Shopping for a Wireless Keyboard

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Carol D. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Can you recommend a good wireless keyboard for my Dell Demension 8200? I've asked Dell what they suggest and (no surprise) they recommend that I use their brand of wireless keyboard. I was just curious as to what you might suggest before I take the 'wireless plunge'. "

My response:

I suggest you start your quest by researching "wireless keyboard" through google. This should at least let you see a wide variety of wireless keyboards that are available.

But before you're off on the hunt, keep in mind a few things:

1. Some wireless keyboards will feature either IR (infrared) or RF (radio frequency) technology. There are a number of issues to consider when deciding between the two; however, most users purchasing a wireless keyboard will only be concerned with which technology can deliver the best reception (with respect to distance). A page at appears to have summed up it up nicely:

" Some professionals in the computer industry argue that radio frequency (RF) devices are inherently better than infrared (IR) devices. RF components, such as Bluetooth, offer a longer transmission range and can send data to several receivers at once without the line-of-sight restriction of IR. Others point out that IR is less expensive with faster data transmission rates and little to no interference from other signals. " (Source:

2. Not all keyboards are the same (I.E.: the layouts). For example: the Enter key may be smaller on some keyboards, while the \ key can vary in its position (it's usually either by the delete key or near the right CTRL key), etc. If you purchase a keyboard that is significantly different than the layout of your current keyboard, it might end up driving you insane trying to re-learn a new keyboard layout.

3. Try and find out how many batteries the wireless keyboard takes and how long you can expect them to last. A good rule of thumb is that more expensive brands tend to "strive" for battery efficiency (especially when there's competition in the marketplace).

4. Some wireless keyboards come with a touchpad built into them (a mouse replacement); some keyboards also come bundled with a wireless optical mouse.

Once you find a few name-brand keyboards of interest, visit your local computer store / circuit city / radio shack and make a request for your top picks.

As for name brands of choice: both Logitech and Microsoft have a very solid reputation.

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