We humans have been using keyboards for decades now. Down the line, these keyboards have evolved a lot. Today, we will look over different computer keyboards that are available currently.
Before we dive into the list of keyboards, let’s quickly go through the history and origin of keyboards.
Back in the days when people used to write letters to communicate, an Italian inventor, “Pellegrino Turri” invented the first typing machine so that her blind friend could write letters to him.
The first “keyboard,” or the first “typing machine,” was not a flat, rectangular-shaped board. It was more of a big bulky sewing machine. If you are more interested in the invention of the Keyboard, you can check the book “Blind Contessa’s New Machine.”
Coming back to the current timeline. Today, we have a wide variety of keyboards categorized based on their features, form factor, layouts, and typing comfort.
In this article, we will check out some of the significant types of Keyboards.
Let’s begin with a list:
Types of Computer Keyboards
In Membrane Keyboards, the keys are rested on a flexible surface that registers the keypresses based on the pressure applied. Keys on Membrane keyboards are pressure-sensitive, and there is no mechanical movement.
Membrane keyboards are thin, flat, lightweight, and available at very affordable prices.
In terms of durability, if you are a regular user, an average membrane keyboard will last for at least a year or two. However, with time, you might feel that the keys of your membrane keyboard are getting stiff and less responsive.
Stiffness in keys occurs because dust gets accumulated on the flexible surface placed right under the keys.
If any key stops working on a membrane keyboard, you have to buy a whole new keyboard. Membrane keyboards aren’t very repairing friendly.
In Mechanical Keyboards, every key has a physical mechanism. For example, a button is pushed downwards whenever you hit a key; that button then invokes an electrical signal that goes to the CPU.
Mechanical keyboards are thick, heavy, and a bit noisy. In addition, mechanical keyboards are a bit expensive. You get different options in the physical keys (red switches, brown switches), and the price varies accordingly.
In terms of durability, mechanical keyboards are excellent. A decent mechanical keyboard will last for years. Furthermore, if you keep cleaning your keys regularly, you won’t feel any stiffness in them.
In Mechanical keyboards, if any key stops working, you have the option to swap in a new key.
At least for a decade, gaming keyboards have struggled to get the limelight; however, with the increased popularity of computer games in the last few years, Gaming Keyboards are among the hottest selling keyboards.
These mostly have mechanical keys as membrane keys aren’t long-lasting. Besides that, the noise from keys adds to gaming vibes in the environment.
Some Gaming keyboards get RGB backlit mechanical keys; these glowing keys add aroma to the gaming space and enhance visibility in the dark environment.
You can also reprogram the backlit of the keys with millions of different color combinations.
The keys of most gaming keyboards can be reprogrammed as per your requirement. In addition, on some of the keyboards, you also get “anti-ghosting” keys.
The “anti-ghosting” term indicates that irrespective of how frequently you press a particular key, every stroke will be registered by the computer; there won’t be any miss. Therefore, none of your movements will be skipped in the gameplay.
With a gaming keyboard, the overall gaming experience gets enhanced many folds.
Flexible Keyboards are full-fledged keyboards but with high portability. You can fold up the keyboard and take it to any place you want.
Flexible keyboards use membrane keys; therefore, durability is still a constraint. However, these flexible ones serve the purpose of people who constantly travel.
Flexible keyboards are extremely thin, lightweight, and have a small form factor.
These keyboards are made of either high-quality silicon or rubber; therefore, most flexible keyboards will be waterproof and dustproof.
Flexible keyboards are often called roll-up keyboards, primarily available in wired versions. It is because, for wireless devices, an additional power source is required, which isn’t feasible to provide in a flexible keyboard.
These are among the least popular and underrated keyboards. However, left-handed keyboards are extremely helpful for individuals with the left hand as their dominant hand.
While checking in our office premises, we found that almost everyone uses a right-hand keyboard. However, when asked, most of our team members told us that they don’t get enough options for Left-handed keyboards. Therefore they have to pick a basic keyboard.
Left-handed have the Numpad positioned on the left side, and these are ideal for people with a dominant left hand or injured right hand.
Also, if you operate the mouse continuously with the keyboard using your right hand, you can consider getting a left-handed keyboard as it minimizes the distance between the mouse and alphabetical keys.
Some of you might be hearing the term “60% Keyboard” for the first time. 60% keyboard doesn’t have any rocket science feature; they just help you declutter your desk by eliminating the Numpad from their structure.
In 60% Keyboard, only alphabetical and functional keys are present on the keyboard. Most 60% Keyboards have mechanical keys. Some of them might have backlit keys as well.
These days, you will mostly get a battery-powered wireless 60% keyboard. Since these keyboards promote minimalism, they don’t come with any wires.
These Keyboards are highly ergonomic and enhance the productivity and aesthetics of your workspace.
However, if you frequently use Numpad, we won’t recommend 60% keyboards just to declutter the desk.
It is always suggested to get a keyboard that serves your purpose.
These keyboards are specially designed for different devices. For example, every variant of the iPad has its specific keyboard designed strictly as per the device’s layout.
Most tablet keyboards are thin and lightweight. In terms of durability, there aren’t any compromises. Tablet keyboards are highly portable.
All tablet keyboards feature membrane keys; some high-end tablet keyboards also have backlit keys. In addition, tablet Keyboards are mostly wireless and have Bluetooth connectivity.
We would not recommend you get a device-specific keyboard until and unless you have the extra money to spend.
It is because if your tablet gets old and a new version is launched with some physical design changes, then the chances are that your existing tablet keyboard might not work with the new tablet.
If possible, try getting a generic tablet keyboard so that it could be compatible with future releasing variants.
Yes! Multimedia keyboards are legit, and they exist. These keyboards are primarily designed for people working with multimedia; it includes video editing, graphic designing, etc.
Multimedia keyboards have both membrane and mechanical keys. In addition, some multimedia keyboards also feature backlit keys. Based on your budget, you can pick accordingly.
These keyboards have a set of quick-access buttons for functionalities such as:
- Fast Forward/Backward
Multimedia keyboards are niche-specific, and we would say buy them if you need one.
Single-handed keyboards are more of remote controllers. These are sleek in design and have small keys.
Single-handed keyboards are among the least popular ones as they don’t serve the purpose well.
Single-handed keyboards are often used for smart TVs or gamepads. Though these are compatible with computers and laptops but we won’t recommend using them.
These keyboards are built with minimal components and often stop working after a few months.
On some keyboards, you might also get a tiny trackpad. You can pick one of these for temporary usage, but prolonged use could lead to decreased productivity.
Projection keyboards are often referred to as virtual keyboards as no physical keys are present in these keyboards.
The whole keyboard comprises inside a small optical device that throws a laser projection to create a layout of a keyboard on any flat source.
You don’t have to press any key physically; simply hovering over the laser projection of keys is sufficient.
The device registers the keypresses based on the movement of your fingers on the keyboard projection.
Projection keyboards are the latest innovation in the keyboard industry. However, these are still in the development phase as there have been a lot of challenges right now. One of them is that, currently, the laser projection works only on flat surfaces.
Downline, we will see some significant improvements in projection keyboards, and then they might join the arsenal of mainstream keyboards.
While picking up a keyboard, you must note that there will be keyboards that are specifically designed for your work and purpose. Therefore, you should not settle for a keyboard that isn’t perfect for your job.