Buying guide: Keyboards and mice
Needless to say, if you are buying a computer, you will have to buy keyboard mouse input devices (unless and until of course, you are planning to buy a full touch screen computer). Furthermore, given that the mouse and the keyboard are among the most visible components of your computer, it is obvious that you might want to upgrade them every once in a while to retain the looks of your computer. The replacement cycle of a keyboard or a mouse is further shortened by the fact that these two peripheral devices are not that expensive, and do not cost a bomb (well, almost most of the times). As such it is very essential that before making a purchase, you ascertain your wants and needs, and then go about buying the product that meets your requirements and your needs. This is particularly necessary given that the market contains products catering to all segments of the market and hence has become over-technical and over-complex. Hence, care must be taken and this guide will help you in making a well-informed decision.
Keyboard and mouse: types
While the modern day keyboard and the modern day mouse perform the same basic functions as they did a decade or so ago, these have undergone many technological advancements and evolutions and changes, and are now much better. This has ensured that the competition is ever increasing and that the various manufacturers in the market constantly introduce newer and better technologies. In what follows, more prominent types of keyboards available in the market today are listed. Note that this segregation (into types of keyboard) is not at all definite, and is based on the main purpose for which these types of keyboards are made.
First, we look at the basic keyboard. There’s little that one can do wrong when buying these, but if possible, it is recommended that you buy a keyboard that has been designed for superior comfort when operating for long and extended periods of time. These usually sport sober, understated designs and are best suited for those who are looking for a no-frills keyboard. Second, we have the multimedia keyboards, which are basically basic keyboards with some (or many) multifunctional multimedia keys included, for example, volume controls; multiple programmable keys; windows start, shut down, sleep, etc., buttons; multiple programmable shortcut keys; etc. These offer an advantage over basic keyboards by giving you more computing options, and are also not that expensive as compared to their basic counterparts. In short, these offer good value for money. Third, we have gaming keyboards, which are probably the most sold among the niche keyboards. Gaming keyboards are designed to facilitate gamers playing skills and ease gaming, and almost always boats of such features as fast response keys (for improved response), backlit keys (for night gaming), multiple easy-to-access programmable keys (for customization of settings for faster gameplay), and additional function keys. In addition, a gaming keyboard usually looks the part of a part of a gamer’s keyboard. Fourth, we have wireless keyboards, which (as the nomenclature suggests) use radio signals to communicate to and fro from the computer. This means that you are no longer constrained by wires when it comes to keyboard placement options and keyboard operational limitations. The lack of wires also ensures that there is less wire clutter, which ensures that your computer looks clean. Being wireless, a wireless keyboard can be placed virtually anywhere, and thus offers you with more room to move around. Fifth, we have LCD keyboards, which are (at least, at present) a very niche market. These keyboards besides boasting of all the goodies that gaming and multimedia keyboards come with, are also equipped with a small LCD screen. This screen can be used to display essential information pertaining to a game or can be used to show core computing parameters such as CPU usage, CPU temperature, RAM usage, etc. Sixth and last, we have foldable keyboards, which as the name suggest, can be folded and rolled much like a sheet for easy storage and transportation. Furthermore, these are meant to last and can withstand plenty of abuse. Foldable keyboards are the best bet if you travel a lot and need a roomier alternative to your laptop keyboard. In addition, foldable keyboards come with a USB connector, and as such can be easily connected to virtually any computer in the world.
Now, we describe the more noteworthy types of computer mouse available in the market today. As compared to a keyboard, a mouse has limited “functions.” Consequently, the number of niche types of mouse is much lesser as compared to the number of niche keyboards. The following are some such niches. First, we have wireless mouse, which like the wireless keyboard, gives you freedom from wires, thus providing you with more space to move around and with more placement options as you are no longer constrained by wires when it comes to the mouse placement options. The lack of wires also ensures that there is less wire clutter, which ensures that your computer looks clean. Second, we have gaming mouse, which are specifically meant for gamers. These are some of the most advanced computer mouse in the world, and come with an array of features. A gaming mouse can feature up to seven (and at times, even more) easily accessible buttons that allow players to customize their moves so that all their important commands are a mere button away. Further, such a gaming mouse also has a very fast response time, and comes with weights, which can be inserted inside the mousse o make it as heavy as desired by the player.
Further, many manufactures (such as Dell, Microsoft, Logitech, etc.) have also launched keyboard and mouse combos, across all price ranges. In addition, wireless keyboard and mouse combos or cordless keyboard and mouse combos (including Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combos), plug-and-play USB keyboard and mouse combos, gaming keyboard and mouse combos, etc.
The following are the four factors that you should consider when planning to purchase a keyboard and/or a mouse:
- 1. Features: It is important that the keyboard and/or mouse that you buy has/have the necessary features that you are looking for, for example, the battery life of your wireless keyboard and/or mouse. Further, given that features are easy to compare, these can be an apt tool of comparison. The product features are particularly important when comparing two almost similar products.
- 2. Functionality: This is obviously one of the more important aspects of any keyboard or mouse. This aspect, however, is also very much dependent on your requirement. For example, if you are in the market for a gaming keyboard and a gaming mouse, factors such as the number of programmable buttons, the access to the buttons, the number of special function keys, layout and design of the device with regard to the ease of use, backlighting, etc., will play a major role. In a standard basic keyboard, however, the main issues would be cost and durability.
- 3. Aesthetics: Let’s face it: these days computers have to look good. We have come to expect our computers to be as good looking as the rest of our furniture, and peripherals such as the monitor, the keyboard, and the mouse play a major role in determining how good a computer looks. As such, it is advisable that you give some due consideration to how the keyboard or the mouse that you plan to buy look. Of course, if looks are secondary, then this factor can be neglected altogether. In addition, the products may not actually be as they appear/are shown online; hence, care must be taken before making an online purchase.
- 4. Ergonomics: Considering that we are spending an increasing amount of our time in from of our PCs, it is essential that we have the maximum comfort possible. And this is where input devices play a major role. Because you use these input devices almost all the time you are sitting on front of your computer, it is important that these are as comfortable as these can be. Fortunately, manufacturers have realized these and have produced keyboards and mouse that are specifically designed to ensure that there is no discomfort even after extended periods of use.
- There is a lot more to a keyboard than mere keys and buttons arranged in a pre-determined (QWERTY) fashion. Keyboards, these days, boast of many advanced features, and are also designed in ways to enhance comfort when operating for long periods of time. These days, one can even find foldable keyboards, wireless keyboards, gaming keyboards, and even LCD keyboards (that come with an LCD screen to display any selected information parameters, and are the perfect toy for any gadget freak). Nevertheless, while newer technologies are consistently being introduced into the market, the basics (more than) often remain the same.
- When in the market to buy a keyboard, more than anything else it is your requirement that matters the most. Based on your requirements, you would (or rather, should) be able to narrow your choices. In addition to this, the following are some of the definitive criteria that you need to consider before buying a keyboard: features, functionality, aesthetics, and ergonomics.
- As stated above with regard to keyboards, there is a lot more to a mouse than two clicking buttons and a scroll wheel. These days, one will find that the humble mouse has undergone many cycles of evolution, and is now an apt multimedia device. Any modern day mouse is likely to use a laser to ascertain the change in position; the old-school scroll-wheel mouse is virtually non-existent in the market. Furthermore, these are designed to be light, and long-lasting. Some of the different (types of mouse available in the market include wireless mouse, and gaming mouse (that come with multiple easy-to-access buttons that can also be programmed as desired by the user, and are also rather stunning to look at).
- Needless to say, the most important things to consider when purchasing a mouse are your requirements. Depending on these and of course your budget, you will be able to zero down to a few choices, which will then enable you to make a final decision. Along with this, the following are some of the definitive criteria that you need to consider before buying a mouse: features, functionality, aesthetics, and ergonomics.
As you can see, buying a keyboard and/or mouse is not exactly an easy task, especially given the variety of products in the market and the dynamic nature of the technologies involved. Needless to say, it is highly recommended that you give due thought before making a purchase.
Keyboards and Mice
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