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8 Things to Consider When Buying a New Keyboard

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What to Think About When Purchasing a New Keyboard

If you use a computer a lot in either your job or your personal life, it is worth your time to really seek out a keyboard that is right for you rather than just buying the first one in your price range you see in a store or online.

The right keyboard can improve your efficiency, reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome or other RSIs, and perhaps even increase your enjoyment of typing. The wrong one can be a inconvenience, not fitting well on your desk, not being portable enough or leading to keystroke mistakes.

So let’s look at some of the variables you should factor into your keyboard buying decision.

1. Typing Feel

Most people who type a lot have a way they believe typing should “feel.” Do you like keys which you can clearly tell when they’ve been pressed? Do you prefer the efficiency of keys with a small “travel distance” (depth you have to press them) or do you feel more certainty with a less sensitive keyboard?

The feel of the keystrokes, along with often the profile of the keys, is generally determined by the switches underneath them.

With membrane keyboards there aren’t individual switches so much as a pressure pad that completes a circuit when pressed to identify each keystroke. These are generally inexpensive and usually have a short travel distance, but they also lack that distinctive typing feel, which for some can impact typing accuracy and speed.

Mechanical keyboards offer the most feedback to your fingers. It is one of the reasons they have both a reputation for accuracy and a host of devoted users. Also, while not all mechanical switches are noisy, if you want to here “click, clack” while typing, you are probably looking for a mechanical keyboard. If you want a quieter typing experience but with the feel of a mechanical keyboard, there are mechanical switches that can provide it.

In the middle are scissor-switch keyboards. They provide more responsiveness than the membrane keyboards but not as much feedback as the mechanical ones.

So the question here is two-fold. First, how do you like your typing to feel. Second, how important is that feel to you relative to other factors.

2. How Are You Using the Keyboard?

To put it another way, which keys do you need? If you don’t use the number pad on the right side of the keyboard at all, a mini “tenkeyless” keyboard might be the way to go.

Similarly, if you spend large amounts of time only using the number pad, pairing a mini keyboard and a separate number pad may allow you greater flexibility for data entry.

If you are in the middle, where you use the number pad but not enough to buy a separate standalone one, a standard larger keyboard might be the way to go, depending upon the other factors.

3. Where Are You Using Your Keyboard? Is Portability a Necessity?

There are two key components here. First is space.

If you are solely using the keyboard at your office desk or in the same setup at home, you know how much space you can accommodate for a keyboard. If it is a tight fit with your mouse and any other items that must occupy your workspace, a mini keyboard could be convenient. If it doesn’t matter, then the additional space taken up by a larger keyboard isn’t going to matter.

If you require a keyboard with portability, however, you might want to think mini keyboard. Some standard keyboards might not fit well in a laptop bag given that they are, well, significantly wider than many laptops. Also, if you don’t know what kind of setups you are going to be working at from day-to-day, the mini keyboard has less of a chance of causing space issues.

4. Wired or Wireless?

If you want the freedom to move your keyboard around while working or if you just hate the cluttered look of wires on your desk, you are probably going to want a wireless, bluetooth keyboard.

If, however, you are a gamer who is looking to avoid any lag, you probably want to stay wired as bluetooth keyboards tend to experience more lag time before a keystroke registers.

If you are unsure, or if you can see the usefulness of both in different situations, Penclic does offer a third option: a keyboard where you can switch between it being wired and bluetooth.

5. Programmability

With many keyboards, you can program certain quick keys into the keyboard.

If you want to set quick keys or macros that you can easily trigger, make sure that you look for a keyboard that is programmable. This added functionality can greatly increase your efficiency with certain programs or computing tasks.

6. Price

There are certain general rules when it comes to keyboard price. Mechanical keyboards tend to be more expensive than other options. Wireless keyboard are usually pricier than wireless ones. If you end up deciding that certain characteristics don’t matter to you, this could end up being the deciding factor.

7. Customizability

Do you want a keyboard that you can truly make your own? Want to replace the keycaps or even switches on certain keys to get the precise look and feel that you want from your computer?

If so, you are going to want a mechanical keyboard. While there are exceptions, customizing options are generally limited with its membrane or scissor switch brethren.

8. Durability

If you want a keyboard that is going to last a long time (or if you are particularly hard on your keyboards), you might want to consider a mechanical one. They tend to be the most durable and have the longest life span. If one key cracks or a switch breaks, it is also perhaps the easiest to fix because they generally can just be replaced.

Browse Penclic’s selection of Keyboards to Find One That Meets Your Needs

From mechanical to mini, wired to wireless, Penclic has a selection of keyboards to meet the needs of a variety of consumers. If you are in the market for a keyboard, check out our selection.

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