Keyboard technology has been around a pretty long time. We’re not sure how long exactly, but if you are curious then you can always google it. When it comes to computer keyboards, there’s really not a whole lot of room for more innovation beyond adding more fancy buttons and shiny lights. At least, that’s what we thought before we were able to test out Microsoft’s new white Arc Keyboard. The Arc keyboard is a brilliant little piece of tech where form meets function and design meets utility and they all get together and go out for drinks at a Manhattan martini bar. There’s nothing revolutionary about this keyboard, but there’s an elegance and polish to it that is very appealing.
Let’s start with the design: The keyboard is standard sized, and curved beautifully to rise up and meet your fingers. At the Arc’s apex it is 1.5” thick and the edges taper down to be almost level with your desk. Although you can’t adjust the tilt, it is ergonomically tilted up just right and feels very natural. Weighing in at less than a pound, and with overall dimensions of 1.5” x 6.5” x 12.6” this is a great keyboard that is at home anywhere. The Arc is available in all black or in a more unique and oddly appealing white and lime green color. We heard a rumor that the designers were inspired by a mountain dew bottle, but that’s probably just hearsay and we may have started the rumor ourselves…
The Microsoft Arc keyboard communicates via a tiny 2.4 GHz wireless usb dongle that is among the smallest we’ve ever seen. The dongle can be magnetically stored under the keyboard when not in use so that you won’t lose it. We are big fans of bluetooth keyboards since they can talk with our iPad and our computers, but the benefit of wireless is all in the range. You can be a considerable distance away with your Arc keyboard and the keystrokes will still log every time. It runs on 2 AAA batteries that are included, which is a nice bonus.
The keys are easy to press with a good amount of snap to them to feel good and accurate, but not loud and annoying like you are on a typewriter. Believe me, your significant other will greatly appreciate this feature if you happen to be a night owl who spends your nights working on the computer. The top row of keys has F1-F6 and a secondary function button to get to F7-F12. There is also a home, end, page up/down, mute, volume up/down, and delete key. The arrow keys are combined into one 4-way directional pad that takes a little getting used to but is easily operated with your pinky finger once you are. The keyboard is compatible with both Windows and Mac, although the Control, Alt, and FN key layout is designed to be more Windows oriented.
Overall we were very impressed with the Microsoft Arc Keyboard, and believe this to be the most beautiful keyboard Microsoft has ever produced. Although its lack of Bluetooth and the fact that its Windows oriented keys make it more of a keyboard for PC users, we can’t bare the thought of parting with it and will be using the Arc exclusively with our Macbooks for the time being. The white Microsoft Arc Keyboard is currently an exclusive at Amazon where it retails for $49.
The Good: Beautiful design, travel friendly, quiet, soft tap
The Bad: Geared towards PC users, no Bluetooth