The first computer keyboard appeared more than 70 years ago and has since become an integral part of any PC or laptop. Some people click buttons up to 100,000 times a day, so it’s important to take your keyboard seriously. Many buyers make common mistakes, which we will discuss in more detail.
Buy a game room instead of an office one and vice versa
All the variety of keyboards can be roughly divided into two large categories – office and gaming. What are their differences? This is material for a whole separate article, but in general the difference is in functionality, the presence of additional keys, backlighting and programming capabilities. All these delights are usually unnecessary for office work.
However, the most noticeable difference is the price. A functional gaming keyboard typically costs 2-10 times the price of a regular office keyboard. If you are not an avid gamer and only type text on a computer, surf the net, then there is no point in overpaying for a model with numerous functions.
Buy the wrong type of keyboard
Key design is one of the most important parameters when choosing a keyboard. The smoothness of pressing, the sound level and tactile sensations will depend on this. A common mistake is buying a keyboard with a design that doesn’t suit your needs and individual ergonomics.
Membrane keyboards are one of the cheapest models. Their main advantage is the minimum noise level. Cons – false positives are possible during operation, as well as a relatively low resource from 1 to 5 million clicks. In the best models using high-quality membranes, this figure is increased to 10 million.
Membrane keyboards are suitable for ordinary users who do not print large volumes and are not aimed at gaming. Membrane keyboards will also come in handy for those who have small children at home who violently react to the noise of the keys.
Scissor keyboards have a special mechanism that prevents the keys from moving when pressed. Low key travel and low noise are great for typing large amounts of text and writing code. The resource is on average increased to 15 million clicks, but such models are also more expensive than membrane ones.
Mechanical keyboards are the most widespread. Firstly, customers can choose from different types of switches – some have a characteristic click, others are pressed more smoothly. Secondly, these models are the most reliable (up to 50 million clicks) and are suitable for both printing and gaming. However, if noise annoys you, then you should look specifically for models with quiet tactile feedback.
Choosing the wrong type most often leads to inconvenience during typing, when keys will not work or make annoying sounds.
Don’t check the button layout
Each manufacturer tries to distinguish its products from competitors. One way is to add or move keys. Such solutions are not always successful.
For example, in some models, the Escape button is not located in the upper-left corner, which will create continuous inconvenience at first.
Another nuance is the location of the Fn button in place of Ctrl. This is tricky, especially if you frequently use shortcuts like Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, and Ctrl + Z.
Pay attention to the size of important buttons. For example, Enter and Shift in compact models may be too small.
Overpay for a keyboard with extra keys
Most classic keyboards have 104 keys – standard alphabetic, function, control keys, arrows, and a numeric keypad. This is enough for typical tasks. However, many manufacturers began to modify the standard circuitry by adding dedicated and programmable keys. A logical question – in what cases does it make sense to overpay for such models?
You often listen to music or watch videos – the built-in multimedia keys come in handy. Especially true for wireless keyboards – you can switch tracks or videos right from the couch.
You work in specialized software using a large number of “hot keys”. This includes photo and video editors, programming environments, terminal consoles. Combinations that are useful for work are most conveniently placed on separate keys.
You are a gamer who needs to assign specific actions or combinations to keys. Relevant for strategies, shooters and MMORPGs.
You need a wireless keyboard that will connect to your laptop and other gadgets. In this case, a model with separate buttons for turning on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and brightness control will be useful.
If none of the points concerns you, then standard models without separate function keys are enough for you.
Buy a keyboard without software and macros if you need increased functionality
Sometimes even dedicated keys are not enough for the above scenarios. The situation is easy to fix even with a standard keyboard, but only if the developers provide the appropriate software. Advanced models have their own memory, so users can not only reassign keys, but also program their own combinations – macros. Additionally, such keyboards allow you to configure several profiles – for playing, for work, for surfing the net, and so on.
In more detail about what and how you can do, we told in this material . With proprietary software, creating macros and other useful functions will be much easier and more convenient. If you need such a keyboard, be sure to check with the seller for the availability of memory and with which specific software the selected model works.
Buy a keyboard without a number pad if you often have to work with numbers
In stores you can find shortened models of keyboards that do not have a numeric keypad. They look stylish, do not take up much space and are in great demand among gamers.
If you often work with numbers, then buying a model without a digital block is a big mistake.
As the experience of many users shows, entering numeric data is much faster using a separate block on the right side. You can buy such a unit separately, but this is an additional waste and one more busy USB port.
Buy a keyboard with an inconvenient connection method
Like computer mice, keyboards can be connected in one of two ways – wired or wireless . The latter most often use Bluetooth technology. And this is where many buyers make a number of mistakes.
Firstly, not every wireless keyboard model comes with a Bluetooth adapter. Considering that most PC motherboards do not have Bluetooth built in, you will have to purchase an adapter separately.
Secondly, wireless models usually have rechargeable batteries, the autonomy of which varies from 30 to 1200 hours, depending on the intensity of use. Hence, you will need to charge your keyboard periodically. On some gadgets, there is no indication of the state of charge, so the batteries can be discharged at the most inopportune moment.
Wireless models are relevant for those who like to play or work in an armchair, on a sofa in front of a large monitor, TV or projector. Then the lack of wires will be relevant. Also, these models are suitable for small tables that do not have an exit platform. If you intend to sit at a classic computer desk or you are focused on gaming, then wired models are also fine. They have minimal latency.
Buy without built-in ports if you often have to connect flash drives
You can find keyboards with additional USB ports on sale. Users can insert various drives into them. Convenience is obvious if the system unit is somewhere underfoot or the USB ports are inconveniently located on the case. In this case, you can insert the USB flash drive directly into the keyboard in just a couple of seconds.
The same applies to the microphone and headphone jacks – sometimes it is much easier to connect a headset to the keyboard than to bend over and look for the desired port on the system unit.Buy a keyboard without specifying the number of simultaneously pressed keys
This is one of the most important parameters, especially for active gamers. Online stores do not always indicate the number of keys that can be pressed simultaneously. We recommend that you find out this parameter personally from a consultant or in the technical documentation of the product.
Typically, the number is denoted by #KRO. For example, 4KRO says that you can press up to four keys simultaneously without conflict. For gaming keyboards, the desired minimum is 6KRO, and ideally NKRO (unlimited). You can check your keyboard on this website.
For example, for the selected office keyboard, no more than 4 simultaneous keystrokes of the main block of keys are allowed. However, parallel operation of separate blocks is possible, for example, letters and Shift, letters and a numeric block.
Buy without the possibility of replacing keycaps if you want to customize the keyboard
Do you have a system unit shimmering in all colors on your desk, and when buying peripherals do you pay great attention to appearance? Then do not forget to check the ability to change keycaps in your keyboard. This is the easiest and most original way to customize your keyboard.
In game models, several replaceable keycaps are already included in the kit. You can always buy a set by highlighting individual keys.Before buying keycaps, make sure that they are compatible with your keyboard, including the profile.