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Microsoft's classic Ergonomic Keyboard returns with an emoji button

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft made a splash at its hardware event with several new Surface products, including a custom Ryzen-powered Surface Laptop, but it also has some new peripherals on tap—chief among them is the return of its once popular Ergonomic Keyboard.

I used to love this style of keyboard. For many years, I typed exclusive on Belkin's version, the ErgoBoard. These days, however, the trend is towards mechanical keyboards with RGB lighting, with ergonomic designs sort of getting lost in the shuffle of today's gaming keyboards.

Microsoft's Ergonomic Keyboard takes bigger aim at productivity than gaming. There are no dedicated gaming keys, and while not mentioned in the specs, I suspect it's of the membrane or rubber dome variety. However, it does offer several built-in shortcuts, along with a dedicated emoji key, in case anyone finds that exciting.

It's really all about the shape, though. The split design presents the keys at a more natural angle to how your hands and wrists extend to the keyboard. The claim is that this reduces fatigue. It also has an "improved" cushioned palm rest.

The keyboard is up for preorder for $59.99 at the Microsoft Store and releases October 15. That's far cheaper than the similarly shaped Surface Ergonomic Keyboard, which sells for $129.99.

Microsoft's new Ergonomic Mouse is also supposed to reduce hand fatigue, though I'm not sure what advantage it might have over any sculpted rodent. It at least looks sleek, though.

There are five buttons if you count the scroll wheel. Microsoft only lists two as being programmable for some reason (presumably the side button). There's no mention of the sensitivity in terms of dpi or cpi, though Microsoft notes it uses BlueTrack technology.

The Microsoft Ergonomic Mouse is available to preorder for $39.99 and will also release on October 15.