Surface Hardware Leaks Ahead of Event. No, Not That Surface Hardware

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 42 Comments

Surface Hardware Leaks Ahead of Event. No, Not That Surface Hardware

While many believe that Microsoft will announce a Surface all-in-one (AIO) later this month, we know from recent FCC leaks that the firm will at the very least release new Surface-branded PC peripherals, including a keyboard and a mouse.

It’s not clear whether these peripherals will only be sold separately or whether they will also be bundled with that presumed AIO. But what is clear is that neither is particularly interesting.


The keyboard is a flat design with a full numeric keyboard, and similar to the keyboard Apple started bundling with its iMac a decade ago or more. It is not in any way ergonomic, and I am having trouble imagining how or why Microsoft would make such a thing.


The mouse, amazingly, is even worse. It’s clearly modeled after the flat Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Mouse that I refused to review because of its terrible, non-ergonomic design. But this isn’t the first time Microsoft made a Surface-branded mouse, of course: Its previous Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition simply took the Arc Touch Mouse design and added a now out of date Surface-like color. This new mouse does the same, but with a more current magnesium-like gray color.

Long story short, yes, we’re all excited to see what Microsoft announces later this month. But neither of these peripherals is in any way a step forward. And that, to me, suggests that they do not deserve the Surface brand.

Hopefully, there’s more coming.


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  1. 2 | Reply
    Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 3 months ago

    I'm not convinced these are real. The keyboard looks too similar to a paint job on an Apple keyboard. It does have the same look to it as the Surface Book keyboard, which is great for a laptop KB, but even so, no. Just no.

  2. 2 | Reply
    wunderbar Alpha Member #290 - 3 months ago

    I don't mind the keyboard design.  It's very Apple Keyboard circa 2011 style which if you actually used them for any length of time were actually really good keyboards.


    The mouse is awful. I don't know what the heck is going on with the trend to not have any side buttons on a mouse.  I use them almost as much as I use the main buttons.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago
      In reply to wunderbar:

      I don't recall ever using an OEM keyboard personally.  Just saying...

  3. 2 | Reply
    chrisrut Alpha Member #193 - 3 months ago

    Just off the top - interesting as products in and of themselves? No. But what if these are accessories - the default accompaniments to the rumored AIO? In that role they'd make more sense. And allow for various upgrade paths at the whim of the user.

    As for ergonomics - well, the whole point of the subject is "NOT-one-size-fits-all". In pedantic fairness, these basic pieces might prove perfect for some, perhaps many or most, if not for you. There is no right or wrong when it comes to personal taste.

    As for me: I strongly dislike keyboards that are bent, curved, or warped into an "ergonomic" shape. I like my keys straight in a row - just as in the picture. On the other hand, I am a stickler for key feel -  the details of the tactile feedback. The vast majority of these flat-faced-short-travel keyboards fall miserably short on feel, for me. The picture does nothing to encourage me in that regard. We'll see.

    In any event: they make sense if they're part of a package. As stand-alones, not so much.

  4. 2 | Reply
    evox81 Alpha Member #1939 - 3 months ago

    Wow... Just, wow.


    Microsoft knows how to make great mice and keyboards... Why are they doing this?

    1. 1 | Reply
      ChristopherCollins Alpha Member #2122 - 3 months ago
      In reply to evox81: I totally agree with you.  I use their keyboards and mice at home and on the workstations at work that people 'take care of'.  I use cheapo keyboards on the messy eaters/spillers.
      Sadly, they are probably doing this because they look good and millenials are buying form over function.  I understand trying to get a piece of that market, but like you, I am uninspired by this and would never use/deploy these devices.  I'm not their target for this either, though.


    2. 1 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 months ago
      In reply to ChristopherCollins:

      1 word:  KeyTronic  (okay it's spelled as two, but you get the picture)



      I'm going on over 10 years on my current one....and you can STILL read every key label!

    3. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago
      In reply to evox81:

      Nobody said they ARE doing this.  It's just a FCC submission.  The final could be very different.  From my experience, the final product rarely matches the FCC submission for looks.  The submission is just for testing of radio interference from materials, not the real product.  The FCC allows this.  As long as the same materials are used in the final product, they could care less how it looks for testing.

    4. -1 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 months ago
      In reply to evox81:

      The Wow starts now!

  5. 1 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 months ago

    Form over function. I don't mind the flat keyboard. I just don't like the flat mouse.

  6. 0 | Reply
    RickEveleigh Alpha Member #1566 - 3 months ago

    Is that a ZX Spectrum 'dead flesh' keyboard in a light grey case?

  7. 0 | Reply
    tbtalbot Alpha Member #152 - 3 months ago

    Uh, I have this keyboard, for my iPad....... ;)

  8. 0 | Reply
    mclark2112 Alpha Member #1239 - 3 months ago

    Mouse looks like a Sony Vaio mouse circa. 1997.

  9. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago

    No finger print reader on the keyboard :(

  10. 0 | Reply
    Patrick3D Alpha Member #994 - 3 months ago

    Is the 3rd key that sits between Ctrl and Spacebar a 'Fn' key? I hate those, actually, I hate chiclet keyboards on anything other than a laptop for that matter.

  11. 0 | Reply
    cseafous Alpha Member #610 - 3 months ago

    I'll wait until the Surface branded Minority Report gloves hit the FCC before I get excited.  Get on it Microsoft!

  12. 0 | Reply
    Lewk Alpha Member #958 - 3 months ago

    Can I point out that neither device has the surface branding other than being a grey colour. Looks like normal Microsoft peripheral hardware to me that they've sold for years. Maybe it's just a grey colour to match your surface? But has nothing to do with surface?

  13. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 months ago

    Rapoo (funny name) makes all kinds of keyboards like this....

    They're far cheaper too (and the mice are better).

  14. 0 | Reply
    Awhispersecho Alpha Member #1649 - 3 months ago

    Hopefully these are not final designs as they look awful. They will be bundled with a Surface desktop monitor that the Surface Phone will connect to which will create an AIO.

  15. 0 | Reply
    bbold Alpha Member #669 - 3 months ago

    I think we should reserve our judgement until we see the actual product/s. Who knows if these were just prototypes or what have you. Let's take a breath and step back a bit and just wait until the end of October, I'm sure we'll all be pleasantly surprised ;)

  16. 0 | Reply
    jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 3 months ago

    Surely this isn't real or it's an early prototype that has been abandoned.  I want a Bluetooth ergonomic keyboard, not this carpel tunnel inflicting Apple wannabe.

  17. 0 | Reply
    albatronas - 3 months ago

    I hope this is not the final design of the product...... :(

    1. -1 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 months ago
      In reply to albatronas:

      Haven't you heard?  Microsoft doesn't do any QA testing anymore.

  18. 0 | Reply
    PracticalEdd Alpha Member #2305 - 3 months ago

    Shame they aren't using this as an opportunity to show off their ergonomic, productive credentials.

    I have the current wireless set at work (I'd also definitely get a higher quality surface one) and it's changed my life, my typing is faster, more accurate and more comfortable, why ape Apple when they have something so much more interesting to work from already?

    Having said that I suppose the ergonomic ones are a little scary to people this, presumably, will be the set they include with the AIO?

    1. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago
      In reply to PracticalEdd:

      This is a leak, not a product showcase.  Gees.

  19. 0 | Reply
    Travis Alpha Member #692 - 3 months ago

    Maybe the surface all in one is the first portable desktop/tablet hybridl and that is why the keyboard is so thin?

  20. 0 | Reply
    Travis Alpha Member #692 - 3 months ago

    Maybe the cylinder shape on the keyboard stores the surface pen 

  21. 0 | Reply
    prettyconfusd Alpha Member #1780 - 3 months ago

    Agreed, they don't look any different to generic cheap keyboards and mice out there that have been aping the Apple style from 2010.

    An updated ergonomic desktop (with a connected number pad - the seperate num pad on the current model infuriates me regularly) would be great, but the magnesium colour doesn't look particularly enticing or stylish in this form. There's no contract or interest to them.

    Microsoft do put out some great peripherals, but I hope they don't muddy up the Surface brand with their standard keyboards and mice...


    I am intrigued/excited at what these could be released with, however... I'd rather have just a Surface monitor than a full AIO but if it connects to my exisiting SP4 in some unique and productive way then I could be swayed to consider a purchase - assuming you don't need a Satya Nadella size bonus to be able to afford it, of course!

  22. 0 | Reply
    gregsedwards Alpha Member #1910 - 3 months ago

    I've been using the Bluetooth Designer Desktop for the better part of a year. Coming from the Wireless Desktop 4000, it took a little adjustment, but now I'm pleased to say it's some of the best hardware I've ever owned. I found hardest part about using the Designer Keyboard to be learning to feel my way around its overly uniform keys, especially on the 10-key side. The Surface Bluetooth Keyboard pictured above, however, seems to eschew the compact design in favor of a more traditional layout, so users probably won't end up pressing the wrong keys as often as I did at first. Though it sounds like I'm in the minority, I love my Designer Mouse. I frankly never got the appeal of the Arc Touch Mouse. The Designer Mouse is so flat that it easily slips into my bag for travel, and it's extremely comfortable to use even for long periods. As a lefty, I really appeciate the non-ergonomic design, which unfortunately tends to skew right-handed.

    Anyway, I don't know that these are unique enough to ditch my current Designer Desktop at work, but if I get a Surface AIO for my home office, then I'll probably pick up a set.

  23. -1 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 months ago

    Hello, discontinued Mac keyboard.


    Hello discontinued Dexxa mouse.