7 Tips To Choosing The Perfect Computer Keyboard For You

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 (Chances are your old keyboard is outdated and is not available in the market anymore).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.

3. Compatibility

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.

4. Design

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.

7. Price

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.

Keyboards come with three main types of switches which is

Rubber dome switch Keyboards

Rubber dome switches are now the most common switch technology in keyboards. Rubber dome switches use small rubber coverings that are pushed down to complete a circuit. Their largest advantage is their considerably lower cost compared to mechanical switches.

Rubber dome switches are quiet and vary in feel. Some rubber domes are tactile, with a bump above the actuation point, while others can feel mushy. Rubber domes also must be completely depressed – known as “bottoming out” (think: suspension system) – to register a keypress. Rubber dome switches use a number of different keycap mounting methods, and for this reason, finding replacement keycaps is not really possible. Rubber domes are not considered to be a mechanical switch.Dome-switch keyboards are a hybrid offlat-panel membrane and mechanical-switch keyboards. They bring two circuit board traces together under a rubber or silicone keypad using either metal “dome” switches or polyurethane formed domes. The metal dome switches are formed pieces of stainless steel that, when compressed, give the user a crisp, positive tactile feedback. These metal types of dome switches are very common, are usually reliable to over 5 million cycles, and can be plated in either nickel, silver or gold. The rubber dome switches, most commonly referred to as polydomes, are formed polyurethane domes where the inside bubble is coated in graphite. While polydomes are typically cheaper than metal domes, they lack the crisp snap of the metal domes, and usually have a lower life specification. Polydomes are considered very quiet, but purists tend to find them “mushy” because the collapsing dome does not provide as much positive response as metal domes. For either metal or polydomes, when a key is pressed, it collapses the dome, which connects the two circuit traces and completes the connection to enter the character. The pattern on the PC board is often gold-plated.Both are common switch technologies used in mass market keyboards today. This type of switch technology happens to be most commonly used in handheld controllers, mobile phones, automotive, consumer electronics and medical devices. Dome-switch keyboards are also called direct-switch keyboards.

Scissor switch Keyboards

A special case of the computer keyboard dome-switch is the scissor-switch. The keys are attached to the keyboard via two plastic pieces that interlock in a “scissor”-like fashion, and snap to the keyboard and the key. It still uses rubber domes, but a special plastic ‘scissors’ mechanism links the keycap to a plunger that depresses the rubber dome with a much shorter travel than the typical rubber dome keyboard. Typically scissor-switch keyboards also employ 3-layer membranes as the electrical component of the switch. They also usually have a shorter total key travel distance. This type of keyswitch is often found on the built-in keyboards on laptops and keyboards marketed as ‘low-profile’. These keyboards are generally quiet and the keys require little force to press.

Scissor-switch keyboards are typically slightly more expensive. They are harder to clean but also less likely to get debris in them as the gaps between the keys are often smaller.

Mechanical-switch keyboard

Each key on a mechanical-switch keyboard contains a complete switch underneath. Each switch is composed of a housing, a spring, and a stem. Switches come in three variants: linear with consistent resistance, tactile with a non-audible bump and clicky, a tactile with an audible click. Depending on the resistance of the spring, the key requires different amounts of pressure to actuate. The shape of the stem varies the actuation distance and travel distance of the switch. The amount of sound produced by actuation can also be changed. Mechanical keyboards allow for the removal and replacement of keycaps.

Mechanical keyboards also have a longer lifespan than membrane or dome-switch keyboards, with an expected lifespan of 50 million clicks per switch for Cherry MX switches, while switches from Razer have a rated lifetime of 60 million clicks per switch.