Quick Look: Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Surface Mouse

Posted on March 13, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft Surface with 10 Comments

Quick Look: Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Surface Mouse

I can’t provide full reviews of Microsoft’s Surface Keyboard and Surface Mouse because of their non-ergonomic designs. But here’s what you need to know about these expensive, Surface-branded peripherals.

For starters, I do understand that most people are not fans of ergonomic keyboards and mice, and that the learning curve can be high. But I swear by these devices because they’ve kept carpal tunnel syndrome at bay over 20+ years, and I spend every day parked in front of my keyboard and mouse.

And to be clear, Microsoft makes wonderful ergonomic keyboards and mice. I use and recommend the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop set, which combines a Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse into a single package, and I travel with a second Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse as well. They’re that good.

Also, I recently reviewed the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard Review, which is modeled on that Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and is quite good.

But, yes. Not everyone wants ergonomic accessories. And given this state of affairs, it makes sense for Microsoft to continue to deliver non-ergonomic keyboards and mice. And to even bundle them with their new desktop computer, the Surface Studio.

The result is a mixed bag. A decent, full-sized keyboard. And a really terrible and cheaply made mouse.

Surface Keyboard

Surface Keyboard closely resembles a Surface-branded and (Bluetooth-based) wireless version of the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. (Apple sold a similar wireless version without the numeric keypad, but has since replaced it with an updated version called the Magic Keyboard.)

Which is to say it is attractive and well-made, with a nice magnesium upper body, and it has a great key feel while typing. But I wish the numeric keypad was detachable, as this is an enormously wide peripheral. The typing angle, which is created via a battery barrel that again copies Apple designs, is a bit steeper than what we see on Surface Book with Performance Base. But this rise towards the back also makes the keyboard easier to pick up and move around when needed.

In keeping with Microsoft’s other recent, battery-powered Surface peripherals, the cover of Surface Keyboard’s battery compartment is held on with magnets rather than using a plastic clip or similar. This is a bit confusing at first, but in my experience, these covers have stayed on nicely, and I suspect they will handle wear better than older devices.

Unlike Surface Mouse, Surface Keyboard scores points for its high-quality design. This is a Surface peripheral that stands up to the premium nature of its brand. Even if I’m not a big fan of non-ergonomic keyboards.

Surface Keyboard costs $100, which is an extravagant sum, albeit one that is in keeping with the rest of the Surface product line.

Surface Mouse

Clearly modeled after the lackluster Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Mouse, the Surface Mouse is perhaps the most cheaply-made Surface peripheral that Microsoft has ever sold. The whole thing as a plastic vibe to it, and even the metal scroll wheel feels like cheap plastic, which is quite the feat. It just doesn’t provide a good first impression.

In its favor, the Surface Mouse is slightly more ergonomic than the Designer Bluetooth Mouse, thanks to its slightly less flat form factor. And it would be an ideal mouse to travel with, given its small size, thinness, and very light weight.

Like other Surface products, Surface Mouse is clad in a dull gray color. This seems professional on some of those products, but the overwhelming grayness of Surface is getting a bit tired, in my opinion. Perhaps it’s time to offer color choices on Surface mice, just Microsoft does with Surface Pen.

I noted that the metal scroll wheel feels like plastic, which it does. But I do like that the scroll wheel has teeth, which give it a bit of grip, and you can of course press down on that wheel to simulate a middle mouse button.

Surface Mouse is, of course, expensive, at $50. You can get other Microsoft mice for less—that Designer model is just $20 right now, for example—but they often lack the Surface look and feel that some Surface owners may prefer. You might then consider a Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse, which is $10 less, at $40. (Still too expensive, in my opinion.)


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