Back To The Basics

Published Date
01 - Mar - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2005
 
Back To The Basics
My next-door neighbour just bought a spanking new multimedia PC and thinks he has the perfect reason to look down upon me. Well, actually it's just the cordless keyboard and mouse that are better than what I have. However, his scorn was exactly what got me looking out for a new keyboard and mouse.     

Unlike components such as monitors, which are installed once and are seldom touched except during cleaning sessions, keyboards are subjected to harsh treatment day in and day out. They therefore simply have to be sturdy. Mechanical keyboards of yesteryear were a different breed; today, almost all keyboards use a membrane with a rated life of a maximum of five years. But remember that your usage should determine what device you buy, not the technology the device uses.

So, as usual, off I set to Lamington Road in Mumbai. Enquiring in a few small shops, I was greeted with just one question-corded or cordless? It does seem that cordless desktops have gripped the imagination of most people, and are moving quickly off the shelves. Personally, I am not in favour of cordless devices: first, due to their high running cost-they require batteries to run-and secondly, I can't imagine people sitting a mile away from a PC and working.

Look at ergonomic keyboards if you do a lot of typing and value your wrist; after all, keyboards can be replaced but your hands can't!

However, if you want a clutter-free desktop, cordless is what you should go for. Alternatively, you can go in for a combination of a cordless mouse and a corded keyboard, since keyboards are hardly moved around. With a mouse, though, the cord can be a limiting factor.

Basics For All
The cheapest keyboard and mouse that you can probably buy cost around Rs 150 each; however, don't expect them to last too long. More often then not, you will be lured into buying such low-cost devices, but my advice is, steer clear of them. However, if you own a cyber-café, you might want to look at these. If they don't suit your taste, you can hunt for devices in the Rs 250-300 bracket. Logitech, Samsung, iBest, Adcom and others have some decent products in this range.

For our general users who get their PCs assembled, I would recommend the new Logitech Easy keyboard Deluxe, which retails at Rs 500, or Microsoft's Internet keyboard. Hard as it is to believe, IBM and Dell keyboards are also available, and are sold in the Rs 600 to Rs 700 range. I tried my hands on one IBM keyboard and it was quite good.

Multimedia Basics
If the new multimedia range of keyboards with plenty of keys thrown around is something you're looking forward to, don't worry, there are plenty of them. They start from as low as Rs 900 and go up to Rs 2,500. iBest has some real snazzy models to choose from, but remember that multimedia keyboards require the proper drivers to work correctly.

On the mouse front, you can settle for a decent optical mouse for Rs 500; entry-level mice from Logitech and Microsoft fit the bill. If you are always on the Internet, I say you should go for a five-button mouse; the Back and Forward buttons are great, and will get you hooked. Mice with five buttons are available in the range of Rs 1,200 to 1,500, with Logitech's and Microsoft's devices standing out from the crowd.

Touch-typists demanding firm key feedback should look for the TVSE Gold keyboard, probably the only mechanical keyboard on the market. Gamers could also look forward to this keyboard for the ruggedness over membrane-based keyboards, which give away early when stressed. Gamers who need that extra precision when it comes to mice should look no further than the MX series of mice from Logitech. You can go in for the MX-510 corded mouse, which will set you back by Rs 3,750. If you want a mouse with loads of features-such as horizontal scroll and pin point accuracy-look to Logitech's laser mouse, the Mx-1000. This one costs Rs 5,500!

Do You Type A Lot?
If your job involves a lot of typing-like in the case of writers, editors, and data entry personnel-I would recommend a look at ergonomic keyboards. I have used Microsoft's Natural multimedia keyboard and can say it offers good comfort, but at a price: it retails for Rs 2,350. Buy it if you value your wrist; after all, keyboards can be replaced but your hands can't!

I finally settled for Microsoft's Internet keyboard and a Logitech five-button optical mouse, all for under Rs 2,500-the best of both worlds!


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