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Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Review

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Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Review

Image courtesy of Microsoft

The Sculpt Comfort from Microsoft is a lot like its Wireless Comfort Keyboard 5000. You could say that this is the Windows 8-friendly version of the 5000, but that’s not entirely accurate. The Sculpt Comfort adds a quirky new feature with a backspace spacebar and puts the raised feet on the opposite side of where they usually go, although I will admit that I rarely used either feature. If you’re just looking for a basic wireless keyboard -— and you don’t use Win8 -- this might not be worth the extra dollars.

At a Glance

The Good: Comfortable, customizable, battery indicator

The Bad: Heavy, spacebar feature not really necessary

One Space Back, Two Spaces Forward

There is usually going to be a learning curve when you start using a new keyboard. As someone who is constantly testing new models, even I have to remind myself of this in the beginning. I will admit that, despite this, I never quite got the hang of the Sculpt Comfort's most advanced feature -- the split space bar.

Microsoft says on its website: "Research shows that 90 percent of people use only their right thumb to hit the space bar, and that the backspace key is one of the most frequently used keys on a keyboard. Knowing this, Microsoft Hardware designers built a larger, split spacebar that includes a backspace bar on the left-hand side. The new design helps improve typing speed and provide improved comfort."

While I have no doubt that training yourself to use the bottom backspace bar could improve speed, I almost never remembered to use it. I took my first typing class 20 years ago, and I guess that old habits die hard. The good news is that you don't need to use the bottom backspace if you don't want to. It will function as a regular space bar (in fact, the backspace function must be manually activated in order to use).

Design

The Sculpt Comfort is pretty darn heavy. It's also pretty darn big -- measuring nearly 18 inches long by 7.5 inches wide -- although it does come in slightly smaller than the Wireless Comfort 5000.

Snapping the palm rest on and off was very easy, and it does reduce the profile quite a bit. However, the Sculpt Comfort is still too long to really consider it a travel keyboard.

Another point against it in the portability is the wireless receiver. It's about a midsized receiver (no nano receiver here), and there is no placeholder for it to be found on the keyboard. So consider this a solidly desktop keyboard.

Those looking for more travel-friendly options could consider the Sculpt Mobile or Wedge Mobile from Microsoft -- both Bluetooth models.

Although there is unfortunately no on/off switch to conserve battery life, there is a battery-status indicator, which is a plus over the Comfort 5000.

Other Features

While many keyboard include raised feet so that you can elevate the top of the keyboard, the Sculpt Comfort puts these feet beneath the palm rest. The result is a more level device, meant to elevate your wrists for ergonomic purposes. I will admit that it took some time getting used to, but, again, the inevitable learning curve is often worth the time. Like the bottom backspace key, they are optional if you truly dislike using them.

If you're a Windows 8 user, the Sculpt Comfort comes with dedicated hot keys specifically for use with the operating system. I tested it using Windows 7, so I can't comment on them, but this would be a good crossover keyboard to have if you plan on making the switch in the near future.

The Bottom Line

The Sculpt Comfort has a $59.99 MSRP. Although this is a reasonable price for a full-sized wireless keyboard, it's nothing to swoon about. It is just $10 less than the Comfort 5000, and that model comes includes a wireless mouse in the desktop set. You will need to decide if the Curve’s bells and whistles really do anything for you. If you’re not using Windows 8 and don’t plan on learning the bottom backspace function, you can probably look at a cheaper wireless keyboard.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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