Many workers spend a fair amount of time behind a computer each day. As such, keyboards are ubiquitous and are important tools when working, and can often be bought as bulk industrial components. In this guide, we take a look at the types of keyboards there are, and what to consider when picking a suitable one for your needs.
An overview of keyboards
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A keyboard is a set of typewriter-like keys that allows users to enter data into a computer or other devices. Computer keyboards are generally similar to electric typewriters, but they contain a few extra keys. The standard layout of numbers, letters and punctuations is known as QWERTY, but other standards also exist.
Types of keyboards
Computer keyboards can usually be grouped into two main categories – basic or extended keyboards. Within these two categories, there are many different types of keyboards that offer different features. Different keyboard technologies also allow for varying user experiences, such as how hard a key must be pressed to convey a message or type a character.
These keyboards are the main standard – if you have seen a keyboard, chances are that it is in the QWERTY format. The QWERTY keyboard is the most common, and the layout is comfortable, familiar and time-tested for everyday typing needs.
Wired keyboards have a USB connector that connects to a USB port on your desktop or laptop. These devices tend to have a lower latency than their wireless counterparts. User should consider this keyboard if they are alright with living without one of the USB ports long-term and want to draw from their computer’s own power source rather than batteries that will eventually need to be replaced and disposed of.
Ergonomic keyboards refer to any type of keyboard that is designed to reduce the strain on the body from typing. These types of keyboards are often laid out so that users can rest their hands in a more comfortable, natural position as they type. This can be a great choice for users who are concerned about their posture, hand, arm or shoulder pain, or the possibility of developing typing-related medical conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, though these keyboards may be slightly on the more expensive side.
Unlike wired keyboards, wireless keyboards rely on radio frequency antenna, Bluetooth or infrared to keep connected. They offer flexibility to move about while working on the computer without the clutter of excess wires. Because they are wire-free, these keyboards can be a great option to take on the go because there are no cords that will tangle in travel bags. That said, they can be pricier than their wired counterparts.
These keyboards have an ambient glow that makes it easier to type in the dark or in low-light conditions and can also look aesthetically pleasing. They can also be a great option for those with vision issues and eye strain as they make it easier to see all of the keys on the keyboard.
Membrane keyboards are designed without space between the individual keys. The keys are pressure-sensitive, with different characters outlined on a flat surface. They are quite affordable as the materials used to make them tend to be inexpensive. They are also quieter, which makes them a great choice for people working in a crowded office.
These keyboards offer the same features as standard QWERTY keyboards, but they are designed for maximum portability. They are often made of silicon, so they can be rolled up and taken anywhere. The silicon material also means they are easy to clean and resistant to dust and water. This is great for workers who need to travel around and be on the go often.
Designed to be like old-fashioned typewriters, mechanical keyboards tend to have a longer lifespan and precise response, due to their more robust construction. They are also popular amongst high-volume typists because they require less travel to register a key press. This leads to a very fast and accurate typing experience.
How to choose the best keyboard
Before buying a keyboard, users should consider the type of work they will usually be doing. For instance, if you are typing for long periods of time, consider getting an ergonomic keyboard that gives a comfortable typing experience. If you travel often, consider getting a flexible keyboard.All in all, your work dictates the type of keyboard you should choose.
While wired keyboards can connect to most computers using USB ports, wireless keyboards that connect to the system via Bluetooth are trickier to set up. Most keyboards need some software installed to use the function keys as well. So, users need to make sure that their keyboard is compatible with their computer system before buying one.
The design and architecture of the keyboard make a huge difference in the computing experience. For instance, economic keyboards are designed to reduce strain and offer maximal comfort. Workers who are often typing may consider getting one of these keyboards to mitigate any future health issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Depending on the features of the keyboard, they come with different prices. The more features it has, the more expensive it is. Make sure the keyboard chosen fits within budget and meets the business’s requirements as well.
Extra function keys
To speed up tasks, some keyboards may have extra function keys for controlling volume, launching apps, controlling music, and more. They also incorporate power management keys and keyboard shortcuts. This can make working a lot more efficient and productive.
Overall, keyboards have many different variations and features for buyers to choose from. As such, it is important you pick one that suits your requirements. Consider the different types of keyboards and how each improves your user experience. Furthermore, if you are stuck, always be sure to read reviews and customer testimonials that can better help you understand your options on any given model.