Microsoft debuts a new Windows 8-friendly keyboard, mouse

Microsoft debuts a new Windows 8-friendly keyboard, mouse

Summary: Microsoft is making available this month a new ergonomical Windows 8-friendly keyboard and mouse.

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Touch may be all the rage at Microsoft, but that doesn't mean the company is abandoning work on its keyboards and mice.

Like it did last year with the introduction of new Windows 8-customized keyboards and mice, Microsoft is rolling out yet more Windows 8-friendly models.

Here's what new the Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard looks like:

sculptergonomic


Pretty crazy, huh? I've been typing on one of these keyboards loaned to me by Microsoft for the past few days and can say it's quite comfortable. The keyboard is domed, so it is raised in the middle and slopes downward toward the edges. The "6" key is in an unfamiliar place, which is kind of annoying, as is the backspace key. But users can opt to turn one of the space-bar keys into a backspace button, so that helps a bit.

The keyboard includes Charms keys (along the top row) that mirror the charms in Windows 8. It also comes with an optional keyboard height adapter that "clicks in" magnetically like the Surface keyboards do. A separate number pad also is available for those who do a lot of number-intensive typing.

 

ergonomicmouse

 

I really like Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse. It's half mouse/half trackball. It's been really comfortable, even though it's quite large. It has a thumb rest and, for those who are using Windows 8, a Windows key on top, which takes users straight to the Windows 8 Start screen.

A single USB dongle allows users to connect both the mouse and the keyboard to their PCs and devices. 

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

The new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop (the keyboard and mouse combined) will be available in August 2013 for an estimated retail price of US $129.95. (It should be available from Microsoft online around August 15.) The keyboard will be available separately in September for an estimated retail price of $80.95. The mouse will be available separately this month for an estimated retail price of $59.95.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Microsoft Surface

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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37 comments
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  • I have the predecessor of this mouse

    which is shaped similarly, but slightly different looking. It works great... mice are a quick way to get tendinitis, if you're not careful, and this one is a lot easier to use.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • Not quite what I wanted.

    I really want a keyboard with a built in touch pad for windows 8 gestures, preferably on the left. Plus I would prefer the charms to be vertical and to the right as they are on the screen.
    Simon68
  • Looks nice...

    but I wish they had better desktop sets with OEM deals. The OEM multiboxes are off the market, and now they have the "...for Business" packages that don't have any volume discounts (they are only sold in single packs now), and most of those models are outdated too.
    Joe_Raby
  • Ridiculous

    The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, which I've been using for years, has more options and a full numpad, and retails for $35. How the heck does Microsoft think they can remove features from a keyboard and more than double the retail price?

    Also, who in their right mind wants a start button on their mouse!?
    mattcasto
    • Re: Ridiculous

      The keyboard includes a numeric keypad. It sits separately, like the mouse, so you can arrange your work area as needed.

      http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/sculpt-ergonomic-desktop/L5V-00001#details
      Johnula
    • Actually

      Actually, the new mouse and new keyboard combined went up $10.00

      This product corresponds to the WIRELESS version of the Natural Ergonomic 4000 and WIRELESS version of the (no longer available separately) Natural Wireless Mouse 6000 which are bundled as the Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000.

      The Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 retails for $119.95
      The new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop retails for $129.95

      BTW: the WIRED Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 you're comparing actually retails for $49.95 and is still available.

      And personally I really like the idea of having a Windows button on a mouse. I use that key a LOT along with the charms and having it handy sounds great.
      Mike Galos
  • Two-in-one wireless?

    "A single USB dongle allows users to connect both the mouse and the keyboard to their PCs and devices. Both also work with Bluetooth."

    Is the USB dongle a Bluetooth adapter, or are they still using the old-style proprietary receiver?
    Joe_Raby
    • Bluetooth not there

      Sorry. My mistake. Bluetooth isn't a feature. The USB dongle is is just the old style. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Maybe logitech...

        I have several Unity USB dongles, back lit keyboard w/mouse, and my Logitech head set uses both WiFi and Bluetooth. So far I'm a pretty happy camper.

        The last time I bought a specialty keyboard from Microsoft, the thing wouldn't even work with the 64 bit Vista driver they provided. I just couldn't believe that they can't even develop a driver for THEIR OWN DEVICES on none other than THEIR OWN OPERATING SYSTEM!!! Can you sense, I'm still not over that?
        JCitizen
      • Maybe logitech...

        I have several Unity USB dongles, back lit keyboard w/mouse, and my Logitech head set uses both WiFi and Bluetooth. So far I'm a pretty happy camper.

        The last time I bought a specialty keyboard from Microsoft, the thing wouldn't even work with the 64 bit Vista driver they provided. I just couldn't believe that they can't even develop a driver for THEIR OWN DEVICES on none other than THEIR OWN OPERATING SYSTEM!!! Can you sense, I'm still not over that?
        JCitizen
  • 131,81, 60?

    When I think how much it costs to buy a computer or an operating system, these prices seem crazy.

    Ah, that's why Surface is so expensive ... to make the peripherals seem cheap!
    jacksonjohn
    • This is the high end line of MS peripherals

      They have plenty of other keyboards and mice with low to high prices.
      rmark@...
  • Needs Back & Forward Buttons

    Looks intriguing, but I don't see why Microsoft keeps pumping out mice without a back and forward button for the thumb. I'm personally too dependent on those buttons to ever give this a try... and honestly, they improve Windows 8 too (which has many back buttons in the top left corner of apps).
    JHoff80
  • touchpad

    I like MS input devices. I'm typing now on their Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I've found no keyboard that I like better.

    What I'm really looking for is a good touchpad. MS doesn't make one. I've tried the Logitech 651 and the Dell. They are not very configurable, and their sensitivity is bad. I couldn't do small pointer movements using either of them.

    I use Apple's Magic Trackpad on my Mac, and it's my favorite input device ever. With a multi-touch trackpad, you wouldn't need a touchscreen to use Windows 8. The Magic Trackpad doesn't work with Windows.

    MS has their touch mouse and wedge, but they are small, and hard to do multi-touch gestures.

    So, I hope to see MS coming out with a touchpad that will work with Windows 7 and 8.
    bren@...
    • The Magic Trackpad is so good

      it_feels_like_you're_using a touch screen.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • And the left-handed mouse is

    ... where?
    RegalImmigrant
    • Left handers rejoice

      The mouse can be adapted for left handers. Thumb rest can be moved to the other side. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Left handers rejoice

        As I wrote, where? There's nothing in the product guide or the quick start guide or the specifications sheet that gives any indication of a left-handed conversion. The photographs show a device that appears solidly right-handed and so does all the documentation.

        I'm not saying you are wrong, but where's the left-handed image/description? Or do MS want me to spend $60 on the off-chance?

        It's International Left-Handers Day, BTW: http://lefthandersday.com/
        RegalImmigrant
      • oops. i was wrong about left hand love

        This mouse does NOT allow users to customize for left-hand work. It is made for righties. Sorry those celebrating International Left Handers Day. MS opted to go with the majority on this mouse, which is too bad! MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
        • Mojority?

          I think left handed people are the next disenfranchised class. Rise up fellow lefties!
          phutmacher