When comparing CODE Keyboard vs Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, the Slant community recommends CODE Keyboard for most people. In the question“What are the best keyboards for programming?” CODE Keyboard is ranked 2nd while Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose CODE Keyboard is:
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to. There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
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Pro Available with 4 different kinds of Cherry MX switches
The CODE keyboard uses Cherry MX mechanical key switches, regarded as top-quality switches. They have impressive levels of durability and consistently pass, with high marks, all the performance tests they are subjected to.
There are 4 kinds to choose from: Blue, Brown, Green or Clear. The MX Blues are the most common kind. They are responsive, but soft, and quite noisy. The MX Browns feel similar to the Blues, but slightly less noisy. The MX Greens are often described as heavy Blue switches. They still make the click sound and offer tactile feedback, however the activation force is 80g (for the Blue switches, it's 50g). The MX Clear switches have medium stiffness and a tactile response but are non-clicky (similar to Brown switches but heavier and with a greater tactile feedback). It's characteristics make it fantastic for general typing in office environments.
Pro Full white backlighting
The CODE keyboard comes with backlighting that feels similar to the one found on Apple products. You can pick from seven brightness levels and the onboard memory saves your lighting preferences. They also have gone to a lot of trouble getting the backlighting even by painting the backplate white and positioning the key symbols just right.
Pro Solid construction
This keyboard is built solidly, using sturdy parts made of robust materials. It's mounted on a solid steel backplate, weighs over 2 pounds and has a dual layer PCB board. In this aspect, it’s comparable to other keyboards renowned for their build quality, such as those from the Ducky series.
Pro Minimalistic design
The CODE keyboard has a textured finish that resists fingerprints and scratches. It has no stickers or logos and the back-lighting is very clean and elegant.
Pro Saves time with complex key combos
Key combos can be configured, supporting combinations of up to six keys. However, Ctrl, Alt and Shift don't count to this total. As a result, using these keys actually increases the combo key limit to nine.
Pro Removable/replaceable USB cable
Many keyboards come with a permanently attached cable, meaning that if it gets damaged, you need to get it fixed or replace the whole board. CODE keyboards come with removable cables, which means they're easy to replace if broken. This also has the added benefit of allowing for more customization options: braided cables, different coloured cables, or longer/shorter cables for different setups without having excess cables hanging around.
Pro DIP-Switches allow quickly disabling or switching certain keys and changing the layout completely
DIP-switches on the back of the keyboard can be used to disable the Windows key, switch Caps Lock with Ctrl, swap Alt with Command (if you're on macOS), and change to QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak layouts.
Pro Available with or without a numeric keypad
Users can choose between versions that have and don't have a numeric keypad.
Pro Consistent design
FN labels are on the front of the keycaps (i.e. media labels). This improves the user experience.
A consistent design is an outstanding aspect in this keyboard.
Pro Media control
Even though there aren't any dedicated media keys, the navigation cluster has secondary media control functions. To access these functions, the keys should be pressed in combination with the Fn key.
Pro Very portable
This keyboard’s detachable cable, dimensions, and weight make it extremely easy to carry around.
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, (although often selling for $27-$50) 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 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 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 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.
Compared to alternatives which offer RGB lighting, USB passthrough or other features, this keyboard is pretty expensive.
Con No numpad
Con Sculpted keys make switching to Dvorak difficult
Dvorak is a keyboard layout that's an alternative to the commonly used QWERTY layout. While QWERTY was designed in the early days of typing, Dvorak is a more comfortable, modern layout which is technically superior. It is designed to have more flow than QWERTY, where the left hand does most of the work. Here, keys are strategically placed to spread the typing out more evenly. This creates better flow (left hand types a letter, then the right hand, then back to left and so on). In this keyboad, the keycaps are sculpted for the QWERTY layout, which means that, when you switch the keys around, each of the keys is at a slightly different angle than the one next to it.
Con Spare parts and keycap sets can only be obtained from third parties
The manufacturer doesn’t sell spare parts or keycap sets, so if users want to change the layout, they have to get these components from a third party.
Con Too small for some, particularly those with big hands
This keyboard's small size may prove difficult for some people to get accustomed to.
Con It's hard to source the MX Clear version
The version of the CODE keyboard that comes with the MX Clear switches is constantly out of stock.
Con No wireless connection
CODE keyboards connect via USB. No Bluetooth or any other form of wireless connection is available.
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 printing gets erased after a short time
After 2 or 3 months of use, the most used keys loose their printed symbols.
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.
Despite not using mechanical switches, the 4000 keyboard is quite noisy, so it’s not the best pick for those looking for a silent option.
Con The space bar is hard to press
While it's new, the space bar needs quite some force to be pressed down.
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 No USB ports
Can't connect any external devices, since there aren't any USB ports.
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 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 Only solves some RSI problems
While this does help with many RSI problems, it still has the ergonomic disadvantages of a standard keyboard layout.
Con No right hand Windows key
There is no right hand Windows key.