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 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 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.