Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 12, 2013
5KV-00001 / L5V-00002
9 x 16 x 2.48 in
Microsoft’s Sculpt ergonomic wireless keyboard has transformed my tendonitis issues in business and at home
In my recent post about the Logitech MX Ergo Bluetooth wireless trackball mouse, I gave a lot of the backstory on the issues I’ve had with my hands over the last 20 or so years.
I don’t know if you would diagnose it as RSI or just tendonitis, a combination of long hours at a keyboard and many hours playing guitar with a personality type that doesn’t know when to stop meant that I did damage to my tendons at quite a young age.
Obviously, this is exacerbated when working all day typing on a keyboard and using a mouse on the computer.
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Wireless Desktop Keyboard
For a relaxed position of wrists and forearms
The Microsoft Sculpt keyboard has a lovely low profile, and excellent comfort and is excellent for those suffering from tendonitis or RSI symptoms. I have now purchased 3 of these – one for work and two for home.
I find it such a relief from my symptoms and while it might take some practice to get used to it it, the effort is so worth it in the end.
The pictures include the Microsoft Surface Keyboard which is almost the same but it is Bluetooth and includes a built in keypad which is also awesome. The difference is really in the price. If you can afford it, I’d recommend the Surface also.
- Item Weight: 4.28 pounds
- Type of design: Split
- Product Dimensions: 8.86 x 21.06 x 1.77 in
- Power Source: Battery Powered
- Sensor Technology: Blue Track
- Wireless Communication Standard: 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
What’s in the Box?
- Mouse (some models)
- Number Pad
- 2 x AAA Batteries
- Bluetooth USB module
Stuff I like
- Hand comfort
- Wrist support
- Longer battery life
- Great accuracy and responsiveness
Stuff I like less
- RF Wireless version didn’t like being near some USB devices. Not a major.
Where to get it
Comparable products to consider
A human hand-friendly curved structure keyboard with synthetic leather for comfortable touch.
This is the keyboard I use daily at work. The benefits being it has BlueTooth and a number keypad built in. I love this keyboard and would highly recommend it. The Sculpt is excellent but the need for the RF adaptor is a pain. The Surface is great but the keypad means your Mouse is sitting a long way to the right which can be annoying.
I first got the Logitech M570 trackball mouse, which was my first step into buying hardware that would alleviate my symptoms. This was a real revelation, and I found that I could reduce the pain management, which included anti-inflammatories and a lot of ice.
I moved up to the Logitech MX Ergo trackball mouse after the M570 was passed on to my wife. That seemed to take care of most of my issues in regard to how my right hand fared during the day.
A touch more backstory, I also used a small Wacom tablet, which was inexpensive, where my left hand would use the pen like a mouse and my right hand would be on the Logitech ergonomic mouse, just clicking whenever the pen was in the right place.
This, too, was a great solution. While both of these workflows significantly reduced the amount of hand strain from mouse work and moving the cursor around the screen, the clear issue I still had to overcome was the keyboard.
I went to the doctor after experiencing increasing difficulties of sharp pain on the outsides of my wrists.
This was made worse when driving the car I owned at the time and doing various other outdoor activities, whether that be working in the garden or playing sports. At this point, you might be thinking that this guy is a bit of a hypochondriac and seems to have a lot of issues, but I can assure you that I’m anything but.
I went to the doctor, and he recommended me to a specialist. I was taken in for MRI scans, and the results said that there was a degradation of cartilage around certain connection points at the base of my wrist where my two smaller fingers were functioning – apparently called hamatolunate impingement. Say that after a couple of whiskeys. 🙂
This is not good news to hear for anyone because the body still hasn’t really figured out how to regrow cartilage, so this is a condition that I realized I was going to have to manage long-term.
Fortunately, I took two actions, which have now meant that that issue is far less acute these days.
The first was to sell my beloved BMW because the sport steering tuning was too heavy and the angle of the steering was making things worse. While I already had problems typing for long periods on a keyboard, this, too, was exacerbated by that.
Then, off to Google, we go to find an ergonomic keyboard that would be the perfect solution.
I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a good ergonomic keyboard that looked practical for me.
I had no desire to have a split keyboard with two physically separated parts, and a lot of the other keyboards left me a little bit confused as to how I would learn to use them.
The first keyboard I bought was the Microsoft Wired Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, and this had full-size keys, not mechanical keys but large keys that required quite a lot of depressing and required me to hold my fingers quite high over the keyboard to get the right action.
I guess this was quite cheap, and it was a good test to see whether there was any hope of me learning to use an ergonomic split QWERTY keyboard at all.
Within about two days, I realized that this heavy keyboard action, reminding me of something from the 1990s, just wasn’t going to work. The MacBooks that I’m used to having a very low-profile keyboard,
Fortunately, I have now become very quick with typing over the years. I moved from looking at the keyboard, then to two fingers looking at the keyboard, to all my fingers in a QWERTY formation, and now I’m mostly able to touch type.
I mention this because for the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard to work it’s ideal if you know how to touch type or at least type with your fingers in the qwerty formation, or you have a willingness to learn.
The flow of the keyboard naturally lends itself to this.
So I returned to the store and bought the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard in black, which had a small RF USB dongle that you plug into your computer.
At first, this was an awful experience. It was almost like I was learning to type all over again.
But within a few days, I started to get much more comfortable with how the keyboard felt and where my fingers were meant to sit to hit the right keys.
Then, it only took that few days for me to realize that this was, for me, an incredible progression and move forward in terms of ergonomic benefits, a reduction in my tendonitis issues, and all-around comfort.
I also bought one for my home office, and so now I was the proud owner of three Microsoft ergonomic keyboards.
The Microsoft Sculpt wrist support was just perfectly positioned for how I type, and the other small benefit, which might sound strange, is that there’s a small gap between the two splits on the keyboard where I could hang my headphone cable between so it didn’t get in the way as I worked.
It’s the little things.
I’ve now had those two keyboards for around two years, and they’re still working incredibly well.
My keyboard at work seems to have some lag and chokes a little bit if I have other devices around it on the table.
Something I read online suggested that USB 3.0 devices may interfere with the signal, which I think is what was happening, and my Chrome browser had too many tabs open.
A little movement of the computer or the keyboard and things return to normal, and the more I type, the less the issue occurred. But it was frustrating.
If only there was a Bluetooth version.
So, I got lucky again. Recently, when walking through the local electronics store they had a Bluetooth version of the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard, which also included a keypad on the end.
The first Microsoft Sculpt included a keypad in the box, but it was a separate unit, almost like a little desktop calculator without a screen. And this was cool, but I couldn’t get my head around using it because I was so used to having the numeric keyboard attached to the main keyboard.
So, when going through the electronics store, there happened to be an open box unit of the Bluetooth Microsoft Surface, which I snatched up for a bargain, and this is the one pictured that I’m currently using.
The color is quite different, and I also assume that the wrist supports will not fade as badly as the last ones did.
It’s slightly bigger than the original Microsoft Sculpt, but the battery life is amazing. The keys are very similar and only take a day or two to get used to the action. The layout is exactly the same, and the accuracy and responsiveness, because this is Bluetooth, are all I needed.
So, if you are struggling with tendonitis or RSI or any kind of wrist or forearm issues where typing can inflame the issue, then, for me, personally, I would highly recommend that you at least try a Microsoft Sculpt keyboard.
The action is a really nice low profile, easy to click keys, the form factor and wrist support is great, and it pairs perfectly with my Logitech MX Ergo trackball mouse.
If I was to ask for anything on the new Bluetooth model, it would be nice to have some sort of adjustable riser height controls, even minute ones, just to angle the keyboard maybe half a centimeter here or there to make it just all the more perfect. As my standing desk goes high and low, I find myself adjusting my positioning just a little bit for those situations.
If you’ve got any questions, feel free to fire them off in the comments below, and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.
You can check out the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard at the links through this article, as well as the Logitech MX Ergo mouse.
Good luck with managing whatever it is you’re struggling with, Repetitive strain injury, tendonitis or even if you suffer from hamatolunate impingement, and just know that there are ways to make it better and easier.
Be safe. Stay strong.
All images Make Life Click
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-22 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.
4 thoughts on “Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Review – Great Tendonitis and RSI Relief”
Are you sure that the Microsoft keyboard is BT ?
In the link to Amazon it’s appears as RF keyboard and bot BT
There are two models. The black one is RF only. The grey one in the photos is BlueTooth. I am having difficulty finding the BT version as I would like to buy another one but can’t seem to find it locally. Might need to buy it online.
The grey keyboard is not Sculpt, but Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard.
I never had real issues with any keyboard, but the ergonomic ones simply felt more comfortable. I have experience on three generations of Microsoft ergonomic keyboards: two models before Sculpt. Currently I have two Sculpts, and use them with both Windows and Mac. Both my Sculpt keyboards are about decade old already, but they did last until I gave one for kids’ gaming use.
The Sculpt’s wireless connection is really weak as you described. At this point their aging wireless protocol might not be too secure anymore. Many wireless devices have been hacked, including the Sculpt mouse. It sort of feels safer that the keyboard wireless connection is so weak and doesn’t spread far.
Their Sculpt form factor is my favorite. I’ve read that the gray Surface model might have better build-quality, but I dislike the number pad blocking mouse movement. I also like the “gap” in Sculpt. It makes grabbing and moving the keyboard very easy.
My top wish would be refreshed Sculpt-model with top-quality scissor switches, but I guess it is not coming.
Yes, agree. The Surface is my preferred but it does mean the mouse is sitting way out to the side, and I have a stationary trackball mouse.