Types of keyboard
Generally, we don't pay our attention to one of the most important parts of our computer. It is the keyboard. In this article, we will discuss & analysis different types of keyboards and there uses.
We all use keyboards, but don’t know what is best for us. There are several types of computer keyboards available in the market. We already discussed briefly on this, in our previous article Types of computer keyboards. Now in this article, we will analyze all the factors that can make a keyboard fast and discuss broadly. Hope this article will help you next time to find your ideal keyboard.
If you compare keyboards on its functionalities, there are over 9 types of keyboard currently available in the market.
Types of computer keyboard
An ergonomic keyboard is a computer keyboard specially designed to minimize the side effects of using computers continually. The keys are placed in V shape, to minimize muscle strain. It is also helpful to type fast. Ergonomic keyboards are very good for those who have any muscle related issues.
The one and the only problem with this type of keyboard are, it is not cheap.
A mechanical keyboard is a keyboard where the keys have a spring and connectors under every keys. If you compare it with a membrane keyboard, a mechanical keyboard is defiantly fast to type and cheap in price.
A membrane keyboard is a computer keyboard that made with a single flexible pad printed with letters and symbols. Like a mechanical keyboard, it doesn't have separate components to connect with the circuit board.
It is lightweight and thinner than a mechanical keyboard. But I feel it's not good to use continuously. You can't type very fast using this type of keyboard.
A gaming keyboard is basically a mechanical keyboard with some special keys and features. Generally, the keys of a gaming keyboard are made with durable material. Some gaming keyboards have a beautiful backlight to use even in the dark.
The only problem with a gaming keyboard is, it is much more expensive than a normal mechanical keyboard.
A laser projection keyboard uses a virtual layout to project a keyboard on any surface. This keyboard was invented in the year 1992 by a group of IBM technicians and engineers.
Although it is an innovative technology, I think it's not good for any professional. Sometimes it takes a long response time.
We can say that every leaser keyboard is a virtual keyboard, but every virtual keyboard is not a laser keyboard. We all use a virtual keyboard on our smartphone. It’s basically a program that is used to convert clicks into typed letters.
A wireless Keyboard is generally connected to the computer through wifi or Bluetooth technology. Basically, it is an advanced mechanical or membrane keyboard which uses wireless technologies to communicate with the computer.
It is a mechanical or membrane keyboard that has some additional functional keys. These function keys can control several operations, like volume up and down or control the brightness of the screen, etc.
The multifunctional keyboards have some additional functions to operate some extra events. Some keyboards are attached with FAX device or a biometric device and a touch screen to control several events.
This type of keyboard is very useful to operate complex works. Therefore it is used in trading, ATC, emergency services and other industrial sectors.
What is the best for you & why?
If you are a general computer user you may use any keyboard. If you are a professional typist who needs to type a lot, we strongly recommend using an ergonomic keyboard. Otherwise, you may use a mechanical keyboard to operate your computer.
Type of keyboards layout
The most common and useful keyboard layout is the QWERTY layout. Nowadays it’s become a universal keyboard layout. It is widely used in computers, laptops or mobile devices.
QWERTY layout was designed by Christopher Latham Sholes in the year 1873. The purpose to design the layout was to reduce typing mistakes. They actually tried to slow down the speed of a typist to minimized errors.
Although it is the most commonly used keyboard layout, it is not the fastest layout to type.
August Dvorak and William Dealey designed Dvorak keyboard layout in the year 1936. Later, several design modifications have been done by many designers.
It is the most commonly used layout by typing professionals. Many professional typists use Dvorak simplified keyboard to type.
World’s fastest typist Barbara Blackburn used this layout to make the world record. So, if you are a writer or a blogger, you should use a Dvorak keyboard.
The AZERTY keyboard layout is mainly used in France and some part of Europe. The AZERTY layout was developed in France in the last decade of the 19th century as an alternative of QWERTY layout.
AZERTY keyboards have many variants. The main problem with AZERTY is, if you purchase two keyboards from different manufacturers, you may get two different layouts. To resolve this problem, the French government starts to standardize the French AZERTY keyboards.
QWERTZ layout is used mainly in Germany and other parts of central Europe. Like the AZERTY keyboard, it also has many variants, Swiss keyboard, Slavic Latin keyboard, Slovak, Romanian, Polish keyboard, Hungarian keyboard, Czech QWERTZ keyboard, Albanian & German AZERTY keyboard.
The Portuguese government was created the HCESAR keyboard layout in the year 1937. It was completely different from the QWERTY layout and was not so user-friendly. That's why in the early 1980s, the Portuguese government replaced all old keyboards to QWERTY keyboard. It is now obsolete.
Colemak is a modern keyboard layout, build in 2006 by Shai Coleman. It is the strong alternative of the QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layout. It is scientifically designed to type English words fast. The most useable letters are placed in the home row. And that's why it is 2.2x faster than QWERTY layout.
What is the best for you? Why?
If you are a general computer user, the QWERTY layout is good for you. But if you are a professional typist or a programmer or a writer, use Dvorak or the Colemak layout. These are the best to type fast.
Different types of keyboard connections
There are several types of keyboards with different types of connections available in the market. These keyboard ports ware used in time to time in the past.
Before buying a new keyboard, let's understand the keyboard connection.
Apple Desktop Bus or ADB is a connection to connect low-speed devices to an Apple computer. Steve Wozniak developed this connection and introduced in the year 1986 by Apple Inc. They use this connection to connect keyboards and mouse to the computer.
This connection type was last used in 1999 on the Power Macintosh G3. It is obsolete now.
IBM developed the XT keyboard port for IBM PC-compatible computers. They used XT and AT ports to connect their computer with a keyboard. But after the development of the PS/2 connection, XT port became obsolete slowly.
AT keyboard port was widely used on IBM's 2nd generation personal computers. And available in the market until the development of PS/2 port. AT stands for "Advanced Technology" as it used a completely new technology to communicate.
PS/2 and mini PS/2
PS/2 or Personal System/2 is a dedicated 6 pin port, used to connect the keyboard and mouse to a personal computer. IBM developed this connection type and introduced in the year 1987. Later they develop mini PS/2 port, which is still available in a PC.
The PS/2 port is completely compatible with BIOS. You may find a USB keyboard may not able to operate the BIOS, but almost every PS/2 keyboard can operate the BIOS properly.
USB is the new communication port widely use in computers and laptops. Basically, USB is not a port, it is BUS. That's mean a single USB connection may carry multiple signals at a time.
The USB was designed in 1996 by a group of developers of Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel. Although it is a universal connection, it has many variations. A slandered USB connection can be three types, Type A, Type B and Type C. Type C is the most advanced USB that supports USB 4(40 Gbps data transfer speed). Also, there are mini and micro USB types available.
Generally, the USB keyboard we use, are USB 2.0 supported. This can transfer data up to 480 Mb per second.
What is the best for you? Why?
Now the question is what keyboard you should use to speed up your typing? As USB is a universal connection, you may use the same keyboard everywhere. But a USB keyboard may not operate BIOS properly. As per my personal choice, I prefer PS/2 over USB, as it works on every platform.