Ergonomic keyboards: Microsoft Sculpt vs. Logitech Ergo K860
After kids, I now rarely travel, so continuing to use the laptop keyboard has become less justifiable. Of course, I'm too lazy to learn a new keyboard out of sheer strength of will. And so, the down arrow key on my laptop broke and it happens to be a model for which there is currently no key replacement. So I took this chance to look into more ergonomic keyboards.
I wanted to keep the flatness and compactness, so I found the two options in the title that looked the most attractive.
First, I ordered the Logitech Ergo K860. I used it full-time for 5 days, typing many emails, programming and gaming:
I came to dislike the fully spread-out, traditional layout of Ins, Home, PgUp, Del, End, PgDn, and the cursor keys. After decades on laptop keyboards, I thought I would like these keys spread out. I do not. It makes only the typing area of the keyboard ergonomic. The navigation part still forces the hand into long movements and contortions.
I dislike how Right Ctrl is straight under Right Shift. I'm used to it more toward the left, with the cursor keys closer in.
I'm not big on the feel of the keys on the Logitech. Pressing the keys feels "meh" – it's fine but not satisfactory. However, the function keys are large and nice, and what feels like low resistance may also make typing less tiring.
Unlike on my previous laptop keyboard, I found I make many more mistakes like THis (or SHift, WHich, or ARrow).
I prefer the compact placement of Ins, Home, PgUp, Del, End, PgDn and the cursor keys on the Sculpt.
I like the placement of Right Ctrl and the cursor keys being closer, so that Left Arrow is under Right Shift.
I greatly prefer the feel of key-pressing on the Microsoft keyboard... except for its function keys, which are shoddy. However, I worry that the reason it's more pleasant is higher resistance, and that this may be harder on the hands.
Even though the Logitech Ergo is currently $129.99 vs. $66.16 for the Microsoft Sculpt, the Sculpts feels fancier. The keys feel better. The parts snap together with magnets. The numeric keypad is full-size but separate and can be placed left or right. Despite being half the price, the Microsoft keyboard seems more sophisticated.
This is with exception of the function keys (Esc, F1-F12, PrtScn), which do not feel sophisticated but half-done.
The separate numpad is fancy, but I don't like it separate. I want it attached, and I want it level with the keyboard. I had to craft a support out of cardboard paper and scotch tape to make it level, and the result is wobbly.
There seem to be no lights indicating the state of Caps Lock or Num Lock, or the on/off state. Yikes.
It turned off by itself multiple times during the second day of use, with no clear cause. Batteries should not be low because they're new. I found no way to turn it back on except to remove and reinsert the USB transceiver.
Sadly, I still seem to make just as many mistakes like THis (or SHift, WHich, or ARrow).
If you're used to full-size desktop keyboards, you might prefer the Logitech Ergo. I find the compact layout of the navigation keys on the Microsoft Sculpt much more ergonomic, and I like the feel of the keys. However, I don't like the separate numpad; or how it turned itself off twice in the second day, and how difficult it is to turn it back on.
Verdict: After trying out the Sculpt for two days, I returned to the Logitech Ergo. At first it seemed less satisfying to type, but it seems to make my RSI-afflicted hand less tired. It is overall a better, more well-rounded keyboard. Its main disadvantage is the traditional, spaced-out layout of the navigation keys. In this regard, I like the compact layout on the Microsoft keyboard better. However, the Sculpt has too many other, quite unfortunate and unnecessary disadvantages.
My wife, meanwhile, prefers a traditional, mechanical keyboard. I got her the Corsair K70, which she is happy with. :)