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Lifewire / Emily Isaacs
Antimicrobial protection for a cleaner keyboard
Easy to use
Wired USB connection
Plastic wrist pad
The Fellowes Microban Split Wired Keyboard is a good budget-friendly ergonomic keyboard built to last thanks to the Microban antimicrobial protection, which not only prevents unwanted bacterial, fungi, and yeast growth over time, but helps prevent the deterioration of the keyboard itself.
The Fellowes Microban Split Design Wired Keyboard is one of several Fellowes’ products geared towards businesses, thanks to its comfortable, ergonomic design and budget-friendly pricing. The inclusion of Microban antimicrobial protection technology, designed to prolong the life of your computer hardware by preventing damaging microbes from building up over time and causing deterioration, is an added bonus for the price. We tested this keyboard for over a week so read on to see what we discovered.
Ergonomic keyboards are designed to encourage natural, neutral movements that put less strain on wrists and shoulders, preventing repetitive stress injuries over time. This is especially important for people who spend large portions of their day in a home or office setting tethered to their computer.
Unfortunately, some larger keyboards can trade wrist injuries for shoulder injuries as their users overreach for mice, which brings a whole new set of problems to the table. While it may be a bit of a space hog, and not a terribly sleek or attractive one at that, the Fellowes Microban Split Wired Keyboard has solved both of these issues. What’s more, its ergonomic split design is easy to use and surprisingly comfortable.
The Fellowes Microban Split Wired Keyboard is wide, sitting at a whopping 19.25 inches, and it’s long and tall, too, with a length of 9.75 inches and a height of 2.25 inches. Risers on the backside of the keyboard boost this up an additional inch if desired. It employs a fairly standard swoop design we often see with ergonomic keyboards, but with a distinct divot in the keys that makes for easy gripping while typing. The keys also have additional spacing between them compared to competitor models, which is nice once you get used to it.
We were disappointed that it didn’t include hotkeys for pausing, skipping forward, or skipping backward in multimedia.
Unlike competitor models which often use a mix of fabric, plastics, and in some instances, metals, the entirety of this keyboard is plastic—even down to the wrist pad. While we did wish that the wrist pad was made of a more comfortable material, it wasn’t uncomfortable during use. Plus, a different material would likely impact the keyboard’s longevity, since the Microban antimicrobial coating needs to be put on an acrylic, non-porous surface in order to protect against common bacteria, yeasts, molds, and fungi.
The keyboard doesn’t arrive with much. It comes in a mid-size box with the keyboard itself and an accessory pamphlet that addresses some frequently asked questions regarding Microban technology. Setting up is quite easy. It’s a plug and play device, which means that when the keyboard is connected to the computer, the computer will recognize the device is there and you can begin using it immediately.
The Fellowes features seven hotkeys for multimedia playback. These keys are located along the top of the keyboard and offer such functionality as mute, volume up, volume down, sleep, email, search, and one-touch internet access. We were disappointed that it didn’t include hotkeys for pausing, skipping forward, or skipping backward in multimedia.
The Fellowes connects to a PC via a USB cord. We couldn’t help but appreciate the simplicity of this design choice, especially as more and more companies are looking for ways to cut cords. Cutting down on cables is great when it makes sense, but the corded connection here allows for a dependable product, since you never have to worry about a low battery, and also means that the keyboard is more reliable for faster typists. It’s equipped with a 16-character buffer, which means that it can hold onto that many typed characters before they’re processed. This is useful if you type faster than conventional keyboards can keep up with, making it less likely for you to lose a stroke.
It’s equipped with a 16-character buffer, which means that it can hold onto that many typed characters before they’re processed.
Ergonomic keyboards tend to retail anywhere from $50-$200. The Fellowes Microban Split Wired Keyboard tends to retail for around $50, which puts this well at the budget end. Its low price point makes it a great introductory ergonomic keyboard, particularly if you’re unsure of what you want and are experimenting with different design choices.
The Fellowes keyboard faces stiff competition from other companies, notably Microsoft, which has been in the computer game for decades. Here, the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard is the main competition. Generally retailing for around $80, nearly double the price of the Fellowes, the Sculpt follows a unique design akin to that of a manta ray. The two halves of the keyboard swoop upward, rising toward the middle, but not quite meeting thanks to an unfilled space between them. It looks strange, but it’s quite comfortable, especially thanks to its fabric wrist pad for extra comfort.
The Sculpt is also a wireless keyboard. It uses Bluetooth technology to pair to the keyboard to your PC. One drawback to this design, however, is that the dongle used to pair the keyboard to the PC is linked with the keyboard at the time of build. If it’s lost or damaged, there’s simply no replacing it. It also lacks the pronounced divot in the keys that the Fellowes possesses, and the Sculpt doesn’t include Microban technology to prolong the keyboard’s lifespan.
The Microban antimicrobial coating needs to be put on an acrylic, non-porous surface in order to protect against common bacteria, yeasts, molds, and fungi.
A neat perk of the Sculpt, in contrast to the Fellowes, is that the Sculpt has a detached numpad and a magnetic riser is also provided. With these combined features, there are multiple customization options regarding setup. If you’re on the market for something built to last, the Fellowes is the clear winner, but if you’re looking for an ergonomic keyboard with multiple customization options or additional comfort, the Sculpt is the keyboard for you.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best ergonomic keyboards.
A great keyboard with microbial protection for office workers.
The Fellowes Microban Split Design Wired Keyboard is a good, albeit bulky, ergonomic keyboard designed to last. Its antimicrobial protection not only keeps germs, fungi, and bacteria at bay, but ensures the keyboard won’t deteriorate over time. While it may not be our first pick for home use, it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget or are an office working facing down cold and flu season.
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