Like new cars and smartphones, new keyboards are also initially alluring enough to elicit everyone’s oohs and ahs. But as their novelty fades, it’s easy to start taking them for granted. Is typing on them slower than before? Is the gaming experience they deliver no longer up to par? Whether for leisure or business purposes, good keyboards really make a difference. Next time you’re shopping for one, take these four factors into consideration as well.
If the internet and computer mouse possess wireless capabilities, why should your keyboard be any different? This is debatable, depending on what exactly you use the keyboard for. Keyboards are normally plug-and-play devices that don’t require additional software installation (excluding certain gaming models); wired models draw power from the USB,eliminating the use of batteries altogether. Gamers tend to prefer wired over wireless because they won’t have to deal with lag and interference issues.
Looking to declutter? Wireless is the way to go. With wireless keyboards, data is transmitted to your PC via one of two primary means: either through an RF connection to a USB receiver or via Bluetooth. They might have their pros and cons, but they significantly reduce the number of cables on your desk while allowing you more flexibility to work — lie down on the couch and type from across the room. Also, most wireless keyboards connect 1to the PC via a 2.4-GHz wireless dongle that are also used for cordless phones and Wi-Fi internet. Providing connectivity to multiple devices at once.
Type of Key Switches
This aspect of keyboard design is widely mentioned in reviews, yet many people overlook the importance of the type of switches used for individual keys. Although the intricate mechanisms that hide beneath the keys might not excite you, the difference you feel from each type will. The three main types of key switches include silicone dome, scissor switches, and mechanical switches. For example, keyboards that come with a new desktop PC generally use silicone-dome switches, whereby two dimpled layers of silicone membrane form a grid of rubber bubbles that acts as the switch for each key. This type also requires you to press the key right to the bottom in order for a letter to be typed, gradually diminishing its springiness and responsiveness over time.
Why have the newer laptops and ultrabooks ditched silicone domes for scissor switches instead? Scissor switches add a mechanical stabilizer that provides uniformity. Moreover, under each keycap is a plunger that allows for shorter key travel. This causes scissor-switch keyboards to have a shallow typing feel with enhanced durability when compared with silicone dome switches.
What keyboard enthusiasts can’t get enough of are the mechanical switch keyboards. Their intricacy lies in the spring-loaded sliding keypost beneath each key. Several variations are available, and each provides slightly different sensations or sounds. Mechanical switches generally provide enhanced tactile feedback, having more of the “clickety-clack” sound. Thanks to the sturdy switch mechanisms and durable springs, they last longer and are also easily repairable. Furthermore, each keystroke registers shorter travel, making them ideal for touch typists.
In order to keep carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury at bay, keyboards are designed to allow your hands to remain in a neutral position while typing. Not only do ergonomic keyboards provide greater comfort, they also reduce joint and tendon stress, sparing you from relentless inflammation as well as pricey surgical procedures. Ergonomic features range from simple padded wrist-rests to elaborate curved and sloped keyboards.
Standard vs. Gaming Usage
Keyboard usage isn’t limited only to typing. That’s why gaming keyboards are designed for competitive usage, which allows for maximum specialization and control. Some are even customized to fit specific styles of game play, considering exact standards of durability as well as responsiveness. Others may also incorporate pulsing backlight and vibrant color schemes that cater to the gamer aesthetic. Certain premium models utilize high-grade mechanical key switches, sculpted keycaps, and numerous customizable features such as programmable macro commands and tweakable backlight intensity. Gaming keyboards are also equipped with the anti-ghosting feature that allows multiple keystrokes to be registered simultaneously — something regular keyboards can’t do. Other goodies range from pass-through USB ports to audio connections on the keyboard. This simplifies the process of connecting peripherals to a desktop PC.
It won’t hurt to take some time to see if your current keyboard is delivering. Do not settle for anything but the best. If you need any help or have questions regarding the intricacies of finding the right keyboard, don’t hesitate to mail us or drop us a line. We’re more than happy to help.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new tablet, you will have two powerful options in the next few months. On October 26, Microsoft will release their Surface Pro 4, and Apple is rumored to be launching their iPad Pro in November. So how do these two options match up? And what’s right for you? Let’s break down the features of these two new tablets and compare them side by side.
Measurements and weight
When it comes to physical measurements, there is little difference between the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4. The Surface weighs in at anywhere from 1.69 lbs to 1.73 lbs depending on which version you get, while the iPad Pro weighs slightly less, coming in at 1.57 to 1.59 lbs.
The iPad Pro is also slightly thinner, at 0.27 inches compared to the Surface’s 0.33 inches. So at first glance, you may think that iPad has a slight edge in the measurements department, but the Surface makes up for its slightly bulkier size with a wide array of ports that include a microSD card reader, 3.5mm headset jack, mini DisplayPort, Type Cover port, and a USB 3.0 port. As for the iPad Pro, it lacks all of these and instead comes with only a Lightning port.
As with the measurements (minus the ports), there is no extreme difference in display between the two tablets. The Surface Pro 4 has a 12.3 inch touchscreen with a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 pixels, versus the iPad Pro’s 12.9 inch touchscreen of 2732 x 2048 pixels.
Both the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro come with an attachable full-size keyboard. And the one key difference here is that Microsoft’s version comes with a trackpad, while the iPad Pro’s does not. For the iPad Pro you will instead have to use your finger as a cursor to navigate the touchscreen – which system is best will depend on your preferences.
Operating systems on the iPad Pro or Surface Pro 4
This is where the big difference between these two lies. While the iPad Pro operates on iOS 9, the Surface Pro runs Windows 10. Because of this, Surface Pro has a lot more versatility and power than iPad Pro. It has the ability to run full blown desktop applications like Photoshop or Lightroom, while iPad Pro isn’t capable of this. However, for iOS lovers, iOS 9 provides new features such as improved multi-tasking and split screen.
Here’s the breakdown of the price difference between the two tablets.
$799 – 32GB
$949 – 128GB
$1079 – 128GB + LTE cellular radio
Surface Pro 4
$899 – 128GB (most affordable version)
$2,699 – 1TB + Intel Core i7 + 16GB of RAM (highest-priced version)
Prices range anywhere in-between, depending on storage, RAM, and processor options
It really depends on what you’re looking for. The Surface Pro 4 is more of a PC that looks like a tablet, while the iPad Pro is essentially a tablet. The operating system is the key difference that separates the two. If you want a tablet that runs like a full-blown computer, go with the Surface Pro 4. However, if you’re an Apple fan, the iPad Pro now provides you a larger screen than its predecessors, as well as more versatility and the option of a keyboard.
Still unsure if a iPad Pro or Surface Pro 4 is right for you? Need help with your current iPad? Call us today.
Microsoft, well known developer of some of the most popular business software, has for the past couple of years been trying to break into the hardware market with their own tablet – Surface. While the first two versions of Surface were met with largely mixed reviews, Microsoft is determined to make this platform work and has recently released a new version – Surface Pro 3.
About the Surface Pro 3 tablet
Officially announced on May 20, this newest version of Surface brings about a number of changes to the platform. First and foremost, there is a change in the device’s positioning. While previous versions were designed to be direct competitors to the Apple iPad, the new version of Surface Pro 3 is being marketed as a highly mobile device that is meant to replace your laptop.
In fact, Microsoft has noted that they are targeting users, especially business owners, who have both a tablet and a laptop. The company is billing Surface Pro 3 as the device that will allow users to ditch the two, and instead replace it with one.
In pursuit of this goal, Surface Pro 3 has a larger screen and some advanced tech specs that provide it with laptop-level power, while keeping the overall portability of the modern tablet.
Technical specs business owners will find useful
Surface Pro 3 comes in five different versions, with the models being separated by which 4th generation Intel processor is included and the amount of storage space they have:
64GB Intel i3
128GB Intel i5
256GB Intel i5
256GB Intel i7
512GB Intel i7
Aside from the processor, RAM and storage space, all versions share the following specs:
Size – The Surface Pro 3 is 11.5 inches wide by 7.93 inches high and weighs 1.76lbs.
Memory – The 64GB and 128GB models have 4GB of RAM, while the 256GB and 512GB models have 8GB of RAM.
Screen – There is a 12 inch screen with all models and a resolution of 2160 x 1440. This equates to a high resolution screen that should be more than enough for every user.
Connectivity – All models can connect to Wi-Fi, support Bluetooth 4.0, and have a full-size USB 3.0 port, along with a microSD card reader, and Mini display port.
Operating system – Surface Pro 3 runs a full version of Windows 8.1, which comes pre-installed on the device.
Accessories – There are a number of cases you can buy including the Surface Pro Type Cover which includes a full keyboard and trackpad built into the case. Combine this with the built-in multi-function hinge and you can use the device almost anywhere.
Battery life – Previous versions of the Surface had average, or slightly below average battery life. Because this device isn’t out yet, we can’t give an accurate number as to how long the battery should last. That being said, this is a powerful device so battery life will likely be closer to most laptops rather than tablets – anywhere from four to eight hours.
Should my business invest in this technology?
From the specs alone, the Surface Pro 3 looks to be a good investment for users who are looking to merge their tablet and laptop. Also, because this is a Microsoft tablet, users of the company’s other systems and software, especially Office 365 and Windows 8, will be at home with this device.
If you or your employees are looking to be productive while on the go, and use Microsoft or cloud systems, this device could be the perfect business tool. The major downside to Surface Pro 3, as with previous versions, is the price, which starts at USD$799 just for the device, so you are looking at almost USD$940 per unit. The most powerful version – the 512 GB/ Intel i7 starts at USD$1,949.
Should you be about to replace your tablet and laptop, this could be a viable solution as the cost of replacing both could be more than, or at least similar to, the cost of a Surface Pro 3. That being said, this is still a new device so it may be worthwhile waiting a few months to see how people who purchase the unit like it, and how it can be integrated into your business better.
Where can I find one?
Because this tablet was just announced the other week, it actually isn’t available to purchase just yet. You can go to the Surface website and pre order one now and as of the writing of this article, the i3 and i7 devices will be shipped August 31, 2014 while the i5 devices are scheduled to ship June 20, 2014.
If you can wait until the release, you should be also able to pick up the device from most major retailers and Microsoft partners who carry hardware. And, if you would like to learn more about this device and how it can integrate with your business contact us today.