We’ve long admired Microsoft’s Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000; its combination of a downward tilting typing surface and a split layout is the perfect salve for our aching wrists. But we aren’t as fond of the Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, which is unfortunate, as the devices are paired in one bundle for the weak-wristed.
The wireless version of the Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is virtually identical to the wired one, but it communicates with your PC via a 2.4GHz transmitter. The key action and layout of the two boards are the same; the only differences between the two are that the wireless board sports a slightly lighter color scheme and its status lights (for Caps Lock and its cronies) are replaced by software toggles to conserve battery life, which is good. The Ergo plank didn’t run down its two AA batteries after two months of constant use.
The Natural Wireless Laser Mouse is another story. While we appreciate that the mouse allows for a neutral hand position, which lets you grip it in your hand’s most relaxed position, we don’t like the loss of precision that holding the device like a soda can engenders. Even after several weeks of use, we weren’t able to consistently make horizontal mouse movements; the cursor invariably drifts down when you use your wrist to move the mouse from right to left. We also wonder why this mouse requires standard disposable batteries. Unlike keyboards, wireless mice need rechargeable batteries; they simply suck up too much power to use standard AAs.
Although we were able to use the mouse for extended periods of time unassisted, we don’t feel that this device is a significant improvement over a more accurate, traditional mouse paired with a good gel-covered wrist rest.
The keyboard is a good match for gamers, but we can’t recommend the mouse for anyone who needs to make high-precision movements. Unfortunately, this wireless keyboard’s score is brought down by its subpar companion.
The keyboard: ergonomic, long battery life, hella comfy.
The mouse: not precise enough to use for gaming; no rechargeable batteries.