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3 Important Keyboard Features

Buying advice for keyboards

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Thinking about buying a keyboard? Pay  attention to these three important features before you settle on a device.

1. Ergonomics

This is a big one. If you’re going to spend hours upon hours typing on this keyboard, you’re best off checking out one with real ergonomic features. While this can take on various forms -- some keyboards split the keys, some have curves, and some are even motorized -- you should always anticipate a learning curve.

Expect that typing will feel strange, even uncomfortable, at first while your hands adjust and relearn how to move across the keyboard. But your wrists and hands will thank you in the end as true ergonomic keyboards are able to reduce the amount of stress placed on our hands while we type. Other ergonomic features found in keyboards can include wrist rests and the ability to raise or lower the device.



2. Wired or Wireless

As with mice, this feature is a personal preference and each type has its own pros and cons. Wired keyboards limit your distance range, but you’ll never search for batteries. Wireless keyboards enable you type while lounging on the couch -- something you may be interested in -- and you’ll never get tangled in that pesky cord.  

Most keyboards use either USB or Bluetooth technology for wireless connectivity. If you’re going the Bluetooth route, be sure that your computer has built-in Bluetooth technology. If it doesn’t, you will need to pick up a Bluetooth receiver and pair the device.

Logitech has a solar-powered keyboard on the market, although you can expect to pay an up-front premium for this type of technology. You will, however, recoup the cost by not needing to purchase batteries ever again.



3. Hot Keys and Media Keys

Unless you’re purchasing a travel keyboard, most keyboards come with a variety of hot and media keys. Media keys, which include such tasks as volume and video control, are invaluable for people who will use their keyboard in the living room to control their (duh) media system.

Hot keys allows you to complete certain tasks by pressing a combination of buttons, and many keyboards replace these combinations with one-touch buttons. If you’re a desk jockey, these hot keys can save you oodles of time.

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