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Microsoft introduces Sculpt Ergonomic and Comfort keyboard packs for Windows 8

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August 16, 2013

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and mouse

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and mouse

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Microsoft has unveiled a new Sculpt range of keyboards and mice with ergonomic features designed to improve comfort over long periods. The new accessories offer a number of useful features, such as dedicated Windows buttons and a split spacebar design, and are the result of a global survey carried out by the company.

First up is the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, a full keyboard and mouse setup with some interesting design choices. The most obvious change that Microsoft has made to the tried and tested ergonomic curve is the spilt keyboard, designed to allow the user's hands to sit in a more natural position. The curved shape of the keys isn't dissimilar to that seen on the company's more minimalist Arc keyboard.

Not only is the keyboard itself split down the middle, but the number pad has been separated entirely from the main unit, giving you a few more options when it comes to desk layout. Like many comfort-centric keyboards, the palm rest is large and cushioned to help with comfort during prolonged use.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard

The Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop pack comes with an almost ball-shaped mouse that Redmond claims is designed to “encourage a more natural hand, wrist, and forearm posture.” The device's most useful feature is undoubtedly its built-in Windows button which takes you straight to the controversial tile UI of Windows 8.

Next, it's the Sculpt Comfort Desktop bundle, which once again consists of a keyboard and mouse combo. The Comfort keyboard design appears to borrow heavily from the company's aforementioned Arc keyboard, with a curved typing area and a flatter numerical area over to the right. The keys on both of the new keyboards are contoured to match the shape of the fingers, and the Comfort also offers a detachable palm rest and a split spacebar, half of which is reserved for backspace functionality.

The Microsoft Sculpt Comfort keyboard and mouse

The Comfort mouse has a more traditional design and, like its Ergonomic counterpart, features a dedicated Windows touch tab. You can also swipe up and down over the Windows key to view or cycle through open apps.

The new range of accessories are the result of an extensive global health and productivity survey carried out by the company, looking at 10 markets and over 5,300 workers. The results showed that a significant majority of workers experienced discomfort on a daily basis.

The Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop pack is priced at US$129.95, while the keyboard and mouse are available separately for $80.95 and $59.95 respectively. The Sculpt Comfort Desktop set retails for a more wallet-friendly $79.95, with the keyboard on its own coming in at $59.95 and the mouse at $39.95.

Product pages: Ergonomic Desktop and Comfort Desktop

About the Author
Chris Wood Chris specializes in mobile technology for Gizmag, but also likes to dabble in the latest gaming gadgets. He has a degree in Politics and Ancient History from the University of Exeter, and lives in Gloucestershire, UK. In his spare time you might find him playing music, following a variety of sports or binge watching Game of Thrones.   All articles by Chris Wood
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4 Comments

I bought a Microsoft "ergonomic" curved keyboard mail order a few years ago - and it was unusable because the pressure needed on the keys was too great. That is far more important than the keyboard shape - you can angle your hands on a straight keyboard anyway. I use a really cheap keyboard - but which happened to have the softest key pressure I could find.

I was also getting hand problems from pressing the mouse button. For a while I used a program (Mousetool) which clicked the mouse button automatically when I moved and stopped the mouse. But now I open the mouse up and weaken the flat springs inside... fiddly job... but get it so only very light pressure is needed to press the buttons. I haven't found any mouse for sale which is remotely near as good as one I've weakened the springs on.

I also place the mouse on a little mat on top of the Num keys on the keyboard - so less hand movement is needed to go from keyboard to mouse and back.

Facebook User
16th August, 2013 @ 01:14 pm PDT

They need to separate the 2 sides of the keyboard so each hand can be places for individual comfort.

Slowburn
18th August, 2013 @ 01:50 am PDT

The 'hole' in the middle is a pathetic misleading way of making everyone believe this is a two-piece adjustable keyboard – where you can separate and position the two parts anyhow you want, like in the "IBM-M15", "Goldtouch", or "Freestyle2". Ill-advisedly, this is NOT a two-piece adjustable keyboard; it is just an optical illusion. It remains a split keyboard, same as it has been since 1994.

Who are they trying to fool?

Microsoft hardware division took close to 20 years – since their introduction of the 'Natural' in 1994, and a lot of cash from the billions of dollars available from their company, and they were only able to lower the quality of the key switches, move some keys to awkward locations, separate the Numpad, and add a hole in the middle. Nice going Einstein.

Separate space bars have been available since the 90s in the "Comfort" or "IBM-M15"; so nothing new or innovative – never have, just a copycat.

As for the mouse, the design is going backwards a few decades and it includes the 'start button' which is unwise in a mouse and will rarely be used compared to other buttons - they should have added multi-touch 3D-interaction (leapmotion) or something better into the keyboard. Instead, they just added their 'new' logo front and center to the keyboard and mouse. Microsoft wants you to stay all day staring at the Windows 8 start page, but shouldn't you be doing some work instead. Who in their right mind wants a start button on their mouse?

As for genuine ergonomic keyboards, there are multiple of better choices out there – and you should not complain about the cost of others as an extra $100 gives you so much more. Mechanical keyboards like the "Advantage/Maltron" or "TrulyErgonomic" are much superior to these and any other. Other ergo keyboards with as cheap quality as this "Sculpt" like the "Type Matrix", "Goldtouch", or "Freestyle2" are still better options.

PS. If this keyboard were a woman, I'll know what to do with the hole in the middle. As this is a misleading non-ergonomic keyboard design, there is no point on having such a hole.

This hollow-keyboard is just a pointless design. This is not the keyboard you are looking for, move along.

THY
22nd August, 2013 @ 04:52 pm PDT

Keyboard looks interesting. Unsure if it has the same height as the 3000. However my largest problem is why designing plastic in a slightly different manner is worth 130$?

It is a keyboard designed with the same circuits as a million other keyboards. What part of curving parts of it makes 130$ a real value assessment?

daralick
26th August, 2013 @ 09:04 am PDT
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