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I Now Have a Natural Ergonomic 4000. Let's Review It

Two weeks ago, I decided I’d had enough with my old keyboard. You can see it in the pictures below, but I’d originally purchased it at a time when I rampantly played PC games like Final Fantasy XI and liked to sit back and relax with my keys. Nowadays, that’s simply not the case at all, and its wireless connectivity, rampant battery absorption, inactive keys and broken kickstands did little more than aggravate me.

The discard pile

I’d shopped for a keyboard around the time I picked up a new mouse nearly two years ago, and kept it on my Wish List until now. Though I had never used one, I had opted for the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. It had fairly good reviews, was wired (thus not requiring batteries) and was designed specifically for those, like me, glued to the keyboard for long stretches of writing rather than gaming (as so, so many new keyboards are).

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

I unpacked it with a child’s Christmas morning level of desperation and hooked it up rather effortlessly after tearing the old clunker out of my tower. Drivers installed on their own, so there was no need for a disc (nor was one included), and I was up and running in moments.

Due to the design of my desk (it utilizes a slider keyboard shelf), I was forced to remove the front mount and keep the kicks down as well (it still sticks a little to the support beam, unfortunately). However, it’s still far more comfortable than my old keyboard and what use I’ve made of it thus far has not resulted in any stiffness or fatigued wrists.

Look at those curves

Actually, it’s made me realize I need a mouse pad with a wrist guard now.

Typing is incredibly different, though. The split down the middle, along with the enlarged buttons to accommodate, means reaching slightly further or slightly less to certain keys. The letters and numbers on the edges, such as the Q and P and the 1 and 0, seem particularly effected.

Split like a boss

I also have tended to use my left-hand Ctrl for most commands, especially in conjunction with a right-handed mouse, and doing Ctrl+Y or Ctrl+P is simply no longer comfortable, or viable, using that same technique.

I’ve yet to put the Hot Keys to use, so they may make the transition slightly better. But, as of now, I’m pretty content with my choice, and recommend it for those of you whose wrists feel not so pretty by the day’s end.

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