Pros Extremely comfortable, quiet, and attractive
Cons Takes some time to get used to the new key bed shape.
Summary Whoever led the design team for this keyboard deserves a raise. I've been using this keyboard for a little over a week and must say I am thoroughly impressed. I switched to a split keyboard around 2 1/2 years ago. I found that after the initial few weeks of getting used to it (and I stopped tapping on the split between the keys every time I went to hit the B key with my right hand) I could no longer stand to type on a standard flat keyboard. This new design from Microsoft takes that comfort to the next level.
The geometry of the keys is such that it feels like there is almost no finger travel. The keys themselves have a pseudo notebook like feel but much better balanced than most notebook keys and they have a deeper travel. This is also, by far, the quietest keyboard I have ever used. Being a night person it's nice to not have that *click - clack - click - clack* pouring through the house at 4AM.
Although the alternate layout for the Delete, Home, etc. keys of the previous Natural keyboards didn't bother me as much as it did most people, I still prefer the original design. Thankfully Microsoft has returned to a traditional layout those keys. Another REALLY nice change over the previous keyboards that had the additional functions for the F keys is that if you have the function lock turned on when you reboot the system, it will stay on. I hated having to hit the function lock every time I booted to get the function keys to behave properly. Thank you Microsoft for wising up on that one!
The keyboard ships with a removable front foot that gives it a negative tilt. When in place the keyboard tilts away from you toward the monitor. Add that to the new wrist rest which is faux leather padding instead of hard plastic and you have a very natural (no pun intended) and comfortable hand position.
If you are willing to take the time to get used to the new shape of the key bed, your hands will thank you in the end. Highly recommended.
Pros Great feel, silent, zoom is interesting, learning to type correctly.
Cons How hard it is to learn to type correctly, large N key, keyboard is massive, horrid software.
Summary Now let me just say there's nothing wrong with the software, it's just limited to the point of being almost nonexistent, it integrates itself into Windows, and does very little, I am spoiled by my Logitech Elite and it’s plethora of media keys and their large amount of configurability, you could reconfigure any key to open up a menu and then add programs to that pop-up menu. I wouldn’t have purchased this keyboard had I known you only got ONE program per key, which means I’m back to navigating and cluttering my desktop with shortcuts, one can only hope someone makes custom drivers and adds that wonderful functionality.
The keyboard itself is solid; it has the best space key I’ve ever felt and it’s silent while feeling oh so sturdy. The zoom slider is interesting, but useless most of the time, if it could be configured to be a scroll bar that would be welcome. The fact that the back and forward buttons have to be reconfigured to work in Microsoft’s own WMP 10 is annoying, they have to be dubbed media keys in order to work, which means they can’t be used for Browsing, it’d be nice if they’d included back/forward media buttons, but this isn’t a media keyboard so I have no room to whine.
The pretty and space saving volume popup is very nice and appreciated, the ability to use my default browser is highly appreciated, the fact that F-Lock has to be ON to use normal keys has always annoyed me, and the fact that the extended functionality of the F-keys doesn’t come with any of the ‘My’ folders preconfigured and painted on is annoying, but once again, it isn’t a media keyboard.
This would be great for basic home-office usage, it might be too large for most work-office environments, overall, aside from lacking software, excellent keyboard.
Pros Looks great with black/silver color scheme, comfortable to rest your hands on, and keyboard has a good solid feel (except for feet).
Cons Tiny plastic feet are useless, some letters on keyboard are much larger than others, keys feel too soft and spongy (offer no feedback), and missing media controls.
Summary I'm normally a big fan of microsoft ergo keyboards, and have always prefered ergo over a standard keyboard. However, after a few days of using this newly redesigned keyboard, I was extremely disappointed and had to exchange it for a standard logitech keyboard.
First, this keyboard is very large. This really isn't a problem. However, the tiny plastic feet that support the back of the keyboard can barely support it's weight. Any pressure on these feet will cause them to bend or break. Once looking at them, you'll easily see why.
Second, it looks like Microsoft decided that since the keyboard was split and that they had extra room, they would change the size of a few lettered keys towards the middle so they are twice the size of a normal key! Add this to the fact that the keys feel "squishy" and you've got one crazy typing experience. It certainly does not feel natural at all. I really did try to get use to this, but I kept finding myself pressing incorrect keys, or having to look at the keyboard to make sure I hit the right key.
The large hot keys at the top of the keyboard are a nice touch. But for media playback, it has a Play/Pause button, and that's it. No next, forward, back, or even a stop button. For no apparent reason, they are simply nowhere to be found.
Now, it does feel comfortable (even though you can barely type at half your normal typing speed), and it looks great. And that's where the compliments end. I even had 2 other friends try out the keyboard, and they agreed... it's just not natural.
While this keyboard may be "comfortable" and looks nice, it's just not practical for daily use if the feet break, the keys feel strange, and it slows down your typing experience. I'd suggest going with an older microsoft ergo keyboard or sticking with a standard keyboard.
Pros Very comfortable, many (easily customized) hotkeys, key position is quite easy to learn.
Cons Space bar is a little stiff, customizing hotkeys not as powerful as it could/should be.
Summary There are a number of things I like about this board:
1. It is very comfortable
Microsoft did their homework. The hand positioning is quite relaxed. There is also a very nice pleather (or something) pad that runs the whole length of the board.
2. Key positioning
It is almost the same as on other, flat keyboards. As soon your hands get used to being so far apart, they forget they're on a different keyboard.
However, there are a couple little, but important things that kept it from getting a better rating:
1. Stiff spacebar
I'm sure it's still stiff because I just got the board an hour ago. But it is noticable.
Meh. Average number of hotkeys. Programming them is not as free as I'd like, but that's the way all manufacturers do it now, so... Meh.
All in all, a worth while purchase. It's got it where it counts (very comfortable, easy to adjust to key layout). I'll be buying another when this one kicks the bucket.Updated
Well, I'd like to ammend some stuff to my initial opinion:
2a. Key Positioning
It's *almost* the same key layout as on a flat keyboard. I've noticed myself pressing the wrong key for the same ones over and over. I'd like to say I'll just get used to it, but if I'm learning a new keyboard, I might as well go to Dvorak.
3a. Stiff Spacebar
It's still quite stiff. In fact, all the keys are noticably harder to press than any logitech keyboard I've used.
Well, I know I said I'd buy another one, but I'm not sure anymore. The key positioning I can get used to, but I'm finding myself reluctance to use this thing for more than 10 minutes at a time. I think I'll try a couple of Logitech's newer entries with a dvorak layout. That way I'll get the ease-press keys and a more natural key layout.
Pros comfortable wrist position and great elevation option
Cons distance from letter keys to mouse is almost 10 inches
Summary This keyboard feels great at first use, but if you are small, reaching the extra inches for the mouse will take its toll on shoulder muscles. While it fixed the repetitive motions issues with my hands, it created chronic pain in my upper arm. Why not narrow the arrow key section and make this a little narrower?