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Should I get a mechanical keyboard for my laptop?

Typing on a laptop keyboard can be a (literal) pain. Maybe it’s time to upgrade?

2018 macbook air keyboard
Image: Macworld UK

Laptops nowadays are often nearly as powerful as full desktop computers, so the decision-making process when buying a new computer is often “Do I need portability?” and not “Can I make do with less power?” The draw of being able to sling your computer into a bag and work from anywhere is powerful, but is it all that it’s cracked up to be?

Even without having to compromise on power, choosing a laptop often means compromising in other areas. The screens are usually smaller and of lesser quality, although the quality has improved recently. You’ll end up with fewer ports to plug things into, and storage can often be an issue.

Then there are trade-offs with the trackpad and keyboard, so they can fit into the smaller footprint of a laptop. This is what we want to talk about today.

So, should I get a mechanical keyboard for my laptop?

Short answer: Yes (but it doesn’t have to be mechanical)

You’ll always benefit from buying an external (mechanical or membrane) keyboard for your laptop, mainly because it lets you type in a far more ergonomic position than the inbuilt keyboard will. That’ll translate to less strain on your tendons and wrists over time, which you’ll feel immensely glad for.

That’s just as relevant if you use your laptop for gaming, and you also have the benefit of not wearing out your hard-to-replace laptop keyboard keys.

The other thing to think about is that laptop keyboards often have reduced keys, so they can fit into the space afforded by the laptop’s dimensions. That often means no function row, no number pad, or other useful keys like dedicated macro rows. Adding an external keyboard with those keys will help you stay productive without having to memorize multiple key combinations to get the same key presses.

What do you think? Plan on snagging a keyboard to use with your laptop? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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