With the advent of computers, we have become more and more dependent on personal computers and other devices to accomplish our professional and personal tasks throughout the day.
Among the many hardware accessories we use on a daily basis to make our use of computers more comfortable (and enjoyable) are keyboards. Often, many of us overlook the significance of keyboards and their impact on how efficient and comfortable we are throughout the day.
Many people have little clue how to buy a keyboard and what to look for when shopping for one. Keyboards, just like mice and ergonomic chairs, are peripherals that should not only be chosen based on quality, but also on the needs of the individual looking to purchase one.
To help out any person who is on the search for a professional-oriented keyboard that fits their needs, we have prepared this article that will introduce five features of keyboards individuals who work long hours should pay attention to when trying to pick the best computer keyboard.
Why is a keyboard so important?
Keyboards are one of the main input devices in every computer system. Our computers and all of the work we do on them truly depend on the strength and quality of our keyboards. But like any other hardware device, keyboards are different from one another, and each model comes with distinct features and capabilities.
If you are a professional and want to purchase the best computer keyboard to fulfill your needs, there are some essential factors for you to consider before finalizing your purchase. To determine how to buy a keyboard, it is imperative that you pay the most attention to the features of keyboards to find out what works best for you.
Multi-connectivity – Can you easily switch between devices?
Have you ever tried switching your keyboard between your home PC and work office computer and then got stuck struggling with connectivity issues between these two? To avoid these types of unnecessary hassles, make sure you purchase a keyboard and mouse capable of multi-device connectivity. Keyboards and mice with multi-device connectivity capabilities are exceptionally designed for providing an easy ability to switch between various devices via either Bluetooth or USB connection.
If you are wondering how to buy a keyboard with multi-connectivity, look no further than Logitech. Logitech has been one of the leading corporations in perfecting this keyboard feature, especially with their latest Logitech Flow technology.
The K780 multi-device Logitech keyboard, for instance, is one of the best keyboards for professionals who wish to work with a keyboard that possesses multi-connectivity. The K780 wireless keyboard, one of the best wireless keyboards Logitech offers, can connect to a PC, smartphone, and tablet all at once, and the cradle at its top allows you to comfortably place two small devices right in front of you so you can easily work with three devices in a small space.
For those who like to benefit more from multi-connectivity and have an almost completely seamless experience, consider a keyboard that offers Logitech Flow. As we have covered in one of our previous articles, this feature allows you to connect your mouse and keyboard to multiple computers at the same time and switch between them in just a few seconds. All you need is a compatible set of Logitech keyboards and mice that support Logitech Flow.
Connectivity – Are you better off with a wired keyboard or a wireless one?
In recent years, many of the best wireless keyboards and mice for computers introduced to the market feature Bluetooth or USB-RF (RF stands for radio frequency) connections, making the use of these peripherals much simpler.
However, keyboard manufacturers have continued to produce keyboards with wired connections because these models also have their advantages. In fact, many of the best wired keyboards are among the most popular gaming keyboards and the best computer keyboards.
Firstly, wired keyboards offer an advantage over wireless keyboards because you never have to worry about your device’s battery life. The batteries in wireless keyboards are either rechargeable or non-rechargeable. While rechargeable batteries might be more cost-saving, they require you to constantly remember to charge your keyboard, and you run the risk of losing battery while in the midst of finishing an important task.
Second, even the best wired keyboards are often less expensive when compared to wireless keyboards that are of the same level of quality. You can always find wired keyboards to be more affordable.
Thirdly, wired keyboards have proven to contain better latency, in most cases, without facing any unnecessary lag. Even some of the best wireless keyboards may face interference from time to time, whereas wired keyboards do not have such limitations. However, it is also worth mentioning that most modern wireless keyboards have no noticeable lags and are almost on par with wired keyboards.
Nevertheless, wireless keyboards come with their own set of advantages.
First, they free you from struggling with those endless wires around and behind your desktop computers and laptops. Second, you will be allowed to sit at a distance from your system since you do not have to worry about a wire limiting your movement. Third, you can free up your USB ports, especially if your wireless mouse and keyboard connect via Bluetooth. And last, but definitely not least, wireless keyboards are more portable and easier to carry around to different places.
Bluetooth vs. USB-RF – Which type of wireless keyboard is better?
Wireless keyboards also fit into two main categories based on how they connect to your device: Bluetooth and USB-RF connection. Even though they both deliver similar results, there are still some differences between a Bluetooth keyboard and a USB-RF keyboard.
Unlike Bluetooth keyboards, a USB-RF requires a USB port similar to wired keyboards. Therefore, there is no advantage of “saving USB ports” when it comes to a USB-RF connection. Also, not every device has a USB-A port (such as tablets) required for USB-RF connection. Therefore, since Bluetooth keyboards can offer a hassle-free connection to a broader range of devices, they tend to be a more compatible option.
When it comes to ease of installation, USB-RF keyboards definitely have the advantage. All you need to do is plug the USB dongle into your system, and the driver is automatically recognized and installed. Keyboards with Bluetooth connections, on the other hand, require a longer process for pairing with more steps. And the worst thing is that you need to repeat all of these processes whenever you connect your keyboard to a new device.
Regarding latency and lag, based on recent analysis, it seems that keyboards with USB-RF connections have a slight edge over Bluetooth keyboards. Bluetooth keyboards’ latency can come as low as 1.3 milliseconds, whereas the latency of USB-RF keyboards is a flat 1.0 milliseconds. Furthermore, Bluetooth keyboards usually consume more power than USB-RF keyboards, and some of the budget models might also have pairing problems.
As for the price tag, USB-RF keyboards are often much more affordable compared to Bluetooth keyboards. Bluetooth is a proprietary technology belonging to the Special Interest Group (SIG), whereas RF is in the public domain. So any manufacturer that wants to use Bluetooth technology, needs to pay royalties to SIG, which is why keyboards with RF connections tend to be much less expensive.
Nevertheless, many of the best computer keyboards nowadays support both Bluetooth and USB-RF connection. If you would like to benefit from the advantages of both types of connection, you should probably consider the K375s Logitech keyboard, one of the best wireless keyboard options Logitech offers, and M720 Triathalon Logitech mouse, which are capable of both Bluetooth and USB-RF connections.
Quality and comfort – Are the keys comfortable enough? Does it come with a palm rest?
Perhaps it is safe to say that the most important factor to consider before purchasing a keyboard is its comfortability. It is vital for professional users, who might spend many hours of their daily time behind a computer, to choose a keyboard equipped with soft keys and proper palm rest. Soft keys can help you avoid getting your fingers tired or hurting after hours of typing, and a palm rest ensures that you feel comfortable the entire time you are working.
Even if you do not use your computer professionally, we still suggest you purchase a keyboard that feels comfortable to use because it can make the time you spend with your computer more convenient. External keyboards can also help you avoid unnecessary annoyance caused by struggling with clunky keys of old keyboards or flat laptop keyboards (which contribute to wrist pain) and therefore, increase your work efficiency significantly.
Size – How large is the keyboard and what does its layout look like?
The last factor that we recommend considering is the keyboard’s layout. The layout of a keyboard tends to determine its physical size, depending on how many keys the layout contains. Naturally, the more keys there are on a keyboard, the bigger its size will be.
Keyboard sizes are often referred to with percentages that symbolize the number of keys a keyboard contains. A keyboard with all of the standard buttons is referred to as a full-size (100%) keyboard. Many of the best computer keyboards, such as the Logitech Craft, are full-sized keyboards.
There are also tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards that are almost like full-size keyboards but lack the number pad. Then there are 75% keyboards, which contain as many keys as TKL keyboards but are packed very tightly together. After that, there is the 60% layout, which is also called a “compact” layout, that does not contain the number pad, arrow keys, and function row.
These are the most standard types of keyboard layouts, but there are many more variations of keyboards with different numbers of keys and various sizes in the market. Some of them might remove arrow sections, some might lack the function row, and some may come without the number pad section.
Generally, smaller keyboards are easier to carry, whereas larger keyboard layouts provide more keys and functions to their users. This is why it is important to pay attention to layout. Make sure that the keyboard you are considering buying has all of the keys that are necessary for your work and would fulfill all of your needs.
Keyboards, alongside mice, are the main inputs in our computer systems, and we spend a significant amount of time using them. So to make our work time as effective and efficient as possible, feel comfortable enough, and also prevent any harm or damage to our hands and fingers, it is very important to choose a keyboard that best fits our needs. When determining how to buy a keyboard that is suitable for your needs, make sure to consider the 5 features of keyboards mentioned above because they will help you make the wisest choice.
Interested in learning more?
If you are interested in finding out more about the professional keyboard and mouse options we offer, be sure to check out Newcom’s products page. Newcom offers a wide range of the best wireless keyboards and the best wired keyboards for gaming, work, and other purposes. You can also always get in touch with us if you would like additional help from our team members.