When you sit on your PC, where do your hands go? They go directly to the keyboard, and will probably stay there until you get up to get away. With so much time spent dealing directly with letters and keys, why would you settle for the generic keyboard that comes with your PC? With this tutorial we teach you everything you need to know before buying a keyboard.
How to choose a keyboard?
A good keyboard can determine the difference between frustration and efficiency, between defeat and victory in online games, and has a serious impact on the health of your joints. For these reasons, and more, it is worth knowing certain things before buying a keyboard.
Today’s keyboards have a lot to offer: greater comfort, improved ergonomics, special and programmable keys and buttons to launch and control applications, wireless connectivity and much more.
First, decide for which tasks you will use the keyboard. Of course, it can be a combination of several or all, so you should prioritize the features that are most important to you.
Wireless or wired keyboard
The easiest way to connect a keyboard to the PC is through a wired USB connection. Keyboards are usually plug-and-play devices, with no need to install any additional software (with the exception of some keyboards for games), which means that plugging in the keyboard is all you need to do in configuring macros.
Unlike wireless keyboards, a wired device will draw its power from the USB, so there is no need to worry about batteries. Cable connections are also preferred for the use of games, since cable connections are free from the delay and interference problems that wireless alternatives tend to.
However, if you want more freedom and less clutter of cables on your desk, it’s hard to beat a wireless keyboard. Instead of a wired connection, wireless keyboards transmit data to the PC through one of two main means: an RF connection to a USB receiver or via Bluetooth.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages , but if you want to reduce the number of cables on your desk and gain the flexibility to use the keyboard remotely, either in your lap or anywhere, the way to do it is without wires.
Most wireless keypads and Bluetooth gaming mouse for PC are connected to the PC through the same 2.4 GHz wireless frequencies used for cordless phones and Wi-Fi internet. A small USB device of small size, small enough to plug in and forget about it, is the one that provides the link to your PC.
Companies use proprietary connections like these because they allow for optimal battery life. These USB dongles also provide connectivity to more than one device, which means that you can use the adapter for your wireless keyboard, as well as one or more PC mice, assuming they are all from the same brand.
The Bluetooth options are gaining popularity lately, largely because they do not monopolize a USB port, offer compatibility with other devices such as tablets and smartphones, and because stable Bluetooth connection and easy to administer are ideal for use with most mobile devices, as tablets.
In regular use, a Bluetooth connection gives you approximately 10 meters of wireless range, but it may not match the battery life offered by devices with a USB dongle device.
New innovations, such as proximity sensors connected to power and connection managers, improve battery life compared to older Bluetooth devices, which kept a link always on and quickly discharged the battery.
Keyboard switches (switches)
One aspect of keyboard design that you will see mentioned in reviews is the type of switches used for the individual keys.
You may not worry about the specific mechanisms that reside under the keys, but you will undoubtedly feel the difference. Make sure to check your keystrokes when you’re buying a computer keyboard. You will not want to end up with a keyboard that feels like a typewriter.
Check how the keys feel. There are keyboards that have a sensitive touch, soft and similar to a pen and there are others that require some extra pressure to write.
The mechanism that makes the keys respond to touch is the “switch”. Rubber switches, scissor switches and mechanical switches are the main types of switches used by most manufacturers. The switches make all the difference in sensitivity, noise level and comfort. Learn about them and choose the right one.
Design and characteristics
Not all keyboards are the same. In fact, not all keyboards are placed in the same way as standard QWERTY keys.
Approximately half of the available keyboards offer a 10-key number pad, such as the Das Keyboard Model S Professional, making it an ideal tool for anyone who needs to count numbers or enter data into a spreadsheet.
Smaller distinctions include the placement of arrow keys, and functions such as Page Up and Down, Home and End. Several newer models also feature keys dedicated to Windows 8 functions, such as the bar charms. In addition, most current keyboards have basic multimedia functions, such as playback controls and volume increase and decrease.
Keyboards for gamers
Players are a strange breed of users, and generally require or want keyboard features that are wasted on other users. Things like integrated LCD screens, programmable keys, backlighting and changeable number keys can offer PC players greater benefits and improve gaming experiences.
If you are a player, look for keyboards that are specially labeled as “gaming keyboards”. Surely you will have to pay a higher price for its features, but most serious players will tell you that it is worth the cost.
Although all keyboards offer the keys to write, sometimes typing is not the main concern. Keyboards for games are designed for competitive use, equipped for maximum specialization and control, optimized for specific game styles, and built to exacting standards of responsiveness and durability.
They also attract the aesthetics of the players, with designs that impress and intimidate with pulsing backlight, dramatic color combinations and brutal functionality .
Keyboards for games almost exclusively use high-level mechanical switches and offer numerous customizable functions, such as programmable macro keys and specific details of functions, such as textured WASD keys or interchangeable keys.
There are others with customizable backlighting that allow you to adjust the color and intensity to find certain keys faster and customize the appearance of the keyboard. The anti-ghosting function is an essential feature that allows you to record several keystrokes simultaneously, something that standard keyboards face with limitations. Other extras include USB ports or audio connections on the keyboard, which simplifies the process of connecting peripherals to a desktop PC that cannot be easily accessed.
Finally, game keyboards are usually equipped with software and additional keys for macro commands, which allows complex sequences of commands to be organized and activated at the touch of a button.
The number of macro-commands that you can save and the ease with which they can be created will vary from one model to another, but it is a valuable tool. This is not the kind of function you will use every day, but for players who invest time and money in games, gaming keyboards offer a competitive advantage.
Ergonomics of the keyboard
Whether you enter data or write many documents, you spend hours and hours hunched over the keyboard. Do yourself a favor, and your dolls, and invest in an ergonomic keyboard.
The ergonomics is not a science one size fits all, and there are some ergonomic keyboards that claim to be but are not. If you can, try the ergonomic keyboard of a friend before buying it. Although there will probably be an initial learning curve, you should be able to quickly tell if it is something that you find comfortable.
If it is not an option, look for features such as curved keys and raised wrist rests. Some keyboards are even separated so you can customize the distance between the left and right keys.
To avoid carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries, many keyboards are available with designs that place your hands in a neutral position as you type.
The result is not only a greater comfort, but also a reduction of stress in the joints and tendons, helping to avoid painful inflammations and costly surgeries.
Keyboard sellers often try to differentiate their products using designs or unique appearances. Some offer different colors, other finishes in style, metallic or bright plastic.
At a practical design level, keyboards also differ in their ergonomics: more ergonomic designs offer greater comfort and safety during long-term use.
For example, some manufacturers manufacture thinner keyboards that do not require the wrists to bend upward abnormally. Although most keyboards include legs or elevators to raise the back of the keyboard, in most cases a downward-sloping keyboard does not improve ergonomics.
As long as the surface of the chair and keyboard are at the correct heights, the surface of the keys on a keyboard should be approximately parallel to the floor. Similarly, portable style keys generally require less effort to press them, which reduces fatigue.
Keyboards for traveling users
For whatever reason you have, you like to carry a keyboard in your carry-on luggage when you travel. Some people get so used to their keyboards that they cannot stand working in an office without them. Do not be scared, keyboards are also manufactured with limited numbers of keys.
Normally they are usually said to be lightweight, and sometimes even collapsible, these portable keyboards often renounce the right numeric keypad to save space. You probably will not find many multimedia keys on them, although some come with F keys that can be customized or with integrated touchpads. However, just because it is small, do not expect it to be necessarily cheaper. Many of these portables will cost you more than standard wired keyboards.
In the case of the flexible rubber keyboard they are cheap, but the sensations when writing are quite bad (it is a matter of trying). There are also some keyboards that are designed for portable use, fitting into the thinnest laptop bags and weighing a few grams. The portable keyboards are also ideal to use in your lap with a Mac connected to a home entertainment system. However, to achieve this portability, many portable keyboards lack a numeric keypad, accommodate smaller keys than normal or use non-standard designs.
The keys are the most basic component of any keyboard, but they differ widely between the models. Desktop keyboards have traditionally used rubber dome type keyboard switches; these keyboards are thicker and require more travel (the distance at which the key must move to register as a key), and sometimes more force when pressed than the keys of the laptop. Although if you are a lover of changing the keycaps, we recommend the PBT, which are of the highest quality.
Laptop keyboards tend to use scissor-type key switches, which offer a lower profile and require less travel. However, in the last five years, more or less, many desktop keyboards have adopted laptop-style key mechanisms, largely due to the growing popularity of these types of keys.
Manufacturers often add unique features to increase the functionality of a keyboard. The most common features are special keys to control media playback or quickly launch common programs; some keyboards even include dedicated programmable keys that can execute complex macros or other actions.
Most keyboards with such keys require you to install special software drivers for full functionality. Other keyboards include touch pads, iPod docks, and speakers, to name a few other unusual additions.
Conclusion about how to choose a keyboard correctly
When choosing the ideal keyboard, it is important to consider how different switches can help or hinder your overall usage experience. You should also keep in mind what types of games you like to play and in what ways each type of change could benefit you from them.
Each user must choose the keyboard that best suits their own preferences and needs, but there are some characteristics and terms that you must understand to make the right purchase decision. For that is this guide with our tips.