Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:09

Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Desktop combo keyboard and mouse - Review

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All the new touch screen computers make you wonder at the future of the traditional mouse and keyboard.

QWERTY is 138 years old and apart from a bit of fiddling around the edges is still the design typists prefer.

In many cases the ‘oldies are goodies” – keyboards like the amazing mechanical key switch Honeywell that had to be prised from my hands (after the demise of Din and PS2 connectors) and the companion Honeywell opposing wheel mouse – very ugly, no ergonomics, pure genius.

It is with some trepidation that I review a new, sleek, Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Desktop keyboard and mouse (US site) that is sure to introduce copious typing errors – a bad workman blames his tools – as I become familiar with its layout.

First thing you notice is that the elevation legs are at the front under the very nice padded wrist rest. Yes it works well – slightly unnatural typing angle at first but definitely improves key access. Next you note the split space bar – apparently reduces wrist twist and the weight that your thumbs need to depress - the left part can be converted to a backspace key. I can live with all that and after about 10 minutes of typing, I am back to my usual blistering hunt and peck speeds.

The companion mouse is – well a mighty mouse. It has the new bluetrack technology that works on more surfaces – effective especially if you do not have space for a mouse pad. It also has a tilt scroll button – designed for right handers - that allows you to move more in line with touch gestures. Both the Keyboard and Mouse have the new Windows 8 menu key. On the mouse, press the center of the Windows touch tab to switch between your current app and the Start screen. Swipe up on the blue strip to cycle through open Windows 8 apps; swipe down to reveal all the open apps and select the one you want.

Installation was very easy – plug in the 2.4Ghz receiver and within moments both items worked after a short download.

Ratings:

  • Usability: 8-10 once you get used to the Sculpt profile and a few different key locations. It has a slight curve to the keyboard which is very comfortable
  • Durability: 7-10 it is a typical membrane key switch and decal letting so it is not for very high volume use
  • Price/Value: AU$89.95 for the combo. 8-10
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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