Today we would like to talk about a fairly trivial device, which is on the desktop of every user — a keyboard. The right choice of this tool can make your work at the computer much more convenient.
A moment of history
Keyboards have been around for over 150 years. It all started with a typewriter, which entered human life in the mid XIX century. First 20 years keys were located in alphabetical order, after that the habitual QWERTY layout was and still is the most convenient variant.
The first computers did not yet have screens, but the keyboard (of course, not in its usual form) was already present.
By the 1980s, when computers became available not only for large companies, but even for home use, the keyboard began to take on a familiar look. Additional keys appeared, including Control, Alt. If your keyboard has a block of numbers on the right side (activated by Num Lock), you may notice that there are arrows on the keys 2, 4, 6 and 8. They also appeared there in the 80's and were responsible for moving the cursor across the screen.
Later, keys were added for this function, which are located between the numeric and alphabetic part of the keyboard, but the arrows on the numbers remain to this day. Gradually, the keyboard «expanded» with keys that implemented new functions.
What’s important in a keyboard today
What do you rely on when choosing a keyboard? Listed below are important factors to consider. Choose at least three that are important to you. And next time you buy a keyboard or notebook, try to consider your own wishes :)
There will be many other factors below, but who are we kidding? Most people go to the store expecting to spend a certain amount of money. As with other devices, the price range is huge. But a spilled coffee on your keyboard won't care how much you bought it for:) So users who are often uncomfortable, we advise not to choose too expensive options or pay attention to special waterproof models.
There are office, gaming, ergonomic and multimedia keyboards. The first ones, most often without additional keys, are as simple as possible. Ergonomic keyboards are distinguished by atypical arrangement of keys and shape, supports under the wrists. The other two variants have additional keys and even screens (!) for games, music and video playback.
Case size and design
Some users like thin and light keyboards, others like massive keyboards with big keys and a stand to raise the surface above the table. These days, flexible rubber keyboards that can be rolled up are not uncommon.
Fans of science fiction were especially pleased with the projection keyboards for easy typing from mobile devices.
Perhaps the most important factor that affects the longevity and usability of the keyboard.
The highest quality design of the keyboard is considered to be mechanical. Each key has an independent mechanism with contacts, spring and switch. They are distinguished by smooth operation, absence of the need for full pressure and ease of use. Mechanical keyboards are more expensive and last much longer than other types.
More affordable, but the shortest-lived option — membrane keyboards. They look like a thin flexible surface, on which the location of the keys is marked. The main advantage of this design is protection against moisture and dirt. They are also flexible and have an atypical feel when pressing, so not all users are comfortable using membrane keyboards.
The most common type of keyboard is a scissor keyboard. It is most widely used in laptops. This type got its name because of the way the keys are attached. The mechanism that ensures pressing is made in the form of two plastic parts connected by the principle of scissors. This type of keys can be recognized by the small height of the keys, the exact reaction both when pressing in the center, as well as in the corner of the key.
Quite a small percentage of users choose a wireless keyboard. It is not as necessary as a wireless mouse, for example. A wired connection is ALWAYS faster and more stable than a Wi-Fi Bluetooth connection, so we recommend the wired models. Technically, there are two types of keyboard connection: USB and PS/2. The former has already completely superseded the latter, but if you look hard enough, you can find its predecessor.
Typing sound and key tactility
Many of those who work at home, so as not to disturb the rest of the household, prefer keyboards with a quiet and «soft» feedback, which due to the cushioning produce a minimum sound when using. Therefore, to hear from this type of models of sound and pronounced knocking scissor or mechanical keys, as some users like, it is not possible.
- Additional keys to control video/music playback, for games and keys to turn on/off/sleep. Usually all the commands that these keys perform are implemented by the hotkeys. So the choice is up to you, a keyboard with a mass of extra keys becomes less convenient and more cumbersome.
- Keyboard backlighting. This feature is really useful and necessary, especially for those who do not own blind typing. And if you don't have to look at the keyboard while typing, the backlighting is just a decorative element.
- Indication screen for games. Useful in case you want to take your eyes off the main screen instead of calling up the desired indicators with the hotkeys :)
You can also base your choice on the manufacturer's brand.
Before buying a new keyboard, ask yourself three main questions: «What do I want to get out of it?», «How much do I want to spend on it?» and «How long should it last me?»
If you don't care how thick your keyboard is or if it has volume control keys, but you want it to last a long time and be able to type 24/7, go with a mechanical keyboard. It will cost more, but it will not disappoint. If appearance is the most important thing, choose the unusual membrane models, but be prepared for the fact that soon you will have to buy a new one.