Laptop Keyboard Guide: Should keyboards be a priority while buying laptops in 2021?

Having a good keyboard is just as important as having a good display or processor on your laptop

No matter how advanced voice inputs and smart assistants have become, your keyboard still remains the most essential input method on your laptop. However, not every laptop keyboard is the same with some of them being significantly better than others.

While many people look at RAM, processor, storage space, and other fancy specifications, they overlook the importance of a quality laptop keyboard. Make sure that the laptop of your dreams has a great keyboard otherwise you’ll struggle to get the best possible user experience.

If you see yourself looking for a new laptop in the market and the keyboard is one of the most essential deciding factors, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.

Deciding keyboard factors when buying a new laptop

  • Keyboard size

The size of keys on your laptop keyboard will be important as it’ll be directly proportional to how accurate your keystrokes are. A ‘full-size’ keyboard is what you need to aim for when buying a new laptop. Any laptop that has an 11.6-inch or bigger screen should preferably feature a full-size keyboard.  The accuracy of your keystrokes will be further improved if the laptop’s keys are concave in shape instead of being flat-shaped because the light dimple will help your fingers find the center of the key without having to look down at the keyboard.

  • Additional functions

It is recommended that you should examine the laptop keyboard keys that you believe will benefit you and your type of work. Depending on the working environment, you might also want highlighted keys. Choosing a laptop that has a backlit keyboard with adjustable brightness levels will help you type in the dark without causing any eye strain.

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  • Tactile feedback

It might seem counter-intuitive but it is important to look for keys that offer more resistance when pressed. That is the case because a key with more resistance will offer better tactile feedback to the finger.

  • Travel

The travel of the key signifies how far down it goes when it is pushed. Low-profile keyboards offer short travel and it can be uncomfortable for many to type on such keyboards. Most thin-and-light laptops come with low-profile keyboards because of their slim frames.

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Different types of laptop keyboards

There are primarily three types of laptop keyboards – Traditional, Chiclet, and Mechanical style.

  1. A traditional style keyboard will have the keys placed closer to one another with each key’s edge sloping off. It offers more surface area and key travel and is much easier to replace because the entire keyboard is placed on a replaceable tray.
  2. A Chiclet style keyboard will have keys that appear to pop out of the laptop’s body through cut-outs for each key. The keys are usually flat and don’t slope off around the edges, creating an impression that there is more space between the keys. The Chiclet style is gradually eclipsing the traditional style. It is thinner and more versatile in terms of design.
  3. Unlike the Traditional or Chiclet style keyboards that use a membrane under the keys, a Mechanical keyboard will employ real mechanical switches under the keycaps. The switches will produce an audible click for each key pressed, resulting in increased feedback. The keys on a Mechanical laptop keyboard travel deeper and it is designed to last a long time.

Best laptops with unique keyboards

Chances are, by now you’re already pretty familiar with the keyboard and how important this part of the laptop is. Despite design flaws, you must have mastered its intricacies and gotten used to the limitations. But now you’re in the market for a new laptop and unless you’re going to stick to the same model in 2021, there is a whole new breed of laptop keyboards that you can select from.

Apple MacBook Pro 16in

The MacBook Pro 16in features Apple’s coveted Magic keyboard and to this day, not many laptop manufacturers have come close to delivering the same level of excellence as this one.

The keys are pretty lightweight and very easy to type. Using this laptop will give you the feeling that your hands are floating over cotton candy and you just don’t want to stop typing. Moreover, the keys are immaculately spaced, the sizing is spot on, and the keyboard is perfectly backlit.

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There is also a stunning touch bar that makes it convenient to give instructions from the touch bar itself.

It allows you to quickly preview a file in Finder, make a bookmark on Safari, or delete an email in Outlook.

Google Pixelbook

The quality of the keyboard used in Google’s premium Chromebook is simply stunning.

Google Pixelbook’s keyboard has the absolute finest texture that you can imagine. It isn’t rubber but at the same time, it is still grippy and fantastic to touch.

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The keys don’t have a huge amount of travel but each keyboard stroke can be clearly recognized and the key will bounce back underneath the finger in a nano-second. Use this keyboard once and you’ll feel like you cannot type as quickly on any other laptop as you do on the Pixelbook.

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13’s keyboard and touchpad are two of the most standout components of this 2-in-1 laptop. Dell hasn’t ported over the butterfly keys of the previous version while the keys have 1mm of travel and they’re satisfying, snippy, and just the right amount of loudness to use.

Using the laptop keyboard of XPS 13, you’ll feel that your fingers are flowing smoothly and you’ll make fewer mistakes than usual. Interestingly, the keyboard uses an edge-to-edge design while the keycaps have been made 9% larger.


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