Microsoft Natural Elite A1300002 Wired Keyboard
(74 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating:
No complaints unless you happen to get a bad one
Jul 2, 2007
Review by hotshot309
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:PS/2-to-USB adapter, nice feel and layout, keys don't stick, good price
Cons:Got a bad one the first time; delivery of replacement was slow
The Bottom Line: Very nice. I'm only not giving it five stars because the RMA process was so slow and a little cumbersome.
I bought this for use at work, as I was used to split-style keyboards and found them easier on my body. I didn't want to spend a fortune, but I didn't want something cheap that would ever need to be replaced with something better. This was a perfect choice.
Recommend this product?
This keyboard is great. I work in IT and help find new keyboards for people when they complain that their wrists are hurting them when using straight keyboards. We have ordered Belkin ErgoBoard Pro keyboards for some people, but I have yet to hear one person say they love that model. The Belkin keyboard is probably cheaper, but it's a little bigger and has a soft but unresponsive feel to the keys. I've specifically been told by users at my job that the backspace and shift keys require pounding for a response, which increases whatever pain they are already suffering. A few people tried the Belkin for a little while and asked for an MS Natural Elite straight out, after trying out mine.
It's relatively quiet (aside from the spacebar, which clicks a little, but I personally don't notice it) and has a nice and responsive feel. The layout is great for me as well. I like the insert, home, page up, delete, end, and page down buttons being in their own little grouping above the arrow keys, just to the right of the main keyboard. The only thing I don't like is the F-lock key, which defaults to off and allows you to toggle back and forth between using the F-keys normally or for special programmed uses. This is hardly an issue, though. I don't personally use the programmable keys, but I believe they work fine, and the included software is easy to use for configuring the keyboard.
This is a PS/2 keyboard but has its own adapter to a USB port for plugging it in while the system is hot, which comes in very handy if you change computers often and sometimes need the PS/2 capability. Note that buying a $3 PS/2-to-USB adapter connector will not automatically work with any keyboard. The keyboard itself has to be "smart" enough to do the conversion, which most aren't. This adapter works with this keyboard, and I've seen it work with another similar, older Microsoft keyboard. It's a great perk.
I have found that the keyboard works fine while plugged into its adapter and then a USB extender cable and finally attached to an IOGear MiniView Micro USB PLUS KVM Switch, which is not a super-sophisticated switch and does not work with all keyboards I've tried. I was impressed.
At $35 on NewEgg.com, you can't go wrong with this one. I have another Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, at home--the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 v. 1.0--that cost almost twice the price, but they are really equal in quality. The 4000 just has a different feel, it's black instead of white, it has a removable support beneath it (which I like a lot,) and it has more buttons/features and a zoom dial.
The only con to the Natural Elite keyboard is if you get a bad one. I had to replace my first keyboard (under warranty from Microsoft), apparently due to defect. I splashed some liquid near the keyboard one day but did not discover anything under any of the keys, and just a few small drops on the surface of a key or two, so I thought it was fine. Coincidentally or by my own fault, three keys stopped working. I assumed it was a coincidence, since I saw no reason for the problem, and they never came back to life.
The RMA process itself was easy, once I figured out whom to call. This keyboard is an older model and obviously had been sitting on a shelf for a few years, in the case of the one I got. The instructions for RMAing the keyboard were vague, and the Microsoft Web site was not entirely helpful in telling me how to return this keyboard. I ended up writing to an address mentioned in the instructions--a very general sales address--and my letter apparently sat around at One Redmond Way and wandered around the Microsoft campus until finally, weeks later, someone pertinent read it and called me. They left a message telling me which number I would need to call for parts and replacement--1-800-360-7561 (8 AM to 10 PM, M-F EST).
I called and spoke with someone quickly. Microsoft didn't require me to prove when I bought it--they just asked for the date--and I didn't even have to send the defective one back. But it did take several weeks to get a new keyboard backordered from China. This was rather annoying, but I was updated on the status, and I believe there's a way to check status online as well.
Aside from that, I am very happy with this purchase. My replacement has not failed me.
Amount Paid (US$): 35
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