Keyboards

Tapping has become more popular than typing and a good computer keyboard becomes essential in every work office and most homes. When there is a quick note or a presentation to be prepared, using a tablet or a smartphone is not easy, even though these devices offer you MS-Word and MS-PowerPoint and other word processing or image editing applications. You look forward to that tried and tested keyboard that allows you to work faster and with more ease. Choosing a keyboard is not difficult, but some important factors need to be taken into consideration. Read buying guide

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Buying guide

Nowadays, due to the long daily hours most people spend at their computers for one reason or another, all of the PCs’ peripherals have received a lot of attention regarding comfort, ergonomics and practical new features. Keyboards have become wireless and count with numerous special buttons integrated to the computers’ OS to provide quick access to several important functions. 

Microsoft Natural Ergo-KeyboardWhat makes a good keyboard?

Ergonomic design

Repetitive stress injuries are a very real thing nowadays, so having a design that is more comfortable and safer to use has become one of the main requirements for keyboards.

Having adjustable legs and raisers to compensate for the difference in height between the user’s chair and table, for example, is a desirable feature. More daring manufacturers even offer curved and split layouts for the keyboards so that users can pick whichever makes them feel more comfortable while typing.

 

Becareful though cause these keyboards aren't really easy to type on for someone who's not used to!

Keys and key layout

Keys are obviously the most basic element in a keyboard. From the beginning, desktop keyboards have traditionally used dome-style key switches which are thicker and that are placed at a significant distance from the actual mechanism that registers the keystroke, meaning that it has to be pushed for further down (and, many times, with more force due to gripping keys).

 

Laptop keyboards tend to use scissor-style key switches, which offer a lower profile and are placed closed to the sensors. However, over the years, many desktop keyboards have adopted laptop-style key mechanisms, in large part because of the increased popularity of these types of keys.

 

Another important thing to note is that key layout can severely impact the final experience when using that particular keyboard. If the keys are mostly high-profile and put too close together, pressing two keys at once accidentally becomes very common. Likewise, it is important that keys with powerful functions are kept reasonably far away from all the most used keys. “Power” buttons were once present in every other keyboard in the market, and those are particularly annoying to press accidentally when you are right in the middle of a big, unsaved document. 

Connectivity and Portability

The keyboards that are currently produced and put into the market can be connected to your computer units either via a USB cable or via wireless connection. Both radio-frequency (RF) and Bluetooth technologies are employed in wireless keyboards, and they are both pretty similar in their functioning, with both kinds being susceptible from interference if there are many devices working on the same technology around. They generally require a RF or Bluetooth dongle by the same manufacturer to be connected to the computer, although some most PC now come with inbuilt Bluetooth. 

Choose a Bluetooth 4.0 keyboard (the latest version of Bluetooth) for speed answers and reliability.

 

If you watch a movie or want to connect your PC to your TV and browse quietly into your movies files from your sofa, a Bluetooth keyboard will be the perfect ally. 

Do I need special features?Razer Blackwidow QC

These questions are very closely tied together. For many users, a very basic cabled keyboard could be ideal if they are only going to be browsing the internet and doing regular office or student tasks. Of course, keyboard key switches, layout and ergonomics still have to be adequate, but that’s pretty much as deep as it needs to go.

 

For some other users that perform more intensive and demanding activities on their computers, having a keyboard interface facility is either very helpful or a downright necessity.

Some other models have functions such as quick access to the music, documents and images folders, as well as functions such as calculator and e-mail. These are generally oriented for high-productivity office environments and can be really helpful with some slight tweaks.

 

Taking one step further we can find the most advanced keyboard units, which are generally designed to be optimal for playing video games ("gaming keyboards"). These devices sport features such as mechanical key switches, pulse backlights, modelled keycaps and a great number of customizable features and details such as texturized WASD keys and programmable macro commands. 

 

Of course, most of the time you are only going to be able to know for sure if a unit is going to get in the way of your productivity when you have actually tested it. At these times, buying products from a manufacturer with a good return policy goes a long way.

 

Choose a stylish keyboard to enhance aesthetics

Last but not the least, the design of the keyboard should also be considered. The design here would include the size, weight and colour of the keyboard. A smaller sized and lightweight keyboard is useful as a portable device. Backlighted keyboards are both stylish and easy to work with in no lights areas. Here again, that’s what gamers are looking at most of the time. Also pay attention to the materials: plastics quality can enhance or destroy the aesthetics of your keyboard as well as modify your device’ life. 

 


Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400A quick selection of the best keyboards

 

The most popular keyboards are the wireless ones. These sell the most because they are the easiest to connect to a PC and work on. Wireless keyboards like the Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 or the Lenovo ThinkPad Compact Bluetooth Keyboard with TrackPoint 0B47189 or the Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard are extremely reliable keyboards.

 

If you have trouble finding your keyboard keys when it is dark, you may want to look at a keyboard that has illuminated keys. Some of the options in this category include the Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard K830, the Rapoo E9090P and the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS POSEIDON Z Illuminated Keyboard.

 

There are specific keyboards that are meant for gaming. These keyboards have extra features including programmable keys, illuminated backlights and superfast reflexes. These keyboards allow you to take action in a split second, something that is critical for gaming. The top keyboards in this category are Corsair Vengeance K70, Logitech G710+ and Cooler Master CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid Keyboard.

 

Of course, you may want to opt for a keyboard manufactured by your PC manufacturer. So, if you have an HP PC, you may want to opt for an HP keyboard. In terms of branding, however, Logitech is the top name in keyboards. Ask for any feature and you will have a keyboard from Logitech to choose from.

 

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