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Microsoft finally made my favorite keyboard and mouse

Microsoft finally made my favorite keyboard and mouse

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Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Mouse
Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Mouse
Photo by Tom Warren, The Verge

I hate keyboards and mice these days. For years I used to stockpile boxes of Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorers because Microsoft stupidly discontinued the best mouse it ever created. I moved on from PS2 ports and wires over to the wireless world a few years ago, but all the buttons and fancy gimmicks have been an annoying distraction on modern mice. I just want something that’s comfortable and works.

I’ve been hunting for the perfect desktop set over the past year, simply because I’m using my desk more these days and writing requires comfort. I was reminded of my battle to find a good keyboard and mice set thanks to my colleague Dan Seifert. He’s been reviewing a number of expensive all-in-one PCs, and the default input devices are astonishingly bad. He likes the Logitech MX Master mouse and K810 keyboard, but I can’t deal with a keyboard that doesn’t have a numpad.

Laptop-like keyboards are the best

I’ve always been fond of Apple’s basic keyboards that ship with the iMac, and I noticed that Microsoft has essentially replicated that same style with its Designer Bluetooth Desktop set. I purchased the combo last year, and while the keyboard was fantastic (apart from some spacing around the arrow keys), the mouse was terrible. It was flatter than a pancake, and just really awkward to use.

I immediately purchased a Microsoft Sculpt Mouse to replace the monstrosity that shipped with the Bluetooth Desktop set, and I was relatively happy for a while. Unfortunately, the Sculpt Mouse doesn’t age very well. The rubber on the side of the mouse is comfortable, but wears down. Back to square one, I thought.

I reviewed the Surface Studio last year, and I didn’t even mention the fact that it ships with a new Surface Keyboard and Mouse. It looks like the Designer Bluetooth Desktop set with a grey color scheme, but there are some subtle and important changes. I’ve been using the Surface Keyboard and Mouse for months now, and it’s so comfortable to use that I completely forgot about my struggle to find the perfect desktop keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft has improved the key spacing over the original Designer Bluetooth keyboard, which means the Surface Keyboard is a little wider and more comfortable to navigate and touch type. The mouse isn’t as flat, and has a rounded edge at the bottom that just makes it feel a lot better to hold and use. I dislike the fact that there isn’t an assignable button on the side to go back in the browser or open up Cortana, but I do like the overall simplicity.

That simplicity does mean that there’s no option to reverse the middle button scrolling direction within Windows. You have to literally edit a registry key to reverse the scroll wheel, which is an odd oversight on Microsoft’s behalf. You'll also need to pay nearly $150 to buy the mouse and keyboard together, so it's not a cheap set. Regardless, I enjoy the mouse and the laptop-like keyboard, and I won’t be changing my desk any time soon.