solution would be to keep this keyboard, a flat one and maybe another with a differing slope and angle in a rotation. And switch them once a week or so.
Been using the old Logitech ergonomic model ('Cordless Desktop Pro') every day for 10+ years and have a spare on the shelf. Glad to see they're bringing it back.
Just my personal preference: I like the numpad and multimedia keys to be present on the main keyboard. So I have more keys to program, and the numeric pad is closer for my hands to travel. I will probably buy the the K860 anyway, even though the multimedia are now part of the function keys.
MicroSoft Sculpt is very comfortable, but hopefully MS can replace the physical lever that toggles the function keys to/from multimedia, with a normal (modifier or otherwise) key that can be tapped in an instant. And attach the numpad to the main board.
But I encourage all companies that manufacture and experiment with ergonomic devices.
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