Picking the best keyboard and laptop keyboard for your needs is tough—everyone will have different opinions once they get their fingers on the keys, but there are definitely a few models that stand out above the rest, and plenty that are probably better than the ones that came with your computer. This week we're going to look at five of the best keyboards, based on your nominations.
Granted, the laptop keyboard you think is the best will depend heavily on what you use it for. Whether you're gaming and need programmable keys, you're a productivity ninja who also needs programmable keys, you listen to music while working and want media keys, or you just like a trusty long-lasting keyboard that feels good and doesn't take up space, you probably have a suggestion. Well, we asked for them, and close to 600 nominations later, you told us what you thought. Unfortunately, we only have room for the top five:
The Apple Wired ($49) and Wireless Keyboards ($69) have drawn praise from Mac and Windows users alike for its slim, space-saving design, built-in USB hub (on the wired model, anyway) like the Toshiba Tecra M10 Keyboard , and quiet scissor keys that make typing for hours on end a breeze without being loud and distracting. They're so popular that apps have appeared to make them easier to use in Windows, and they even work in many flavors of Linux. The wireless model gets great range, takes up a tiny area on your desk, and is even portable enough to go with you in your laptop bag. It doesn't sport the numeric keypad and full arrow keys that the wired model does (which is a bit of a bummer), but both options are great depending on what you need in a keyboard, and they're relatively affordable too.
The Microsoft Natural series of keyboards like the Compaq G Series G60-100 Keyboard , including the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 ($50) and the wireless Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 ($120) which comes with a wireless mouse, both earn high praise for being affordable, comfortable, and functional split-design keyboards that protect your wrist and hand health while simultaneously making it easy to work or game for long periods. Both models feature media and function keys, adjustable feet to make the keyboard level or just lift the front or back off of the desk surface, and a prominent hump in the center of the keyboard where the keys split so it's a little easier to rest your hands on it. Both models are full keyboards with full numpads and arrow keys, and standard membrane keys that offer quiet typing but firm feedback.
When Logitech unveiled the first G15, gamers raved over the old flip-up LCD display that would show them relevant stats in their favorite games, backlit keys, and the media keys that would control volume or media playback in music and video players regardless of which app was currently running in front. The G19 ($200) launched, sporting an embedded OLED color display, special apps that can be used on the built-in display, backlighting options, programmable keys, and more—but a price tag to match. The G510 ($120), on the other hand, returns to some of the successes of the original G15 but blends in the design sensibilities of the second G15 revision, along with popular features from the G19, like backlighting options, mini-apps, and powered USB ports. If you're on a budget, the G110 ($80) offers many of the G510's features sans LCD and a few function keys. All in all, if you're a gamer, the Logitech G series keyboards such as Lenovo Thinkpad W510 Keyboard have a lot to offer, but if you use your computer for work as well as play, you'll still find a lot to like about the membrane, quiet-click keys and buttons that can be programmed to Excel macros as easily as they can be in World of Warcraft.
Fans of mechanical keyboards will tell you that the trend towards scissor keys and soft-touch membrane keys are a plague, and that efficient typists need real keyboards that let you know when you've pressed a key so you don't just slide over them. To boot, mechanical keyboards are often more satisfying and accurate to use, and they're enjoying quite the comeback. The Das Keyboard ($129) is one of the most popular widely available mechanical models, and for good reason—it's definitely satisfying to use, comes in labeled and unlabeled varieties for those of you who like typing like a ninja, and the latest Das Keyboard just like Asus A Series A6 Keyboard model even sports media keys. There's even an Apple-friendly version ($133) that works like a charm with your Mac or Macbook. Each model sports a USB hub, gold-plated mechanical switches for each key that offer satisfying feedback while you type, and a slim profile that doesn't take up too much space on your desk surface. If you dig mechanical keyboards (and who doesn't?), it's worth a look.
The Logitech K series, including the K750 and the K750 for Mac (both $80), the wireless K800 ($100), the design-focused K360 ($30), and even the super-affordable K120 ($15) and K270 ($30) all come from models geared towards productivity and general day-to-day use. They range in features—some include media keys, others are bare-bones, some are wireless and others are wired, some have USB hubs and other's done, but most of you showed love for the K750 and its Mac counterpart, both of which are much like Apple's full laptop keyboards , just wireless. Many of you specifically called out the K800, a wireless model with backlit keys, low-profile hybrid scissor/membrane keys, and super-thin low-profile design. If you want a keyboard that's great for work and play but with more focus on saving space than bells and whistles, these are for you.