While many people are working from their tablets and use touchscreen mice and keyboards, there is still no replacing the tactile traditional keyboard and mouse. A must-have for gamers and anyone who has to toggle between screens or do heavy typing, finding the best keyboard/mouse combo is critical. Whether you’re looking for a top of the line, state of the art model or just something basic to get your work done, there’s a combo out there that is right for you.
What to Look for in a Keyboard and Mouse
While most mice and keyboards perform the same basic functions, there are variations that can make work easier. Some keyboards are backlit, making working at night a breeze. Others feature hot keys that allow you to type faster by using shortcuts. Some mice have ergonomic features that make them more wrist-friendly than others. The key is matching the right hardware to your computing needs.
One of the most important features of your wireless keyboard and mouse is connectivity. How well they communicate with the screen is key to ease of use. Many of the wireless keyboards struggle with this. Some suffer from significant lag. The user types several characters before seeing any appear on the screen. Others drop the signal altogether, making it necessary for the user to reset the system. These issues affect the quality of the use of the keyboard and mouse and is something to definitely consider when purchasing your components.
If you are going to be using the keyboard and mouse for extended periods of time, ergonomics is important. You want to have a keyboard with a wrist rest or a curved design that cuts back on hand or wrist fatigue. Some ergonomic keyboards even feature a removable number lock pad that is even more wrist-friendly. But the ergonomic features don’t stop with the keyboard. When it comes to ergonomic features of the mouse, curved mice offer a more comfortable work surface. Mice that you grip with your whole hand instead of just your fingertips are also a bit more relaxing for your hand and wrist. It pays to purchase the mouse that comes with your ergonomic keyboard as they often complement each other. Many people go for mice that are padded for additional comfort. If you are planning to do heavy typing, it definitely pays to invest the extra money in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse set up.
Space and Design
If space is at a premium, a compact keyboard and mouse combo is definitely the order of the day. It pays to remember, however, that larger keyboards are more likely to be ergonomic and more comfortable for the wrist and forearms. The smaller, more compact keyboards and mice are the favorite of professionals on the go. Think of the space available on the fold-down tray on an airplane.
Gamers need specific features on their keyboards that are not as vital to most non-gamers. Changeable number pads, backlit keys and LCD screens are standard features that most gamers look for in a keyboard. This makes gaming keyboards some of the most expensive in the industry, but most gamers are willing to pay this cost for the convenience and ease of use that they bring.
Media users use their keyboards for listening to music and viewing streamed shows and movies. Media users often look for keyboard with playback buttons like pause, play and rewind. These keyboards are more often than not wireless and often includes a volume control knob. Media users need high connectivity and little to no lag.
Office workers spend up to 10 hours a day in front of their computers. For this reason, the best possible keyboard is the ergonomic keyboard. Excessive typing means that the wrists and fingers have to always be in the most comfortable position to avoid the effects of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Office workers should look for keyboards with the most comfortable wrist pads, curved designs and ease of use. Mice should be padded and include a comfortable, curved design.
Travelers need compact travel solutions when it comes to their keyboards and mice. Some of them opt for foldable keyboards that fit neatly into a laptop case or carry-on bag. They often look for keyboards that are small enough to fit on a fold down airplane tray. To save on space, these keyboards may omit the right side number pad and instead rely solely on the number pad across the top of the keyboard. Travelers can expect to pay more for these portable keyboards and mice.
Choosing the Right Mouse
When it comes to choosing your mouse, ergonomics is important. Comfort will make all of the difference in how efficiently you can type and scroll. Many users prefer a mouse with a whole-hand grip and a padded surface for comfort. Wireless mice offer an even more convenient option than their wired counterparts, but tend to be slightly slower. You also run the risk that your battery will run out at the worst possible moment. Constantly replacing batteries represents an additional maintenance cost that you don’t have with wired mice. The biggest drawback, however, with the wired mouse is the limitations on how far you can move away from your keyboard and monitor.
Some mice come with programmable buttons that allow you to go forward and back without using the buttons on your screen. If you use these buttons often, the programmable option can come in handy.
The Best Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combos
Logitech MK 710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Pros: This is one of the favorite combos of people who are looking for the best wireless keyboard and mouse solution. The ergonomic curved shape and built in wrist pad are great for preventing wrist cramps and fatigue. One of the most attractive features, however, is the battery life. This keyboard can go for a whopping 24 months without requiring a replacement. The mouse has a smooth ball that scrolls quickly, making it simple and easy to use. The back and forward keys on the mouse make it easy to use without having to depend on using the on-screen keys. Durable and modern, this combo is our top choice for design, efficiency and speed.
Cons: Paint on the keys easily rub off with repeated use. Some users have reported that there is a slight lag between the user’s typing and the characters appearing on the screen. This is one of the pricier models on the market when compared to others in its class. The keyboard does not provide a backlight, which is doubly inconvenient if all of the characters have since rubbed off.
The final word: One of the top of the line models that is versatile enough for most general uses. An excellent value for the money.
Logitech MK270 Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
Pros: Powered by the Logitech Nano receiver, this keyboard offers a complete plug and play solution. It can be used immediately with no needed software downloads. With a full-sized keyboard and a compact mouse, it’s best for users who do a lot of heavy typing and scrolling.
Cons: Like its predecessor, many users complain about a lag between the keyboard and the on-screen display. Users complain that they type for several seconds with no response from the monitor, only to have the characters all appear at once. This causee significant frustration for heavy users who depend on speed in their work.
The final word: A convenient option for someone who wants a straightforward solution, but loses points for lag and connectivity issues
Dell KM636 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Pros: When you want to get back to basics with a simple, inexpensive keyboard that gets the job done, the Dell KM636 fits the bill. With a classic design, this compact space-saving keyboard is excellent for every day use. It has a nice key strike—users report that it feels natural under their fingers. The mouse is simple with a traditional shape, and the battery life is pretty standard.
Cons: Connectivity is often cited as a problem with these pieces. They frequently go offline and have to be reset. The battery life is shorter than usual as well, and users complain about having to repeatedly replace the batteries. Lag can be pretty frustrating with this model as well. Users report lag with both the keyboard and the mouse. Users also report that scrolling with the mouse is difficult.
The final word: This model loses points for connectivity. The shorter than usual battery life and difficulty in scrolling makes it less attractive than its counterparts.
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop Keyboard and Mouse
Pros: This is absolutely the best choice if your priority is comfort. Made with proper wrist position in mind, this keyboard features a split design that allows you to toggle between both sides of the unit at once. The modern design features a separate numerical pad to ease stress on the wrists, a curved keyboard and gel-filled comfortable wrist rest. The mouse offers a sleek, contoured shape that makes using it effortless.
Cons: Large. Takes up a lot of space on the desk. Many users complain that the units are not durable. The rubber components on the keyboard and mouse start to wear down after only a few months making the user have to replace the entire unit. There’s also the problem of a slight lag between keyboard and screen. One of the more expensive models on the list.
The final word: This model definitely lives up to its promises as the best ergonomic option. Loved by office workers and anyone who spends a significant amount of time typing, this model is an excellent value for the money.
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 900
Pros: Great value for the price. Keys are quiet and have a firm strike. Finish is matte, making it easy to avoid dust and fingerprints. Durable and inexpensive.
Cons: Frequent drops in connectivity make it frustrating for users. Mouse scroll button sticks often and is difficult to use at times. The placement of the “Insert” button on the keyboard is slightly inconvenient, and it is easy to strike the key by mistake.
The final word: This one loses major points for connectivity issues. While we love the value for the price and the quiet keys, this model has a long way to go when it comes to keeping users connected without frequent restarts.
When it comes to getting the best keyboard and mouse combo for your money, it pays to match your needs to that of your peripherals. From keyboards that fold for travelers to those with backlights and LCD screens for gamers, the best keyboard and mouse combos offer features that users need and love.