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.
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
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
Related: 5 tips for healthy hands & nails
When cost is key
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 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
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.
Flexible and supportive
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.