The Complete Guide to Buying Laptop Keyboards

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The Complete Guide to Buying Laptop Keyboards

The world of computers is fast changing, with technology charging ahead at lightning speeds. With gadgets getting sleeker and smaller, many of the old, bulky computer peripherals are being replaced. Laptop keyboards, which were once a fixed component of computers, and laptops are detachable and may be replaced. An indispensable component, the keyboard is an input device that is useful for all computing processes, web navigation, and for various commands. This piece of hardware, combined with the software on the computer, allows the user to type, format, edit, save, and print.

Laptops are generally available with the keyboard attached, or some may have keyboard docks that allow the user to attach the keyboard when required. Keyboards have different styles and layout of the keys with a variable number of keys as well, while the key types remain the same in every keyboard. Purchasing a laptop keyboard is easy, as every other store deals in computers and peripherals such as keyboards. The proliferation of online stores selling laptop keyboard is mind boggling, but shoppers looking for quality, convenience, and affordable prices often turn to eBay. This website offers a vast inventory of laptop keyboards.

Visual and Functional Layout of Keyboards

As a person types using the keyboard, fingers zip past the alphabets, numbers, and symbols. This is possible when the person is familiar with the visual layout. When a key is pressed, the functional layout comes into play as the keyboard sends scan codes comprising unique sequences of numbers or a single number assigned to each key to the operating system. The operating system recognises and interprets the sequence or unique number to imprint the content of the key on the screen. It is possible to change the visual layout by attaching labels or even by changing the keys to get keyboards that display the alphabets in various scripts. Similarly, the functional layout can be changed using the appropriate software.With these arrangements, non-English speaking people are able to use customised keyboards to operate laptops and computers.

Though the keyboard is universal to computers and laptops, the layout is not. Whatever the layout, the keys on any keyboard can be broadly classified into four areas as alphanumeric keys for typing, function keys, numeric keypad for calculations, and directional keys for cursor control. Some keyboards have special keys for volume control, web browsing, email, power management, and other functions.

QWERTY Layout

The commonly used QWERTY keyboard had its layout devised in 1870 by Christopher Sholes and subsequently became popular for the word processing machine, the typewriter. Though the QWERTY is designed for the English language, this keyboard also prints symbols and can generate Latin characters with accents.

Dvorak Layout

There has been no real alternative to the QWERTY keyboard, but the Dvorak layout did meet with limited success. This layout is intended for the English language, and operating systems allow easy switchover to the Dvorak layout.

Azerty  Layout

France, Belgium, and some neighbouring countries use Azerty keyboards. Similar to QWERTY but with 'Q' swapped for 'A', as are 'Z' and 'W', this layout also has 'M' elevated to the middle row from the bottom one.

QWERTZ Layout

QWERTZ keyboards are popular in Germany, Austria, and other Central and East European countries. The 'Z', commonly used by Germans, takes the place of 'Y' on the second row, and a whole array of diacritical characters are strewn along with English alphabets.

Types of Keyboards

While shopping for keyboards, users need to look for keyboards that are compatible with the laptops they use, although this really should pose no problems. Basically, the keyboard can be classified as wired keyboards and wireless ones. Users can choose from a number of other keyboard types, some designed to provide typing comfort for the finger and wrists, and others that offer numerous conveniences with additional shortcut keys for various browsing functions.

Wireless Keyboards

Laptops that use wireless keyboards are compatible with wireless technology, and these may be Bluetooth, infrared, or radio signals. Bluetooth technology offers a great range, and a Bluetooth keyboard may be operated from a convenient distance. The infrared keyboard, however, has to be in the line of sight, which means that there should be no obstacles between the keyboard and the screen, so the infrared signals pass unhindered. The range offered by radio frequency or RF keyboards are better than that for the infrared ones.

Wired Keyboards

Two connectors are generally used to wire up a keyboard, namely, the PS/2 connector and the USB. The PS/2, also called the keyboard port, is a 6-pin mini DIN connector and is almost obsolete now. Another plug-and-play device is the USB keyboard, which is now a commonly used connector.

Ergonomic Keyboard

Stylish designs or comfortable designs dominate this category of keyboards. Allowing users to place their hands comfortably as they type, the design ensures that there is no stress on the fingers and the wrist during prolonged use. These ergonomic keyboards are wide and larger than standard keyboards.

Multimedia Keyboard

To enjoy rich multimedia experience, this keyboard is designed with additional keys for play, stop, pause, mute, and other volume and picture control operations. The keys are conveniently placed on the multimedia keyboard for easy access.

Internet Keyboard 

Made specifically for compulsive Internet surfers, the Internet keyboard supports a wide range of multimedia applications. Hot keys take the user directly to the home page of the browser or email application or favourite landing pages, and this keyboard is designed for quick web browsing.

Gaming Keyboard 

Designed for gaming enthusiasts to experience the thrill and excitement of speed and skilfull maneuvers, gaming keyboards make this easy while allowing users to participate in online games. The navigation keys are prominently placed for easy access, and so are quality audio control keys that add to the thrill of online gaming.

Flexible Keyboard

Also called roll-up keyboards, these are a far cry from the heavy, plastic, and metal keypads that are used. Flexible keyboards are wired or wireless and can be rolled up the size of a magazine or even smaller, as a roll of coins. These can be spread out and used on any surface for typing and are washable.

Mini Keyboards

Conforming to the trend of miniaturisation of gadgets for portability, wired and wireless mini keyboards are also available in the marketplace. These are easily hooked up with laptops and other small multimedia devices to be used anywhere the owner wishes.

Detachable Keyboards

Tablets have gained tremendous popularity, and now they have snap-on keyboards transforming them into laptops. These laptop-tablet hybrids allow the user to switch easily between the touch screen tablet mode and the detachable keyboard.

The Asus Transformer is a laptop that uses a detachable keyboard, and without the keyboard, it transforms into a 10.1-inch, or 25.7-cm, tablet. As a laptop, the mobile dock charges the full QWERTY keyboard, extending battery life up to 14 hours.

Conclusion

Laptop keyboards may be changed to suit the user's need, whether it is for enhanced Internet usage or for multimedia and gaming. The appropriate keyboard does not put a strain on the fingers and wrist, especially for users who type a great deal or use the keyboard for surfing the Internet or gaming. Keyboards are of several types according to the connectivity, and users may settle for either wired or wireless keyboards. Users may choose from ergonomic, standard, Internet, gaming, multimedia, mini, and flexible keyboards. Wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth, radio signals, or infrared is achieved by using a wireless receiver if the laptop does not have one built in.

Users can further select the keyboard layout from the common QWERTY keyboard or from alternates such as Azerty, QWERTZ, and Dvorak, which are ideal for their inclusion of Latin script and diacritical accents. As portability is the buzzword, detachable keyboards can be coupled with  iPads, tablets, and notebooks to make this easy. Thanks to eBay, one can be assured of finding the right laptop keyboard at the right price.

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