Keyboards are essential to using computers. They allow you to type, program, play video games or carry out graphic design tasks. While keyboards are directly built into laptops, they are peripherals for desktop computers – certainly the most important with the mouse.

Noisy old mechanical keyboards have become obsolete for quite some time already. Modern models are lighter and quieter than ever before, but it isn’t the only change to have occurred over time: they are now more comfortable and ergonomic, and their designs are as diverse as they are elegant.

Key Facts

  • You’ll find two mains types of keyboards: mechanical and membrane.
  • Different keyboard sizes and designs are available on the market. Some are developed for specific purposes, like gaming keyboards.
  • Modern keyboards are also compatible with consoles and smart TVs.

Ranking: The best keyboards on the Australian market

We’ve designed the ranking below to share with you our selection of the very best keyboards available on the Australian market. Diversity of option and value for money were our two main guiding principles, and we’re confident you’ll find the model that best suits your needs.

No. 1: Dell, Wired Multimedia Keyboard

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American computer technology company Dell shouldn’t need any introduction, and you’ve definitely used some of their products before. Their quality is recognised worldwide, and it’s no different with their KB216 keyboard. Having become Amazon’s Choice in the category, this full keyboard presents island-style keys for smoother and more comfortable writing.

The KB216 features everything you’ll need to operate your computer. Along with the compact numeric pad on the right, you’ll find function and multimedia keys to control your entertainment players directly from your keyboard. Past customers have been particularly happy with the value for money of this keyboard, and it’s fair enough: it is the most affordable on our top 5 list.

No. 2: Logitech, Wireless Membrane Combo (Keyboard & Mouse)

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Logitech is arguably the biggest name in the keyboard-and-mouse game, and the MK270R wireless keyboard (and mouse) is the perfect illustration of the brand’s quality products. A unique receiver plugged in a USB port ensures a superior quality wireless connection between the devices and your computer. The compact mouse is a nice addition to this keyboard.

Its full size and eight shortcut keys mean it is a solid work tool if you spend hours a day typing or programming. Its plug-and-play simplicity has been praised by users for both Mac and PC. While it isn’t sold as an ergonomic keyboards, buyers have reported great comfort in using it over time. It features an ON/OFF switch for energy savings.

No. 3: SteelSeries, Apex Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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Danish company SteelSeries specialises in the manufacturing of gaming peripherals and accessories. While it might not be the most famous brand, this doesn’t mean they don’t offer quality products. The Apex M400 is a mechanical keyboard built for gaming battle, with a steel back plate to reinforce its structure and increase its durability.

The LED back-lighting sets you right in the mood of your favourite games, and its limitless customisation is a big plus if you like things to be your way. Previous buyers praised the no-frills design and overall bang for your buck of the Apex M400, with they noted the inability to switch the light on and off directly from the keyboard. 100% anti-ghosting and an incredible 104-key rollover.

No. 4: JOYACCESS, Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

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JOYACCESS is a Chinese company specialised in PC peripherals at very affordable prices, and that’s exactly what this keyboard offers. Available in three different colours, its compact design will help you keep a tidy desk while still reaping the benefits of a numeric pad and function keys.

Both the keyboard and the mouse have a power-saving feature so your batteries last longer, and the single nano receiver for the two peripherals means you won’t run out of USB ports. According to past customers, the keyboard offers great performance and the mouse is very comfortable in the hand.

No. 5: Logitech, Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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You shouldn’t be surprised that Logitech now also develops quality gaming-specific keyboards, and the G413 should satisfy most gamers’ needs. You can customise its function keys, and the game mode buttons are a welcomed addition. The brushed aluminium and magnesium alloy top case is sleek and provides the resistance needed if you’re gaming all day long. The USB pass-through port located on the keyboard is a particularly interesting unique feature of the G413.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about keyboards

It has to be said: not all keyboards are born equal, and you’ll have to consider a number of factors before choosing the model that’s just right for your computer. We designed the following section to make this task easier for you, by providing you with the answers to questions you may have. We’re confident it will set you on the right track to find your new keyboard.

Keyboard1

Top quality keyboards can be expensive, costing well over 100 dollars.(Source: Shironov: 47436810/ 123rf.com)

What is a keyboard exactly?

Developed specifically for personal computer, this peripheral is designed to enter alphanumeric information. It has two main parts: the set of keys, and an encoder that recognises the keys pressed via the unique identification code of each of them.

What are the types of keyboards available out there?

You already know the two different types of keyboards: mechanical and membrane. Both offer various benefits and disadvantages that we’ve listed for you in the table below. On the one hand, mechanical keyboards usually provide better performance; on the other, membrane models are quieter and more affordable.

Type Characteristics
Mechanical They tend to be more expensive and their useful life is longer (up to 50 years). Their greater sensitivity can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. They are usually noisier, thicker and heavier. You can customise certain keys and they are tailored for the gaming industry.
Membrane They are lighter, easier to carry, quieter and cheaper. They have a slower writing speed and a tendency of ghosting or blocking keys. Their durability is inferior and they are harder to clean as their keys are not removable.

What are keyboards used for?

You’ll use your keyboard for just about everything: typing, programming, playing video games, and even controlling the playback of your multimedia content. Nowadays, they are also compatible with graphic design tasks and with smart TVs.

Keyboard2

You can’t have a personal computer without a keyboard and mouse. (Source: Starozhylov: 47432857/ 123rf.com)

How should I use my keyboard?

If you’re thinking that there’s no mystery in using a computer keyboard, you’re dead wrong. The first thing you’ll have to do with your wireless keyboard is identifying how to connect it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you’ll be set to go.

You might also want to make certain keyboard configurations, as the manufacturer’s default settings aren’t always the most adapted to your needs. Maintaining a clean keyboard is necessary to ensure its proper functioning for the longest possible time.

Wireless or wired keyboard?

By default, we recommend choosing a wired keyboard. Wireless models are naturally more comfortable, and you’ll want that over performance if you only use it for typing. However, the reality is that wired keyboards are simply more reliable.

They are not affected by interference, provide better latency and allow you to press multiple keys at the same time. You also won’t have to worry about batteries, and that’s not nothing: these little things have the frustrating tendency of dying on you at the worst possible time.

Type Advantages
With USB cable Unaffected by interference, no batteries needed and better latency and reliability.
Wireless Greater comfort, can be used from further away, and your desktop will seem much more tidy and clean.

How do I connect my wireless keyboard?

Wireless keyboards can be connected to a PC via two methods: Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In the case of the latter, your keyboard and computer are connected via 2.4 GHz wireless frequencies, the most frequently used by mobile phones and Internet connections alike.

Keyboard3

In the past few years, ergonomic keyboards have gained in popularity. (Source: Leelaphasuk: 45632024/ 123rf.com)

For whom are keyboards designed?

One thing’s for sure: you’ll need a keyboard if you have a computer. It has even become a real complement for smart TVs. Many people also want a keyboard to reap all its benefits while playing video games on their console.

foco

Did you know that keyboards help you improve your productivity on the computer? Along with mice, they allow you to type and click faster.

What keyboard layouts are available out there?

In Australia, PC keyboards tend to be based on the QWERTY layout used by older typewriters. However, new alternatives have been developed over the years; the Dvorak design, for example, concentrates the most frequently used keys in the middle row and is therefore considered more efficient.

Keyboard4

Keyboards built into computers work just fine, but an external keyboard allows you to improve your posture by placing the computer at the right height. (Source: Rido: 41263304/ 123rf.com)

What care does my keyboard require?

Keyboards don’t need any special care. As it is an electronic device, you should naturally avoid it from coming into contact with water or receiving blows. The batteries of wireless keyboards should be removed in case of extended periods of inactivity.

Keyboards also have the tendency of accumulating dust and dirt, so it is recommended to clean them on a regular basis. A small vacuum cleaner will be particularly useful to remove that dirt. Don’t forget that proper care of electronic devices can considerably extend their life.

Shopping Criteria

There are a number of criteria that you should take into account when buying your very own keyboard. We’ve listed them in the section below, and we’re confident they will help you make the right decision. One thing we don’t want is for you to be disappointed with your keyboard. These are the most important factors for you to consider:

  • Personal use
  • Connection method
  • Ergonomics
  • Keyboard size
  • Comfort and keys
  • Additional function keys and multimedia keys
  • Sensitivity
  • Brand and warranty

Personal use

You’ll need different keyboards if you simply do basic office tasks or if you play video games. A gaming keyboard will be your go-to option for the latter case; these models tend to be mechanical. On the other hand, writers or graphic designers will have to opt for a different type of keyboard.

Gaming keyboards aren’t the only keyboards designed for specific tasks. Your frequency of use is also something to take into account, as sporadic and intensive use have very different impact on keyboards.

Mechanical or membrane

The decision between the two is very personal. For daily gaming, writing or programming, we really recommend you to buy a mechanical keyboard. As you know by now, these keyboards offer enhanced performance and have a longer lifespan.

On the other hand, membrane models will be your weapon of choice if you want a cheap, quiet, lightweight and compact keyboard to use with a tablet or via wireless connection.

foco

You can’t have it all: mechanical keyboards offer greater performance.

Connection method

Keyboards and computers can be connected with a cable or through a wireless connection such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Each of these different connections has some advantages and disadvantages. As you know, wired keyboards offer a more stable connection and lower latency rate, which is particularly useful for gamers.

On the other hand, you’ll be free from cables and will enjoy having a cleaner desk with a wireless keyboard. In that case, Bluetooth should be your first pick of technology. It is more energy efficient and allows you to connect several devices at the same time.

Frank Lloyd WrightFamous American architect

“If he keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.”

Ergonomics

An ergonomic keyboard will be your best friend if you spend a lot of time using it. In that regard, you’ll be happy to know that more and more manufacturers consider this factor when designing their new models. Either way, don’t be fooled by misleading advertising.

Not everything sold as ergonomic actually is.

Curved keys and higher wrist rests are common features found in these specific keyboards. A genuine ergonomic model helps reduce stress on your joints and tendons. In the long run, you’ll realise that a bigger investment will be best option.

Keyboard size

Keyboards vary in size. Featuring a numeric keypad to the right, the full keyboard is the most common model. The TKL is a reduced, more compact model keyboard that goes without this numeric keypad. Other sizes available include models without system and function keys.

Comfort and keys

Comfort and ergonomics don’t always go hand in hand. Everyone is unique, and we recommend you to try the keyboard before buying it if you can. This is particularly important if you spend many hours working, typing or playing on it. Another significant aspect to consider when using a keyboard are the keys.

In that regard, remember the fact that they are mechanical or membrane truly determines the way in which they work. So make sure to check the typing sensation if you can.

The distance between the surface of the key to the bottom of the keyboard is another thing you’ll have to evaluate.

The actuating force that triggers the keys is usually measured in centiNewtons (cN). For reference, membrane keyboards usually have approximately 55 cN.

Additional function keys and multimedia keys

Some keyboards have what we call special keys. They have predefined functions and are particularly handy for controlling your media player. They let you play, pause or stop an audio or video track, as well as control the volume of your computer.

Similarly, other models also feature special function keys. Some of the actions they allow you to perform are opening the home page, going to My Computer, putting on standby or turning off your system. These keys either come predefined or programmable, in which case a software is needed for its configuration.

Mitch RadcliffeAuthor

“A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.”

Brand and warranty

Here are some of the best keyboard manufacturers out there: Logitech, Dell, CM Storm, Arctic, Perixx, Revoltec and Microsoft. The two most prestigious, and we’re sure you know them, are naturally Logitech and Microsoft. But don’t forget to look beyond the brand: the warranty is just as important. A five-year warranty never hurt anyone!

Summary

Your keyboard is often the computer peripheral that receives the least attention. And yet it is the most essential of all with your mouse. This may be why they are not given the importance they deserve. The good thing is that this trend has been changing in recent years, and keyboards are finally given more value.

As a result of this, there is a great variety of models currently available on the market. You’ll have to think beyond simply price and brand if you want to choose the right keyboard. Other important factors include the type of connection, the ergonomic design and the outlay.

We hope you found this guide useful and that we helped you buy just the right keyboard for you. If so, we’d love for you to share the article with your friends, and don’t forget to leave us a comment!

(Source of featured image: Tymonko: 49063204/ 123rf.com)

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