Microsoft Surface Keyboard Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Feb 14, 2020 at 07:38 am
Microsoft Surface Keyboard Picture
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wireless
Full-size (100%)

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

6.3 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.

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great typing experience.
  • No backlighting.
  • No software for customization.
7.2 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.

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great typing experience.
  • No backlighting.
  • No software for customization.
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.

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great typing experience.
  • No backlighting.
  • No software for customization.
6.4 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.

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great typing experience.
  • No backlighting.
  • No software for customization.
4.6 Entertainment / HTPC

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great typing experience.
  • No backlighting.
  • No software for customization.
  • 6.3 Gaming
  • 7.2 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 6.4 Programming
  • 4.6 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Apr 16, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
0.7" (1.8 cm)
Width 16.5" (42.0 cm)
4.4" (11.2 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
0.88 lbs (0.400 kg)

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

Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The build quality is outstanding. It has a plastic bottom and an aluminum 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.

Board Design
Minimum Incline
5 °
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
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.

Backlighting No
No Backlighting
Individually Backlit Keys
Color Mixing
No Backlighting

There's no backlighting on the Surface Keyboard.

Cable & Connector
Length N/A
Connector (Keyboard side)
No Cable

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

Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
Proprietary Receiver
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.

Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

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.

In The Box

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

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Key Switches
Operating Force
63 gf
Actuation Force
39 gf
1.5 mm
Total Travel
2.2 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.

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
Very Quiet

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

Typing Experience
Latency Wired
Latency Receiver
Latency Bluetooth
25.9 ms
Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
No Profile
Onboard Memory
Cloud Sync
Macro Programming
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
Software macOS Compatible

There's no customization software for this keyboard.

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. For other options, check out our recommendations for the best ergonomic keyboards, the best keyboards for writers, and the best wireless keyboards.

Logitech MX Keys

The Logitech MX Keys is significantly better than the Microsoft Surface Keyboard. The Logitech 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 Logitech also has programmable keys and can be customized using Logitech's Options software, however, the Microsoft's build quality is much better.

Apple Magic Keyboard

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 Microsoft uses disposable batteries. The Microsoft 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

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

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.

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard

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

The Microsoft Surface Keyboard is a better overall keyboard than the AmazonBasics K4R. The Microsoft is 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 has a built-in touchpad instead of a Numpad, which can be useful.

Keychron K4

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.

Matias Ergo Pro

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.

Corsair K83 Wireless Entertainment Keyboard

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.

+ Show more



Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post

Create Deal