Computer keyboards for business, consumer and gaming usage come in four main types:
Wireless keyboards use a USB receiver plugged into the host device, often being frequently bundled with a wireless mouse (operating at 2.4GHz). When part of a bundle, then both keyboard and mouse will use the same USB dongle. Typically, most units use two AA sized batteries for the keyboard and similarly two for the mouse. We advise using re-chargeable batteries to offset the cost of replacing normal alkaline batteries. Some variations of wireless keyboard also have built in trackpads, being described as "All-in-One Media Keyboards". Usually spill resistant, standard keyboards have 105 keys and may include additional features such as programmable buttons (often 4 in number) and backlit keys (preferable - although such keyboards carry a price premium). Some units, such as Microsoft's Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard forego the tranditional QWERTY keyboard form factor, instead offering a split layout that keeps wrists and forearms in a relaxed position.
Bluetooth keyboards now offer functionality to switch between mutiple devices for example PC, tablet or smartphone (providing each have a bluetooth connection enabled). One of the best examples is the Logitech K480e which, as well as being stylish in design, has an Easy-Switch dial to change between typing on three connected Bluetooth wireless devices. Other Bluetooth keyboards such as Logitech's K810 are not only Windows compatible, but are designed to work with Android and iOS (including iPad devices). Again, most devices of this type use two AA batteries for the keyboard (and the same number if a mouse is bundled).
Unlike wireless or Bluetooth keyboards, wired models draw their power from the USB connection. Not only does this eliminate the need to recharge or replace batteries, but for gaming use they offer the advantage of being free from the lag / wireless interference issues. Lower in price than their wireless counterparts, if you opt for a corded keyboard we recommend units with mechanical key switches (which offer better durability and feel than other types - see below).
Using the familiar colour-code 6-pin mini-DIN connectors common to desktop machines (purple for keyboards, green for mice) corded keyboards of this type have largely been superseeded by USB variants. Some enthusiasts do argue that PS/2 keyboards still carry several advantages over their USB equivalents - despite confirming to a standard from 1987 - but in our experience the only advantage is in buying a cheap PS/2 unit with mechnical switching (as opposed to USB with inferior rubber dome, or scissor switches).
Personal preferenace aside, key depression feel and the lifespan of a keyboard is also partly dependent upon the mechanism & material used to record keystrokes. A useful article on Wikipedia (external link): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_technology sets out the available options. Although the technical specifications for most products do not state the mechanism type, online forums (especially those related to gaming do discuss the issue). Certain manufacturers - such as Cherry - also take great pride in their mechanical switch technology (known as ML technology). See the Cherry XS G84-5500 & Cherry XS G84-5400 for examples of this type, which - despite having a higher initial purchase price - offer a great feel and ship with 2 year warranties.
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