Just like a new smartphone or car, new keyboard models can also garner “oohs” and “ahhs” from people. But novelty fades, and you may end up asking this question: What is the best one for me? Whether your keyboard is used for business or leisure, a great model will make a difference. When it’s time to shop for a new keyboard, the following can help you make the right purchase.
To keep carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury at bay, use an ergonomic keyboard. Such keyboards keep your hands in a neutral position while typing. Not only do these provide greater comfort, but they also reduce joint and tendon stress. This prevents inflammation and pricey surgical procedures. Ergonomic features range from simple padded wrist-rests to elaborate curved and sloped keyboards.
If your computer mouse can go wireless, your keyboard can too. Wireless ones are powered by batteries and normally connect to your computer via Bluetooth or a radio frequency, whereas wired models draw power and transmit typed input via a USB connection.
Your choice of keyboard will depend on what you’ll use the keyboard for. Gamers tend to prefer wired over wireless because they don’t have to deal with the lag and interference issues that the latter is prone to. On the other hand, people who like to switch locations or have to work remotely are likely to appreciate the portability of wireless keyboards. Some tablet users may find these to be more affordable or more pleasant to use than the keyboards specifically designed for their tablets.
However, even if your computer is at a fixed location, a wireless keyboard — together with a wireless mouse and wireless headset — is great for creating a clean and modern look. Most models can be connected to your PC via a 2.4-GHz wireless dongle that can also be used for cordless phones and Wi-Fi, providing connectivity to multiple devices at once. And if you have a large enough screen, you can lie on the couch and type from across the room.
The right type of key switches
This aspect of keyboard design is widely mentioned in reviews, yet many people overlook the importance of the type of switches used for individual keys. Although the intricate mechanisms that hide beneath the keys may not excite you, the difference you feel from each type will.
The three main types of key switches include silicone dome, scissor, and mechanical switches. Newer keyboards generally use silicone-dome switches, where two dimpled layers of silicone membrane form a grid of rubber bubbles that acts as the switch for each key. This requires you to press the key hard to type a letter, gradually diminishing its springiness and responsiveness over time.
The newer laptops and ultrabooks use scissor switches, which have a mechanical stabilizer for uniformity. Moreover, under each keycap is a plunger that allows for shorter key travel. This causes scissor switch keyboards to have a shallow typing feel, making them more durable than silicone dome switches.
What keyboard enthusiasts can’t get enough of are mechanical switch keyboards. Their advantages lie in the spring-loaded sliding keypost beneath each key. Several variations are available with slightly different sensations or sounds. Mechanical switches generally provide enhanced tactile feedback and have a clicking sound. Thanks to their sturdy switch mechanisms and durable springs, these keyboards last longer and can easily be repaired. Furthermore, each keystroke registers quickly, making them ideal for touch typists.
It won’t take long to examine your current keyboard and see how well it works. Do not settle for anything but the best. If you need help finding the right keyboard, email us or drop us a line. We’re more than happy to hear from you.