Keyboards, along with mice, are the most important input devices on a PC, and should therefore be chosen carefully. Like a good pair of shoes, the ideal keyboard is well-made, comfortable, and suited to its purpose. But what if the technology doesn't conform to our needs?
Before we put the samples in this story through their paces, we want to get rid of some of the myths and uncertainties surrounding these devices:
• We'll explore differences between the two main key switch designs. All buttons are not created equal! • USB or PS/2: hype, legend, or nonsense? We perform a more detailed analysis. • We demystify the myth of anti-ghosting. It's a tale of marketing versus reality.
What will readers find in this article? First, we'll present the different kinds of switches and the accompanying application scenarios. Then we'll explain some of the most important keyboard concepts. And finally, of course, we'll give you the results of our practical tests, including:
- Five models with different types of keys
- Five hours gaming use per keyboard by various users
- Typing test by a professional secretary
- Evaluation of materials, workmanship, and durability
Each of the keyboards we're testing underwent many hours of taxing gaming use, was mercilessly pounded by a professional composing long documents, and was subjected to hands of varying strength and size. Not every keyboard is right for every user, but once you find a keyboard that works for you, it may define whether work is enjoyable or not.
Let's first take a look at the switches, the heart of any keyboard.