Ergonomic Keyboards

After enduring another round of endless transcribing of interviews, I’m considering upgrading my keyboard and I’m looking hard at the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 (and other ergonomic options).

Reviews of this kind of keyboard are naturally limited in usefulness, because no one has a chance to use the keyboard for very long before sending in a report. It seems to me the value of this kind of keyboard only becomes apparent over time.

So the question is, has anybody out there in the L&L community used one of these so called gull-wing keyboards that angle the two hands more naturally, and what has your experience been like?

It depends entirely on your typing method, in my opinion. I’ve used them before, but hated them, because I don’t type in the ‘correct’ manner that such keyboards were designed for. I have my own typing style, and even though my teachers in computer classes couldn’t stand it they couldn’t make me not use it, because I could still type faster than most of the other people in the classes.

If you type the commonly-used way, however, they do tend to relieve a lot of stress on the wrists.

I’ve used this kind of keyboard for many years and the one I have now is my all-time favorite: the Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000.

The keyswitches are laptop-style, so you have to like that. And it’s corded only, although I think they may have introduced a cordless version. Works great with the Mac, but you have to install the MS driver. (Haven’t had any trouble with that.) And you can’t beat the price; it’s about $20.

I just checked and this seems to be approximately the same keyboard, with Mac decals, wireless, and a higher price. (And a mouse.)

mamster, thanks for the link. Can you remind me again what’s unusual about ‘laptop style’ keyboards in this context? A short throw, for instance, would be good for me I think. But maybe you’re talking about something else.


I love keyboards with curved design. On my workhorse PC, which happens to be a Windows machine, I have an old Microsoft Natural Elite keyboard. I sometimes even take it with me when I know I have to type a lot at a customer´s place. A year ago, I bought a spare Natural Elite keyboard just to make sure I have one in case there are no more on the market when my current keyboard dies. Unfortunately, it does not connect to my Mac Mini (there is a PS2-USB adapter but the keyboard does not work with my Mac).

So, I bought a Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 for the Mac Mini. It is almost as good as my Natural Elite. The downsides:

  • It’s a Windows keyboard. The keys are labeled CTRL (or STRG on my German keyboard), START/Windows, Alt.
  • There is neither a key for turning on my Mac, nor one for ejecting CDs/DVDs.
  • There are no USB ports.


btw: Microsoft should stick to what it does best: Hardware. :slight_smile:

TCole, yes, I just mean the keys have short throw and are quiet. It feels pretty similar to my iBook keyboard, if you’re familiar with those.

fgrieser, I mapped one of the “multimedia” keys at the top of the keyboard to Eject using the prefpane. I think you are out of luck as far as a power key, though.

If Microsoft stuck to hardware only, it would have to change its name to (obviously) Microhard.

TCole, I use that very keyboard at work and at home. At both locations I use it with a mac and a pc going through a kvm, and, for me, it transitions well between the two platforms. You do have to install the MS software for it before the command key works like you’d expect it on the mac.

I’ve never much cared for the ergo style keyboards in the past, but this one had a shallower curvature than the others I’ve tried. The raised wrist wrest is nice, too. I find it hard to use my laptop keyboard after extended sessions on my desktop.

They have options with a shallower curve still. I just saw this. and my inner gamer started drooling over the backlighting. I have used this one in the past. It wasn’t bad, but the keys didn’t feel solid. They were more like a laptop keyboard as mentioned above (small and short in height).


Cthulhu2K, thanks for your report on the 4000. I’m encouraged. The wireless 8000 is also an interesting option. The ergonomic curve looks subtle, which makes me wonder if it’s effective. Hmmm. But the wireless ability is nice, and since it’s bluetooth I wonder if it will tie into my Mac easily.

The 8000 doesn’t say it’s Mac-compatible on the MS site, and I’d take their word for it: when I got my 2000, the Mac driver wasn’t out yet, and I had problems using it without a driver. For one thing, the command and option keys kept randomly switching places.