Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 14, 2013 - 08:46 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, mouse, microsoft, keyboard

I would normally begin a product announcement with some introduction but, this time, a quote from Mary Jo Foley seems a better fit:

These new peripherals work with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT, though only "basic functionality" is provided when used with Windows RT.

Problems with Windows RT, it is now obvious, go beyond Ethernet dongles and I would be shocked if Microsoft Hardware are the only ones suffering. We have already heard Plugable, an adapter and peripherals company, complain about Microsoft and their demand for Plugable to pull Surface RT drivers from their website. I cannot see this being a few localized issues.

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These are the problems you will experience with a platform where the owner has complete control. Imagine how bad Windows RT will be if Microsoft slips behind, again, in Internet Explorer development; the only browsers allowed must be Internet Explorer reskins. But I digress.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is a mouse, keyboard, and number pad with a unique appearance. Non-uniform keys pushing upward to a split should conform to the hand of a typical home row typist. WASD gamers might as well stop reading by this point. Microsoft is not known for mechanical switches so I would expect this keyboard to be typical membrane-based activation.

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Side-on shows off the depth better.

That said, most Microsoft peripherals I have used tends to keep up with mechanical in terms of durability and performance... except wired Xbox headsets. Those little turds snap within a matter of hours.

The mouse, on the other hand (literally), does not seem to include extra mouse buttons except for a dedicated Windows button. If you have not figured it out by now: gamers are not the target audience. It seems fairly standard otherwise, from a feature standpoint, although comfort and durability are the big deciding factors for many users which we are not in a position to give an honest opinion on.

Together, the devices are available within the week and retail for $129.95. The keyboard, separately, will be available in September for $80.95; the mouse, separately, will be available for $59.95. High price, but it might just be worth it for dedicated typists.

Source: Microsoft

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August 15, 2013 | 01:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If you want durable ergo products, check these keyboard and mice

August 15, 2013 | 02:22 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

From the side photo, it does not appear ergonomic at all ;).

August 17, 2013 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

Looks like it is detachable much like the current Ergonomic Desktop 7000. I like using that without the extra raiser in the front, but I can see how it can further straighten your wrists depending on your desk/chair setup.

August 15, 2013 | 02:19 PM - Posted by windwalker

The Microsoft keyboard has limited functionality under the Microsoft (Windows RT) operating system and your conclusion is that's because the OS is not the usual cesspool of malware?

Congratulations, you have officially reached caricature status.

August 15, 2013 | 07:46 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Security is the resposibility of the user.

I do not have trouble with malware, much less cultivate a cesspool of it, and neither do my loved ones regardless of their technical background. They are aware of their own complacencies.

"My conclusion" is that the hardware is limited by the platform owner... because the hardware manufacturers, including Microsoft, outright confirm that. In the case of Ethernet dongles it had nothing to do with security. Microsoft acknowledged those dongles, when connected, prevent Connected Standby. They made the choice, for their users, that they would be happier offline with extended battery life... I don't know, playing solitaire or something.

Seems, quite clearly, like a decision purely founded in public perception to silence battery life complaints. How about they also not let you access a useful application because they feel you would not want it to take longer than 2 seconds to load? How about a game which deals with same-sex relationships being denied out of political fear? Encryption software?

I do believe Microsoft hopes to lose their public image as "the malware platform". In practice, however, Windows 7 is great and certainly good enough. So is Linux.

August 17, 2013 | 11:23 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

I've been using Microsoft's ergonomic keyboards (right now the Ergonomic Desktop 7000) for 15 years, probably more, and I'm unreasonably happy they changed the space bar to two separate keys, as the big bar of old would all to often be less than smooth in operation.

I'm not so sure about the new island-style buttons and the compressed layout of the special function and cursor keys to the right. I'll still check it out, it certainly looks fancy!

btw: Any idea what the wrist rest's material is? The 7000 has nicely cushioned faux-leather wrist rests, which, unfortunately, my cat absolutely loves to hook her paws into, leaving considerable marks after a couple of years.

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