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

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 41 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mouse, of course: Its previous Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition simply took the Arc Touch Mouse design and added a now out of date Surface-like color.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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Comments (41)

41 responses to “Surface Hardware Leaks Ahead of Event. No, Not That Surface Hardware”

  1. 1959

    Wow... Just, wow.


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

    • 2233

      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.


      • 5234

        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!

    • 442

      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.

    • 5234

      In reply to evox81:

      The Wow starts now!

  2. 180

    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.

  3. 313

    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.

  4. 214

    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.

  5. 5394

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

  6. 1513

    Mouse looks like a Sony Vaio mouse circa. 1997.

  7. 169

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

  8. 5538

    Wow. Look like toys. This is suppose to be premium? Sorry, looks like a cheap toy. Their other keyboards look so much better, especially the sculpt comfort keyboard. C'mon Microsoft, put your teams together to consolidate the efforts. This is atrocious.

  9. 6067

    I dont know... I LOVE the keyboard on my Surface Book... If this desktop keyboard feels like my Surface Book I will love this!  We need these kinds of things... I have my SB docked at my office with an ugly keyboard and mouse... hopefully they announce some kind of display as well!

  10. 2983

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

  11. 5234

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

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

  12. 699

    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 ;)

  13. 5234

    Microsoft just isn't trying anymore.

  14. 3272

    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. 6115

    In my opinion the keyboard below is the best one Microsoft has ever made.  (Microsoft Wired Keyboard 500)  I bought a case just to be sure I would not run out.  Nice and compact, full keys and key travel, very cheap (only about $20), and I like the vertical orientation of the Home/End/Delete/etc. keys.

  16. 996

    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?

  17. 442

    No finger print reader on the keyboard :(

  18. 6152

    What a strange boycott, especially for a journalist.

    The Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Mouse, despite its flatness, is very nice to use.

    Ergonomic is largely a question of taste and habit.

    Microsoft did (and still?) produce truly ergonomical keyboards, and they were never very successful.

    On the other hand, for a number of people, including me, only mechanical keyboards are satisfying.


  19. 1043

    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.

  20. 5530

    WTF? I've been using Microsoft Mice exclusively for the past 4 years because Microsoft makes amazing mice! I love my Sculpt Touch, and it's the envy of my siblings. I loved using the Explorer Mouse and the Arc Touch too. They could just make a larger version of any of these (the current ones are small for mobility) for the desktop, put a Surface-ish color on it, and call it a day! It would be a sure win!

  21. 722

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

  22. 5314

    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?

  23. 5781

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

  24. 2507

    I think they would look pretty good on a desk, but yeah, they aren't going to be the most ergonomic options... Then again, I think there are plenty of people who will pay for style, as long as the substance is just barely good enough (I'm looking at you, every imac since 2007!)

  25. 5994

    Microsoft really needs to be creating premium peripherals, so this is a step in the right direction. I disagree that ergonomics is the primary design focus, premium materials and elegant design matter more for the Surface brand. 

    But this mouse sucked when it was released in black, it's ugly, lacks features and feels cheap. The Arc Touch is at least innovative, this is lame. This mouse does not deserve the Surface name and will never live on my workspace. I'd love to have a sexy Surface keyboard and mouse, but MS has been of their peripherals game for years now. 

    I'll withhold judgement on the keyboard. Looks like it might be nice enough to consider. Waiting to see what the features are and feel the key response. 

    • 5510

      In reply to Dawindbag:

      No. The Surface is not elegant. The HP Spectre is elegant, not any of the Surface computers are.  You can slap the Dell logo and the Surface would believably look like a Dell. 

  26. 5997

    But, I'm just a consumer and enthusiast for the past 25 years.  This was not designed for me.

  27. 1561

    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.

  28. 5510

    Truthfully, I don't see what Paul is complaining about here. A keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard. Same thing can be said about the mouse. The "plainly-ness" of the keyboard and mouse doesn't surprise me at all. After all, the Surface line is a very plain looking device with very little to no external appeal. With four (4) generation of Surface products in the line, why exactly is it a surprise to Paul that the keyboard and mouse look like the way it is, according to those images.

    Also, if the keyboard and mouse are associated with the rumored Surface AiO and that computer's purpose is for the living room and not the office as Paul, Mary Jo, and others have indicated in the past, then what exactly is the problem? The living room is not where a poweruser normally works, where ergonomics can play a key role to personal productivity. Anything meant for the living room has to look neutral to the space's overall design and decor. The keyboard and mouse appear to be as neutral as it gets.

    Honestly, I don't think the keyboard and mouse look bad at all. Nor will the experience of using it will be either.

  29. 3884

    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!

  30. 5184

    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.

  31. 722

    Maybe the cylinder shape on the keyboard stores the surface pen 

  32. 639

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

  33. 5234

    Hello, discontinued Mac keyboard.


    Hello discontinued Dexxa mouse.