Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Best wireless keyboards: Cut the cord with Bluetooth and USB models offering extras galore

Aoife M. McEvoy | June 13, 2016
We hand-tested these wireless models to find better options for your daily driver.

Bluetooth keyboards tend to cost a little more but also offer longer battery life. As you’re shopping (particularly if you have big fingers), keep in mind that some hardware makers sacrifice the keys’ size and spacing to give you portability.

How we tested

It was hands-on all the way with our keyboard testing. We spent at least one full workday typing exclusively on each model we tested, with follow-up time to allow for a learning curve. We assessed the primary typing experience: key design, typing feel, and even noisiness. We also tried the secondary features: hotkeys, switches and dials on multi-platform models, and even the ability to adjust the angle or other comfort characteristics.

We considered the size, weight, and durability of each model against its purpose—whether it was designed to be portable or desk-bound, and compact or fully featured. For instance, we balanced the rollable, water-resistant Adesso Antimicrobial Waterproof Keyboard's resilient design against its unusual look and feel. 

What to consider when shopping

You’re going to use this keyboard every day, so make sure it fits your typing habits and your needs. Here’s what to keep in mind as you shop. 

Size: A model that will always sit on your desktop can be bigger and heavier, and usually some other advantages some with that. As more of us carry laptops or tablets, however, we’ll look for models that are compact or portable. These will sacrifice some features but be easier to take with you. 

Keys: Look for keys that are sculpted and spaced for typing comfort. This is why we encourage trying before buying: We’ve had very different experiences with traditional keys vs. chiclet-style vs. flatter key designs, and it’s surprising how little things like the texture or the amount of dimple will make or break a choice. Most mainstream keyboards use membrane technology, which is adequate for most users, but heavy-duty users and gamers will likely prefer keyboards with mechanical switches (which are not reviewed here). Windows hotkeys, or even programmable keys, are great bonuses, especially for power users.

Adjustability: Some keyboards offer no adjustment for angle or height. Look for models with adjustable legs or feet. We haven’t included ergonomic models in this round of reviews.

Battery needs: All wireless keyboards use batteries. Check closely for the type and number of batteries you need, and whether a starter set is included. We note the vendors’ specified battery life at the top of each review.

Price: When it's so easy to get a keyboard for free, it can be hard to justify actually buying one. The good news is, you can get a solid model for as little as $40, including some of the ones we've reviewed. We show the MSRP for each model, but of course you can often find it for less at online or brick-and-mortar stores. 

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.