Since the Wireless Natural keyboard that comes with the Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro is of an identical design, you'd figure that the Natural Multimedia would be just as good. Unfortunately it is not -- the plastic is of a different composition that makes the keys creak when you press them, which is not only an annoying sound but also a very annoying feeling on the fingers. The keys are hard to press and some of them (most notably the right shift key) will occasionally jam and require extra effort to press down. To top it all off, the keys make a lot of noise when you press them, making it rather loud as far as modern desktop keyboards are concerned. All of these things combined work against the natural rhythm of typing, causing a break in concentration and a frustrating computing experience.
Like the wireless edition, the most annoying quality of the Natural Multimedia keyboard is the F-Lock, which is off by default. That means that every time you start or restart your computer you have to hit the F-Lock key so that you have access to the F keys.
None of the extra buttons on the Natural Multimedia Keyboard will work outside of Windows, and even if you're a Windows user, you'll need the extra software to use them. Even if the buttons did work in other operating systems, I don't think most people would use them often enough to warrant their presence. The multimedia controls and the calculator button are nice if you need them, but the other buttons are superfluous at best and annoying at worst. As for the standard keys, there are no key labels for Apple users.
I used to use this keyboard as my primary keyboard before I did these reviews. Even though it was ergonomically designed, it still hurt to use it for extended periods of time because the keys were so stiff and creaky and they would occasionally jam. If you have the Natural Elite already, I'd advise against "upgrading" to the Natural Multimedia. Those in search of a better ergonomic keyboard might consider the Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro or the Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo instead.
|Model||Natural Multimedia Keyboard|
|Price (retail)||U.S. $40 Buy it from Amazon.com|