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Mouse and Keyboard Buyer’s Guide

Posted By On September 3, 2010 @ 12:42 PM In Hardware & Peripherals | Comments Disabled


Even in today’s touch-screen world, the keyboard and mouse have not been replaced. Fortunately, the technology has evolved. You now have choices galore to suit your needs. This article will help you make an informed decision on your next keyboard or mouse.

Key deciding factors that can influence your decision are:
– Usage
– Ergonomics
– Functionality
– Connectivity Medium

Usage
Traditionally, keyboards were created to provide fast access for inputting letters, numerals (through the number pad located on the right-hand side) and function keys (located on the top). This was all that was needed. As computers evolved and so did their usage, keyboards got a little more complex. For example, it’s common to find keyboards with buttons that have buttons for playing CDs, adjusting the volume, or accessing the Internet. Similarly, a mouse can have extra buttons or buttons that you can program to perform in a certain manner.

These extra buttons are useful for people who have a use for them, otherwise they just create a clutter! Also, extra buttons add to the cost of the keyboard and mouse.

Ergonomics
The typical design of a keyboard looks like the one shown below:

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Though these designs are prevalent, keyboard designers have created more natural keyboards. Such keyboards are especially useful for people who use their keyboards several hours a day. These keyboards are usually split the keypad in half and have a more natural feel. Natural keyboards can also reduce the chances of getting carpel-tunnel syndrome (CTS) and repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Natural keyboards are more expensive. Prices can range from $30 to over $100.

image

I recommend getting the feel of a natural keyboard before purchasing one.

For a mouse, ergonomics has played a great role in giving them odd looking shapes. Feel the mouse and be comfortable with it before you purchase one. Some mouse designs are shown below.

image

Functionality
The basic functionality of any keyboard is the same. If you intend to use your keyboard for more than word processing, you might want to consider keyboards that have extended functionality to suit your needs. There are keyboards created specially for gamers. For example, the Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard (About $70) has GamePanel LCD and allows you to create macros. Similarly, there are those keyboards, such as the Logitech diNovo Edge Keyboard (About $130) that’ll have hypersensitive pads so that you can scroll faster.

image

Buy a keyboard with functionality that you will use. This will help narrow your options.

Similarly, a mouse may have a specialized function, such as gaming. A specialized mouse can drive up the price significantly. If you are looking to buy a mouse with many buttons, explore their use first. Gamers should opt for an appropriate mouse. However, a typical user should rather go for a mouse with standard buttons and an ergonomic design.

The Apple Magic Mouse is worth a special mention. The mouse has no buttons. Instead it has a multi-touch surface that detects the movement of your fingers. It is truly a fine design.

Connectivity Medium
Simply put, connectivity medium means whether you need a keyboard with a cable that connects to the computer or a wireless keyboard. A wireless keyboard gives you greater flexibility and some of them can even be folded (useful if you intend to connect the keyboard to your laptop). Similarly, a mouse can either have a cable or can be wireless. Wireless technology is usually more expensive.

Some wireless keyboards and mice you might consider are:
– Logitech diNovo Edge Keyboard (About $130)
– Apple Wireless Pro Keyboard (About $120)
– Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse (About $ 30)
– Apple Magic Mouse ($ 70)

Lastly, a mouse can either use optical or laser technology. If you need a mouse that can respond to the slightest of movement, opt for a laser technology mouse. The price of a laser technology mouse is higher.

~Rupen Sharma

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