Keyboard & Mouse Buying Guide
The basic input device to a computer, the keyboard, is an essential part of the entire computer setup. Surfing the net, writing a research paper, or preparing a presentation, it is the basic requirement of a computer to have a good keyboard to ensure that there is flawless typing and execution of commands.
QWERTY V/S Natural : There are basically two types of keyboards, the first one being the regular, i.e., the QWERTY keyboard, and the other one being the natural keyboard. Natural keyboards are also known as the AZERTY keyboards, and are used mainly in French countries. The latter is a bit more user-friendly, but the QWERTY version is the one that is used most frequently. So depending on your comfort-factor on each of these two (or Ergonomics, as it is technically called), you can select between the two. It is all the more important to emphasize on a keyboard that is more comfortable for you so as to avoid deformities likes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome(CTS) and Repetitive Stress Injuries(RSI). A better idea would be to search for a keyboard that comes with a wrist rest, or buy a separate one to keep the wrist at the correct angle to avoid the aforementioned problems.
Connectivity : It is important to know which kind of connectivity option you require for your keyboard, wired or wireless. The former is the more conventional means, and are connected to the computer using any of the two connections; PS/2 and USB. PS/2 keyboards are more commonly used and are also a cheaper alternative to USB keyboards, which use the USB port to connect to the CPU. Both of these are usually plug and play.
Talking of wireless keyboards, they are more of a recent innovation in the world of keyboards, and come in various types; Infrared keyboards, Bluetooth keyboards, and Radio Frequency keyboards. The first type has to be kept within range of the IR port of the CPU, while the radio frequency version offers the best mobility of the three, as well as a better range than IR keyboards. However, when it comes to range, Bluetooth keyboards take the cake.
So it’s basically upto your requirements. For instance, if you are a gamer, it probably makes more sense to go for a wireless keyboard to avoid straining your eyes due to the high quality graphics by sitting close to the screen. On the other hand, if you only use the computer for 1-2 hours everyday, a wired keyboard is a more reliable and pocket-friendly option.
Keyboard variations : There are many different types of keyboards that are built specifically to suit certain purposes. A major utility feature is the addition of hot keys, or shortcut keys, that help in a whole lot of tasks which adds to the comfort factor. Following are the most popular types of special-function keyboards :
- Internet keyboards : These are designed with hot keys for surfing the internet in a better manner. Recommended for those who majorly use the computer for connecting via the world wide web.
- Multimedia keyboards : These are designed for getting a better control over movies, with hot keys for start/stop, volume control, etc. Another category, the gaming keyboards, has hot keys for assisting during gameplay.
- Virtual keyboards : These are not actual keyboards but are simulated ones using a software for operation. Virtual keyboards are mostly used with PDAs.
There has been a significant amount of innovation in the computer mouse since Douglas Englebart discovered the first prototype in 1964. There have been modifications in the design, function, response time, and many more factors over the years. Here’s a checklist of what all is available in the market to help you decide which mouse type would suit your purpose the best.
Mechanical : The oldest of the present variants of mice, the mechanical mouse is also the first modification of the original design of the mouse, having wheels and a rubber ball in a tight arrangement to control the cursor’s movements on the screen. The principle is that as the mouse moves on a rubber pad, the ball moves alongside it with the embedded roller wheels inside the device. This variant is the most economical one, but also has troubles related to the cleaning of the rubber ball from time to time, since particles tend to get deposited on the same during the course of regular usage.
Optical : Optical mice were developed in the 1980s, and worked on a totally different principle that their predecessor. The rolling ball was replaced with a beam of light which worked along with a sensor in the mouse to give the desired signals to the computer act accordingly. It negates the requirement of cleaning from time to time, and is also more accurate than the mechanical mouse. On the downside, not all types of mouse pads are compatible with this mouse (or the other way around!), and shiny or reflective surfaces do not allow the sensor to respond too well. Other than that, it’s a good option, and a far better one than the mechanical mouse.
Laser : The latest type of mouse to hit the market, the laser mouse has a laser at the place of the optical mouse’s LED light, and is the most sensitive mouse presently. It uses lesser power and can detect even the slightest of movements. However, on the downside, it is the most expensive option among the three variants.
Connectivity : There are two kinds of mouse options present in the market today as far as connectivity is concerned. These are wired and wireless mice.
Wired mice are the more conventional option, but are also a bit hassled up due to the extra wire that runs to your PC. In a time when people are looking more towards reducing wires, this one certainly is not the most appealing one. However, the plus point is that there are no connectivity issues.
Wireless mice, on the other hand, require no wire, and are definitely more aesthetically pleasing and stylish than their wired counterparts. However, there are some connectivity issues, with mice not responding properly when used at a certain angle or from a distance. There is also an issue regarding the battery, as an average wireless mouse needs a recharge after every 60 days, and while that might seem like a comfortable time, it is very easy to forget the same, and be stranded with a dead mouse in the middle of an important meeting!
Sensitivity : Mice sensitivity is measure in DPIs. The higher the DPI figure, the more sensitive is a mouse. A higher DPI also means the mouse can move across more distance on the screen corresponding to a smaller movement on the pad. A figure of 800 to 1000 DPI is regular in today’s mice, while animators and graphic designers would prefer going for mice having more than 1500 DPI for better function.