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Our editors are divided on keyboards: many colleagues want the loud clicking and haptic feedback of a mechanical model with Cherry MX Blue switches, some like more linear ones, and some are satisfied with the chiclet keyboard of their laptop. There is even one that uses an IBM Model M from the 80s. And then there is me and I like to use a subtle, slender, flat, and wireless model. That is why I chose the Microsoft Surface Keyboard. But now there is an alternative: the almost identical Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID (Check on Amazon.com).
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID – Design
Like its predecessor, the Surface Keyboard (Check on Amazon.com), the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID leans on the design of an Apple Wireless Keyboard, which is rather unsuitable for me as a Windows user due to its key layout. The motto of this design is: “less is more”. This means that Microsoft kept its profile as flat as possible. The housing is even slightly smaller than the Apple Keyboard at 16.5×4.4in. The height is also kept low at 0.7in.
The shell is made of aluminum, whose texture and feel reminds me very much of other Surface products. The build quality is excellent. Nothing creaks, wobbles or bends here. In addition, the gaps between the top and bottom parts of the housing are very thin giving the impression of a single piece!
The good build quality also applies to the keys. These are made of high-quality plastic. The inscription, white writing on a dark gray background, is flawless and after months of typing, there are no signs of wear. The keys have little play in their recesses and therefore do not wobble.
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID – Slimming diet at the expense of the function keys
The Modern Keyboard has all the important keys, as befits a full-size model. But it lacks a row with multimedia keys such as volume control and the mute button. These are combined with the F-keys. Thankfully the frustration is quickly forgotten when it comes to the actual typing. This is where this Keyboard excels!
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID – Typing
I’ve been using flat keyboards for a while, and scissor switches have been very nice to me – especially when writing long text. It all started with a cheap model like the Cherry Strait, which is still a good product for the money. However, the Modern Keyboard just feels better, and this fact alone justifies the high price.
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID – Easy cleaning
Due to the very thin gap between the housing shell and the individual keys, hardly any dirt penetrates into the interior of the keyboard. Wiping it with a slightly moistened cloth quickly cleans the spaces between the keys. So even after several months of use it still looks pristine.
All in all, I have to say that I really like the writing experience on the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID. In addition, it is pleasantly quiet.
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID – Limited ergonomics
One trade-off I have to make is the lack of adjustable legs on the bottom of the keyboard. Instead, the flat board always rests on the integrated battery. The slight tilt is optimal for me but giving the option would be an advantage. After all, the product costs quite a lot.
What I find most objectionable is the lack of key illumination. Perhaps this was intentional as to increase battery life but it surprised me quite negatively.
What makes the Modern Keyboard noticeably superior to the older Surface Keyboard and Apple’s model is the integrated fingerprint sensor. It is integrated into the Windows right key and it works like any other sensor of this kind along with Windows Hello in Windows 10.
At first, I was a bit skeptical about the need for a fingerprint sensor. After a while, though, it is pleasantly easy and fast to log into the operating system, especially if, like me, you have to enter everlasting long passwords.
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID – Verdict
You can’t really compare it to a mechanical keyboard. It is way smaller and the loud typing noise of mechanical keyboards is hardly suitable for the office. Aesthetically it makes a clear statement with its modern design and the flat, but high-quality housing. In spite of the flat keys, however, it is extremely comfortable and precise. It is also extremely handy with its wired or wireless connection. If the integrated battery (according to Microsoft it can last up to four months) runs out, you can simply charge it with the included micro-USB cable (a USB Type-C port would have been more practical and future-proof though). Windows 10 users can also benefit from the relatively fast authentication (under 2 seconds) through Windows Hello using the fingerprint reader.
If you do not intend to use the fingerprint scanner, you can save some money by opting for Microsoft’s very similar Surface keyboard (Check on Amazon.com). Creative users should check out Logitech’s Craft keyboard (Check on Amazon.com). It offers a rotary knob as an additional input option and it is backlit.
The Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID (Check on Amazon.com) not only looks high-end but also shines as a convenient input device. For Windows 10 PCs it is an attractive overall premium keyboard.