What keyboard? 6 of the best keyboards compared

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What keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1867, and 144 years later it's still in use - albeit for many less worthy uses such as killing virtual terrorists and writing horrendously misspelt blog posts.

In the years since, its transmogrified into an all-singing, all-dancing essential part of a computer setup with backlights, USB ports and macro keys.

But what keyboards should prioritise is the mere act of pressing buttons in addition to their ease of use and comfort and extra features such as media keys.

We've rounded up 6 of the best keyboards so you'll be able to find what keyboard is right for you, whether you need it for gaming or typing.

1. Apple Keyboard

Price: £40 / $49

iMacs come bundled with wireless keyboards, but if you order from the Apple Online Store, you can opt for this USB model instead. It has several advantages over its Bluetooth stablemate: it needs no batteries, it has a numeric keypad and there's two convenient USB ports built in. Being USB means there's a cable trailing on your desk, but is this really an issue for a keyboard? For our money, it's a sacrifice worth making for keypad convenience and battery-free operation.

2. Cherry KW6000

Price: £44 / $60

This rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard is equally at home with a Mac and an iPad. It's a little flat and we wish there was an LED to show when the caps lock is on, but other than that, it's great. It has a comfortable typing action plus a range of media keys that work with both Mac and iOS devices, and although it feels a little cramped at first, it's not much smaller than a regular Mac keyboard. It's logically set out too, replicating the Mac's own keyboard very well, though the arrow keys are tricky to use.

3. Cherry Initial for Mac

Price: £16.50 / $35

Remember the big, white keyboards you used to get with Macs years ago? This Cherry USB model is a return to the old-school with its chunky keys. It has the same keyset as an Apple USB keyboard, but sits a lot higher on your desk, hence the built-in wrist rest. Raisers on the base give it an angle, but if you're used to using Apple's keyboards, you might find it too steep. It's far from our favourite keyboard, but if you need a cheap one it might be to your liking.

4. Apple Wireless Keyboard

Price: £59 / $69

The Apple Wireless Keyboard is bundled with modern iMacs, and is also available to buy online or in an Apple store. It's a Bluetooth keyboard that runs off batteries and demands OS X 10.5.8 or above. It has the same design as the USB keyboard, but without the numeric keypad and USB ports. A shorter space bar and one Ctrl key make room for arrows in the bottom-right. Wireless connectivity has its advantages, but we prefer a full-sized keyboard.

5. Logitech Wireless Solar K750

Price: £51 / $60

The K750 is solar-powered, and can draw energy from artificial and natural light. When charged it can be used for three months. Switching it off doesn't stop it recharging, and a downloadable app shows how much power it holds and how much it's getting from the lighting conditions. It's wireless, but uses Logitech's Unifying receiver rather than Bluetooth, so you need a spare USB port for the dongle.

6. Logitech K811 Easy Switch

Price: £90 / $75

The clever thing about this keyboard is it can pair with three different devices over Bluetooth - a Mac, an iPad and an iPhone, for instance - and switch between them at the push of a button. You can use it with your Mac at home, then take it away with you to use with your iOS device on the move, so you don't have to retrain your fingers to use a different keyboard. It's backlit, with ambient light and proximity sensors to make sure the lights only come on when you're using it in the dark. It has a great battery life, and is very comfortable to type on.