Microsoft finally has some split keyboard competition.

Engadget, By Devindra Hardawar

© Logitech | Logitech's K860 split ergonomic keyboard is heaven for your wrists

Logitech is squarely targeting Microsoft's wrist-friendly Surface Ergonomic Keyboard with the Ergo K860 ($130). It's the company's first keyboard in years to feature a split design, wherein the entire layout is cut in half and the keys are angled to align with your wrists. While it may look a bit odd, there are significant health benefits to this design. There's less strain on your wrists and forearms, and consequently, it makes your hands, neck, and shoulders more relaxed. It's the ideal companion to the company's ergonomic MX Vertical mouse. The Ergo K860 is so comfortable to use, it makes me wonder why more companies haven't pushed back against the standard QWERTY keyboard design.

You'll notice plenty of similarities between the K860 and the Surface Ergonomic. They both feature a prominent empty space (shaped like an upside-down V) between their two sets of keys, and they have pillowy-soft wrist pads. The K860 includes three layers of material to cushion your wrists: a dense foam core, memory foam that contours to your wrists, and smooth fabric that's easy to clean. Logitech's keyboard is also slightly curved, like Microsoft's, which makes the keys easier to reach without much effort.

It's not as if Logitech completely copied Microsoft, though. The Ergo K860's keys are a bit lighter to the touch, thanks to the same mechanism used in its MX Keys and Craft keyboards. There's less travel when compared to the Surface Ergonomic, but the typing experience is still very responsive and enjoyable. Logitech's layout also works with Macs, thanks to shared labeling across the start and alt keys, and you can pair the keyboard with three separate devices. So you could, for example, easily hop between a laptop, tablet and even phone.

There are also two pairs of palm lifts below the wristpad, which can angle the keyboard up by two levels. That helps the Ergo K860 match your posture no matter how you sit or stand to type. And yes, there's a number pad too, as you'd expect on a full-sized keyboard. As for connectivity, the Ergo K860 works wirelessly over Bluetooth, or with Logitech's bundled Unifying Receiver (which can also pair with the company's other accessories).

As a longtime ergonomic keyboard evangelist, I didn't have much trouble adapting to the Ergo K860's layout. I hop between the Surface Ergonomic at work, and the MX Craft at home, so my fingers are already used to split designs. If you've only ever used a standard QWERTY keyboard though, I'd say it would take a few weeks of typing to really get a handle on ergonomic layouts. The benefits are worth the effort: my fingers and wrists never feel stressed when typing on split keyboards, making them perfect for intense work sessions. My only complaint? I wish the keys were backlit, as it was sometimes difficult to see what I was pressing in a dark room.

While the Ergo K860 doesn't exactly reinvent the keyboard, it's nice to see Logitech finally jump back to a split design after the Wireless Comfort Desktop, which was released way back in 2004. (It also came with a combo USB/PS/2 receiver. Those were the days!) Now you've finally got another option besides Microsoft's for a mainstream keyboard that's easier on your wrists.

This article was originally published Engadget.
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