I’m a ham handed typist whose efforts result in the wanton slaughter of as many as three keyboards a year. Unfortunately, the stroke I had several years ago has increased my keyboard fatality rate.
So, when fellow keyboard murders –especially the small handful who are also recovering from strokes-- suggest I try a product, I listen intently. And that’s a big reason why there’s a new Microsoft Natural keyboard and high definition laser mouse pointer in my office.
The top level takeaway: I honestly have no idea why it’s taken me so long to move to an ergonomic keyboard. The current incarnation of this Microsoft wireless peripheral is easy to use, incredibly rugged and miserly sips power from its batteries. I recommend it whole heartedly—particularly to anyone struggling to relearn typing after a stroke that affects their handedness.
What I really like about Microsoft’s Natural Ergonomic 7000 Keyboard is that it has enough assigned, function and special purpose keys and buttons to keep my attention focused on screen. I like its use of keys that allow me to jump to Internet favorite places without using a mouse and the two switches just below the space bar for jumping to “next” or “previous” Internet sites. I also really like this keyboard’s zoom slider key that lets me magnify displayed text.
Now that I’ve used it for several weeks I appreciate how its design—which includes a comfy padded palm rest-- makes it easier to for me to write for hours without undue hand fatigue. Moreover—because of the limited mobility in my left hand, this keyboard’s design helps me position my hands correctly, which reduces the number of typos I make compared to conventional keyboards.
I was initially put off by curvy/humpy ergonomic keyboards, but have become a fan of the form factor as my hours of experience clock up.
But what really impresses me about Microsoft’s ergonomic design is its underlying ruggedness. Its keys have enough resistance to let you know you’ve punched them and its space bar is strong enough to with stand hours of brutal attacks by my thumbs on its left and right outer edges
The mouse that’s included in the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 7000 Desktop is chunkier than most mouse pointers but it has much more functionality than other devices. It supports scrolling and magnification but the position of control buttons on its upper left side initially seemed unfamiliar.
Microsoft claims the double A batteries used in its Natural Desktop 7000 keyboard and mouse should last up to 90 days. One month into this combo’s use, I’ve seen no reason not to dispute this claim.
I like and recommend Microsoft’s natural 7000 desktop. I was very pleasantly surprised by the improvement in typing its ergonomic design had on my typing—despite my obvious physical handicap. If you know someone who has had a stroke and is struggling with their typing, the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 7000 desktop would make a great birthday or holiday gift. It’s easy to use, a snap to unpack and connect, and most of all its rugged enough to withstand heavy handed typing. With a suggested retail price in excess of $150 it’s not inexpensive but it can be purchased for considerably less with minimal judicious shopping.—Jim Forbes 07/26/2010.