Bought my Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 from Fry's
After a lot of hunting and a lot of waiting, I finally tracked down a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 today. I had been searching on Technorati for both user feedback and to find out where people might be buying them, but didn't find much information except for a few reviews. I knew that I would buy the keyboard regardless of the reviews, so I just wanted to find out where people were buying them from. In case you're in that boat, I just bought mine today, October 1st, at the Sacramento Fry's.
I called or went to most all the other stores earlier this week (CompUSA, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples) but none of them had the new keyboard and no one I talked to knew when they were getting it (or even what it was). I went to Fry's partly because it had been a little while since I had my last Fry's fix (I'm originally from the Bay Area, and only moved to the Sacramento area after visiting the Fry's here) but also hoping that they might have the keyboard in stock. I had called them on Tuesday, 9/27, and they didn't have it then, so I lowered my expectations and didn't think they'd have it in stock. When I got to the keyboard aisle and saw that they had half-a-dozen on the display shelf and about 20 on the overhead shelf, I was pleased as punch. This was exactly the type of Fry's experience I wanted, being one of the first to get a new product. I even did my little fetish thing of reaching past the first box (which I know everyone probably touches) for a fresh one in the back. And yes, I did smell the box, but I can't help it.
The price of the keyboard was $59.99, which I thought was very reasonable. I would be willing to pay more even, but that's because I'm a keyboard snob (and apparently fetishist). I think I'm going to quickly get used to and depend on this keyboard, which is a good thing because in my impatience I also ordered one from Amazon ($50.69 total with the free Super Saver Shipping). That's fine, though, since I had planned to get at least two (one for home and one for work) since I first heard that Microsoft was coming out with a new Natural keyboard.
I've only been using this keyboard for a little over an hour but already but I like it very much. The first thing I noticed after switching from my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro (circa 1999) was that this keyboard is much quieter. At first I missed the satisfying clack of my Natural Keyboard Pro, but I quickly started getting used to the softer feel of this keyboard. In fact, I'm quickly becoming accustomed to the feel of my new keyboard. I feel like my hands and wrists are in a more comfortable position while I'm typing and think that in the long run I'll be in slightly better shape than I would with the older Microsoft Natural Keyboards.
At first I wasn't sure about the new lift that goes under the wrist rest of the keyboard. It is one of the most obvious differences you notice between this keyboard and the other Microsoft Natural keyboards, since it makes the keys slope away from you more. I'm really starting to like it, though, and think I'll probably keep the keyboard in the default position it ships in (i.e. keeping the wrist raiser on and not engaging the feet under the top corners of the keyboard).
Now that my keyboard lust has been sated, I can turn my attention to enjoying my new keyboard. Of course, Microsoft has the new Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 coming out sometime in October, so there is always something new to start lusting after.
I updated the Wikipedia entry for the Microsoft Natural keyboard to include a link to information about the new keyboard.