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Surface Ergonomic Keyboard vs Sculpt: Which is best?

Microsoft has made keyboards for decades. You can't go wrong with either of these keyboards if you want an ergonomic setup. However, even though both of these devices look similar, there are some key differences that will determine which is best for you. If you had to pick one, I'd recommend the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard for its comfortable design, build materials, and the fact that it doesn't require a dongle to connect to your PC.

Break it down now

Pictured: the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard.

Pictured: the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard.
CategorySurface ErgonomicSculpt Ergonomic
ConnectionBluetooth 4/4.1 SMART built inBluetooth through dongle
Key materialAluminumPlastic
Palm rest materialAlcantaraPlastic
Comes with mouseNoYes

The Surface Ergonomic keyboard is an ergonomic keyboard with similar design cues to the newer products from the Surface line. It has metal keys, Alcantara fabric on the wrist rest, and sports a silver color. Ergonomic keyboards all take time to adjust to them if you're coming from a traditional keyboard, but the typing experience on the Surface Ergonomic keyboard is solid, which makes the transition easier.

The build quality of the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is solid and the typing experience is smooth. Unfortunately, the Alcantara on the wrist rest isn't coated the same way that the Surface Laptop 2's Alcantara is. That means that it shows dirt and grime.

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is, in many ways, the successor to the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard. There are some notable design improvements though.

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience as part of a beautiful package.

One of the most notable differences is that the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard doesn't require a dongle to connect to your PC. It has built-in Bluetooth 4/4.1 Low Energy. This is in contrast the Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard, which requires a specific 2.4 GHz USB dongle that can't be replaced. The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard's connection to PCs wasn't as strong as the 2.4 GHz dongle in our testing, but is much more convenient since you don't need to deal with putting anything into ports.

The Microsoft Sculpt keyboard is also an impressive keyboard. It is the precursor to the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard and has a wedged design that makes typing easier on your wrists. The Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard is noticeably more plastic than its newer sibling, which doesn't feel as premium as newer devices that feature metal parts, but it doesn't show grime and get dirty.

Pictured: Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard

Pictured: Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard

The Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard has one major difference that goes in its favor: it comes with a mouse. The mouse that comes with the keyboard isn't a cheap giveaway device either — it sells on its own for $40 and is a quality product.

If you want a quality mouse and keyboard setup, the Microsoft Sculpt Desktop setup is a good deal.

The Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard is an older device when compared to the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, but is still a solid keyboard. Microsoft has earned its positive reputation when it comes to keyboards and while the Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard is more expensive than some competitors, it'll get the job done and then some.

The Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard comes with a dongle that is required to connect the keyboard to your PC. This is a bit more of a hassle because it means that you have to dedicate a USB port to your keyboard. Most devices have USB drives, but ports are at a premium on many devices and many modern keyboards have built-in Bluetooth connections. The benefit of the dongle is that it provides a solid connection.

In the end, if you want that mouse/keyboard combo and the added connection with the dongle, the Sculpt Keyboard might be your best bet. However, for most people, the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a better value.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.