Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro

I am a longtime user of Microsoft’s ergonomic “split” keyboards. I’ve gone through three so far: I use them until the letter wear off the keys (my “touch typing” style, although it’s pretty fast, requires an occasional glance at the keyboard, which requires letters on the keys to work).

The latest model in the fleet is the “Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro,” and I’ve been banging hard on it for two or three years. It’s a USB-PS/2 hybrid keyboard (it has two plugs at the computer end of its cable), it’s got a good feel, OS X drivers, a set of extra function buttons that I can program to do whatever I like, and it’s got two USB ports that I can use to plug in a bluetooth adapter, digital camera or my phone.

I decided that I needed a twin keyboard for my visits to Yankee, and so on the way up to Dublin last week I stopped in at both Computer City and then Staples to pick one up. Much to my chagrin, I found that Microsoft no longer makes the Natural Keyboard Pro: it’s been replaced by the Natural Multimedia Keyboard (which is nice looking, but PS/2 only, which means it won’t work with my Mac), and the tiny Natural Keyboard Elite (which is missing the extra function keys, has a compressed Insert/Delete, Home/End key cluster, and an “arrow key” arrangement that’s in a “cross” rather than the “T” I’m used to).

A quick search of the web shows everyone sold out of the old Natural Keyboard Pro; eBay has just four on offer. Obviously I need to identify an alternative, or start stockpiling.

Comments's picture on August 15, 2005 - 13:35 Permalink

Is there such a thing as a PS/2 to usb adapter? That and one of the new MS natural keyboards might be better than nothing.

A friend of mine liked a particular keyboard so much that he hand-painted letters on it rather than throwing it out. I still miss an early IBM keyboard that came with a 286 I had at college. It had that great Selectronic typewriter key-feel.

Charles's picture
Charles on August 15, 2005 - 16:54 Permalink

I also use the MS Natural Pro, so this is horrible news. Microsoft makes a few other “Natural” keyboards, but they tend to have the cursor keys and Insert/Home/Page keys in a god awful configuration that drives me nuts.…

The Wireless Optical Desktop Pro seems to be the next best bet, but I personally hate wireless keyboards and mice (a tiny cable running down my desk is less annoying than replacing batteries.)…

Davey's picture
Davey on August 17, 2005 - 11:56 Permalink

There is such a thing as a PS/2 to USB adapter (and probably the reverse). I’ve seen them listed for under 7 bucks.

Robb's picture
Robb on August 18, 2005 - 06:51 Permalink

I use the MS Wireless Natural Multimedia keyboard with my Mac, it’s the best keyboard i’ve ever owned!

Carsten's picture
Carsten on August 19, 2005 - 20:00 Permalink

Well, I still like my “original” MS Natural Keyboard, which has a very decent layout. Just the wrist support is a bit too high, but I didn’t find a nice ergonomic keyboard with a good layout since buying this one actually.

And as I just cleaned it, I can tell you that the date inside is of April 1995 ;-).