Most of my workday has me sitting in front of a keyboard. As a prolific writer, having a good keyboard is extremely important. By contrast, I have no interest at all in a touch screen computer. Tablet? Sure, a touchscreen is nice. But I wouldn’t do any extensive writing on a touch screen. Ever!
While Microsoft is trying to gets computer manufacturers to provide touch screens and users to embrace them, they also know that hundreds of millions of users will still use a keyboard and mouse to interact with their computers. In my case, the mouse gathers dust or sits under other stuff on my desk as I use a Wacom tablet almost exclusively for my pointing needs.
One of the first ever mass-market mice came from Microsoft and their flavor of mouse has evolved greatly over the years. They also have been releasing different flavors of the ergonomic keyboard for many years. Their latest revision of both is shown above and is called the Microsoft Skulpt Ergonomic Desktop.
As I very rarely use a mouse and have the previous iteration of the ergonomic keyboard, I have not purchased (or had hands-on experience) with this duo. At first glance, it looks a bit strange with the empty gap in the middle of the keyboard. The previous iteration was filled in and has a scroll wheel there (like you commonly find on a mouse). While it is there on the older version, I can’t remember ever using that wheel.
If you’ve never used an ergonomic keyboard, it may take a day or two to get used to the divided layout. Once you get used to it, I find it much easier to use for typing than a regular keyboard. The Skulpt keyboard is much smaller than previous versions and part of that is because the numeric keypad is provided as a separate piece. I personally don’t use the numeric keypad very often so I wouldn’t mind keeping it in a drawer except for the rare times I need it.
There are also special keys on the keyboard and the mouse that provide specific functions in Windows 8, like accessing the Start screen. Clearly this is helpful to users who have already moved to Windows 8. The older keyboard also has a Start button that interacts with Windows 7. Like the scroll wheel, I’m not sure that I’ve used it much.
Keyboards for me are a way to get text from my head into the computer and these keyboards do a great job of that!