One of the most important hardware accessories, which is necessary for every single computer system and usually overlooked when we consider buying a new PC or upgrading our current system, is a keyboard!

Logitech Mac MX Keyboard

Logitech MX Keys for Mac. Image courtesy of Logitech.

Why Is a Keyboard so Important?

Keyboards are one of the main input devices in every computer system, and we spend hours of our time pushing keys on a keyboard whenever we work with our computer. In fact, our computers and all of the work we do on them truly depend on the strength and quality of our keyboards. Therefore, it is only reasonable to pay the utmost attention to the features of the keyboard we want to purchase before making a final decision.

Like any other hardware device, keyboards are different from one another, and each model comes with distinct features and capabilities. So, if you are a professional and want to pick up a keyboard that fulfills your needs in the best way possible, there are some essential factors for you to consider before finalizing your purchase. In this article, we delve into a discussion about these factors and introduce the key features that distinguish professional keyboards from others.

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? Well, to avoid these types of unnecessary hassles, all you need to do is make sure the keyboard you want to purchase has the multi-connectivity feature.

For those who switch a lot between different systems, it is important to choose a keyboard that easily connects to various computers. Keyboards and mice with multi-connection functionality are exceptionally designed for providing an easy ability to switch between various devices via either Bluetooth or USB connection. The K780 multi-device wireless Logitech keyboard, for instance, is one of the best options for those who wish to work with a keyboard that possesses multi-connectivity.

Logitech has been one of the leading corporations in perfecting this feature, especially with their latest Logitech Flow technology. For those who like to benefit more from multi-connectivity and have an almost completely seamless experience, they should start using 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 keyboard and mouse that support Logitech Flow.

Logitech K780 multi-device wireless keyboard

Logitech K780 multi-device wireless keyboard. Image courtesy of Logitech.

Connectivity – Are you better off with a wired keyboard or a wireless one?

In recent years, many wireless keyboards introduced to the market feature Bluetooth or USB-RF (RF stands for radio frequency) connections to pair with computers, making the use of keyboards much simpler. However, keyboard manufacturers have continued to produce keyboards with wired connections because these models also have their advantages.

The first and foremost advantage of having wired keyboards or mice is that you never have to worry about your device’s battery life. The batteries in wireless keyboards are either rechargeable or non-rechargeable; either way, they possibly just add an annoying concern to the list of the things that you need to worry about.

Rechargeable batteries might be more cost-saving since you do not have to keep purchasing new batteries every time they die, but rechargeable batteries have their own disadvantages too. For instance, many people are forgetful and neglect to charge their keyboards regularly. Also, in some cases, they might be in the process of something important when their keyboard battery dies! However, wired keyboards never fail you in this manner!

Furthermore, 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. Additionally, for those who follow video games professionally, wired keyboards have proven to contain better latency, in most cases, without facing any unnecessary lag. Wireless keyboards are bound to face interferences 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.

On the other hand, wireless keyboards and mice 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 any 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?

As previously mentioned, 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 are very similar and almost operate the same way, there are still some differences between a Bluetooth keyboard and a USB-RF keyboard. So, let’s see the pros and cons of each model.

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. However, with Bluetooth keyboards, you do not have to occupy one of the few USB ports provided by your device. Another point to mention is that not every device has a USB-A port that devices equipped with USB-RF require for 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, however, USB-RF keyboards definitely have the higher ground. 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 an analysis, it seems that keyboards with USB-RF connections have a slight edge over Bluetooth keyboards. According to this study, 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 cheaper models might also have various pairing problems.

As you can see, both types of wireless keyboards come with their own advantages and disadvantages. And the decision of which to use is yours to make based on your own needs and preferences. But as for the price tag, USB-RF keyboards are often much more affordable compared to Bluetooth keyboards. You see, 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 connection tend to be much less expensive.

If you would like to benefit from the advantages of both types of connection, you should probably consider the K375s Logitech keyboard and M720 Triathalon Logitech mouse, which are capable of both Bluetooth and USB-RF connections.

Logitech K375s Keyboard

Logitech K375s keyboard. Image courtesy of Logitech.

Quality & Comfort – Are the keys comfortable enough? Is there any 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 a 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 avoid any unnecessary annoyance caused by struggling with clunky 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. 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. 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.

Conclusion

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. Make sure to consider the 5 features mentioned above before purchasing a new keyboard because they will help you make the wisest choice.

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