Windows Central Choice Award

The Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID is Microsoft's latest PC keyboard accessory that builds on the original Surface PC Keyboard in small and subtle ways. It features the same sleek design and awesome chiclet-style typing experience, but with the addition of a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader and the ability to use the keyboard in either wired or wireless states.

If you've been looking for a Windows Hello compatible solution that's integrated with your keyboard, look no further.

A valuable peripheral

Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID

$129

Bottom line: The Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID is an excellent keyboard and a great way to add Windows Hello to your Windows 10 PC.

Pros:

  • Beautiful design.
  • Chiclet-style typing experience.
  • Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader.

Cons:

  • Slow fingerprint reads.
  • No backlight.

What you'll love about the Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID

The Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID features the exact same design found on the original Surface PC Keyboard released alongside the Surface Studio in 2016. It has a low-profile modern grey design, and keys that feel excellent to type on. Those keys are framed by an aluminum body that feels premium when compared to most keyboards with a plastic body.

Category Spec
Connection interface Bluetooth LE 4.0/4.1/4.2
Wireless frequency 2.4Ghz frequency range
Wireless range 33 feet (10 meters) in open air, up to 17 feet (5 meters) in office environment typical
Compatibility Windows 10
Dimensions 16.57 in (L) x 4.43 in (W) x 0.76 in (H)
Weight 14.58 ounces
Battery Type Non-removable rechargeable battery
Battery Life Four months
Ports Micro USB

The key layout is full-size, meaning you've got an included number pad positioned after the arrow keys. Along the top, you have the standard 12 function keys, which feature volume controls, screen brightness, quick access to Task View, Search, and Settings. You also have four extra shortcut buttons on the far right that give you access to Calculator, Action Center, PC lock, and show desktop.

Unlike the original Surface Keyboard, the Modern Keyboard can also be used in either wireless or wired states. This means that if you don't want to use Bluetooth, you can plug in the keyboard with the bundled Micro-USB cable. This is also how you charge the keyboard, as the Modern Keyboard doesn't come with a removable battery. But that's a good thing, because it's more eco and you don't have to keep buying or recharging external batteries.

Once fully charged, the keyboard should last around four months on a single charge. It supports Bluetooth LE 4.0, too, which means it should use very little power. Bluetooth connectivity is up to about 10 meters when in an open space, or about five meters when in an obstructed space.

The other big change between the old Surface Keyboard and the Modern Keyboard is that the second Windows Start key has been replaced with a fingerprint reader. It looks and feels like a normal key, except it no longer opens Start when you tap on it nor does it feature the Start logo. Now, it has a fingerprint logo and only works on the lock screen after Windows Hello has been setup.

To setup the fingerprint reader, you have to first connect your keyboard to your PC via the bundled cable, and then head to Windows Update to make sure all the correct drivers are installed. Then, you just head to the Accounts* > **Sign-in options area in Settings and setup the fingerprint login option. Setting up takes about 30 seconds and requires you to scan your finger multiple times to get an accurate scan.

I love how the fingerprint reader is integrated into the design of the keyboard. It's not in a separate area, nor is it colored differently, and it doesn't look different than any of the other keys.

What you'll dislike about the Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID

The biggest annoyance with this keyboard is the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint reader. It's definitely not the fastest fingerprint scanner on the market, taking about a second or two before it logs you in. You really have to hold down the fingerprint key for it scan you correctly.

I find that taking your time when adding your fingerprint really helps with the accuracy, but unfortunately, it doesn't appear to make it any faster when on the lock screen itself. Logging in with the fingerprint scanner is faster than entering a pin or typing a password, but if you're expecting iPhone 8 level Touch-ID performance, you won't find it here.

I also wish the keyboard used USB-C instead of Micro-USB for charging. The other thing I don't like about this keyboard is its price, $129, which is quite a bit more expensive than the original Surface Keyboard.

Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID bottom line

The Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID is an excellent keyboard with the addition of Windows Hello fingerprint capabilities, meaning it provides a secure and quick way to log into your PC if you don't already have a Windows-Hello compatible peripheral.

The Surface Keyboard and Modern Keyboard are more or less identical. The only differences are the Modern Keyboard can be used wired and has a fingerprint reader. If those things don't matter to you, save a few bucks and get the older Surface Keyboard.

4 out of 5

It's the only keyboard on the market that features Windows Hello integration this elegantly. And being able to use the keyboard wired is a nice option. The Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID is the ultimate version of the Surface Keyboard, and it's one of the best keyboards Microsoft makes.

See at Microsoft Store

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