One of the most important peripherals of the computer and, sometimes, one of the most forgotten is the keyboard. Although it is a basic piece to use our PC or laptop, in many occasions we believe that any model will do in the vast majority of occasions.
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This may be true depending on the personal case of each one, since many times we opt for models that appeal to us aesthetically or, simply, fits the most to the budget. This does not mean that it is the best.
Being a peripheral that, in many cases, is used daily, it can be really useful in the long run to choose a keyboard that suits our needs and our use. For this reason, at ConsumoClaro we have prepared a brief guide so that you don’t make a mistake when choosing one.
Many people are quick to think that keyboards are a device “already invented”; that is, that the main difference between one and another is the budget. This, being true, is only a part of the reality.
Keyboards are an industry in their own right and the possibilities are enormous. Before buying one of these peripherals it is good to consider the types that are available.
They can be distinguished according to their technology:
– Membrane. Under the keys there is a piece of plastic that, when pressed, emits an impulse through a plastic surface – the “membrane”. In this way, it can be understood that all keys share the same interruption system, since the plastic membrane occupies the same space as the keyboard.
– Scissors. Each key has two interlocking pieces of plastic underneath – hence the name “scissors”. When the key is pressed, the scissors “close” and activate the circuit. This is the most common technology in laptops.
– Mechanical. Each key has a switch underneath that works very similar to the switch on our wall: when you press the key, it emits a pulse to the keyboard controller. So, unlike the membrane, each key has its own system.
They are the most complex, as there are dozens of types that vary according to their travel, sound, etc… They also make the product more expensive. However, it is a much more resistant and durable system than the rest.
According to the distribution:
– ISO. ISO is the most widespread in European countries, including Spain. In this layout, the “Enter” key is in the shape of a rotated L and there are two extra keys: one between the Z and the “Shift”; and another one after the L.
To find this type of layout, it is usually indicated as “ISO” followed by the initials of the country. So, for example, the Spanish version is usually indicated as “ISO-SP” or “ISO-ES”.
– ANSI. The most widespread worldwide distribution and, therefore, the easiest to find. Unlike ISO, ANSI has a horizontal “Enter” key (similar to our “Crtl” or “Shift”) and an extra key above the “Enter”. It also doesn’t have the plus keys we were talking about before.
Depending on the format:
– Standard. The typical keyboard that we can find in any computer or place. In this type, the format is rectangular and, if we look at the position of the keys, we can see that the first line (from Q to P) is not at the same height as the next two (from A to L and from Z to M), but they are displaced to the sides.
– Ergonomic. These are keyboards specially designed to be comfortable and avoid pain. In these keyboards, there is usually a division in the middle and a small curvature, so it is much more comfortable to rest your hands on it -you can see an example here-.
– Ortho-linear. The strangest of all. Unlike the standard ones, these keyboards are completely straight: there are no differences in height or larger or smaller keys -except the “Space”, which is the size of two keys-, they are all the same and are distributed in the same way -you can see one in the following link-.
You could also distinguish them by the alphanumeric base they use, but in the vast majority of the western world, keyboards are QWERTY and it is very rare to use other types. Therefore, it is not necessary to know it.
… and their sizes
Keyboards come in different sizes, ranging from 60 to 105 keys. Depending on the use we want to make of them, the absence of keys can be fatal or, on the contrary, make them much more comfortable to use.
Before going into what sizes there are, we must understand that the keyboard is divided into four parts:
– Alphanumeric Keyboard: with which we write and do most tasks.
– Function keyboard: the F keys (F1 to F12).
– Control keyboard or cursor: it is the area composed by the dates, “Insert”, etc.
– Numeric keypad: the area, usually placed to the right of the keyboard, where there are only numbers and numeric commands.
The size of the keyboard usually depends on which zones compose it:
– 100% or Full Size. In ISO layout, there are 105 keys and it has all the zones.
– 1800-Compact. A 100% only that the keys are closer together and, for example, the arrows are usually under the “Enter”.
– TKL or 80%. In this size, the numeric keypad is eliminated.
– 70-75%. Although it has the arrow keys and some function keys, its layout is much more compact.
– 60-65%. They only have the alphanumeric keyboard and in the case of the 65%, also with the arrows.
– 40%. It is the smallest functional keyboard, since it also eliminates the row of numbers.
There is an even smaller type of keyboard, the Tenkey, which is the separate numeric keypad, although its use is even more particular.
So which one is right for me?
After reviewing the types and sizes of keyboards, what should we look out for?
The first thing to consider, obviously, is your budget. Like any peripheral, the price can vary a lot and we can find options ranging from 20 euros… to 500 euros. However, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money.
That is, the price difference is due, in most cases, to technical issues -in mechanical keyboards, for example, the price of a Marsmallow switch varies a lot from a Cherry MX- or design (handcrafted keys, etc.), so in most cases we can find a keyboard that fits our budget.
From there, we have to rethink the use we are going to give it. Are we going to use it every day? Just for typing? Or also for gaming?
Mechanical keyboards are much more resistant and durable than membrane keyboards, although they are not the most comfortable to type on. Therefore, it can be a good option for those who spend many hours using it and not only type with it, but also play games, program, etc.
On the other hand, the membrane ones can be much cheaper and more comfortable to write with, especially if we are not going to use them for long periods of time. Also, they tend to be smaller and more tiring to use. Despite this, they are very difficult to clean and, if they break, they are more difficult to repair.
We must also take into account the space we have. As we have seen before, there are different sizes and types that make it very easy to adapt them to any situation. If we have practically nowhere to place it, a 60% can make us gain a lot of space on the table.
– Anne Pro 2
For 120 euros, the Anne Pro 2 is a low-profile mechanical keyboard that can serve as an “introduction” to this type without approaching the 200 euros that many models can reach. The switch that is assembled as standard is a GateronRed, so, without being the best on the market, we will get a satisfactory and deep click; although from the website itself they allow you to choose another one.
It also has both Bluetooth and cable connectivity. The biggest drawback of this model is that its distribution is ANSI, so if we are not used to it, it will take us some time to get used to it.
For 49 euros, the Krom Kernel is a particularly cheap mechanical keyboard, but without sacrificing quality. It’s a small form factor keyboard (TKL) that features RGB lights -something not all profiles will like, but they can be turned off-.
The switches are the brand’s own and the quality of the assembly is good, so we will appreciate an improvement in touch compared to the typical keyboard we buy in any electronics store.
– Microsoft 600
For 20 euros, the Microsoft 600 is the keyboard for any user looking to spend as little as possible and, at the same time, have a peripheral that will last without problems for a medium-long season. The 600 is a classic keyboard: membrane, black design, quiet keys and plastic finish.
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