Thinking about upgrading your workstation to make it more ergonomic? In this review, we’ll be diving into the details of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business, in hopes of finding the accessories that will suit your lifestyle and health needs.
Why You Need an Ergonomic Keyboard
You’re probably asking yourself if you actually need an ergonomic keyboard.
There’s a common misconception that only those with Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are the only people who should switch to an ergonomic keyboard. Truth be told, you don’t need to be in pain to benefit from this computer accessory. Because it adjusts to you, it prevents the development of future stress injuries, pains and strains, so that you remain comfortable while typing in the years ahead.
Another myth about these products is that they’re only deemed necessary when you spend most of the workday typing. Regardless if you spend all day in front of a computer or a mere 15 minutes for daily reports or emails, the benefits are not lost on the user.
Plus, these products on average have a longer product lifespan than most basic ones. Thus, not only will you save on future medical expenses, but you also won’t need to shell out on a keyboard replacement.
Testing the Quality of an Ergonomic Keyboard
Because these ergonomic accessories come in all shapes and sizes, it’s vital that you keep the following factors in mind to judge which products have superior features. This list will help narrow down your options to the one that suits your needs.
Adjustability: Unlike a traditional keyboard, an ergonomic keyboard allows the user to adjust the angle in various positions, or is at least already positioned in a way that promotes natural wrist, hand and finger positioning.
Connectivity: Connectivity preferences vary from person to person, depending lifestyle, usage, etc. For example, a video gamer might look for the freedom of movement with his keyboard, while a desk worker might need a keyboard to connect to his fixed workstation. Whether you choose wired or wireless, one is not necessarily much better than the other, objectively speaking.
Size: While keyboards made to be ergonomic are generally larger than most basic ones, some tend to be bulkier than average. Size may not matter for those with worktops or large keyboard trays, but it may affect those who are low on space or have no intention of purchasing additional ergonomic accessories. Therefore, always consider the dimensions.
Tactile Feedback: The amount of pressure needed to type on the keys affects the fatigue in your hands and fingers. So the less pressure you exert, the more comfortable it is to type for extended periods of time. You should be able to tell immediately how hard you have to press the keys, but feel free to type for 15 minutes straight to see if your hands experience any strain whatsoever.
Now, onto the product review.
Is the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Bluetooth?
The Microsoft Ergonomic Sculpt is wireless, but it doesn’t use Bluetooth to connect to your computer. Instead, it’s one of the products that links your device using USB connectivity with 2.4GHZ. To operate, all you have to do is plug the dongle into your PC or laptop’s USB port and you’re good to go. This setup allows you to move the keyboard freely on your desk without worrying about tangling up wires and cables. However, the Sculpt is also one product that relies on replaceable batteries to run as opposed to rechargeable ones, and some may prefer the latter.
How Do You Clean a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard?
For less serious cases, a quick wipe with a clean cloth will be able to remove dust and dirt sitting on top of your keyboard. However, we can’t avoid accidents, and should you spill any liquid drink down the keyboard (knock on wood), there is a way to open up the device to clean anything stuck inside. This is done by unscrewing the back of the keyboard and loosening the clips underneath. However, we highly recommend this be done with the help of a certified technician.
About the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
|Model||Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard|
|Dimensions||9 x 16 x 2.5 inches|
|Hardware Interface||USB 2.0|
The uniquely designed Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business is a modern take on the traditional keyboard, incorporating ergonomic principles to provide optimum comfort and promote productivity for all computer users. Dubbed the “Manta Ray” due to its shape, Microsoft has created a new keyboard to maximize and optimize each worker’s experience.
With user comfort in mind, the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard features a split keyboard layout that is also domed to mimic the natural position of both the left hand and right hand, forearms, and wrists. For additional wrist support, the product also includes a rubber palm rest.
Additionally, the keyboard also has a separate number pad for versatility in use and storage.
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Features
The design seems fairly straightforward, but let’s take a closer look at the advantages of the keyboard’s product features.
Design Elements for Neutral Hand Position
Forearm, wrist and finger strains and pains while typing derive from the use of awkward, straight-lined positioning of regular keyboard devices. With several design components to correct those issues, the product encourages natural forearm and wrist positioning to keep your muscles relaxed and improve the overall typing experience, whether you’re using a fixed-height or a standing desk.
How does the keyboard do that, exactly? First, the split key set follows the natural spacing between your hands when placed in front of you. Second, the domed shape reduces wrist pronation, or the rotating forearm movement that occurs when palms are facing down. And lastly, the arc follows the natural curvature formed by your fingertips. Together, all these elements work to combat the stress and fatigue associated with the traditional keyboard setup.
This unique layout may pose a challenge for touch typists, but many prefer it for its relief when it comes to common pains in the hand and finger area. Getting used to the unique media keys, function keys, and home row may also be a learning curve for those used to aren’t accustomed to split keyboards, with some commenting on the awkward placement of the B-key. But this product ensures that the learning curve isn’t too long for any touch typist or regular desker. Bottom line, the keyboard design is made to enhance typing speed and reduce wrist pain by promoting the most ergonomic typing position, even though it might take a while to get used to.
Mouse and Keyboard Center
Customizability is the name of the game, and this keyboard comes with an application you can download so you can program your different keys easily. The Mouse and Keyboard Center works just as well for the version of this keyboard that comes with a mouse and without a mouse, and is available on Windows 10, too.
Cushioned Wrist Rest
Another way that most people don’t realize they’re tiring their wrists is the lack of cushioning while typing. Just as a wrist pad easily corrects that, so does the built-in cushioned palm rest. With normal keyboards, you often drop your wrists, lifting the fingers higher, making you use more force to press the keys. When your wrists are elevated, your fingers are angled and less curved towards the keys. In short, the wrist rest lets gravity do more work, taking the stress away from your hands.
Something worth noting is the material used for the cushioning. Because its made of rubber, hand oil transfer is quite noticeable. Though this may not be a big deal for some, it might be off-putting for others.
Separate Number Pad
Traditional keyboard setups keep the numbers as part of a singular board. The Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard, on the other hand, separates the numbers on its own pad, which provides greater flexibility for the user as it functions almost like its own handheld calculator. Plus, there’s also more flexibility in terms of the workspace setup, allowing you to arrange your desktop as you see fit.
However, this is also a personal preference. Some may not enjoy the standalone number pad as much as others.
Aside from these benefits we’ve already mentioned, there are still a few design elements that make the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard the unique product that it is. First up: this is a wireless keyboard that can only be operated by plugging in the USB receiver. That’s one less wire and cable to worry about when working, so you can keep your fixed-height or standing desk clutter-free. Another version of this product comes with a mouse with the USB dongle cleverly stored in the battery compartment.
Next, this “Manta Ray” makes use of scissor switches. This means the keys have a smaller travel distance, making them less noisy and more low-profile. While it all comes down to preference, typing with this kind of key design generally requires less effort and promotes a stress-free typing experience every time.
Pros and Cons of the Pros and Cons of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
|✔ Unprecedented ergonomic design |
✔ Promotes faster typing
✔ Detachable number pad so you can put it away when you don’t need it
✔ Keys are quiet
|✘ Wireless nature and power-saving feature causes it to respond slowly |
✘ Smaller than its predecessors
What People Are Saying About It
Everything about the Microsoft Sculpt screams ergonomic, so it’s no surprise it’s one of the best-selling ones on Amazon. Thanks to its unique key placement and comfortable design, each worker can now enjoy the benefits of an elevated workspace. Here’s what PCWorld has to say about it.
“The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard is a welcome alternative to conventional desktop setups for RSI sufferers.”
Where to Buy the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
Interested in the product? Purchase the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard for Business on Amazon, sold by Buy Top Tech. The price includes free shipping. Rated 3.7 stars out of 5 based on 1,988 customer ratings, it’s also ranked as #14 in the Best Selling Computer Keyboards, as well as a favorite ergonomic keyboard among Amazon editors. The product also gained 3.5 stars on PCWorld’s review.
Warranty is also available for an additional fee, with buyers having a choice between a 3- or 4-year protection plan. For anyone who doesn’t mind buying secondhand or finds the price of the keyboard too steep, Buy Top Tech also sells used products for much cheaper. Free shipping is also included with the secondhand purchases.
Want to check out other brands and models? We’ve got you covered. Read our reviews for the best ergonomic accessories here.