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Lifewire / Emily Isaacs
Wrist pad for extra comfort
Easy to set up
(AES) 128-bit encryption technology
Several customization options
Pairing dongle for PC cannot be replaced if lost
Can’t wake PC in sleep mode
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard is a great mid-priced ergonomic keyboard with a lot to offer, thanks to its wireless connection, AES 128-bit encryption technology, and user-friendly design.
You can tell Microsoft put a considerable amount of thought into the Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard’s design. From the manta ray style folds, which keep shoulders and hands at a relaxed, comfortable angle, to the detached numpad and magnetized risers for increased customization options when you want them, the Sculpt is quite the package. As with anything new, it took a period of adjustment, but we found it relatively quick thanks to the intuitive, easy-to-use design.
The Sculpt is an ergonomic keyboard with a split design akin to that of a manta ray. The two halves of the keyboard sweep outwards and downwards creating an empty, raised space in the center of its swoop design. Its keys vary in size, with those nearest to the split being slightly wider than those on the outer edges of the keyboard. It’s largely made with plastic and has a bit of a clacky sound as you type. The Sculpt employs a standard layout with a fabric wrist pad at the front for extra comfort. This intuitive, split design combined with the wrist pad help your wrists, hands, and shoulders sit at a neutral, natural angle in order to alleviate repetitive stress injuries that frequent typists are prone to over time.
One unique feature of the Sculpt we loved was the function switch. Located on the upper-right hand side of the keyboard, this switch allows you to toggle the functionality of the top row keys, replacing the function key. Options include refreshing the active page, navigating to the home page in web, opening up the computer’s settings, a play/pause button, switching between active windows, and increasing or decreasing volume.
Located on the upper-right hand side of the keyboard, this switch allows you to toggle the functionality of the top row keys, replacing the function key.
Often, keyboards include a next track or previous track multimedia feature, which the Sculpt was decidedly lacking. This was a disappointment, but otherwise, the functions are good inclusions and easy to use. If this extra functionality isn't your thing, you simply flip this switch to the gray position and these F1-F12 keys retain their standard functionality.
The Microsoft Sculpt arrives in a box with the Sculpt itself, a detached numpad, a setup guide, a registration number, and a product guide. Microsoft provides a magnetic riser that can attach to the bottom of the wrist pad as an additional setup option. It also includes a warning packet on lithium batteries since the detached numpad is powered by a 3V lithium CR2430 battery.
Setting the Microsoft Sculpt up is simple. Simply lift the lid off of the battery compartment on the backside of the unit and remove the slip of paper that separates the two AAA batteries. Then, take the provided dongle from the compartment and attach it to the USB port of your PC. If you’re planning on using the detached numpad, don’t forget to also remove the slip of paper from its backside to active it. Then the Sculpt is ready for use.
Backlighting—we love it, but the Sculpt doesn’t have it. This is, in large part, thanks to its battery-powered design. It wouldn’t make a great deal of sense for the Sculpt to have backlighting since the two AAA alkaline batteries would drain significantly faster, but we sure did miss it. It’s important to note that our love of backlighting is also a matter of personal preference. If it’s important to you, you might want to consider a different model. If you can live without it, the Sculpt still has a lot to offer.
Encrypted keystrokes, wireless technology, a detached numpad, a magnetic riser, and an ergonomic design make this keyboard a surefire winner.
One major drawback to the Sculpt’s design is the dongle that associates the keyboard to your PC is one of a kind. This is thanks to the AES 128-bit encryption technology the Sculpt uses to keep your keystrokes safe. Associated to the keyboard at the factory, there simply is no replacing it if it’s lost. While the Sculpt isn’t really travel-friendly due to its size, it would do best in an environment where it’s set up once and stays put so as to prevent losing this important piece of tech.
Ergonomic keyboards tend to cost anywhere from $50-$200. Generally retailing for around $90 on Amazon or $129.95 MSRP, the Sculpt sits in the middle. Its features are nice for the price, too. Encrypted keystrokes, wireless technology, a detached numpad, a magnetic riser, and an ergonomic design with a wrist pad for extra comfort makes this keyboard surefire winner in our books.
The Sculpt’s main competition is the Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. It’s a split-style ergonomic keyboard that connects wirelessly to a PC. Instead of using plastic materials, the Surface has a higher quality build that is not only more comfortable but slightly more sound-absorbent as well. And, better yet, the Surface uses the fan-favorite Alcantara fabric, an Italian material with a suede-like feel to it, as part of its wrist pad which makes it incredibly comfortable. Its numpad is attached, however, and it doesn’t include a magnetic riser. If you prefer your wrist sitting at a raised, more neutral angle, or if you like the idea of a detached numpad, the Sculpt is the clear winner here.
One major drawback to the Sculpt’s design is the dongle that associates the keyboard to your PC is one of a kind.
Another major difference between them is the Surface doesn’t have a unique dongle associated with it at the factory. So long as your PC has a Bluetooth dongle or Bluetooth technology built-in, the Surface can connect easily and quickly, but that also means that the Surface’s keystrokes aren’t encrypted.
The Surface is a high-end keyboard, but that quality comes at a higher price. The Surface tends to retail for around $129, much more than the Sculpt which retails for around $80. That said, it’s an upgrade in almost every way. If you’re on a budget, the Sculpt is a great option, but if you’re able to splurge, the Surface is our top pick for wireless ergonomic keyboards.
Check out our other reviews of the best ergonomic keyboards available on the market today.
A secure, mid-priced wireless keyboard with lots of customization options.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard is a great mid-priced wireless keyboard with multiple customization options thanks to its detached numpad and magnetic riser. Combined with its AES 128-bit encryption technology, comfortable wrist pad, and handy function switch, it’s a great investment for the price. The intuitive, natural angles it creates will have your hands thanking you later.