Today, keyboards continue to remain an essential component to using computers. They allow you to type, program, play video games or carry out various graphic design tasks. While laptops come with integrated keyboards, they are an added feature for desktop computers – just like the other most important tool, the mouse.
Quite a few years have passed since the noisy and old mechanical keyboards were the norm. These devices are now lighter and quieter than ever before. However, several other changes have occurred over time: they are more comfortable and ergonomic, with more diverse and elegant designs.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best keyboards on the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about keyboards
- 3.1 What is a keyboard exactly?
- 3.2 What types of keyboards are available out there?
- 3.3 What are keyboards used for?
- 3.4 How do I use my keyboard?
- 3.5 Wireless or wired keyboard?
- 3.6 How do I connect my wireless keyboard?
- 3.7 For whom are keyboards tailored?
- 3.8 What keyboard layouts are available out there?
- 3.9 What care does a keyboard require?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- There are two types of keyboards: mechanical and membrane keyboards.
- Today, there are many different keyboard sizes and designs available. Some models, such as gaming keyboards, are developed for a specific purpose.
- Today, consoles and smart TVs are also compatible with keyboards.
Ranking: The best keyboards on the market
Let’s have a look at our ranking where we share with you our selection of the five best keyboards available on the Canadian market. With so many diverse options and possibilities, we have sought to offer you great value for your money. From here, all you have to do is choose the one that best suits your needs.
No. 1: Redragon, Wired Mechanical (gaming keyboard)
Redragon’s K552 mechanical keyboard is a favourite when it comes to gaming keyboards. Suitable both for Mac and PCs alike, this compact keyboard with a numeric keypad presents custom switches for an optimal gaming experience. Its ergonomic design with adjustable LED lighting has satisfied hundreds of customers already. Its high-speed USB cable means the latency in response is next to nothing.
Redragon’s gaming keyboard is spill-resistant, which means you can play all night long or work all day with your favourite drink by your side without worrying about unforeseen accidents. The quality-price relationship has been a key factor in making this product an Amazon best seller. Moreover, it’s compact design is also appreciated among users, since you’ll be able to set this keyboard on any desk, big or small.
No. 2: Logitech, Wireless Membrane Combo (keyboard and mouse)
Logitech is arguably the biggest name in the keyboard-and-mouse industries, and the MK270 wireless keyboard (and mouse) is the perfect illustration of the brand’s quality products. A unique receiver plugged in a USB port ensures a superior quality wireless connection between the devices and your computer. The compact mouse is a nice addition to this quality keyboard.
Its full size and eight shortcut keys make it a solid work tool for those spending hours a day typing away. Its plug-and-play simplicity has been praised by users of both Mac and PC hardware. While it isn’t sold as an ergonomic keyboards, many buyers have reported great comfort in using it over time.
No. 3: Havit, Wired Membrane Gaming Combo (keyboard and mouse)
This backlit gaming keyboard made by Chinese company Havit is simply Amazon’s best seller in PC gaming keyboards. It boasts an incredible 19 anti-ghosting keys, so you can play even the most complex video games with no interference. This keyboard is suitable for use with both Mac or PC computers. Moreover, it comes with an 18-months seller warranty for peace of mind at the time of purchase.
The keyboard and matching gaming mouse both have LED decorative lighting for those who like to play in style. No software is needed to set up the keyboard and the mouse. Note that users have also reported that the mouse was of good quality.
No. 4: Blue Diamond, Wired Membrane Keyboard
Blue Diamond’s GDKB01 USB keyboard is as straight to the point as you can get. Its very attractive price doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality, although this membrane keyboard is certainly not tailored for gaming. As for any other type of task, there isn’t much this keyboard won’t be able to do. Its flip-out legs even let you manage the angle at which it sits to best suit your typing style.
No. 5: Logitech, Membrane Wireless Keyboard
Logitech’s K400 wireless touch keyboard is the tool you need if you work your TV like a computer. Its 10-meter wireless range means you can sit comfortably on your couch while having full control over your screen. The unique design with integrated mouse pad makes it all a walk in the park. Simply plug the receiver in your PC or TV, and you’ve got a quality keyboard-and-mouse set.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about keyboards
Not all keyboards are made equal. This is why you need to ask yourself a number of questions before buying the right keyboard for your computer and needs. To make it easier for you, this section was designed to provide you with the answers to any questions you may have. We hope it will contribute to you being satisfied with your new keyboard.
What is a keyboard exactly?
Designed to enter alphanumeric information into a system, a keyboard is a peripheral product developed specifically for personal computers. It consists of two main parts: the set of keys, and an encoder that recognizes the keys pressed through an identification code unique to each key.
What types of keyboards are available out there?
As previously mentioned, we identify two types of keyboards: mechanical and membrane keyboards. Each one offers a series of advantages and disadvantages that you can see in the following table. Mechanical keyboards tend to offer better performance, while membrane keyboards are quieter and more affordable.
|Mechanical||They are usually more expensive and have a much longer useful life, up to 50 years. They are more sensitive, which can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. In general, they are noisier, thicker and heavier. You can customize the keys and their main market is the gaming industry.|
|Membrane||They are lighter, easier to carry and quieter, they also tend to be more affordable. The writing is slower and they have a tendency of ghosting or blocking keys. In general, their durability is reduced and cleaning is more difficult as their keys are not removable.|
What are keyboards used for?
Keyboards are used for just about anything. They help you type, program, play video games, and even control the playback of multimedia content. Nowadays, they are also used for graphic design work and with smart TVs.
How do I use my keyboard?
You probably think that using a computer keyboard is child’s play, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. If you own a wireless keyboard, the first thing you need to do is identify the type of connection it requires. You should then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to pair it with your computer.
It is also recommended that you make additional keyboard configurations. Please note that the manufacturer’s default settings will not always be the best fit for you. Finally, you should always keep your keyboard clean to ensure that it works properly for the longest possible time.
Wireless or wired keyboard?
Our advice is to opt for a wired keyboard. Sure, wireless is more comfortable and it will pay off to choose comfort over performance if you only use it for typing. However, there is no doubt that wired keyboards are much more reliable.
A wired keyboard is unaffected by interference, offers better latency response and also allows multiple keys to be pressed at the same time. Another great advantage is that you won’t have to worry about batteries: remember that they have the terrible tendency of dying on you at the worst possible time.
|With USB cable||Unaffected by interference, don’t depend on batteries and offer better latency and reliability.|
|Wireless||They are much more comfortable, can be used from greater distances, and your desktop will seem to be much more tidy and clean.|
How do I connect my wireless keyboard?
Wireless keyboards can be connected to your PC via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. For the latter, the keyboard connects to the computer via 2.4 GHz wireless frequencies, the most commonly used by both mobile phones and Internet connections.
For whom are keyboards tailored?
One thing is certain: if you have a computer, you need a keyboard. Some might even say that it has also become a true complement for smart TVs. Similarly, you may also want a keyboard if you are playing video games on your console and want to take full advantage of the specifications you can achieve with a keyboard.
What keyboard layouts are available out there?
PC keyboards are generally based on the QWERTY keyboard layout of older typewriters. However, new alternatives such as the Dvorak keyboard have emerged over the years. This design is considered more efficient, concentrating the most commonly used keys in the middle row for better accessibility.
What care does a keyboard require?
Keyboards generally don’t require special care. Like with any electronic device, you should naturally prevent them from coming into contact with water or suffering blows. It is also recommended to remove the batteries of wireless keyboards if they are not going to be used for long periods of time.
In addition, they should be cleaned regularly as they tend to accumulate dust or even small pieces of food. For this purpose, we recommend you to use a small vacuum cleaner to remove dirt. Proper care can considerably extend the functional life of your keyboard.
Let’s now look at a number of criteria that you should consider before purchasing your brand new keyboard. We know keeping these things in mind will help you be fully satisfied with your final choice. We definitely don’t want you to be disappointed with your keyboard after only a few months of use. Here are the most important aspects you should take into consideration:
- Personal use
- Connection method
- Keyboard size
- Comfort and keys
- Additional function keys and multimedia keys
- Brand and warranty
You won’t need the same type of keyboard for carrying out basic office tasks as you would need for playing video games. In the latter case, you should always opt for a gaming keyboard, which tend to be mechanical. By the same token, you will have to choose a different type of keyboard if you are a writer or a graphic designer.
Beyond gaming keyboards, currently you can find keyboards made specific for different tasks. You should also consider how frequently you’ll be using it: it is not the same to use a keyboard sporadically once in awhile or intensively for several hours a day.
Mechanical or membrane
Ultimately, the decision is yours. However, don’t hesitate and buy a mechanical keyboard if you need it for gaming, or if you spend hours writing or programming every day. This type of keyboard undoubtedly offers better performance and a longer lifespan.
On the other hand, membrane keyboards are a great alternative if you’re looking for a cheap, quiet, lightweight and compact keyboard to use with a tablet or via wireless connection.
The keyboard can be connected to the computer via cable or through a wireless connection such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Each type of connection offers different advantages and disadvantages. A wired keyboard guarantees a more stable connection and lower latency response. This last aspect is essential if you need it for gaming.
Wireless bliss and a tidier desk will be your reward for opting for a wireless keyboard. For this option, Bluetooth is the most convenient of the two connection technologies available. It is more energy efficient and it also allows you to connect several devices at the same time.
You’ll want an ergonomic design if you spend a lot of hours using your keyboard. Fortunately, more and more manufacturers consider this factor when developing new products. Even so, be careful not to be fooled by misleading advertising.
Not everything sold as ergonomic is truly ergonomic.
When it comes to identifying these specific keyboards, look for curved keys and higher wrist rests. An adequate ergonomic keyboard will help reduce stress on your joints and tendons. Rest assured that a higher investment will always be worth it – it will keep you healthy in the long run.
There are different keyboard sizes. Featuring a numeric keypad to the right, the full keyboard is the most common. The TKL is a reduced, more compact model designed by taking away this numeric keypad. You can also find other sizes that eliminate system and function keys.
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Comfort and keys
Comfort and ergonomics often go hand in hand, but not always. Every person is unique, and this is why you should try out the keyboard before you buy it. This is particularly important if you spend many hours working, typing or playing with it. Furthermore, the keys are another significant aspect to consider when using a keyboard.
In that regard, don’t forget that the way they work will largely be determined by whether the keyboard is mechanical or membrane technology. As mentioned above, you should check out the typing sensations for each if you have the opportunity.
The distance between the surface of the key to the bottom of the keyboard should also be taken into consideration.
Usually measured in centiNewtons (cN), the actuating force is the pressure need to trigger the keys. As a reference, a membrane keyboard usually has approximately 55 cN.
Additional function keys and multimedia keys
Certain keyboards have what are called special keys. With predefined functions, they are particularly handy for controlling media players. These keys allow you to play, pause or stop an audio or video track, as well as control your computer’s volume.
In the same vein, some keyboards have special function keys. Among many actions, they allow you to open the home page, go to My Computer, put on standby or turn off the system. These keys can be preprogrammed or programmable. In the latter case, a specific software is generally needed for the configuration.
Brand and warranty
The following brands are some of the best keyboard manufacturers: Logitech, Razer, CM Storm, Arctic, Perixx, Revoltec and Microsoft. As you may know, the two most prestigious are undoubtedly Logitech and Microsoft. But you shouldn’t simply look at the brand: the warranty is equally important. A five-year warranty can never hurt.
Keyboards are often the computer peripheral that gets the least attention. And still, they are the most essential tools of all, along with the mouse of course. This is perhaps the reason why they are not given the importance they deserve. Fortunately, the trend of having higher quality technology has kept them evolving for some time now, and more value is finally placed on the function of keyboards.
The great variety of models currently available on the market is a direct result of this growing trend. Choosing the right keyboard is therefore not an easy task, and price and brand are not the only criteria you should consider. The type of connection, an ergonomic design and the outlay of the keys are also among the important factors you should be considering at the time of purchase.
We hope you found this guide useful and that we helped you make the right decision. If this is the case, we’d appreciate you sharing the article with your friends and leaving us a comment with your thoughts!
(Source of featured image: Tymonko: 49063204/123rf.com)