Most of us use a computer keyboard every single day. Their primary purpose is to type text into a computer, but a cheap $5 model is completely different from a $100 keyboard. Choosing the right computer keyboard can solve problems from RSI to helping to speed up your workflow.
The differences between cheap and expensive keyboards can be as simple as the aesthetics, down to using mechanical springs rather than rubber domes. If you are gaming they may offer macro keys, media keys and even additional screens to extra information.
As you use a keyboard all day, you should make sure that it isn't going to cause you any strain. You can get ergonomic keyboards from Logitech and Microsoft which have altered the key positions to be more ergonomic. These can feel uncomfortable and take a lot of getting used to, but they should force you to position your hands correctly. Personally I prefer the traditional layout but with adjustable height and tilt which should be found on any keyboard that you buy.
Mechanical versus rubber
The feel of the keys is important in choosing a keyboard. You have to choose between a standard desktop keyboard and one with chiclet style keys such as those from Apple. The material that the keys are made from, and the shape of the indent on the keys, can also impact on whether you will find the keyboard easy to type on or not.
Mechanical keyboards use a mechanical spring instead of a rubber dome. They feel different from standard keyboards but many prefer them even though they are very expensive. The keys need more effort to push down but they spring up much more quickly. Mechanical keyboards are more expensive and a lot louder, although this is reduced when you learn not to bottom out the keys with practice.
Wireless keyboards offer the keyboard without the wires, which can give you more freedom in terms of placement and allow it to be tidied away very easily. The main issues with wireless keyboard are that they can have some latency and need lots of batteries if you use them regularly. The only negative of the wired keyboard is the wire itself, which I believe is a good compromise as long as it is long enough to place your keyboard correctly. Having used wireless keyboards I've always come back to wired ones due to the lack of latency and better reliability.
Many keyboards now have added functions that allow them to launch apps, control music volume and use macros in games. If it's a gaming keyboard it may also come with a screen to display information or if adapted for media centre setups it may come with a touchpad eliminating the need for a separate mouse. There are many gaming keyboards but the best advice is to go and find one to try, as there are many differences between them and personal feel will differ between people.
Do you use any computer keyboards that you love? Do you only buy mechanical or wired keyboards? Any comments or suggestions please write them below.