Size Matters: Comparing Microsoft's Mobile Peripherals

Size Matters: Comparing Microsoft's Mobile Peripherals

A mostly visual guide

After posting some first impressions of new Microsoft hardware peripherals yesterday, I received a number of requests regarding the size of these devices and how they compare to similar keyboards and mice. So here's a peek at how the Universal Mobile Keyboard and Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse compare with their predecessors and competition.

Check out Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard First Impressions and Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse First Impressions for my general overviews of these new peripherals.

Universal Mobile Keyboard vs. Wedge Mobile Keyboard

As you can see below, the new Universal Mobile Keyboard is a bit smaller (well, less wide) than the also-tiny Wedge Mobile Keyboard that Microsoft introduced alongside Windows 8 two years ago.

The devices share a few similarities, including an auto on/off functionality that occurs when you remove/re-attach the cover, and that the keyboard's covers both work as tablet stands. The actual keyboard on the Universal Wireless Keyboard is smaller, however.

But the Universal Mobile Keyboard has a few advantages over the Wedge: That stand stays attached and works more easily. And it can switch—literally, using a switch—between Windows, Android and iOS modes on the fly, and can be paired with three devices (one of each type) at a time. The Wedge has a better typing angle, but is a bit thicker too.

Both keyboards are too small for my tastes, however. And now you can see why...

Universal Mobile Keyboard vs. Apple Wireless Keyboard

Apple's Bluetooth-based Wireless Keyboard is the standard these days, and the keyboard many iPad users, in particular, will choose. (See Office for iPad + Apple Wireless Keyboard.) So it's helpful to compare this full-sized keyboard to the Universal Mobile Keyboard, which, as you can see, is tiny by comparison.

Aside from more comfortable keys, the Apple Wireless Keyboard also comes with a better—albeit fixed—typing slant.

That said, the Universal Keyboard has a built-in protective cover, and that convenient auto-on/off capability.

Universal Mobile Keyboard vs. Lenovo

One portable keyboard that many of you have never considered, but should, is the Lenovo ThinkPad Compact Bluetooth Keyboard with TrackPoint (which costs $106 on Amazon.com). This is basically an excellent ThinkPad keyboard (and TrackPoint pointing device, which I prefer) that you can use with any Windows portable device. It even downloads its own drivers for configuring the function and special keys.

The ThinkPad Compact Bluetooth Keyboard with TrackPoint is bigger than the Universal Mobile Keyboard, of course, and it's about the same size as the Apple Wireless Keyboard, But it has that built-in pointing device, which is a huge benefit in Windows.

Most important, it's much nicer—and bigger—than the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover. What it lacks is the seamless connectivity with Surface Pro 3.

But still. This is interesting. 

Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse vs. Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition

As you can see here, the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is indeed identical to last year's Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition, except that the new version is gray, not black. And the word "Surface" doesn't appear on its top, it's "Microsoft" instead.

Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse vs. Wedge Touch Mouse

Introduced alongside the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Windows 8 two years ago, the Wedge Touch Mouse is a controversially small device that values style over function. It's even tinier than the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse.

Frankly, I'd pick the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse over the Wedge.

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