Should you buy an ergonomic keyboard?

Here are some buying tips and advice if you are considering swtiching to an ergonomic PC keyboard.

A few months back, I reviewed the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, which is an updated version of the Sculpt Ergonomic from years past. Ergonomic keyboards are very divisive because typing is such a personal experience. People adapt to something they use extensively, and it is hard to imagine something being any better.

The question is, should you try an ergonomic keyboard? Here are a few considerations if you’re contemplating one.

What is an ergonomic keyboard?

Ergonomic keyboards focus on natural hand and wrist position for long typing sessions. The most common keyboards users get with PCs, including Microsoft’s Surface Keyboard, are just elongated rectangles with 108 keys.

While these keyboards are excellent for short durations, users must squeeze their shoulders, elbows, and wrists together to make their hands perpendicular to the keyboard deck.

Alternatively, science referred to as human factors and ergonomics (HF&E) studies how human bodies interact with hardware in an attempt at optimization. This type of research is used by Microsoft across the board for Xbox gaming controllers, mice, keyboards, and even HoloLens so that the device fits naturally and does not cause excessive fatigue.

Typically, ergonomic keyboards split the keyboard keys down the middle between TGB and YHN and the space bar. Those sides are then angled upwards and sometimes domed so that the center is higher than where your pinkies go.

Using an ergonomic keyboard for the first time is very disconcerting. While it will feel better for your wrists and elbows, it is usually not an instant love. I used an ergonomic keyboard for many years, switched to a “regular” keyboard and then went back, and it still took me a week before it felt “right” again.

So, why do it? In the long-run, typing on an ergonomic keyboard just feels better, your arms tire less, and you can even type faster and more accurately. Plus, you will reduce repetitive strain injuries (RSI) where you can cause damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves from typing.

Do you game a lot on the PC?

I’m not a hardcore PC gamer. But if there is one thing I do know, it’s players love gaming-specific keyboards with anti-ghosting abilities, mechanical switches, macro keys, and good backlighting.

While you can get some of that in an ergonomic keyboard like the Mistel Barocco Ergonomic Split ($167), most mainstream ergo…

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