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Microsoft Natural keyboards

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Whiskey in the Jar-o:
I have the latest one (Natural Ergonomic 4000). It looks awesome, but the key feel is just bleah.  It's sort of rubbery and vague, yet not soft at all.  I also have a Natural Keyboard Elite.  The one with the tiny cursor keys.  IMO, it feels a lot more precise, if not any softer.  In any case, both suck compared with my Cherry Cymotion.  I know that these mass-produced MS and Logitech membranes are a crap shoot. The feel depends on the particular OEM, year, etc..  But I was wondering if anyone has a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro and how it compares with the other naturals.  I've heard everything from "the best one they made" to "stiff, keys get stuck, don't take off-centre key presses very well, etc.".

puntium:
That's pretty much what I've heard as well. Out of the ones you can buy now, the Elite is the best in my opinion too. The 4000 is ok if you really slam the keys when you type. I personally hate the smoothness of the key tops, and how they're not cupped. Maybe my fingers are slipper or something.

fkeidjn:
I'd get one, if it weren't for the ergonomic profile.  I see a few on ebay.  What's the model number?

Whiskey in the Jar-o:

--- Quote from: fkeidjn;2488 ---I'd get one, if it weren't for the ergonomic profile.  I see a few on ebay.  What's the model number?
--- End quote ---


Dunno about the model number.  It's the Pro version - no longer being made.  I want to get one to round out my collection.  Some say it's great, but I've found quite a few, rather old, as one'd expect, reviews that complain about the general stiffness of the keys, keys not taking off-centre strikes well, and a general "hollow" feel and build quality.

The Natural Keyboard Elite is still being made.  However, I've seen reviews complaining about its degrading quality and key feel over the last 10 years. "They don't make'em like they used to. The first one lasted 5 years, the next 3, the last 1 year", etc.. This can be due to cost-cutting, changing OEMs, etc..  The one that I recently got off ebay new appears to be about 1999-2000 vintage.  It was made in Mexico, so   Keytronic is the likely OEM, and they've always made some of the best membrane keyboards. (OTOH, mine looks like the KB that reviewer comlained about in the last link - gray MS logo.)

Overall, I have to say I'm impressed with the Natural Elite.  It looks somewhat ugly in photos - the weird little cursor keys and transposed navigation block,  the "chunk chopped out" look of the middle of the keyboard where the cord is.  In that respect the Natural 4000 looks more balanced.  However, the Elite seems to have that minimalist aesthetic.  It just feels solid.  The textured sculpted keycaps, the space bar.  The 4000 is somewhat busy looking in comparison.  Also the 4000 has a pretty complicated assembly.  It's bigger and lighter.  If I hold it by the corner, the plastic creaks.  The Elite, OTOH, feels solid throughout.  I haven't disassembled it, but I suspect it to be a lot simpler on the inside as well.  It's just a sturdy little board.

iMav:

--- Quote from: fkeidjn;2488 ---I'd get one, if it weren't for the ergonomic profile.  I see a few on ebay.  What's the model number?
--- End quote ---

I don't understand what the appeal would be...aside from the ergonomic profile???  (which, BTW, doesn't at all appeal to me)

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