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Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Mar 04, 2020 at 08:44 am
Latest change: Test bench update May 31, 2023 at 07:40 pm
Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard Picture
6.6
Gaming
5.7
Mobile/Tablet
8.5
Office
6.8
Programming
4.1
Entertainment / HTPC

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is an excellent office keyboard designed to promote a natural typing position. It improves on the popular split keyboard design by giving it the same premium material and build quality as other Microsoft Surface products. It's remarkably comfortable to type on. However, features like multi-device pairing, programmable keys, and backlighting are noticeably absent. The keyboard layout requires some adaptation, but if you're willing to give it a try, it may be beneficial in the long run.

Our Verdict

6.6 Gaming

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is mediocre for gaming. The keyboard is comfortable to use and the switches' low pre-travel distance feels very responsive. However, it doesn't have programmable keys or backlighting, and its Bluetooth latency may not be suitable for fast-paced games, though this isn't something we currently test for. It also lacks dedicated macro keys for MMO games and there's no software for customization either.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great typing experience.
Cons
  • No software for customization.
  • Uses disposable batteries.
  • No backlighting.
5.7 Mobile/Tablet

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard isn't recommended for use with mobile devices. It can be paired with any device that has Bluetooth capabilities, but due to its sheer size and weight, it's very difficult to carry around. Furthermore, most shortcuts don't work on mobile operating systems.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great typing experience.
Cons
  • No software for customization.
  • Uses disposable batteries.
  • No backlighting.
8.5 Office

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is excellent for office use. Its ergonomic design is very comfortable to type on and doesn't cause any fatigue. It's suitable for nearly any office environment due to its very quiet typing noise, and it has an outstanding build quality that should last for years. It can be used with any computer that has a Bluetooth connection; however, some keys don't work on macOS and Linux.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great typing experience.
Cons
  • No software for customization.
  • Uses disposable batteries.
  • No backlighting.
6.8 Programming

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is passable for programming. The keyboard's ergonomic design lets you work long hours without fatigue, and the keys feel great to type on. Unfortunately, it doesn't have programmable keys or a multi-device pairing feature for multitasking. On the upside, it has great compatibility with most operating systems, though some shortcuts don't work on macOS and Linux.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great typing experience.
Cons
  • No software for customization.
  • Uses disposable batteries.
  • No backlighting.
4.1 Entertainment / HTPC

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Great typing experience.
Cons
  • No software for customization.
  • Uses disposable batteries.
  • No backlighting.
  • 6.6 Gaming
  • 5.7 Mobile/Tablet
  • 8.5 Office
  • 6.8 Programming
  • 4.1 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated May 31, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.1. This update adds several new tests addressing Hardware Customization, Macro Keys And Programming, and Wireless Mobile Compatibility. We've also added new objective evaluations to the Typing Noise test, and we've simplified several tests and removed several others that were no longer relevant. For an in-depth look at all our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  2. Updated Apr 21, 2021: Fixed error with minimum incline.
  3. Updated Apr 16, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  4. Updated Mar 04, 2020: Review published.
  5. Updated Feb 27, 2020: Early access published.

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Compared To Other Keyboards

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is an excellent office keyboard designed for anyone who might be concerned about repetitive strain injuries. Its split keyboard design isn't new, as there are many similar keyboards on the market, and it lacks features such as multi-device pairing when compared to a keyboard like the Logitech ERGO K860. However, its clean and modern design is very pleasing, and the Alcantara-covered wrist rest is a unique signature of Microsoft's Surface product line.

For other options, you can see our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best keyboards for writers, and the best wireless keyboards.

Logitech ERGO K860

The Logitech ERGO K860 is better than the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard for most uses. The Logitech has reverse incline settings to prevent the wrists from bending downwards and has better wireless capabilities, as it can be paired to multiple devices at the same time with its USB receiver and through Bluetooth. The Logitech also has software support, but the Surface Ergonomic has a much better build quality.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a better keyboard than the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. It's noticeably better built, has better ergonomics, and offers a better typing quality, but it might take you a bit of time to get used to the split-key layout. On the other hand, if you're just looking for a straightforward wireless board, the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard might be a better option.

Kinesis Freestyle Pro

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a bit better than the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. The Freestyle Pro's split keyboard design lets you place the two halves any way you want, but the Surface Ergonomic is more comfortable due to its great Alcantara wrist rest. The Freestyle Pro has mechanical Cherry MX Brown switches, programmable keys, and software support; however, the Surface Ergonomic has significantly better build quality.

Matias Ergo Pro

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is significantly better than the Matias Ergo Pro. Although they have very different approaches to the split keyboard design, the Microsoft is better in almost all aspects, such as build quality, ergonomics, and versatility, since it can be paired to anything that has a Bluetooth connection. However, the Matias has better compatibility with Linux.

Adesso Tru-Form 150

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is much better than the Adesso Tru-Form 150. The Microsoft has a much better build quality, typing quality, and compatibility with different operating systems. The Microsoft's Bluetooth connection also makes it more versatile, but it doesn't have backlighting, which the Adesso has.

Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard

The Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a better ergonomic keyboard than the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard. The Microsoft is noticeably better-built and feels more durable. However, it doesn't have any feet to create a negative incline as the Kensington does. On the other hand, the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard offers a noticeably better typing experience thanks to its more stable keys.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Full-size (100%)
Height
1.2" (3.1 cm)
Width 17.7" (44.9 cm)
Depth
8.2" (20.9 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
8.2" (20.9 cm)
Weight
2.20 lbs (1.000 kg)

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is very large, as its wrist rest is built-in and non-removable.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

Build quality is exceptional. Like the Surface Keyboard, it has an aluminum frame, though it feels slightly heavier and it has a little bit of flex. The keycaps feel smooth and the keys are very stable. The wrist rest is covered with Alcantara, a durable fabric most often used in luxury cars and a regular feature of Microsoft's Surface lineup.

8.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Ergonomical
Minimum Incline
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
N/A
Wrist Rest Fixed

Update 04/21/2021: We updated the minimum incline to 0° since it was incorrectly listed as N/A.

Ergonomics are excellent. It has a split keyboard and a 'dome' design that aims to promote a more natural alignment of the wrists and forearms when typing. Unlike the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard, it doesn't have any incline settings and is meant to lay flat on the table. The wrist rest is built-in and it's covered with Alcantara, which is very comfortable to type on. If you prefer a true split keyboard design that allows you to adjust the two halves independently, check out the Dygma Raise.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color
No Backlighting
Individually Backlit Keys
No
Color Mixing
No Backlighting
Effects
No
Programmable
No

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard doesn't have backlighting.

Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wireless
Detachable
No
Length N/A
Connector (Keyboard side)
No Cable

This keyboard uses disposable batteries and can't be used wired.

7.3
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
2x AAA

This keyboard can only be used through a Bluetooth connection and it uses disposable batteries.

0
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
No
Stabilizer Fixation
Non-Customizable Design
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
Non-Customizable Design
Size Of Right Mod Keys
Non-Standard
Hot-Swappable Switches
No
Switch Stem Shape
Non-Customizable Design
Switch PCB Socket
Non-Customizable Design
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
Non-Customizable Design
0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
No
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Non-Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard has very few extra features. There are media control hotkeys that are shared with function keys, and a few shortcuts such as calculator, notifications, search, and task view.

Design
In The Box

  • Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
  • User guide
  • 2x AAA batteries

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Scissor
Mechanical
No
Feel
Tactile
Operating Force
66 gf
Actuation Force
33 gf
Pre-Travel
1.6 mm
Total Travel
2.8 mm

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard uses scissor switches that are identical to the Surface Keyboard. They require a bit of force to get over the tactile bump, but the overall feeling is still fairly light. Their pre-travel distance is very short, making them feel very responsive.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

Typing experience on this keyboard is great. Although it has a high actuation force to get over the tactile bump, the overall feeling is light and doesn't cause any fatigue. It does take some time to get used to the keyboard's layout, so you may make a few more typos at first. It feels like a mix of the Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Logitech ERGO K860.

9.8
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
38.0 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

This keyboard's typing noise is extremely quiet and very unlikely to disrupt those around you.

6.6
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
N/A
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
22.9 ms
Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No
Onboard Memory
No
Profiles
No Profile

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard doesn't have customization software.

10
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Fully Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Windows, MacOS & Linux

On Windows, all default keys work. On macOS, the F11 minimizes your window, the Insert key acts as a Help key, and the Menu and Calculator keys do nothing. The Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys also adjust screen brightness if you're using an Apple display. On Linux, the Screen Brightness, Search, and Settings keys do nothing.

10
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Fully Compatible
iOS
Fully Compatible
iPadOS
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Android, iPhone & iPad

On Android devices, the Settings (F12) and Lock keys don't work. Also, the F9 Hotkey registers as an Alt key, and the F10 key registers as Tab.

On iOS devices, the Messages, Settings, Lock, Search, and Insert keys don't work. Also, the F4, F8, F9, and F10 hotkey actions don't work.

On iPadOS, the Messages, Settings, Lock, Search, Insert, and Emogi keys don't work.