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Microsoft promises its Surface Pro is more than a tablet but not quite a laptop. If you pick up the Surface on its own, you effectively own a tablet that runs a full version of Windows. The accessories make all the difference in the value of the Surface as a true alternative to your bulky laptop.
In our opinion, you’ll want a Surface pen, mouse, and keyboard at a minimum.
The keyboard is particularly important. On-screen keyboards are fine for typing a quick email, but once you try to do anything more functional, it quickly limits your options.
It’s so essential that we think the keyboard should be the first accessory you buy for your Surface Pro 4.
What’s the best keyboard for the Surface Pro 4? We show you our favorites and put together a quick buyer’s guide.
How We Made Our Choices
With so many great keyboards to choose from for the Surface Pro 4, the decision isn’t an easy one.
We broke down the products on our list according to their overall performance. To find out what they are truly like to use, we looked at specs and features provided by the manufacturer. We then looked at issues like price and compatibility to see how much bang you can anticipate getting for your buck.
Because specs alone don’t tell you enough about what it’s like to use the keyboard, we relied on professional and personal consumer reviews. We looked for people who type all day, code or need special functions to see what keyboards they prefer and what accessories didn’t stand up to their workflow.
Best Keyboard for Surface Pro 4
What is the best keyboard for your Surface Pro 4? It depends on how you use it. Check out our six favorite products below.
Best Keyboard for Multi-Purpose Use:
Original Microsoft Surface Keyboard
Do you prefer to stick to the basics? There’s no reason not to buy the Microsoft Surface Keyboard.
The standard keyboard is a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard with support for a minimum of Bluetooth 4.0. It is also compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. The complete list of compatible systems includes:
One keyboard works with all your devices, which is a rare quality among Surface keyboards.
In addition to compatibility, Microsoft says the keyboard’s design complements your Surface Pro 4. It matches both the casing and other accessories. Additional details include a thoughtful height, pitch, and spacing for comfortable and accurate typing. The keys also mimic a real keyboard. They are stiff and raised for good grip, but strokes are quiet.
Finally, because Microsoft designed it, it includes essential Microsoft keys. It also features search and settings keys. Those features sound clunky, but many users find useful.
What do people who own it say about their Surface Keyboard? Several say that it replaces their current keyboard and even gave them an opportunity to finally retire high-end Apple keyboards that were worse for wear.
They also love that the keyboard stands up to a full workload. It isn’t a lightweight keyboard you use only when you have to. Many find it is robust and versatile enough to become their full-time keyboard.
Best Keyboard for Programmers:
Non-Microsoft keyboards run the risk of being bulky and loud. It’s strange to say after years of development in the field of Bluetooth and remote accessories, but some products still make you wonder if you stepped into a time machine accidentally.
HAVIT’s HV-KB395L is not one of these keyboards.
The difference lies in the key construction. It’s a mechanical keyboard with shorter key travels. The design mimics a Type Cover or your ergonomic laptop keyboard rather than a clunky Bluetooth accessory.
There are two features we particularly appreciate about the keyboard.
First, it’s ideal for those who do a significant amount of typing because it uses the low profile Kailh Blue switches for a more comfortable typing experience. The lighting is RGB rather than bright white light, so you have an illuminated keypath without lighting up a room.
Additionally, we like that it offers the option to reassign any key for any purpose. Few keyboard accessories allow for total customization. We think the feature makes it suitable for gamers or programmers working from their Surface.
Best Keyboard for Added Features:
Surface Type Cover with Fingerprint ID
- Among Surface accessories, it never hurts to stay within the Microsoft ecosystem. The Surface Type Cover with Fingerprint ID differs from third-party keyboards because Microsoft designed it specifically for the Surface Pro.
The Surface Type Cover with Fingerprint ID offers the same features as Microsoft’s standard Type Cover. It comes with a Precision touchpad and attaches easily to your Surface. The backlit keys are a bonus for working on flights or any other lowlight scenario.
You’ll find the big difference with this Type Cover is that it opens up an otherwise inaccessible feature on your Surface: Windows Hello.
The Surface Pro doesn’t offer Windows Hello on its own. But if you want to add the fingerprint functionality to your Surface, then this Windows Hello-equipped keyboard offers it for a relatively small amount of money given the security it provides.
Best Budget Keyboard:
MoKo Type Cover for Surface
Do you have your heart set on a Type Cover but don’t love the price of Microsoft’s accessories? MoKo makes a Type Cover that closely mimics Microsoft’s but with more connectivity and at half the cost.
MoKo’s Type Cover is a Bluetooth device, which means you can use it for your Surface Pro 4, but you can also use it on an iPad or an Android tablet. It’s also compatible with the Surface Pro 3, 5, and 6.
You’ll give up some features that you might otherwise appreciate about a Microsoft-brand Type Cover. Naturally, it lacks Microsoft’s Precision touchpad and features only a basic trackpad. However, additional spacing means the keys better mimic a traditional laptop than other type covers or Bluetooth keyboards.
The type cover comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts 60 hours on a full charge. It also features a wireless range of 33 feet.
The MoKo keyboard is a budget option, and user reviews tend to reflect its price point. Customers tend to hate the touch keypad and find the mouse to be picky even after a few months of use. They say to use a real mouse instead of relying on the trackpad.
Several users also mentioned that the product tends to be buggy. Some buttons take two taps to register, and other keys get stuck. They all tend to agree that the mouse/trackpad is not worth the materials MoKo built it from.
Based on the reviews, it appears a whole shipment of the keyboards was buggy or defective. However, when some people requested and received a replacement, they found the replacements to suit them perfectly.
Best High-End Keyboard:
Brydge 12.3 Keyboard
Most of the keyboards on the list include a short list of features. There’s a mix of added keys, backlighting, and usually a trackpad.
The Brydge 12.3 Keyboard is a premium accessory that performs several tasks at once. It first serves as a keyboard, and it excels here. Brydge designed it specifically for the Surface Pro 6, 5, 4, and 3, so it functions at its peak with Surface applications. Moreover, its specificity allows it to almost transform your Surface Pro 4 into what is nearly a laptop.
With a weight of 23 ounces, it’s hefty and durable. Some people like that the weight replicates the feel of a laptop. Others say it’s nearly as heavy as the Surface Pro 4 itself, and they find the weight a turn-off.
Brydge also added a two-button touchpad to its design. The touchpad features a glass design for sensitivity, and it syncs directly with your Surface Pro for optimum portability.
All the keys benefit from backlighting, but Brydge takes it a step further. You can choose from three levels of backlighting to provide just the right amount of light.
Now, it is possible to buy the Brydge 12.3 keyboard on its own. However, you can also buy the Pro version, which includes an integrated 128 or 256 GP SSD card. Added storage transforms your keyboard from an accessory into an integrated storage solution in one fell swoop. It’s a chance to bring a keyboard and external hard drive in one small package that also attaches to the laptop.
Finally, the battery lasts for up to three months on a charge. Brydge adds a micro USB cable to the box so that you can charge up whenever you feel it’s necessary.
Before you run out and buy the product, keep in mind that some reviewers say that using the keyboard resulted in damage to their screen. Even those who did not report damage say it put stress on their screen that concerned them. People with a Surface Pro 4 seem to fair better than those who attach it to a Surface Pro 6.
Others who purchased online said that customer service also takes its time responding, and in some cases, customers report not receiving a response at all.
Still, those who upgraded to the Brydge keyboard say they love it compared to previous flimsy keyboards.
Best Ergonomic Keyboard:
Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
If your word count and workload are heavy, then a clunky plastic keyboard just won’t do. Using a Surface Pro doesn’t mean you have to give up your beloved ergonomic keyboard, and Microsoft makes a great one.
The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is a full-size keyboard that connects to your Surface Pro 4 (or another device) via Bluetooth. It features a palm rest covered in Alcantara fabric and a split keyboard to match the way your hands move naturally. The entire deck is also sloped to take the pressure off your wrists.
There is an important thing to note: it’s compatible with the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and Surface Studio. However, the top-line system requirements mean you can’t connect it to a mobile tablet. It needs a full version of Windows (or another PC) to operate.
Otherwise, you’ll enjoy a wireless range of up to 32 feet.
The Surface keyboard is the newest iteration of the Sculpt keyboard, which was beloved. Those who upgraded say they love that the Surface keyboard has a function key rather than a function switch like the previous version. Programmers, in particular, like the function row keys and the Escape key because it’s a commonly used tool in their day.
Surface Pro 4 Keyboard Buyer’s Guide
So, you bought a Surface Pro 4, and now you realize that you can’t do much with it by relying solely on the on-screen keyboard. You’re not alone.
A Surface Pro is as useful as the accessories you buy for it. If you have bought a keyboard before, you understand the danger of one of its more annoying features relegating it to a life lived in a dusty cupboard sometime in the near future.
How do you find the best keyboard for a Surface Pro 4? Here’s how.
First, decide whether you prefer a keyboard that mimics your beloved laptop or desktop keyboard or if you prefer a lightweight cover.
Generally, you have two options: Type Covers and Bluetooth keyboards.
Type Covers serve as both keyboards and covers for your surface. They tend to rely on minimal features, but thanks to third-party introductions to the market, they are improving. You can now find Type Covers with backlighting and other features like fingerprinting options.
The Type Covers with the best features come directly from Microsoft, but you need to prepare to spend a pretty penny on those.
Alternatively, you can stick with a traditional Bluetooth keyboard. Your typical Bluetooth options range from clunky, hard to use keyboards to ergonomic keyboards specifically designed for your Surface Pro. You’ll need to be careful with these because some of the cheaper keyboards won’t integrate with a full version of windows despite operating on Bluetooth 4.0.