Microsoft Keyboards

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page is a gallery of Microsoft Desktop Keyboards. (not including gaming model, ergonomic model, nor portable model.)

Microsoft Wired Keyboard 200

This is the cheapest keyboard that Microsoft offers.

Microsoft wired Keyboard 200 1
“Microsoft Wired Keyboard 200” Buy at amazon

If i were to use a non-split keyboard, i'll like this. Plain and functional. Note the standard F keys, arranged in traditional 3 clusters, 4 keys each. This means you can press them without looking. Also, the keys are full-sized. Nice. Some fancier keyboard make these into one continuous row, and as flattened non-tactile buttons.

I'll take this keyboard any day than the ≈$250 Happy Hacking keyboard. 〔►see Happy Hacking Keyboard Review

Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600

This is second cheapest from Microsoft according to MSRP (manufacture's suggested retail price).

Microsoft wired keyboard 600 42
“Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600” Buy at amazon 2481×918

Added are 4 multimedia keys and a calculator launch key. But as you can see, there's one screw-up already. The function keys F1 to F12 now became special buttons, losing the tactile quality of keys.

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 2000

This is new. Seems just came out in 2011.

Microsoft wireless keyboard 2000 17ed9c7f
“Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 2000” Buy at amazon

As we advanced into the higher-end models, the form gets stylish, function goes downhill.

Notice the F1 to F2 key are degraded further, now becoming one beatific continuous row. You need to look at them to hit the correct key.

Notice that there's no gap between the arrow keys and adjacent key blocks. LOL

Also new is that they replaced the right Windows key with a Fn key. For advanced keyboard users, this means, you are losing a modifier key.

Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000

Microsoft digital media keyboard 3000-s
“Digital Media Keyboard 3000” Buy at amazon 5616×2668

Interesting is that these days they have a dedicated Flip3D button. It's great to add a dedicated key to a frequently used function. However, Flip 3D function is badly designed. 〔►see Windows Flip3D, Instant Viewer, Productivity Tips

In this model, they have the very annoying F Lock key. 〔►see Microsoft Keyboard: How to Disable the F Lock Key

Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000

Microsoft wireless comfort desktop 5000 keyboard 3
“Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000” Buy at amazon

Notice the top buttons — one beatific continuous row. You can't feel them, but you must look!

Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 6000

Microsoft wireless keyboard 6000
“Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 6000” Buy at amazon

There is a desktop set with this keyboard, named “Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000”. But actually, there are 3 generations of this keyboard+mouse set, all physically different but sharing the same name, with “v1”, “v2”, “v3” on Amazon. The v1 is dramatically different than the other two. Dunno why Microsoft named them the same.

They all got very bad reviews. Usually like connection problems.

Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 (Cat Keyboard Hero)

Microsoft bluetooth mobile keyboard 6000
“Microsoft bluetooth mobile keyboard 6000” Buy at amazon
Microsoft bluetooth mobile keyboard 6000 3
“Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 with number keypad” Buy at amazon

This comes in 2 versions, with or without number-pad. It seems that this keyboard is also called “cat keyboard hero”, because the images on Microsoft site is named that.

Microsoft Arc Keyboard

This is new in 2011.

Microsoft arc keyboard 1 Microsoft arc keyboard 2
“Microsoft Arc Keyboard” Buy at amazon

Apparently, this one is designed for couch potatoes. Note the newfangled 4-in-1 arrow button.

Microsoft arc keyboard 3

Smartfish Technologies K2418B ErgoMotion Keyboard

Now comes this smooth bull. Not a Microsoft keyboard, but i had to put it here.

Smartfish Technologies k2418b ergomotion keyboard
“Smartfish Technologies K2418B ErgoMotion Keyboard” Buy at amazon

Quote from Amazon

This ErgoMotion keyboard with its patented pivot-motion design that automatically adjusts to your natural hand and wrist position is the world's first intelligent keyboard that prevents Repetitive Stress Injury. The patented DPC - Dynamic Positioning Controller automatically moves based on your use pattern capitalizing on productivity while diminishing operator hand and wrist fatigue and discomfort.

Supposedly, this keyboard moves slowly, by a built-in motor, so that your hand muscle use is not always the same from the same position, thus preventing you from getting a Repetitive Strain Injury. But, from its clean geometric look, like Apple's keyboard, i can tell you right away it's PAIN.

All Garbage. They Are ALL Garbage!

Ok. Spend 9 hours on this now. I think that's enough keyboard geeking today. None of these keyboards i can use. They all have multitudes of serious flaws:

  1. Function keys not as real keys (but lousy buttons without tactile feedback on whether the key is registered; and hard to press repeatedly (For example, Sound Level Increase key))
  2. Function keys in one beatific continuous row. This makes them useless without visual-contact.
  3. Multimedia keys and app launcher and other buttons merged into the F keys. This means, you have to press 2 keys, usually requiring both hands, with the Fn.
  4. The keyboard is non-split. PAIN follows your typing eloquence or verbosity.
  5. Flat shallow keys. Shallowness is not my style. I prefer depth and solidity.
  6. I don't want a damn Fn on the bottom right. I want the ▤ Menu key and or ❖ Window key. Because, i can remap them to ❖ Super or Hyper for Emacs for many purposes. 〔►see Emacs: How to Set Super and Hyper KeysFn key is usually hardwired and hardware-specific. That means a dead-horse squatting in the front seat.

For keyboards that i deem useful for programers or heavy typers, see: Best Ergonomic Keyboards 2017.

Warning: Wireless Hack

See: KeySweeper, Sniff Passwords from Wireless Keyboard.

When i look at computer keyboards, saliva drools from the corner of my mouth. I don't need another keyboard, i already have plenty. But, i look at them, look for them, stare at them for hours, every week. I:

• Compare their sizes, the keys on them.

• How they label their keys? Do they say “Page Up” or “PgUp”, “Enter” or “Return”? Do they use graphics symbol like or or for Shift key? or or for return/enter? What graphics symbol they use for Zoom In, Zoom Out, Mute, Web, Search? 〔►see Keyboard Enter/Return Key Symbol

• The key's positions, arrangement. Are the arrow keys in inverted T? In one row? In a cross? How's ↖ Home/↘ End key cluster shaped? 2×3 or 3×2? 〔►see Keyboard Home/End Keys Arrangement

• What are special buttons and knobs they offer. Sound level controller as slider? As rotary knob? disc shaped? Touch sensitive bar? Zoom as seesaw rocker? 〔►see Keyboard Evolution: Zoom Button, Dedicated Keys

What's their functions, the style of the keys, their height, tactile sensations, the differences between them, their ergonomic implications, the implications for Emacs use …. 〔►see Guide to Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms