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Microsoft Surface Keyboard Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 14, 2020 at 07:38 am
Microsoft Surface Keyboard Picture
6.8
Mixed usage
6.0
Gaming
6.3
Mobile/Tablet
7.9
Office
6.0
Programming
Connectivity Wireless
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
No

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a good wireless Bluetooth keyboard that's intended for office use. It has an outstanding build quality and it provides a great typing experience. It has a low profile that feels comfortable to type on, and its scissor switches provide good tactile feedback. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any backlighting and there are no programmable keys. It requires the use of disposable batteries, which can be disappointing for some, but most people should be satisfied with its overall performance.

Our Verdict

6.8 Mixed usage

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is decent for most uses. It's comfortable to type on and shouldn't cause any fatigue when typing for a long time. Its quiet typing noise is suitable for most offices, but programmers and gamers may be disappointed by the lack of programmable keys and customization options. While it works fully with Windows, some keys don't work on other operating systems.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great typing experience.
Cons
  • No backlighting.
  • No software for customization.
6.0 Gaming

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a mediocre keyboard for gaming. Although it feels very light and responsive, it lacks programmable keys and you can't set any macros for MMO games, since there's no software support. Additionally, it doesn't have backlighting for those who like to play in a dark room.

6.3 Mobile/Tablet

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is mediocre for mobile use. It can be paired with any mobile devices that has a Bluetooth connection; however, some keys don't work on mobile operating systems and its large size makes it hard to carry it around.

7.9 Office

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a good office keyboard. Its low profile is comfortable even without a wrist rest, and it provides a great typing experience while keeping noise to a minimum. It works fully on Windows, but some keys don't work if you're on macOS or Linux.

6.0 Programming

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is mediocre for programming. Its scissor switches feel light to type on and they aren't tiring, but the keyboard doesn't have any programmable keys and can't be customized. It has an excellent build quality that should last for years; however, some keys don't work on Linux and macOS.

  • 6.8 Mixed usage
  • 6.0 Gaming
  • 6.3 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 6.0 Programming

Check Price

Gray Surface Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
0.7" (1.8 cm)
Width 16.5" (42.0 cm)
Depth 4.4" (11.2 cm)
Weight 0.9 lbs (0.4 kg)

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is full-size keyboard with a fairly large footprint.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is outstanding. It has a plastic bottom and an aluminium top. There's a slight flex to the keyboard but it shouldn't have any durability issues in the long run. It's very light and the battery cover is held on magnetically. It feels much more premium than the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
N/A
Wrist Rest No

The ergonomics are decent. The keyboard has a very low profile that's similar to the Apple Magic Keyboard. It has an incline due to the battery compartment and it isn't adjustable. It doesn't come with a wrist rest, but as it's a low profile keyboard, you shouldn't need one.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color No Backlighting
Brightness Settings
No
Individually Backlit Keys
No

There's no backlighting on the Surface Keyboard.

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

This is a wireless keyboard and can't be used wired.

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

The Surface Keyboard is a wireless Bluetooth keyboard that uses disposable AAA batteries. Battery life is advertised as lasting up to 12 months, but this isn't something that we test for. If you work on multiple devices at once and you need a keyboard with multi-device pairing capability, check out the Keychron K4.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No

The keyboard has media control keys that are shared with the function keys. The keys are set to media control by default and you need to use the 'fn' key in order to use the function keys. There are also keys to access Windows settings, calculator, brightness, task view, and notifications.

If you want a keyboard with more features like macro programmable keys or dedicated media controls, take a look at the Das Keyboard X50Q.

Design
In The Box

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

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Scissor
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
40.1 gf
Pre-Travel
1.48 mm
Total Travel
2.09 mm

The Surface Keyboard uses scissor switches. They have a fairly high actuation force to get over the tactile bump, but once you get over it, the overall feeling is light. Their pre-travel distance is very low, which makes the keyboard feel very responsive.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing quality is great. It feels very much like the Apple Magic Keyboard but with slightly more travel distance. The keys are well-spaced, which is great for typing accuracy, and typing feels light despite the high tactile bump. The keys are stable and responsive, and shouldn't cause any fatigue over time.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Very Quiet

Typing noise is very quiet and shouldn't bother surrounding colleagues in a quiet office setting.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
RGB Programming
No
Macro Programming
No
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

There's no customization software for this keyboard.

8.5
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android Partial
iOS Partial
iPadOS Partial

This keyboard has excellent compatibility. The keyboard functions fully on Windows and most keys function on Linux, except for shortcuts. On macOS, shortcuts, Pause/Break, and Print Screen don't work. On mobile devices running on iOS, iPadOS, or Android, Print Screen, Scroll Lock, Context key, calculator, and most shortcuts don't work.

Compared to other keyboards

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a low profile wireless keyboard that's very similar to the full-size variant of the Apple Magic Keyboard. It's mostly intended for office use, as it's easy to type on and it doesn't make a lot of noise. Compared to other keyboards on the market, this keyboard feels a bit bare bones, as it lacks programmable keys, backlighting, and software support.

Logitech MX Keys
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Logitech MX Keys is significantly better than the Microsoft Surface Keyboard. The MX Keys has better wireless versatility, as it can be paired using an USB receiver or through Bluetooth, and it can be paired to three devices simultaneously. The MX Keys also has programmable keys and can be custmomized using Logitech's Options software, however, the Surface Keyboard's build quality is much better.

Apple Magic Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Apple Magic Keyboard are very similar in terms of build and features. The main differences are that the Apple has a built-in rechargeable battery, while the Surface uses disposable batteries. The Surface keyboard is a full-size keyboard that includes a NumPad, and its higher actuation point can be better for typing accuracy, as there's less of a chance for unintended keystrokes to be registered.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is much more premium than the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. It's better built and the scissor switches offer a better typing experience than the mushy rubber dome switches on the Bluetooth keyboard. On the other hand, you can set a few macros on the F4-F7 keys of the Bluetooth Keyboard, which you can't do on the Surface Keyboard.

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard are very different keyboards. The Sculpt has an ergonomic design with a very specific purpose, while the Surface Keyboard is more of a stylish minimalistic keyboard, similar to the Apple Magic Keyboard. Build quality and typing experience are much better on the Surface keyboard, but the Sculpt Ergonomic is more comfortable and has software support, which the Surface lacks.

Keychron K4
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard and the Keychron K4 are very different keyboards. Both are Bluetooth keyboards, but only the K4 has a multi-device pairing feature. The Microsoft uses scissor switches and chiclet-style keys, while the Keychron is a mechanical keyboard that you can customize with the switches of your choice. The LK Optical Brown switches on our K4 provide a better typing experience, but the Microsoft's low profile makes it a bit more comfortable to type on without a wrist rest. The Keychron has backlighting, which the Microsoft doesn't have, and it has a built-in rechargeable battery instead of using disposable batteries.

Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard is a better keyboard than the Microsoft Surface Keyboard. The Corsair has customizable backlighting, rechargeable batteries, a trackpad and joystick for cursor control, and companion software for customization. On the other hand, the Surface Keyboard feels more premium and has a slightly better typing quality.

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is much better than the Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard in most uses. The Surface Keyboard has a significantly better build quality and it can be used with mobile devices. It also has a much better typing quality while making less noise, but the Logitech has programmable keys and software for customization.

AmazonBasics K4R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a better overall keyboard than the AmazonBasics K4R. It's noticeably better built and it offers a better overall typing quality. It connects via Bluetooth instead of a dedicated receiver, which means it can also be used with mobile devices. On the other hand, the AmazonBasics K4R has a built-in touchpad instead of a NumPad, which can be useful.

Matias Ergo Pro
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a marginally better keyboard than the Matias Ergo Pro. It's a wireless keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity, but it doesn't have multi-device pairing. It's not nearly as heavy as the Matias, so it's also a better portable option. However, the Matias is somewhat better for office use because it has a better ergonomic design with a wrist rest and multiple incline settings. The Ergo Pro also uses mechanical switches, which deliver good feedback when typing.

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