Many of us spend a fair amount of time at our computers every day, pressing the keys ceaselessly (when we are not clicking and scrolling). We’ve got plenty of typing jobs to do these days- home works, school projects, documents that our boss wants typed, and what not. We rely heavily on our computers and of course, the keyboard on it.
Keyboards are primarily used for typing but really they can do so much more. With a few extra features, what your keyboard can do for you will make you fall in love with it.
When your old keyboard needs to be replaced, you’d naturally go for the same kind of keyboard which you are used to. But, with a great many types of keyboards coming to the market every day, the keyboard you want might not be the right one for you. (Chances are your old keyboard is outdated and is not available in the market anymore).
Here below we have listed a few things you have to consider to choose the perfect computer keyboard that matches all of your computing needs.
1. Work type
Varieties of computer keyboards are available in the market today, each designed with a focus on specific features to suit special purposes. The first thing you need to consider is the kind of work you will be doing with your keyboard.
There are keyboards specially designed for gaming. Get one of them, if you are a serious gamer. The best gaming keyboards incorporate special gaming keys to assist playing computer games. If you need your computer for typing jobs that have you typing for prolonged periods, then get an ergonomic keyboard that gives you a great, comfortable typing experience.
If you need to work with the numbers, you’d better make sure that you get a keyboard with a numeric keypad. Your work dictates, to a large extent, what kind of keyboard you should choose so that you don’t spend your money unnecessarily on the wrong type of keyboard that you don’t need.
2. Keystrokes (Switches)
Make sure you check the keystrokes the first thing, when you are buying a computer keyboard. You don’t want to end up with a keyboard that feels like a typewriter (which will literally give you a hard time). Check and test how the keys feel. There are keyboards that have sensitive, soft, feather-like touch and there are others that require some extra pressure to type on.
The mechanism that makes the keys respond to touch is ‘switch’. Rubber dome switches, scissor switches, and mechanical switches are the primary types of switches used by most manufactures. The switches make all the difference in the sensitivity, level of noise, and comfort. Learn about them and pick the right one.
Most keyboards nowadays connect to the computer via USB ports. The old PS/2 ports are almost obsolete. Wireless keyboards connect to the system via bluetooth and are somewhat tricky to setup unlike the plug and play USB cord keyboard. Most keyboards need some software installed on your computer to use the function keys. Make sure the keyboard is compatible with your system before you actually buy one.
The design and architecture of the keyboard makes a big difference in your computing experience. Based on design, the keyboards can be grouped into standard, gaming and ergonomic.
Standard keyboards are the most common types. These days, standard keyboards come with multimedia keys besides the standard set of 104 keys. Gaming keyboards are for the purpose of gaming which incorporate the multimedia keys as well as other special keys for gaming.
Ergonomic keyboards are designed to position your hands naturally and reduce strain by offering a proper wrist rest to maximize comfort. They sure are pricey but they are worth the money. Opt for an ergonomic keyboard if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Those who use their computer in the dark might prefer the keyboard with illumination. Those who focus on portability might want to get a flexible, foldable keyboard that doesn’t take much space in their bags. For those prone to accident, keyboards that can resist liquid are available in the market.
For those concerned with comfort, keyboards with split-style design or with a proper wrist rest pad might be the thing for them. For programmers, the keyboard in DVORAK layout is better than the standard QWERTY layout. There are washable keyboards available for those obsessed with cleanliness.
Many manufactures have poured lots of clever ideas into their keyboard designs. Choose the one designed to meet your requirements.
5. Wired vs wireless
The wired and wireless configurations both have their pros and cons. The wireless configuration cuts the cord out that clutters your desk but there are chances that it interferes with other wireless devices.
For gaming, the wired keyboards are preferred since the wireless keyboards tend to lag which impedes gameplay. Wireless keyboards are battery powered, which needs to be charged or replaced from time to time. That adds to the cost. Therefore, a keyboard that supports both wired and wireless configurations are preferred by many who want the best of both worlds.
6. Extra function keys
To speed up your tasks, lots of keyboards these days have extra function keys for launching apps, controlling volume, controlling music player etc. They also incorporate power management keys, special character layouts and customizable shortcut keys which come very handy at times. Some keyboards come with a touchpad or a mini joystick to replace the mouse.
Depending on the features they incorporate, keyboards come in different prices. Obviously, the more the features it has, the more expensive it is. Look for a keyboard that meets your requirements as well as your budget. Be smart and don’t spend on things you don’t really need.
Featured photo credit: Jay Zhang via unsplash.com