What Are Some Traits to Look for in Desktop Computer Keyboards?

Traits and features worth looking for when considering desktop computer keyboards include connectivity options, the type of mechanism that the keys use and the layout of the keys. Other features to look for include dedicated keys for media functionality, such as playback controls, and the option to control certain operating system functions, such as keys that directly access the Charm Bar in Windows 8. For extended use, ergonomic features such as padded wrist rests are important.

With regard to connectivity options, keyboards typically use a wired USB connection or a wireless connection that relies on the Bluetooth technology or sending radio frequency signals to a USB receiver connected to the computer. The wireless option is useful when trying to reduce the number of cables running between the computer and peripherals, whereas the wired option is more suited for those who play video games because it removes lag and potential for interference from other wireless devices.

Keyboards normally use mechanical, silicone dome or scissor switches that control how the keyboard registers key strokes. The advantage of silicone dome switches is that keyboards that use them are relatively cheap, but they tend to break down over time, causing loss of responsiveness. Keyboards that use mechanical switches feature durable spring-loaded keyposts that provide better tactile feedback relative to other switch types. Gamers typically seek keyboards with high-quality mechanical switches, swappable keycaps, and inclusion of features such as customizable backlighting and keys that can be programmed individually.