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Tested products: Keyboard & mouse

Despite many advances in computing, like touch screens and voice commands, it’s still the humble keyboard and mouse that keep us productive at work and at home
Keyboard & mouse

If we’re going to spend hours of our working lives behind a computer, and then a few more hours ‘Facebooking’ and browsing at home, it makes sense to invest in good-quality peripherals that keep it all as trouble-free as possible.

Typing texts

Typing texts

Logitech K780, R2 490

It’s a truly elegant solution to a genuine problem: how to multitask between devices. WhatsApp is the culprit, but now you can switch from typing e-mails on your PC to typing text messages on your phone at the touch of a button.

Pair up to three devices on Bluetooth, stand them in the convenient slot on the keyboard and switch the focus of your typing without taking your hands off the keyboard.

Android/iOS/Windows, USB receiver, Bluetooth

Good for your hands

Good for your hands

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, R1 599

Microsoft popularised computing and it takes that responsibility very seriously through ongoing research into healthy computing practices.

One of the results is this outrageous keyboard, designed to hold your hands and wrists in a more natural position, tilted gently inwards with wrists rolled outwards supported on the padded palm rest.

The thumb scoop on the mouse also rolls the wrist into the optimum position. It all takes some getting used to, but the long-term benefits are very real.

Windows, USB receiver

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When cost is key

When cost is key

Genius SlimStar 8000ME Wireless Set, R249

Keyboard shopping on a budget doesn’t mean settling for cheap, loud, bulky equipment that drops you on a deadline.

Genius has been building mouses and keyboards since the dawn of the PC era, so even in this basic package the keyboard is well sprung and the mouse is properly responsive. Its small footprint saves you valuable desktop space, but it still includes multimedia keys to control your music.

Windows, USB receiver

Multimedia mogul

Multimedia mogul

Logitech K400 Plus, R919

Multimedia omnivores quickly realise the value of having a proper PC connected to the TV in the lounge. To eliminate the pain of searching your massive movie collection, YouTube or Netflix, pair your media PC with this lightweight, wireless keyboard.

It has dedicated media-playback buttons and a trackpad to double as a mouse. It would work better with backlit keys, though.

Android/Chrome OS/Windows, USB receiver

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Write now

Write now

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard, R699

There are loads of Bluetooth keyboards built into tablet covers, but we prefer this stand-alone one. It’s light yet sturdy, has decent-sized keys and works with Apple iOS, Android and Windows, so you can switch between devices at will.

The rechargeable battery lasts months at a time, so you never get stranded, and the cover doubles as a stand for your phone or tablet.

Android/iOS/Windows, Bluetooth

Flexible and supportive

Flexible and supportive

Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse, R1 309

Equally at home on a desktop or in a coffee shop, this clever rodent uses the latest low-energy Bluetooth to connect directly with your laptop without using a USB receiver.

The unusual arched shape supports your wrist while giving your fingers a better grip, while the scroll-bar strip provides both tactile and audible feedback. Press the mouse flat to power down and slip it conveniently into a pocket or bag.

Windows, Bluetooth

Handy tips

CORD CUTTING

There are two kinds of wireless peripherals. The most common uses a small USB dongle plugged into the PC that pairs with both mouse and keyboard. Better are peripherals that don’t use up a USB port on the PC, but connect via Bluetooth, specifically on laptops and tablets.

JUICE TUBES

Most wireless peripherals require batteries. We strongly recommend rotating between two sets of rechargeables. You’ll never get caught off guard and the planet will thank you for not sending more toxic waste into a landfill.

TOUCH-TYPING

When replacing a keyboard or mouse, don’t expect to find one that feels exactly like the old one. But, wherever possible, do at least try out your replacement device in the shop. This is especially important for keyboards.

MOUSING AROUND

If you’re expecting to use your mouse on a wide variety of irregular surfaces (wood, glass, metal and also in bed!) then consider one using Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology, which works well under pretty dire conditions.

GOING LARGE

When using your laptop at home or at the office, plug in a full-size keyboard and mouse to increase your comfort and improve productivity over extended work periods. Raising your laptop screen to eye height also helps a lot.

ALSO READ:

7 tips for choosing the right smartphone

6 ways to combat computer eye strain

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