Computer keyboards are the main input devices for every personal computer in the world. Although there are many other input devices for a computer, the keyboard is the most essential one - it is almost impossible to completely operate a computer without the use of a keyboard. Find out more about the types of keyboards here.
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The computer keyboard is probably the most important piece of computer peripheral or accessory you must have. The computer keyboard is the most basic way to navigate through a computer, even from the most basic of interfaces such as the BIOS settings where the computer mouse is not recognized; and thus the keyboard has become the main input for computers.
The typical keyboard has a up to 104 keys as a standard, but this may vary in different types and layouts of keyboard, each one representing an alphabetical letter, numeric, symbol, function, and directional key. Each key has a representing letter, numeric, or symbol printed or engraved (in many different ways) on to the key for user reference. Most often, pressing several different keys simultaneously or in sequence may also result in a secondary function of the key being activated, such as the quotation mark which may give a single quotation symbol or a double quotation symbol. Functions like this gives the keyboard more functions than the original number of keys do.
They keyboard's layout may vary in different regions, and the most commonly used one is the QWERTY keyboard, which is the one commonly seen all over the world, with the layout of some regions different slightly in the placement of certain keys such as the "bar" key (commonly found above the "Enter" key), which could be placed next to the "Backspace" key instead. Other lesser known layouts include QWERTZ and Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, which is rather uncommon in most parts of the world. The QWERTZ is widely used in Germany where the "Z" replaces the "Y" key in the QWERTY layout.
There are actually a lot of different types of keyboards out there, including ergonomic ones which may look rather strange, but actually help to reduce wrist and finger strain during long typing sessions. However, keyboards such as those are rather rare and uncommon in use these days, although they are still widely available for purchase if someone would wish so. Today, most people differentiate keyboards among three different types based on their type of keys: membrane keyboard, mechanical keyboard, and the laptop keyboard, or also known as the scissor switch keyboard.
- Membrane keyboards (also sometimes known as rubber dome switches)are the most commonly found and used keyboards today, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. They are so named because of the type of technology used in the keys to activate them: Two plastic films that contain a circuit which maps all the different keys. The keys are then activated when the rubber dome or cap under each key is depressed, pushing the two circuits together to complete the key activation. Membrane keyboards are usually very cheap and affordable too, although they can get very expensive depending on features.
- Mechanical keyboardsare often known as the premium types of keyboards as they feature individual mechanical switches for each key. These keyboards are much superior to the membrane keyboards because they have very fast actuation force and do not require a user to full depress each key (bottoming out, as the term goes) as if they are using a membrane keyboard. There are many different types of mechanical keyboard switches such as loud clicky ones, ones with a small tactile bump, or even ones that are completely smooth to depress.
- Laptop keyboardsor also known as scissor-switches keyboards are in a way a sort of hybrid between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard. Laptop keyboards are generally very shallow and contain a mechanism of sorts under each key that looks like a scissor which depresses on push, which then presses down on a membrane layer to activate the key. Although not as comfortable as a mechanical or membrane, the laptop keyboard's short key travel allows for very fast key activation, resulting in faster response and speed.
When looking for a keyboard, you should know what you are looking for either based on function or budget. If a simple keyboard is all you need for very simple daily tasks, then a membrane keyboard is best suited for you. If you want a very luxurious and comfortable typing experience, go down the mechanical keyboard path. Reliable brands of keyboard include Logitechkeyboards, Razerkeyboards, and Steelserieskeyboards, just to name a few.