Wireless Keyboard – Buying Guide, Seven Features, and our Recommendations

We received a call recently from a long-time customer who wanted to upgrade his wireless keyboard.  That was all the push Chris needed to do some research for a new toy!  But, before I reveal what his new favorite is, let’s talk a little about seven different features you might look for in a new wireless keyboard.wireless keyboard

1 – Mouse:

First, you need to decide if you want the keyboard to be paired with a mouse. The benefit is that you would only have to use one USB port on your machine.  The downside is that not all keyboards come with a mouse, and you may decide that the wireless keyboard you can’t live without, doesn’t have a mouse.

2 – Ten-Key:

What’s your preference?  Using the numbers along the row above the letters, or do you prefer to use the number pad off to the right of a standard keyboard?

3 – Media Keys:wireless keyboard

Do you want to manage additional tasks from your keyboard?  I like that I can control the volume from my keyboard, I can open a window to send a new email, I can open a new browser window, and so much more.

4 – Backlight:

Do you often work in a darkened room?  You may want to consider a backlit keyboard.  The laptops that Chris has been designing recently all come with a backlit keyboard, which is useful when you’re working in bed next to your sleeping spouse.  If you primarily use your wireless keyboard at your desk, you probably don’t need a backlight.

5 – Size:

How big of a keyboard do you want?  Do you want a portable one that clips onto your tablet?  Should it be foldable to fit into your backpack? Or do you want a full-sized wireless keyboard that you can leave on your desk?

6 – Tactile Response:

Clicking?  Silent?  If this is important to you, make sure you know ahead of time what the keyboard will do.wireless keyboard - Logitech MK 320

7 – Ergonomics:

If you have issues with carpal tunnel or spend all day typing, you may want to look for a keyboard that has a unique design to keep your wrists in the proper position while typing.

I have a laptop.  I don’t need a separate wireless keyboard!

That’s what I used to think.  But my laptop is on the small side, and the keyboard is too.  My fingers were continually confusing keys and mis-spelling words.  Worst of all, the heal of my hand would accidentally touch the keypad, and the mouse would go flying to a different part of the screen.  It was very frustrating.  I’ve since learned that I’m not the only one to experience this.  I solved this by purchasing a wireless keyboard, which is the size of a conventional keyboard, and works well for me.

Geek For Hire Recommendations:

Please note: We often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like.  Some of these are affiliate links and we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

  • Chris’ new favorite keyboard is called the Logitech Craft.  It has a funky knob on the top left side which allows you to adjust images in Photoshop or Illustrator. It has a backlit keyboard and (WHAT?!) can manage up to three devices from the single wireless keyboard!  It’s compatible with both Mac’s and PCs.   This one retails for $199, but Amazon and Best Buy currently have it priced at $170.  I’ve seen it on other sites at prices ranging from $179 to $199
  • The wireless keyboard I had been using for the past few years suddenly died last month.  I purchased a Logitech MK320, and I love it. It came paired with a mouse, which means only one USB thingie.  That’s important to me because my laptop only has three USB ports.  It has a separate ten-key which I like.  And, as I mentioned above, I can manage more than just typing with this device! The keys are big enough that my fingers to confuse the “m” and the “n.”  Overall, I like it and loved the price.  It retails for $40, but Amazon currently has it priced at $32 and Best Buy for $25.
  • If you’re looking for a great keyboard for your kids, the wired LearningBoard keyboard comes highly recommended.  It encourages learning and has very good reviews.  Amazon has it for about $ 40.
  • Don’t forget to check pricing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These keyboards may be discounted!

Please forward this to your colleague who constantly has spelling mistakes.

Note:  This guide to purchasing a wireless keyboard was initially published on 15 January 2109 and updated on 17 October 2019.

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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Quick Buyers Guide on Bluetooth Speakers

Have you ever been listening to music on your phone or watching Netflix on your tablet and wished for better sound?  Me too. And that’s where Bluetooth speakers come in.

Please note: We will often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like.  Sometimes we’ll receive an affiliate commission for at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

My favorite Bluetooth Speaker:

Several years ago, I got a JBL Charge 2 as a gift for Chris and promptly claimed it as my own! It was small and compact and had great sound. And it was red, my favorite color!  I think I got it for about $100 at Best Buy. I loved it!  Then suddenly last year it just stopped receiving a charge. Talk about giving up the ghost! I needed to find something else.

So, I did a little research and decided on the JBL flip 4.  It’s smaller than the Charge 2, but that’s fine because it fits perfectly in the cupholder.  It has excellent sound, and the battery lasts forever.  I mostly use it in my Sprinter (camper van).  On road trips, I use it primarily to listen to audiobooks (during the day while driving), and watching Amazon Prime Videos at night. It lists for about $100. though Amazon has it for $90 and Best Buy has it for $100.

JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth SpeakersChris has fallen in love with the JBL Pulse 4. It’s a light show in a speaker!  You can change the color scheme in an app, and you can hook up several of these speakers together.  It is also waterproof.  Frankly, I find the pulsing light distracting, and I’ll stick with the Flip 4.  This one lists for around $300. Best Buy has it for $230 and Amazon has it for around $250.  Here’s the review that turned Chris on to this speaker.

Bargain Bluetooth Speakers:

Both of those bluetooth speakers are a little pricey. If you’re looking for a speaker that is under $25, you’re in luck because I’ve done a little sleuthing on Amazon for you. Remember though, that excellent sound quality requires expensive electronics. If you’re an audiophile, these are not good choices for you!

(You might wonder how I can recommend a product that I haven’t used myself.  I head over to Amazon and look for a specific product. Then I refine the results to only look at items rated 4 stars or higher. Then I look at the number of ratings. So a product with 1000 reviews and 4.8 stars gets more credence than a product with two reviews and 5 stars. Finally, I look at the 1-star reviews and see if any of those are deal-breakers for me.)

Here are two bluetooth speakers that I feel safe recommending. Either of them would make great stocking stuffers and there may be even better pricing on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

XLeader:

The XLeader sells for about $16.  It received 4.5 stars from over 4700 reviews. It comes in black and rose gold. Some of the common reviews say that it is easy to set up, it’s small with big sound,

The biggest con I could find is that the speaker is on the bottom of the unit, which is fine when placed on a hard surface. This reviewer laid it out pretty well:

“Speaker is at the bottom of the unit so you cannot keep it on your couch or bed or any fabric. It has to be on a solid surface, or else the sound will be muffled.”

Oontz:

The highest-rated Bluetooth speaker in this price range is the Oontz Angle 3. It’s got a whopping 38,000 reviews with an average of 4.4 stars.  It has a long range – 100”, great sound, and is water-resistant. (Not waterproof!) It’s available in pink at this price, or you can pay a little more to get it in black, red, white, and orange. The biggest knock on this one is that the sound is not what you would get out a high-end speaker.

Bluetooth Speakers we don’t recommend:

Just for grins, I checked out the JBL Go and the Sony XB01 speakers.  Both are in the price range, and both have above 4.5 stars.  After reading the reviews though, I just can’t recommend either of them.

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Great Tech Recommendations

I once heard that Black Friday was so named by the accountants at retail stores; back when accountants kept paper records and used red ink for losses and black ink for profits.  It was said that the Friday after Thanksgiving was usually the first day all year that retail stores made a profit.  Anyone else have a better theory?!

Regardless of the silly theories, just about every day, Chris makes suggestions to our customers and friends about helpful technology.  I’ve looked through some of his past emails and pulled out a few of the products he has recommended over the past few months.  With Black Friday coming up, you may be able to get some great deals – Take a look! (Note, some of these are affiliate links.)Black friday - bob ross ornament

WiFi Router:

Chris likes the Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 Router.  It has built in protection against malware, it can prioritize your traffic, it’s compatible with the Echo and Alexa, and has built in parental controls.  It generally lists for $200.  Amazon has it for $167.

External Hard Drive:

When you want to make sure all your data is secure, an external hard drive can’t be beat.  Make sure you get one that is big enough to hold all of your data.  Chris likes this one from Western Digital.  One or two terabytes is generally enough space.  If you take a lot of photos and videos, get a bigger one.  The 1 TB generally lists for $80.  Amazon has it for $55.

Blue Tooth Speaker:

We’ve had this JBL speaker for a while now and really like it.  Not a huge discount here.  It lists for $82 and Amazon sells it for $78, but it’s a great speaker.

Battery Pack:Black Friday - External Battery Pack

A portable charger that you can carry around with you can be a lifesaver. The more we use our phones during the day, the more we may have to recharge it mid day.  I got this one a year or so ago and love it.  It will charge my phone several times before running out of juice!  This one is about $25 from Amazon.

Holiday Ornaments:

If you’re looking for something fun, you can’t beat Think Geek.  The best place for all things geeky and fun.  They’ve got Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Rick & Morty, Dr. Who, Marvel, etc. etc.!

Best Black Friday Deals:

Most of the tech stores will have special Black Friday deals all week, so check which outlet has the best deals for you.  Also, you should be able to order online and not have to deal with the craziness in the physical store.  You can try Staples or NewEgg for any of these products as well.

Black Friday Geek For Hire Coupon!

The best deal of all?  Purchase an hour or two with the geek now at a 20% Discount – you can use it later or give it as a gift! (Purchase before “CyberMonday”.  So, November 20-26, 2018).  Fill out our Contact Form with your details, and I’ll mail a coupon to you. Tired of helping your mom/dad/aunt/friend with their computer and network issues?  This is a perfect holiday gift for them!

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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