Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard Review: we tested them for 2 weeks and wanted to keep them

I like it when the keyboard takes up a minimum of space on the desktop and can be easily removed when you need to work with a laptop without a monitor. But it didn’t work to find a really suitable model: some didn’t fit in the kinematics of the keys, others were connected via a wire, and the rest were obscenely expensive. The issue was resolved with the advent of the Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard and the Number Pad from Microsoft.


Appearance and convenience

The keyboard and number pad are separate gadgets, but they should be considered together due to their common design and ergonomics. Namely, a very small thickness and a complete lack of free space outside the keys. The minimalistic appearance fits perfectly into the desktop setting. If you put the Designer Compact Keyboard and Number Pad side by side, you get the feeling of a single device, there is no step between them.

The keyboard has room for only 79 keys with some features for miniaturization. First of all, Home, End, Page Up and Page Down occupy part of the function block and are triggered via Fn. You should also pay attention to the arrows reduced in the manner of laptops. All these changes did not affect letters, punctuation marks and numbers in any way, so you don’t even need to get used to the Designer Compact Keyboard. Caps Lock has a built-in LED sticking indicator.

What you definitely don’t expect is the emoji button in place of the right Ctrl. As a result, in the messenger, pressing Enter and right Ctrl does not lead to anything good. Fortunately, the key can be reassigned through the utility, which will be discussed later. And it is more convenient to launch the emoji panel by combining Windows with “U” or “F” in the Russian layout.

And the Number Pad is a numeric keypad with a calculator launch key in place of the Num Lock. By analogy with the right Ctrl, remapping is available, but this is not necessary when the digital pad is a separate gadget.

Thus, Number Pad can be paired with a laptop that does not have its own digital pad. Accountants and other calculating professionals will appreciate.

The size and kinematics of the keys are fully consistent with ultrabooks Low-profile scissor keys have a short 1.35mm travel with good feedback. The soft mechanism works quietly and does not strum, the feeling from the set can be compared to expensive ultrabooks. All that is missing is the LED backlight, because if it was available, the batteries would have to be changed very often. In the dark, contrasting engraving saves, well reflecting light, as well as knowledge of the layout.

The periphery is not completely flat, but slightly inclined towards the user, thanks to the low step. There are no additional folding legs. That is, in this, new products from Microsoft repeat the ergonomics of laptops.


Microsoft Keyboard utility

Despite the presence of a keyboard on store shelves, the utility is only available in English. Fortunately, its functionality is more than understandable without translation. The keyboard only reassigns five keys, four function keys and the right Ctrl. Nice feature, the ability to create presets for each application. Here you can also switch the mode of operation of the function keys – sticky Fn.

On the numeric keypad, all buttons are reassigned. That is, taking into account the possibility of individual settings for each application, it can be turned into a hotkey bar – a truly professional option.

The three processes associated with Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center consume no more than 2 MB of RAM in the background and do not consume any processor at all. When you connect the peripherals for the first time, a proposal to install the software pops up.


Connection and autonomy

Both the keyboard and the numeric keypad connect without alternative via Bluetooth 5.0 LE Low Energy. It is possible to simultaneously pair with three devices and quickly switch between them by pressing F1. The connection is stable, but the devices tend to go into sleep mode after a couple of minutes of inactivity. The exit takes at least 5 seconds, which you have to wait before starting to enter. The problem is especially relevant for the digital panel, which is used from time to time and almost always has time to fall asleep.

Microsoft has chosen an extraordinary type of power supply, instead of a lithium battery or little finger batteries, CR2032 “tablets” are used. There are 4 such elements in the keyboard and the declared autonomy of 36 months, and in the digital panel – only one and 24 months of work. Replacing such elements will be relatively expensive: pre-installed Duracells cost an average of $2 apiece, and more affordable alternatives can be found up to $1.5 apiece.

The remaining charge is displayed in the connected Bluetooth devices window in Windows.


Feedback after two weeks of use Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard

Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard

The new Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard will appeal to those who have long been accustomed to a laptop keyboard, but sometimes have to work in front of a large desktop monitor. A diminutive body, familiar kinematics and a quiet scissor mechanism – you don’t need more for typing. Although Microsoft should have thought about LED lighting and fold-down legs. After all, they ask for a little over 5,000 rubles for the Designer Compact Keyboard, and 2,000 rubles for the Number Pad. For this considerable money, you want to get the ultimate things.


Pros:

  1. miniature size and stylish look;
  2. quiet scissor key mechanism;
  3. nice contrasting engraving;
  4. usefulness of the layout of 79 keys;
  5. convenient connection via Bluetooth;
  6. key remapping for each application individually.

Minuses:

  1. lack of folding legs;
  2. a large number of baterry CR2032 instead of lithium batteries.