The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is the best ergonomic non-mechanical keyboard out there, given the comfort it provides and how it positively impacts user’s overall posture and health. This is mainly due to its key layout designed to adapt to the natural shape of the hands. It’s a perfectly affordable non-mechanical option for programmers who want to code faster, easier and healthier.
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Pro Ergonomic and comfortable
The 4000 keyboard is designed to be more comfortable to type on than regular rectangular keyboards. Its key rows curve to match the human hands’ angled resting position, eliminating the wrist strain that happens with regular keyboards. This is an important factor in reducing the risk of injury.
Pro Great value for money
With a retail price of $96.86, this keyboard is considerably more affordable than most ergonomic keyboards on the market. It doesn’t have the same caliber as more premium keyboards, but it’s a top option for those on a budget who are looking for a good ergonomic option.
Pro Can be used with a negative tilt
While the 4000 keyboard can be raised at the back like conventional keyboards, it also comes with a detachable platform that raises the front of the keyboard. This creates a negative tilt more natural to the arm-hand alignment.
Pro Ergonomic wrist support
Foam cushions support one’s wrists while typing, preventing “hanging hands,” which can cause fatigue over extended periods.
Pro Great for people with big hands
Due to its size, this keyboard is great for those who have big hands.
Pro Several additional, personalizable keys
This keyboard has hotkeys for things like media control, zoom or launching applications. The function keys also have secondary functions, activated by an F-lock key. Some of them are customizable via a companion app (for Windows and macOS) that ships with the keyboard.
Pro Standard ancillary key layout
The number pad, the arrow keys, Insert, Home etc. are all in their standard positions which is not common on Ergonomic keyboards.
Pro Key swapping for macOS
On macOS, users have the option of swapping the Windows and Alt keys, so they match the Option and Command key order found on standard Apple keyboards, even if no alternate keycaps or stickers are provided for use with this OS.
Con No mechanical switches
The 4000 keyboard uses the same traditional rubber dome switches found on common keyboards, unlike the mechanical switches found on many other good programming keyboards. Rubber dome switches are inconsistent and always need to be bottomed out with each key press. They are also not especially durable, lasting about a quarter of the time their mechanical counterparts last. It should be noted this switch option is one of the main reasons why this keyboard is so affordable.
Con Key layout is hard to reconfigure
It's hard to reconfigure the 4000's default key layout. Some users would like to have the option of moving a few keys around, which is very difficult with this keyboard.
Con The space bar is hard to press
While it's new, the space bar needs quite some force to be pressed down.
Con Almost all the keys are hard to press
The keys can feel too rigid due to the force needed to press them down. This hinders the typing process, making it less fluid.
Con No USB ports
Can't connect any external devices, since there aren't any USB ports.
Con Key printing gets erased after a short time
After 2 or 3 months of use, the most used keys loose their printed symbols.
Con Most of the extra functionality keys are not supported on macOS
This keyboard has a lot of extra functionality keys useful for daily tasks, like media controls or back/forward keys. Unfortunately, most of them are not supported on macOS, even after driver installation.
Con No right hand Windows key
There is no right hand Windows key.
Con Not very portable
With external dimensions of 19.8’’ x 10.3’’ x 3.26’’ (503 mm x 262 mm x 82.8 mm) and weighing 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg), this keyboard is not easy to carry around.
Con Only solves some RSI problems
While this does help with many RSI problems, it still has the ergonomic disadvantages of a standard keyboard layout.