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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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Quick Look: Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Surface Mouse”

  1. Darmok N Jalad

    Almost seems like a shiny version of the mouse would help with the dull gray look to everything. Probably would clean easier too.

  2. jimchamplin

    All the cheap mice sold in the world could be used to redirect asteroids in deep space.

  3. robincapper

    I'll stick to my Sculpt, the separate number keypad is a game changer for me

  4. rameshthanikodi

    Literally every other mice that Microsoft makes is better than the one they're shipping with this. Would it have really hurt for them to throw in a Sculpt Touch mouse in the box?

  5. wright_is

    I didn't bother with the mouse. I already have 2 Designer mice (one came with my Office 365 subscription last year and the other with the Designer desktop set. Therefore there was no point (apart from the colour) to swap to the Surface mouse.

    The keyboard is, however, very good. I was waiting for the ergonomic version, but after waiting nearly 3 months for even the Surface keyboard appear, I lept at it. The Ergonomic appeared another 3 weeks later, and the price was even more exorbitant.

    The Surface keyboard is one of the best "Scrabble" keyboards I've used. I prefer ergonomic keyboards, but I also work in support and flit between about a dozen keyboards a day at work, so having a normal keyboard is easier than having to keep swapping between ergonomic and normal.

    I do have 2 original Natural Media keyboards, a 4000 (one of the worst versions they made) and the Sculpt. The Sculpt isn't bad, but I hate it that the numeric keypad is separate - I use it extensively throughout the day and the battery never lasted more than a couple of weeks.

    Also, like the Designer, the editing keys are poorly laid out, which is the main reason I swapped out the Designer for the Surface.

  6. wbhite

    I still think 90's-era IntelliMouse is one of the best mouse designs ever. Not sure why it fell out of favor, other than just being perceived as "old."

  7. maflynn

    Why the aversion to mechanical cherry switched keyboards? Especially for a 3,000 dollar computer that MS is promoting.

  8. Vuppe

    Will give huge points to the Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse. Own it, love it. Perfect travel companion.

    Thanks for the honest reviews, Paul!

  9. allancm

    I recently bought the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, and I wanted a new mouse too, but the surface mouse was expensive, I did not want to "approve" this price by paying for it, so I bought the designer mouse.  After three months of use, I really really love this keyboard, but I don't like at all the designer mouse.  I want something bigger and preferably silent, so I need to look for more options in amazon.

  10. cawoodstock

    I struggle with the keyboard pricing. I've used the similar Apple keyboards with my pc for the past few years and so was excited for the surface keyboard which would allow me to replace it with a keyboard made for pcs. Alas, where the apple keyboard is 50 bucks, this one is twice as much? Not sure I can do it...