19 Comments

Summary:

Back in April I reviewed/reported on the Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo Black keyboard and mouse combination.

On the whole, I was happy with it, but recently some of the little niggles that I had with the keyboard had started to get on nerves. Chief among these were the damn Logitech key (which takes you to the Logitech website and which, placed on the right hand side with the keypad is too easy to press; there is no way to disable it – I removed the key top, but it was an untidy solution), the slow response on the media keys, the annoying inability to conveniently swap the Apple/Option keys around (you had to choose a separate keyboard layout, but this would often be forgotten by the OS; not directly Logitech’s fault, but the MS solution is much more effective); the provision of only four customizable application keys.

Back in April I reviewed/reported on the Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo Black keyboard and mouse combination.

On the whole, I was happy with it, but recently some of the little niggles that I had with the keyboard had started to get on nerves. Chief among these were the damn Logitech key (which takes you to the Logitech website and which, placed on the right hand side with the keypad is too easy to press; there is no way to disable it – I removed the key top, but it was an untidy solution), the slow response on the media keys, the annoying inability to conveniently swap the Apple/Option keys around (you had to choose a separate keyboard layout, but this would often be forgotten by the OS; not directly Logitech’s fault, but the MS solution is much more effective); the provision of only four customizable application keys.

Microsoft NEK 4000

The most annoying though is the Logitech cordless mouse. Unlike Microsoft units it doesn’t go sleep when not in use. It’s on full power, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless you take the batteries out. It chews through a new set, on this desk, about every 4 weeks. I imagine it would be significantly less if I used rechargeable, but that brings other problems I’m not going into here.

Then, as you all probably know, I got a an Apple Mighty Mouse but had some problems that through a combination of the comments and some changes I am now happily using every day. I still have occasional problems with the left/right button technique, no matter what I try, and I still think that Apple need to seriously rethink their approach on how that works. But I digress.

That eliminated the cordless mouse from an otherwise cordless solution…

Then Microsoft announced their Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (NEK from here on in). I’ve been using Microsoft ergo keyboards since Apple stopped doing their adjustable keyboard and migrated all their systems to USB (the adjustable was ADB). My biggest problem with them has usually been the rear feet, which are really unable to cope with the 18 hour a day/7 day a week schedule I keep here in the office. Once the feet go, the tilt goes and that makes it uncomfortable to use.

Today, a new NEK arrived at the door to take the place of the Logitech unit. I’m now back to wires, and though I’ve only been using the keyboard for a couple of hours, I already prefer the feel of the keys to the Logitech unit which always seemed to harsh.

I’ll be doing a more rounded review in the next week or so, but initial experiences are good. The Back/Forward keys beneath the space bar are great and very natural (left thumb back, right thumb forward) and the Internet/Email hot keys are convenientlyl in the top left with five big customizable keys in the middle. I’m not sure about the My Favourites key (it doesn’t make sense in my work patterns) but I can define that to do whatever I like,.

Finally, the audio control keys (albeit without a ‘next/previous’ track set) are much more responsive than the Logitech unit where sometimes the delay would be 30 or even 60 seconds; useless when I had to answer the phone and mute the output.

Look out for the full review later, but if you are in the market for an ergonomic keyboard I would certainly check this one out.

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  1. David Appleyard Thursday, October 13, 2005

    This post desperately needs an image!

  2. Martin MC Brown Thursday, October 13, 2005

    That would mean me taking one….

    Oh alright…

  3. Martin MC Brown Thursday, October 13, 2005

    There you go, picture. Complete with the plastic bag still on round the cable (I literally have just got it out and plugged it in).

    And my massive coffee cup :))

  4. I find the same problem with the erognomic keyboard from m$, but a cheap way around it is to use small paper clip boxes, you know the squareish ones holding about 100 staples, the box is about 1.5in long-w-h

  5. Major problem is this keyboard does not work with KVMs. Called Microsoft and they told me, that they do not recommend using thier keyboards with kvms. Some may work and some don’t. AND This one does not. Tried it on a linksys kvm and a Belkin Omni and did not work. Worked great when you plugged in directly but not thru a kvm.

  6. just bought a msoft natural ergonomic keyboard 4000 . excellent design ,i would say . one thing eludes me . why is it that the CLOSE button never works ? had returned mine to a local seller but the replacement model still dosen’t activate . please enlighten me .

  7. please enlarge the ENTER KEY AS IT IS TOO SMALL to be hit easily . also , is there no key assigned to automatically turn off the computer . thank you . CARL

  8. Martin MC Brown Wednesday, November 9, 2005

    Carl:

    You do know about the F-Lock? When activated (the bottom light on the LED array) your function keys work like function keys – ie according to the settings of your application.

    Switch F-Lock off and the keys do the operations on their tops – open, close, etc.

  9. Is the keyboard you have blue? Or is it just the light? On the MS-Website (http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=043) it is just black and on most of the pictures in the web also.
    So whats up with yours…?

    Regards
    CG

  10. Martin MC Brown Friday, January 27, 2006

    CG:

    My keyboard is black (well, I’d call it off black/Charcoal). The bluish tinge is probably due to a combination of local halogen lighting and camera flash.

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