The final, inner finish around the numerical pad, Function and QWERTY keys is glossy piano black. This is the most sensible place to have a finger-print inviting layer, as you’re unlikely to touch it much. Keys themselves are matte, and the integrated wrist-rest is finished in the same comfortable, rubberized material as the sides of the mouse.
Overall, it’s a classy, coordinated look, but do its ergonomics match its great design? The typing layout is rather unusual, in a good way. Those who hate the two separate, angled sections on some of Microsoft’s Natural Ergonomic Keyboards will be pleased by the “comfort curve” design, which unifies the letters into a single whole while still angling them slightly at six degrees. If you’re used to a normal layout, this will take some getting used to.
A bit like going to the gym, it feels like effort at first, as your fingers stretch to locations they’re not used to. But like exercising, it gets easier, and when it does, your experience is more comfortable than ever before. Not only do your hands rest at a more natural angle, but typing improves. Touch-typing especially becomes easier for those who aren’t proficient at it, since keys have different shapes. Surprisingly, gaming is more comfortable too, and when playing with WASD it’s easier to use the shift-key.
The tab and left shift keys are somewhat undersized, and thanks to the slightly diagonal orientation of the keys, I found myself initially pressing Caps Lock a few times by mistake. However, as with the overall layout, this is something that you get used to given a little time. The low-profile keys’ response, meanwhile, is excellent. Feedback is springy and defined without being noisy, though as with most keyboards the spacebar is rather audible. Whether you prefer the feel of this keyboard or one of the Logitechs like its Wave is really a matter of personal preference – I’d be perfectly happy with either.
All of the Function keys double as office or operational shortcuts, with the keys themselves sporting the relevant icon while the F-number is printed above them in small but legible fonts. They’re curved to match the keys below them, which is aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately they’re not grouped by four as on most keyboards, instead being evenly spaced, which makes it almost impossible to press the F-key you need without having to look first.
On the other hand, a nice touch for novices is that Microsoft has given the left Ctrl-key a little sunburst symbol, and has printed this together with the most common shortcuts on relevant keys. Not to disturb the actual letters, these handy ‘tips’ are printed on the side of the key that’s facing you; plainly visible without being intrusive. Last but not least – at least for some – there is a calculator shortcut above the number pad, though due to the lack of an LCD screen it is nowhere near as useful as its equivalent on the Logitech Cordless Desktop MX5500 Revolution.
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