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Microsoft Intros Strange Ergonomic Keyboard Bundle

By - Source: Microsoft Hardware | B 21 comments

Microsoft Hardware has quietly updated its website with an interesting new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop keyboard. It takes last year's Sculpt Comfort Keyboard design to the next level by physically dividing the curved keyboard in half and connecting them together with the dual space bars and an elongated, cushioned palm rest.

"Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is built on advanced ergonomic principles, with a split keyboard layout that keeps wrists and forearms in a relaxed position, and a cushioned palm rest to provide wrist support," reads the product description. "The domed keyboard shape works to reduce and correct wrist pronation that can cause pain and limited mobility."

Microsoft claims that the natural arc keyboard layout follows the curve of the user's fingertips for a more natural way of typing. Reverse tilt design supposedly positions the unique keyboard at the correct angle to provide users with a straight, neutral wrist position. It measures 15.3 inches across and 8.19 inches deep – the company doesn't provide an actual height from the bottom to its domed peak.

As with the previous Sculpt mechanical keyboard, the Sculpt Ergonomic allows users to configure the dual spacebars. Microsoft claims that 90 percent of people use only their right thumb to hit the spacebar while the backspace key is one of the most frequently used keys on a keyboard. That said, the left spacebar can be reconfigured to act as a backspace button instead. Don't like it? Simply revert it back to the spacebar function.

Microsoft's new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop bundle also comes with a standalone number pad that for some reason Microsoft feels is better than having it connected to the keyboard. However given the way the hands are angled on the domed layout, perhaps a built-in keypad would have been awkward to access. Microsoft says the standalone design provides greater flexibility for workspace setup.

The new bundle even throws in an unusual mouse that only right-handed customers will love. It sports a shallow egg-like top and an actual thumb rest (aka thumb scoop) on the left so that users can easily touch the Windows 8 Start screen button without much effort. The two main buttons are shifted over to the right along with the 4-way scroll wheel mounted between them. It's definitely not a mouse designed for lefties.

"Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is designed for productivity, with an eye on ergonomic excellence," the company states. "By providing a relaxed, comfortable computing experience, it enables you to work without the stress, strain, and discomfort of other keyboards and mice you may have used in the past."

For more information about Microsoft's new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop bundle, head here. The whole package costs $129.95 USD.

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  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , August 14, 2013 6:04 AM
    Weird. But cool. These ergo keyboards are nice as long as you don't look at them, and hide them under your desk.

    I'd take one (just the keyboard), with a trackball mouse and mechanical num pad. Just hide it from sight.
  • -1 Hide
    ojas , August 14, 2013 6:10 AM
    1. This is a mechanical switch-key keyboard, right?

    2. Funny that it costs the same as the Touch/Type covers.
  • 5 Hide
    James Devenberg , August 14, 2013 6:24 AM
    @jn77: I have never seen a single backlit ergomic keyboard. These are mostly meant for use in an office, which are usually well lit enough that one wouldn't need it to be backlit. They can keep their LEDs and I'll keep my $20 they would have charged for the feature. Second, I'm not sure if it is 4.0 or not, but this does work with either bluetooth or the included dongle (for machines that don't have bluetooth). I too hope it is 4.0, because that would great increase the battery life.

    @ojas: Why is that funny?
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , August 14, 2013 6:27 AM
    I don't think it is mechanical. But if it is, cool. If it ain't, I really don't care.

    People file the letters off these keyboards, so I don't think LEDs will be popular... Look at that Das Keyboard thing.
  • -4 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , August 14, 2013 6:44 AM
    The whole ergonomic keyboard thing is for suckers. They make a strangely shaped keyboard and convince people its healthier.

    Just my 2cents
  • 1 Hide
    James Devenberg , August 14, 2013 6:49 AM
    Quote:
    The whole ergonomic keyboard thing is for suckers. They make a strangely shaped keyboard and convince people its healthier.

    Just my 2cents


    I like ergonomic keyboards. Whether or not they are "better" health wise is irrelevant to me, I find them more comfortable. I don't like split designs like this though because I like to use my left hand for b.
  • 1 Hide
    4745454b , August 14, 2013 7:55 AM
    I had a similar keyboard way back when I was in college. I LOVE the split space bar and want the left one as a backspace. Makes fixing mistakes a lot easier. Sadly though I won't even consider getting this. It was great for typing all those papers, but I know it wasn't good for gaming. The arc makes things in the wrong spot, and when you need to press 4 to change a weapon FAST, this doesn't help. I dumped that keyboard I had when I found I couldn't game as well on it. Maybe if I gave it more time it would have been better, but I didn't want to. For anyone who does a lot of typing though, this will be a great keyboard.
  • 0 Hide
    bystander , August 14, 2013 10:37 AM
    @James Davenberg:

    It appears the "b" is on the left side of the keyboard. There are 5 keys to the right of the shift, and that is where the "b" goes. It shouldn't be a problem if you type the "b" with the left hand as we are usually taught when typing.
  • 0 Hide
    chicofehr , August 14, 2013 11:46 AM
    i want one with mechanical keys and media buttons like the ones on the original microsoft natural keyboard with the ps2 port as they didn't all look the same. I hate that most keyboards the media keys all look the same and you have to read them to know what each does.
  • 0 Hide
    cozmium , August 14, 2013 12:01 PM
    Too bad if you are old school and still use arrow keys for games, that curve would reign hell on your left hand.
  • 1 Hide
    gogogadgetliver , August 14, 2013 1:01 PM
    @Truther (Ironic name)

    Ergonomic keyboards aren't snake oil in the slightest. The only way they make no difference is if you type with *proper* hand posture where your hands float above the keys and your wrists curve down, not up. Nobody has typed like that since typewriters went by the wayside.

    Fact is they keep the tendons in line which reduces the amount of force needed to type. It makes you faster (I clock 140wpm with raw text), it makes less stress on your tendons. I'm not sure how you can look at your hands on a ergonomic board vs a normal board and not see the mechanics in plain view.

    I love ergonomics at work, and use a traditional at home for gaming. I'll give it to Microsoft. Hate on em if you want but they make badass keyboards and mice that are reliable.
  • 0 Hide
    CKKwan , August 14, 2013 3:37 PM
    This keyboard is not ergonomic for people who practice one finger typing.
  • 0 Hide
    Swordkd , August 14, 2013 5:38 PM
    I've gamed on an ergonomic and typed on one as well. I love them. Typing felt more natural to me(see what I did there?) and more comfortable. Gaming didn't require too much of a learning curve, but I only played a few FPS and MMO's.
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 14, 2013 8:56 PM
    Pretty neat looking. It reminds me of the old Apple Adjustable Keyboard with that detached numpad.

    Personally I'd only be interested in it if it used USB. Wireless response time is too slow for gaming. I also hate to waste batteries.

    I'd also like it without the mouse. In my opinion Microsoft Keyboards and Logitech Mice are the ultimate combo.
  • 0 Hide
    ccovemaker , August 15, 2013 4:23 AM
    Quote:
    The whole ergonomic keyboard thing is for suckers. They make a strangely shaped keyboard and convince people its healthier.

    Just my 2cents



    Yeah so I type 40 hours a week and my pinky and thumb had a tingling and numbest progressing and getting worse. Work sent me through $4000 physical therapy which yielded nothing.....I spent $40 at New Egg on one of the older Microsoft egro models and the issue cleared up within a month.

    These keyboards absolutely help.



    I would total love a back lit gaming version of this I would gladly replace my home keyboard for it.
  • 0 Hide
    vestibule , August 16, 2013 9:32 PM
    I like the separate number pad, I've always thought it would be nice to have a number pad to the left for some extra keys.
  • 0 Hide
    Roger Rogers , September 13, 2013 5:25 AM
    I had one very similar well over ten years ago.
    It was Ok.
    I also suggested Mircosoft should be moving more towards hardware in a paper on Business at Uni in 1999.
    They are sluggish.
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , September 13, 2013 5:56 AM
    I adored my Microsoft Natural Multimedia Keyboard. The space key stopped working after umpteen years and I had to abandon it. For some people these are garbage; for some people they relieve pain. That keyboard and a huge trackball (Kensington Expert Mouse) kept me from having hand surgery - the surgeon suggested that I try ergonomic entry devices for a while before having the work done.
  • 0 Hide
    Roger Rogers , September 13, 2013 9:03 PM
    Quote:
    I adored my Microsoft Natural Multimedia Keyboard. The space key stopped working after umpteen years and I had to abandon it. For some people these are garbage; for some people they relieve pain. That keyboard and a huge trackball (Kensington Expert Mouse) kept me from having hand surgery - the surgeon suggested that I try ergonomic entry devices for a while before having the work done.


    I did find that the NMM Keyboard helped me learn touch-typing easier.
    If it was up to me I would have got MS to design a keyboard which has LEDs under the keys and you can change the entire layout of the board with the flick of a switch to a different QWERTY layout. To test all the different system layouts for whichever suits you. It would have suited those of us who have PC`s that need two systems of input.
    e.g. My wife uses Japanese Kanji, Japanese Hiragana and Japanese Katakana (and Romanji).
    One Keyboard for all countries.
    Dial in an input.
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