Really nice keyboard, and would definitely recommend!
Getting started with my new Sculpt Keyboard
Full Disclaimer: I have only been using this keyboard for about 2 hours. The opinions shared here may change over time, and if they do, I will update the blog post to reflect this.
For over five years now, I have been the proud owner of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I liked this keyboard so much that I actually bought two of them. One for the office, and one for home. However, as with most things, there comes a time when items need to be replaced. For me, with this particular keyboard, this was mainly due to the fact that on my work version, the “y” key had become flaky. Every so often, even though it was definitely being pushed, it simply wouldn’t work. The “solution” was to hit the key really hard, and it would eventually work. When I decided to leave my old job, I also decided it was time to replace the keyboard, and have a new one for my new job. New beginnings and all that…
When I was given some Amazon vouchers as part of my leaving present, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to get the new keyboard, and so I bought this.
I have since had this delivered, and I am in fact using it to write this blog post. What are my thoughts so far I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you…
I really like it! It is much smaller than the 4000, but this is mainly due to the keys that it doesn’t have, i.e. the NumPad. You can see the Sculpt Keyboard sitting on top of the 4000 in the picture below:
The keyboard itself feels very solid, which is good. Access to the battery compartment is via a magnetised cover (all the devices, keyboard, mouse and Number Pad, all share this feature), which makes inserting/changing the batteries very simple. The keys feel much less mechanical than the 4000, which was a common complaint of that device, and they don’t take as much movement of the fingers to depress the keys. It actually feels more like typing on a laptop keyboard, but with the benefit of the split keyboard layout
With the aid of a toggle switch, each function key can be used as a shortcut for Windows 8 functions, such as Search, Share, Settings, etc. This isn’t something that I think I will be making use of. I will keep it in Function Key mode, and simply use keyboard shortcuts like “Windows+C” to get to the required functionality.
Initially, the split space bar seemed a little to me, however, having used it, this makes sense. I typically hit the space bar with my right thumb, and I am finding it much easier to press, as you are not having to depress a much larger key.
When I took the mouse out of the box, my immediate reaction was, euch! What is that bulbous, monstrosity!
However, having used it for a while, I am actually getting used to it, and I think I will like it. The addition of the Windows key, to take you to the Start Screen is a nice touch, and the back button (which I have come to rely on with my mice) is a very welcome addition.
The Number Pad
What can I say, it’s a Number Pad.
It does exactly what it says on the tin. While using the trio of devices, I have found myself looking for the Number Pad directly to the right of the keyboard (when entering an IP address, for instance) and it hasn’t been there. I think that will take a minute to get used to, but on the whole, the Number Pad is not a common input mechanism for me, so I don’t think I will mind having to move further to find it when required.
This to me seems quite big, I would have expected it to be smaller, similar to that of my Fitbit or Garmin connector, shown below:
The only thing I can think is that it needs to be larger due to the fact that it is a single transceiver for all three devices. When not required, or being transported, there is a slot in the inside of the mouse for storing it. Again, this is a magnetized slot, so immediately when stored, it feels secure.
One word of warning though:
This really was a snap! Took everything out of the box, removed the battery savings strips, plugged in the transceiver, small driver install, and everything worked. I am running Windows 8.1.