As standard, it acts as volume control, but if you’re the creative sort you’ll find it handy in your other apps too. It can adjust brightness in Photoshop, change stroke weight in Adobe Illustrator, enlarge text in Powerpoint, or instantly create charts in Excel. It’s a great option for media enthusiasts thanks to side lit media control and the inclusion of white backlighting is another bonus. It’s not the most affordable keyboard on our list, but if you’re looking for something a little bit more premium, Das is the way to go. For example, if you’re without the Enter key, you can remap the Caps Lock key (or the F1 key, etc.) to the Enter function, essentially removing the former key’s capabilities to regain use of the latter.

The switch mechanism for a laptop keyboard is more likely to be a scissor switch than a rubber dome; this is opposite the trend for full-size keyboards. Keyboards are one of the most important input devices for computers. While they have evolved over the years, the basic layout has remained pretty standard to make it easier for users to move from one computer system to another. The rise of mobile computing devices has not done away with the keyboard. Instead, touchscreen technology has adopted the virtual keyboard.

Until “monoblocks” came along, GE’s “self-lubricating” Delrin was the only plastic material for keyboard switch plungers that could withstand the beating over tens of millions of cycles of lifetime use. Greasing or oiling switch plungers was undesirable because it would attract dirt over time which would eventually affect the feel and even bind the key switches . But Delrin was only available in black and white, and was not suitable for keytops , so keytops use ABS plastic. Modifier keys are special keys that modify the normal action of another key, when the two are pressed in combination. For example, Alt+F4 in Microsoft Windows will close the program in an active window.


Explore the description, parts, layout, and function of computer keyboards and discover how they work with different languages and as virtual keyboards. Premium gaming models almost exclusively use high-grade mechanical key switches and sculpted keycaps, and offer scads of customizable features such as programmable macro keys, textured WASD keys, and swappable keycaps. Others let you tweak the color and intensity of the backlighting to make finding certain keys faster and personalize the look of your keyboard. Cheaper boards usually have just one color of backlight, but as you move upmarket you find programmable RGB lighting customizable by zone or even by individual key (so-called “per-key RGB”). Most budget keyboards, such as those that come bundled with new desktops, use silicone-dome switches. These use two dimpled layers of silicone membrane that form a grid of rubber bubbles or domes as the springback for each key.

  • When you’re in the midst of an intense game, missing even a single keystroke can spell doom.
  • The best way to do this is to turn it off, unplug it, then gently wipe it down with a cloth.
  • However, I can definitely see a would-be novelist or artsy blogger loving this device.
  • They are typically large, comfortable and they contain a slew of extra features.

When you’re in the midst of an intense game, missing even a single keystroke can spell doom. With the help of Logitech’s free app, gamers can customise each key with one of 16.8 million unique hues. You could paint all your direction keys in red, and have all of your action keys in blue, for example. The keyboard itself is a rather cute, dinky little device, as long as an A4 piece of paper in landscape, and about half as tall. That, of course, means that this keyboard is by far the loudest of the bunch. Whether you find that constant clattering charming or irksome will be down to personal taste.

Razer Huntsman Mini 60% Optical Gaming Keyboard Red Switch

You press a key and it presses down on the membrane below, forming a circuit and telling your computer what to do. Generally, the difference is that mechanical keyboards feel more ‘clicky’ while membrane keyboards are more ‘tappy’. That does make mechanical keyboards a lot louder, but they’re also designed to last a lot longer. A mechanical keyboard is a keyboard built with key switches, normally activated by springs. Whereas standard keyboards usually have small rubber domes inside due to their inexpensive construction, mechanical keyboards provide comfort for the typist due to their ergonomic design and a mechanical interior.

The most common choice is to not include the numpad, which can usually be fully replaced by the alphanumeric section. Laptops and wireless peripherals often lack duplicate keys and ones seldom used. With the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablet computers, a lot of typing gets done not on a keyboard, but on a screen. While some model smartphones still have some sort of keyboard , touchscreen technology is making it possible to use a virtual keyboard.