They are essential for desktop computers, but has it ever occurred to you that external keyboards can come in handy for other purposes as well?
Some advantages will not be obvious for everyone, but in case you type as much as I do, laptop keys could be jammed and become useless sooner rather than later.
It is much cheaper and more convenient to buy an external keyboard from the start. You will then still be able to use the laptop’s internal one as long as you want to and whenever it makes sense, for example. while typing in bed or on a sofa.
Unnecessary costs can also occur, if you, like a friend of mine, accidentally spill a cup of coffee on a laptop and have to buy a new one. This is another example when an external keyboard would have been cheaper and easier to replace.
In the past, I carried a big laptop around with me, whenever I was out and about to write.
Another little old 10” laptop/tablet gathered dust in a corner, and I didn’t use it much, because I found the small keyboard too fiddly to type on. I thought about getting a medium-size laptop for writing away from home, but then I found a better solution.
Now I am often using my smartphone with an external keyboard when I am writing away from home, which is not as bulky and allows comfortable typing.
And there are more advantages: My keyboard Logitech 380 features three extra buttons to assign different devices. When I bought it, I did not expect to need this function but discovered later that I can now quickly and easily switch between my laptop and mobile phone and could use a tablet as well, if I wanted to.
Besides, I always hated writing lengthy messages on my phone in the past, but they are now a breeze.
Things to watch out for
Before I bought my current keyboard, I was looking for a typing experience that I liked and chose my laptop for this reason. There is even a case available if you want one.
Just note that mobile phones do not work with all wireless keyboards. Those with USB receivers are unsuitable; they have to be Bluetooth enabled.
It is also useful to make sure you have a keyboard with the right language layout.
The one I mentioned above comes in two different versions. As I do not just type in English, but in German as well, I need letters that I don’t find on English keyboards (ä, ö, ü and ß.)
Changing the underlying language to German in the settings is okay to a certain extent since I touch-type and know where the letters are, but special characters are a pain to deal with because I need to look at the keyboard to find some of them and would hit wrong keys too often.
These special characters can even be annoying within one language. If you, for example, normally touch-type on a US keyboard and are suddenly using a UK layout, you might be annoyed, when you find out that certain keys are not where you would expect them to be.
My laptop itself is UK English, as I live in London and bought it here, but this is no problem, as long as my external keyboard is German.
I am already looking forward to warmer and more mobile times, although not even the Coronavirus lockdown and the cold can now prevent me from doing short writing sessions outside with my mobile phone and an external keyboard!