The 8 best mechanical keyboards of 2021 for gaming and fast typing

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Mechanical keyboards offer tactile and auditory feedback that can reduce typos for fast typists.
  • Many gamers also appreciate the speed of mechanical keyboards.
  • The best mechanical keyboards come from brands like Das, Razer, Logitech, SteelSeries, and more.

Mechanical keyboards create both tactile and auditory feedback, delivering more accuracy for typing and more speed for gaming. The best mechanical keyboards deliver a mix of speed and accuracy in a comfortable set-up that doesn’t feel too loud.

Mechanical keyboards use a physical switch under each key rather than a membrane or rubber dome. Besides offering a satisfying “clicky” feel, mechanical keyboards are more accurate for fast typists. Tom Gilmore is the technology education coordinator at Free Geek, an electronic recycling and refurbishing nonprofit. People who type fewer than 150 words per minute won’t see much of an improvement by ditching the membrane keyboard, he said, but fast typists will gain more accuracy. “The robust construction of each switch also lends itself to being much more durable in terms of the number of times that a key can be pressed before it wears out,” he said.

The feel of the switch is a matter of personal preference. That’s why mechanical switches come in different variations. Besides the amount of pressure required to push each switch, the different types of keys will also have a different feel and noise to them.

As a writer, I regularly type for several hours a day. To find the best mechanical keyboard, I consulted experts, fellow Insider writers, and dozens of professional reviews on the top-ranked options. We’re currently testing many mechanical keyboards to narrow down our list.

Here are the best mechanical keyboards you can buy:

The best mechanical keyboard overall

dask keyboard mac

With designs for Mac and Windows, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a comfortable, all-around performer.

With a classic layout, a sturdy build, and a click that isn’t overly loud, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is an excellent yet versatile mechanical keyboard. The Das Keyboard 4 comes in a PC or a Mac version, so keys like command and Windows will be properly labeled for your system. It’s a full-size, 104-key layout with a numeric pad, with the addition of a nice-sized volume dial and a few media keys.

The version with Cherry MX Brown keys offers that mechanical feedback without annoying anyone that happens to be nearby. 

The full-size keyboard is constructed from plastic, but it’s a thicker, sturdier build than some aluminum models we’ve tested. It doesn’t have colorful backlighting, but the sleek black design will easily fit into any office. The keyboard also connects with a chunky USB cord. But for the mix of comfortable typing, system-specific layouts, and build quality, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional stands out.

Insider reviewer Antonio Villas-Boas calls the keyboard the perfect alternative for those who don’t like Apple’s thin keyboards. It’s a comfortable typing experience, and the Das earns the slot for the best mechanical keyboard in Insider’s guide to the best keyboards.

The best wireless mechanical keyboard

Best mechanical keyboard Razer Pro Type Wireless

The Razer Pro Type Wireless is designed for office users — not gamers — who want cordless freedom.

Razer’s gaming keyboards are highly ranked, but the company’s new mechanical keyboard geared toward the office is getting high praise, too. The Razer Pro Type Wireless loses the colorful backlighting and black keys for a clean, white keyboard with white backlighting.

Using Razer Orange keys, the keyboard uses a quieter key that doesn’t require much force. That makes the keyboard much more office friendly than one designed for gaming, though it’s not as quiet as a membrane, non-mechanical keyboard. The keys are also fully reprogrammable, so you can customize them with shortcuts that best fit your workflow.

Most mechanical keyboards are still corded, but the Razer Pro Type Wireless uses a dongle-free Bluetooth or a wireless connection that requires a USB dongle. That keeps your desk space less cluttered. The Bluetooth connection works with up to four devices, including smartphones and tablets. 

But this mechanical keyboard is power hungry, according to Forbes. If you use the lights and the Bluetooth, the battery is rated to 12 hours, so this is a keyboard you’ll want to plug in at the end of every day. Alternately, you can get up to 84 hours with the lighting off or 78 hours with no lights connecting via Wi-Fi. You can use the keyboard while charging, if necessary. Some users also didn’t like the automatic sleep mode made for saving battery, which can create a delay after pausing.

The best budget mechanical keyboard

best keyboard Drop ENTR

The Drop ENTR is ideal for users new to mechanical keyboards and those on a budget.

Mechanical keyboards usually cost over $100. The Drop ENTR, from a company known for its customizable keyboards, sells for $90 without sacrificing the must-haves. Drop says that the keyboard is designed for newbies, so you don’t have to be a mechanical keyboard expert to get started with a tactile typing experience.

The keyboard is available with a tactile switch called Halo Trues or a linear switch without that bumpy feedback. N-key rollover helps the keyboard keep up with any typing speed. The ENTR is a tenkeyless keyboard, which means it has everything except for that secondary number pad that usually sits on the right. If you don’t need the extra numbers, the smaller keyboard can be more comfortable for centering in the right position on your desk. It also allows you to comfortably reach your mouse. It uses a USB-C wired connection, so there’s no need to charge or worry about batteries.

While it’s a budget-friendly keyboard, PC Magazine notes that the build is good for the price. The keyboard is made from both metal and plastic.

The Drop ENTR lacks the customization of some of the pricier models. It doesn’t have any extra buttons, like media controls, and it’s labeled for use with a PC. It can be used with a Mac, but the layout of some of the extra keys are different.

The best quiet mechanical keyboard

best keyboard logitech g513

The Logitech G513 is ideal for those looking for a mechanical keyboard to use in a shared office space and for gamers who don’t want to annoy their roommates.

The Logitech G513 is a slightly older model, but it delivers some flagship-like features without the price. Insider writer Matthew Smith says that the keyboard has a good, chunky tactile feel for the price point. It’s a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, though it lacks extras like play and volume buttons.

Using Logitech’s own Romer-G Tactile or Romer-G Linear switches, the keys have a bit of a different feel than the Cherry MX options. Membrane-based keyboards will still be the quietest option, but PCMag notes that these keys are quieter than a lot of other mechanical keyboards while still retaining the feel. The keys are also quick enough for gamers to consider this keyboard.

Customization options include both the function keys and adjusting the colorful RGB lighting down to individual keys. The keyboard includes a USB pass-through port, but you don’t gain an extra spot to plug in peripherals because the keyboard needs two USB ports to power that “extra” port.

The best mechanical keyboard for typing

Varmilo VA87M 2

The Varmilo VA87M is great for frequent typists who want both comfort and style.

You don’t need to choose between standard black or white to get a comfortable keyboard. The Varmilo VA87M is a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. That means there’s no extra number pad on the right. It’s easily customizable by switch type, color, and even layout, making it easy to find one that suits your needs, including options that are tailored to Mac.

With its custom switches, the Varmilo VA87M allows you to choose whether you want a lightweight, quiet push; a firm, clicky feel; or something in between. The keyboard’s caps use dye-sub printing to get a variety of colors and styles. That makes it easy to color-code frequently used keys or to get a keyboard that doesn’t look like every other one out there.

The VA87M has a few customizable controls, though it lacks the every-key customizing of some of the pricier models. For roughly $130, it has a mid-range price, but it does lack macros and lighting. Business Insider writer Simon Hill said the keyboard is “easy and effortless to type on.” He also noted that the construction will last for years, though some gaming features are missing.

The best mechanical keyboard for gaming

Best Keyboard Razer Huntsman Elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite is made for serious gamers who need the most speed.

Razer added an optical sensor to each switch on the Huntsman series. Similar to the light sensor on a mouse, it registers when you press that mechanical switch. You get the feel of a mechanical keyboard but at a much faster speed with the Razer Huntsman Elite

Available in linear or clicky switches, the keyboard uses switches designed by Razer rather than a third-party key, like Cherry MX. Razer says the switch has a shorter actuation distance than other similar switches. That means you don’t need to press the keys hard or far. Though it’s a gaming keyboard, it’s also great for general typing, according to TechRadar.

Besides the speed and comfortable typing, the Huntsman Elite offers a full set of keys, including extra controls for media and a custom dial. It has custom macros and custom lighting and can save five user profiles, more if you plug in more memory. The keyboard is constructed with an aluminum top plate. It’s pricey, but you can get those fast switches in models with a smaller design and fewer features, such as the Huntsman Mini.

The best adjustable mechanical keyboard for gaming

best keyboard steelseries apex 7 TKL

The SteelSeries Apex Pro allows you to customize the sensitivity of individual keys, so you can make it fit your preferences.

Mechanical keyboards make it possible to find a key that works best with the way that you type, but the SteelSeries Apex Pro takes that one step further. The keyboard uses linear switches that have adjustable actuation points. That means you can change how hard you need to push each key before it registers, between 0.4mm and 3.6mm. If you tend to always accidentally bump a key, for example, you can turn the actuation way up. The keys you need to press the fastest, on the other hand, can be reduced to just a slight press.

After trying out the Apex Pro late last year, Insider’s Simon Hill said it “might just be the best gaming keyboard there is.” Besides the ability to customize the sensitivity of each key, the keyboard also integrates a small LCD screen and a clickable roller, along with the usual keys that you find on a full-size keyboard.

The Apex Pro is made from aluminum alloy. The USB connection has two ports. You’ll need both if you want to use the USB pass-through port that’s on the keyboard itself. It also includes a magnetic wrist rest, but we’ve tried models with more cushioning. Hill notes that the keycaps can develop grease build-up, while the keyboard surface tends to attract dust. But for gamers who want both a light, easy press and a firmer, harder key, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is hard to beat. 

The best 60% compact mechanical keyboard

best keyboards hyperx alloy origins

Gamers on the go will appreciate the small size but great experience with the HyperX Alloy Origins 60.

A full-sized keyboard doesn’t easily tuck into a laptop bag. The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 is a compact, 60% keyboard that still delivers the feel and durability of a high-end mechanical keyboard. Despite the smaller size, it still builds in RGB lighting, which the white swirls on the space key tend to pick up, too.

A 60% keyboard does away with the numpad like a tenkeyless but goes one step further and removes the arrow, function, and command keys to the right of the Enter key on a typical keyboard. These keyboards make up for those missing keys via shortcuts, so you’ll need to press two keys to hit an arrow key, for example.

We liked the feel of the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 while conducting tests for the best keyboards overall. While the 60% design isn’t for everyone, the smaller profile may be worth considering for gaming away from home or finding that perfect perched keyboard position

How to choose a mechanical keyboard

Key type plays a big role in the overall feel of the keyboard in your hands. Mechanical keys come in three main types, Free Geek’s Tom Gilmore explains:

  • Linear switches are a simple switch type. When you press a key, a circuit is completed, which is what gets that signal to the computer.
  • Tactile switches add a bump to a linear switch. This creates tactile feedback so you can physically feel that the key has been fully pressed.
  • Clicky switches are tactile switches but with auditory feedback as well. As the name suggests, you get a louder click with this switch type.

There’s more than just the basic switch type. Different types of switches will also vary depending on the amount of pressure that you need to use them. This creates variety even among, say, two tactile switches. Pressure sensitivity is measured in grams (g) or centinewtons (cN). “A lighter key (say 45 cN) will be easier to press than a heavier key (60 cN), which can be beneficial for writers or others who type a lot,” Gilmore said. “The lower pressure allows for a faster keypress and less finger fatigue —yes, that is a real thing — for a more efficient workday. A heavier key, however, gives a lot more feedback to the typist and can make people feel more connected to their computer and the work that they are doing.”

Many companies use Cherry switches. Cherry MX has several colors with different feels. The MX Red is quiet without feeling any physical feedback, MX Brown is quiet but tactile, and MX Blue has both physical and auditory feedback. Some companies design their own switches. Some people will prefer one type of switch over another. If you have no idea what type of switch you want, a switch sample costs around $20 and lets you test the sound and feel of different types. 

Outside of the keys, consider features like size and connectivity, and extras like a built-in wrist pad. “A built-in wrist pad keeps your wrist in a neutral position, not flexed or extended,” said Kevin Weaver, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy at New York University.

What we are currently testing

  • Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT: With smooth typing and some gaming-focused macros, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT receives some good praise from the gaming community. It lacks the custom pressure keys and optical-mechanical design of the other $200 gaming keyboards on this list, however.
  • Razer Huntsman Mini: This keyboard is the Huntsman Elite but in a 60% size. Our first impressions of this option are good, though the build quality doesn’t quite seem to match up with the list price. Read our full Razer Huntsman Mini review.
  • SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL: The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL is similar to the Apex Pro, but it uses standard mechanical switches and not customizable switches. It comes in the smaller tenkeyless design. If you don’t want the customization or numpad, you can save $70 and still get a great gaming keyboard.
  • Leopold FC900R: Recommended by Wirecutter, the Leopold FC900R has a lot of customization options for a full-sized keyboard. Reviewers also note the keyboard’s sturdy build.
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Wayfair has announced its huge annual Way Day sale will take place April 28 and 29 and will feature up to 80% off furniture

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wayfair countertop setup
  • Wayfair has finally announced that its huge annual Way Day sale will take place April 28 and 29.
  • The event will feature up to 80% off furniture for every room in the house.
  • Starting today, April 14, you can find sneak peeks of what’s to come on Wayfair’s home page.

Wayfair holds sales often throughout the year, meaning you should never settle for full-priced home goods. The retailer is an excellent one-stop shop for everything for the home, from large furniture pieces to decorative accents.

The next big thing is Way Day: the namesake’s 48-hour annual sales event. It’s just been announced that it will take place this April 28 and 29. During Way Day 2021, you can expect to find up to 80% off furniture for every room, including mattresses, rugs, lighting, appliances, and decor.

It’s still a couple of weeks away, but you can preview what’s to come on Wayfair’s home page. You can even opt in to receive notifications as the flash deals go live – you just need to sign up here. In the meantime, if you can’t hold out the extra two weeks, keep scrolling to find some of the best Wayfair deals available below.

Best Wayfair deals available now

Washlet C100 Bidet Seat (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Low Profile Platform Bed (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Coffee Table (medium)Freestanding Soaking Bathtub (medium)Abou Wood Glam Beveled Accent Mirror (medium)Adamine Coffee Table (medium)Rupelmonde Tufted Armchair (medium)Gabouray Tufted Upholstered Platform Bed (medium)Reposa Reversible Sofa and Chaise with Ottoman (medium)Product Card (medium)

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10 products on Amazon that will make make your home office feel a lot more comfortable

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Logitech Trackball Mouse
  • In the past year, many of us started working from home. Now, more than 50% of American adults want to keep it that way.
  • Whether you’re working from home permanently or just want to up the ante on your home office space, we’ve got you covered.
  • Keep reading for 10 products to make your home office more comfortable, all from Amazon.

In the past, working from home was an unusual occurence for many corporate employees. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many major companies went remote, with all employees working from home. Now, a lot of people want to keep it that way. More than half of American adults say they want to continue working from home, even when it’s safe to go back to the office.

If you’re going to be working from home for the long haul, you’re going to want to make sure your space is practical and comfortable. We’ve got you covered with 10 products you can buy on Amazon to make your home office a little more comfortable.

A cushion to make long hours in an office chair more bearable

Purple back seat cushion

Purple Back Support Cushion, $39

Sitting for hours on end can be hard on your back. This thick cushion has a unique grid design for optimum pressure relief, so you don’t have to deal with any back pain.

A simple laptop stand

Soqool Laptop Stand

Soqool Laptop Stand, $20

Looking down at your laptop all day is a pain in the neck, literally. This laptop stand brings your computer to eye level for a more comfortable posture.

An ergonomic mouse

Logitech Trackball Mouse

Logitech Wireless Trackball Mouse, $50

I never knew I needed an ergonomic mouse until I tried one. The sculpted shape is made to fit your hand, so it feels a lot more natural to use. Plus, it’s wireless which makes for simple scrolling.

A unique leaning seat

Focal Locus Chair

Focal Locus Chair, $537

If you’re always moving to find a comfortable seating position, you may like this leaning seat. It’s somewhat of a cross between a standing chair and a seated chair, with different seating positions to promote movement throughout the day.

A simple and sophisticated desk pad

Eminta desk pad

Eminta Office Desk Mat, $13

Though it looks nice, this desk pad is for more than just aesthetics. It protects your glass or wooden tabletops from scratches and scuffs, plus it’s non-slip, waterproof, and even functions as a mousepad.

A desktop organizer

Office Oasis desk organizer

The Office Oasis Desk Organizer, $40

It’s always helpful to have a dedicated space for all of the tools you’ll need for the workday. It may not provide any physical comfort, but it definitely will make you feel calmer knowing you don’t need to run around the house looking for a pencil.

A standing desk riser

Flexispot desk converter

Flexispot Desk Converter, $170

Turn any surface into a standing desk with this smart desk riser. When you want to sit, leave it as when. When you want to stand adjust the height witht the easy-to-handle level. It comes in multiple widths so you can be sure to find one that fits your desktop situation. 

An affordable desk chair

BestOffice Desk Chair

BestOffice Ergonomic Desk Chair, $52

If you’ve repurposed a chair from the kitchen table to be a desk chair, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. This one from Amazon is affordable, comes in multiple colors, and is highly-rated for its comfortable, ergonomic design.

An aromatherapy diffuser

Renewer Essential Oil Diffuser

Renwer Essential Oil Diffuser, $22

Keep your space smelling fresh and clean all day with this aromatherapy diffuser. It also functions as a humidifier, continually misting and purifying the air in your room.

An insulated coffee mug

Corkcicle Coffee Mug

Corkcicle 16oz Coffee Mug, $17

When working for long hours, you want a mug that’ll keep your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold. It’s triple-insulated to keep your drinks hot for three hours.

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The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 wins on ergonomics, but it doesn’t have enough cushioning for the price

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Autonomous ErgoChair 2
  • A quality ergonomic chair supports more than just your butt – it should support your back and arms as well.
  • The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 offers this extensive range of adjustable elements so most users should be able to find a comfortable fit with adequate support.
  • The chair could stand to have a bit more cushion, as the hard armrests and modestly padded seat become a bother after longer stretches in the seat.
  • At its frequent $399 price, the ErgoChair 2 doesn’t have too much competition offering the considerable flexibility it offers.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyErgoChair 2 (small)

If you do something often, you should make sure you do it well. That idea holds for sitting, and as many of us spend the day away at a desk in an office chair, it’s worth having one that gives us the support we need to do a good job. That’s where ergonomic chairs like the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 come in.

This chair is designed to support you in whatever position works best. In order to get a good ergonomic setup at your desk, you’ll either need to be incredibly lucky with your chair selection, or you’ll need a chair with plenty of adjustments to fit just right. That’s the approach the ErgoChair 2 takes with positional flexibility for the seat, backrest, lumbar support, headrest, and armrest. It’s an impressive degree of on-the-fly customization for a chair at its price point.

Autonomous largely sticks the landing with this chair, but building such a flexible ergonomic chair at this price point appears to have come with a couple of trade-offs. The most notable is an underwhelming seat cushion, though it may not be as poor a support for users under 200 pounds as it is for heavier users. The armrests also lack any cushion. This can see the chair get uncomfortable after long stretches, but it has yet to leave me feeling sore, and both issues can be remedied with aftermarket cushions for a fraction of the price of upgrading to a comparable chair from the likes of Steelcase or Herman Miller.

Specifications

The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 is a flexible seat by nature. In order to achieve proper ergonomics, a number of parts of the chair need to move to fit your body. To that end, the ErgoChair 2 features a seat with available adjustments to tilt, depth, and height. The backrest offers angle adjustments and can recline. The arm rests also support height, front-back, side-to-side, and angle adjustment (collectively known as 4D adjustment). Finally, there is an adjustable headrest and lumbar support, both of which can move vertically and support slightly adjustable angles.

Autonomous ErgoChair 2 Specifications
Overall height: 46 to 50 inches
Overall depth: 29 inches
Overall width: 29 inches
Seat depth: 20 inches
Seat width: 20 inches
Seat height from floor: 18 to 20 inches
Backrest length (including headrest): 28 to 31 inches
Arm to floor: 24 to 29.75 inches
Tilt range: 20 degrees
Weight limit: 350 pounds
Assembled weight: 48.5 pounds
Shipping box weight: 67 pounds

Since everyone will require a slightly different seat, it can be tricky to find an ergonomic chair that works just right. To that end, Autonomous offers a 30-day trial period in which you can try the chair and return it for a full refund with free return shipping. However it’s worth noting that disassembling the chair is more difficult than assembly. Autonomous also offers a 2-year warranty, which is fair but not quite as long as some premium office chairs, like the Steelcase Leap V2‘s limited lifetime warranty.

Set-up process

Autonomous ErgoChair 2 set up

Assembly of the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 is straightforward, especially considering how many points of adjustment the chair supports. The kit comes with all the tools required to assemble and has the bolts and washers all organized in a package with clear labeling.

I was able to get the chair all unboxed and fully assembled in close to 30 minutes. The instructions are fairly straightforward, and there are no confusing aspects to the assembly. The only part that may be a little tricky for solo assembly is attaching the backrest to the seat, as they are both large and weighty parts, so holding them in place while aligning the bolt holes takes some finesse.

The next tricky aspect of getting the chair fully situated is just how many adjustments it allows. There are many knobs, levels, latches, and sliders, so it takes a little tinkering to get sorted.

Design

The ErgoChair 2 gives off the immediate impression that it’s made for ergonomics. That’s largely on account of the mechanical aspects of the backrest. Beyond that, the chair comes in enough colorways that it could blend in as a classic office chair in all black, gray/white, and black/white, or serve as a statement piece with the more vibrant red, green, or blue seat cushions.

Despite all of its ergonomic features, the chair is still on the pretty side and doesn’t lean into H.R. Giger’s design territory, like some ergonomic chairs. That said, at its price point, the ErgoChair 2 isn’t sporting many premium materials. Mesh is a pleasure for the backrest, but there’s not much in the way of metal components nor faux leather. Plenty of plastic and polyester. This presents some small build-quality concerns that aren’t lessened by the ever-so-slight wobble of the seat on its base (not a feature).

Autonomous Ergo Chair 2 design

My structural concern is somewhat alleviated by the chair’s weight capacity of 350 pounds. I’m 6-feet-3-inches and pushing 240 pounds, and I haven’t felt the chair show signs of stress about my weight. Creaking noises would be worrying, but I haven’t heard any.

It’s all the more impressive that this chair really proves how well its adjustments can fit a wide range of users. With an ample height range for the seat, armrests and headrest, the chair should comfortably fit anyone in the 5-feet range, and I think it could even accommodate someone as tall as 6-feet-5-inches before the headrest simply falls short.

All that flexibility helps in the mission to finding a comfortable setup, but there are a few aspects of the chair that don’t put in as strong an effort.

I’m a fan of the seat itself for its size and shape. It doesn’t have bucket seat wings cutting into the space, and it’s possible to tuck a leg up onto the seat comfortably. The seat can even tilt forward for a slightly more active sitting position, though the chair isn’t high enough for me to take advantage of that feature. But, the cushion on the seat is not very dense. For users under 200 lbs, it may be enough for full support. For me and anyone heavier, it will almost fully compress, creating a bit more pressure than is comfortable for long periods. That’s also a concern for longevity, as the cushion will likely wear down over time to provide even less support. I’ve been on this seat for long workdays and plenty in the evenings as well, and while it hasn’t become a pain, this lack of cushion is a consistent bother.

This issue with comfort extends to the armrests as well. While the 4D adjustments help get the armrests into comfortable positions, the PU pads on top are very firm. After a couple hours, they wear on my elbows. And, though the height and front-back adjustments are generous enough, the angle and side-to-side adjustments don’t offer as much wiggle room to get a comfortable typing position, so I find my arms pressing onto the flat edges of the armrests. It doesn’t help that three of the armrest adjustments are just loose movements that don’t lock into place in any way, so the overall impression is that they’re somewhat cheaply made.

It’s a shame to see these cushion shortcoming in the ErgoChair 2 when Autonomous’s cheaper MyoChair had a more comfortable cushion on its seat and actually had some padding on its armrests, even if those armrests weren’t very adjustable.

Autonomous ErgoChari 2 Design 2

Autonomous gains some points back for the backrest and features associated with it. The mesh does a great job supporting my back, and the lumbar support has enough range to get into a cozy position. The frame of the backrest is also wide enough that it doesn’t dig into my shoulders. The headrest works as an excellent extension of the backrest with a nice curve and supporting mesh that’s pleasant to relax into.

Relaxing gets a little bit nicer, thanks to the chair’s tilt and recline. The seatback can tilt back and lock in to a desired angle in case you prefer a more relaxed position. The seat also has a modest recline that’s not so far back that I feel like I’ll fall out but also far enough to take some of the weight off my sit bones. Since the seat tilts slightly as the seat back reclines, I never feel like I’m going to slide out of the chair when I recline.

Autonomous ErgoChiar 2 Design 3

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you’ve been struggling to find a chair that can adjust to give you a proper fit, this chair is a solid bet. But, be prepared to augment the cushions if you’re over 200 pounds.

What are your alternatives?

You can save a bit of cash for a slightly simpler office chair with the $299 Eureka Ergonomic High-Back Mesh Office Chair, but you’ll miss out on adjustable armrests and won’t get the same weight capacity. The Uplift Vert may be a serious contender at the same price point, but does lack some of the adjustments available on the ErgoChair 2. If you don’t need your chair strictly styled for the office, the Cougar Argo offers something a bit snazzier at a slightly higher price

The bottom line

Autonomous ErgoChair 2 bottom line

The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 could have been a fantastic office chair if it had a bit more cushion. Some aftermarket add-ons may do the job, but it would have been nice to see it come a little softer right out of the box. The firmness of the armrests and sub-par density of the seat foam are really the only things holding this chair back, and the latter may not be a major concern for lighter-weight users.

  • All that said, at $449 (or more frequently $399), it’s offering a lot that many competitors in its price bracket lack. It’s quite affordable for an ergonomic chair with so many adjustment options, and even if it is lacking cushion, the cost of aftermarket cushions still wouldn’t push it into the price bracket of some of the better known office furniture makers.

Pros: Highly adjustable, competitive price, many style options, relaxing recline, supportive mesh back and headrest, no signs of creaking, simple setup, 30-day trial period

Cons: Seat cushion lacks density, armrests are hard on the arms and elbows, armrests’ adjustments a bit limited

ErgoChair 2 (button)

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The best computer mouse of 2021 for gaming, work, and travel

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • How you plan to use your computer mouse will dictate which one you should buy.
  • At higher prices, you can find mice with programmable buttons and different speed settings.
  • Using a mouse for long hours can fatigue your wrist, so you may want an ergonomic choice.

The best computer mice do more than point and click; they offer accurate, quick cursor movement without creating wrist strain. Logitech, Razer, SteelSeries, and Anker produce some of the most recommended mice.

“The number one thing to consider when buying any computer hardware is ‘What will you be using the device for?'” says Tom Gilmore, the technology education coordinator at Free Geek, a nonprofit that refurbishes computer hardware. “This single question dictates exactly what you need and can help guide you to either cheaper or more premium options, and help you to narrow down the vast number of options to just a few.”

A poorly designed mouse can increase the strain on your wrist and hands. Weak connectivity can lead to slow performance (and losing that computer game). Some won’t roll over rugged surfaces.

As a freelance writer and photographer for nearly a decade, I’ve been working from home since before 2020 made it the norm. I consulted a certified ergonomics expert and spent hours digging through expert mouse reviews. I’ve rounded up nine of the most recommended computer mice, from budget options to fully-featured stand-out products.

Here are the best computer mice you can buy

The best computer mouse overall

best computer mouse logitech mx master 3

The Logitech MX Master 3 is great for professionals who spend a lot of time mousing and need both comfort and superior performance.

With reviewer nods from Wirecutter to PC Mag, the Logitech MX Master 3 is lauded for its large but ergonomic shape. The mouse has a curve designed to fit your right hand, with a wheel and gesture pad near the thumb. A scroll wheel and forward and back buttons are also built into the mouse.

The control scheme offers app-specific shortcuts for programs from Zoom to Photoshop. Using controls built into the mouse may mean less back and forth between the mouse and keyboard.

That scroll wheel is capable of rolling through 1,000 lines per second, Logitech says. Slow the spin, and the wheel goes from line-to-line for more precision. The laser mouse offers 4,000 DPI for more sensitivity and is capable of tracking on difficult surfaces such as glass. (Higher DPI, like the Razer Pro Click‘s, make for a faster mouse.) The downside? It’s pricey. The $100 price tag makes the mouse best for power users that are using a mouse for several hours a day.

The best mouse for precision use

best computer mouse Razer Pro Click

With a 16,000 DPI optical sensor, the Razer Pro Click is ideal for long-haul users that need the most precision for detailed mousing.

The Razer Pro Click has one of the best optical sensors for a mouse, with four times more dots per inch than the Logitech MX 3. That superior sensor combined with the optical design (that doesn’t fall victim to the occasional jitter of a laser) makes the mouse good for detailed work, such as precise adjustments in Photoshop.

The mouse is designed with a large curve that Razer says prevents your wrist from resting on the desk. TechRadar’s review says that the mouse is so well designed that “you’ll barely notice you’re using a mouse at all.” The curve does prevent left-handed use, however. 

The mouse houses eight different buttons that you can customize to your liking. The mouse can connect to multiple devices through wireless. For twice the battery life at 400 hours, it also connects through Bluetooth. The charger isn’t the more modern USB-C, however.

The best ergonomic mouse

best computer moues Logitech MX Ergo

For power users that need to reduce wrist pain, the Logitech MX Ergo‘s trackball design means your hand rests comfortably in one spot.

The Logitech MX Ergo offers a custom tilt angle designed to better fit the shape of your hand, plus a lot of other features geared towards minimizing wrist strain. It’s a trackball mouse, which means you can keep your wrist in one position and use the trackball that sits near the thumb to navigate, instead. Trackball mice are not for everyone — using one requires reprogramming years of using a traditional mouse — but they can be more comfortable.

The MX Ergo’s plentiful buttons can also be programmed for different functions based on what app you are using. A mode button near the trackball allows you to switch between fast or more precise tracking. The mouse requires little power; Logitech says it lasts 70 days on a full charge, and plugging it in for just a minute will power another 24 hours of use.

Trackball mice are innately different, and not everyone will love this pricey option. The MX Ergo is also not made for lefties.

The best budget ergonomic mouse

best computer mouse logitech ergo m575

The Logitech Ergo M575 is for everyday users who want a comfortable trackball mouse but don’t need the extra buttons and custom tilt of pricier models.

The Logitech Ergo M575 is a good compromise when the $100 Logitech MX Ergo is too much. While the M575 lacks the custom tilt, extra buttons, and precision mode switch of the MX Ergo, it still offers some of the same ergonomic features. Despite selling for about $50, the M575 still has a custom DPI from 400 to 2,000.

The Ergo M575 is a trackball mouse; you don’t move the mouse around the desk, you move a trackball with your thumb. That design will take some getting used to, but keeping your hand in a stationary position is much more friendly on the wrist. The mouse is curved to fit better in the right hand.

Besides the typical mouse buttons, scroll wheel, and trackball, the mouse also houses back and forward buttons that you can reprogram with Logitech’s software. Connecting with Bluetooth, the mouse can run up to twenty months on one AA battery, according to Logitech. Used as a wireless mouse with the USB dongle, the battery life bumps up to two years.

The best portable mouse

best computer mouse Logitech MX Anywhere 3

Logitech’s MX Anywhere 3 is geared towards on-the-go computer users that demand more from a mouse. It’s also good for those with smaller hands.

The Logitech MX Anywhere 3 takes some of the features in the flagship MX Master 3 and adapts them to mobile users. The Mac version can even be used on iPads. The mouse still offers customizable buttons but in a travel-friendly size.

Logitech says that the mouse has a quick, 1,000-lines-per-minute scroll wheel with the ability to get down to pixel-level details. It’s made to withstand the typical bumps from riding in a laptop bag. Despite the smaller size, there is a slight curve made for a better fit in your hand.

The fast scrolling and 200 to 4,000 DPI sensitivity range mean the MX Anywhere 3 isn’t a budget travel mouse. A full charge will last 70 days, which is good but not as good as the Microsoft Surface Mobile.

The best budget portable mouse

Best computer mouse microsoft surface mobile mouse

Laptop users who want a portable, ambidextrous mouse for not much cash may want to consider the $35 Microsoft Surface Mobile Mouse.

Designed specifically for laptops, the Microsoft Surface Mobile Mouse is made for portability. The mouse uses a slimmer design that’s easy to tuck into a laptop bag. The Bluetooth mouse lasts up to a year on one charge, so you shouldn’t need to bring the charger with you.

The Surface Mobile has a symmetrical shape that’s suitable for left or right-handed users. But besides being lefty friendly, the symmetrical shape means you can use either hand to reduce strain on a single wrist. The base isn’t smaller than a typical mouse, and PC Magazine’s review says it tends to be more comfortable than smaller travel mice. 

The portable design doesn’t curve to the shape of your hands as well as with ergonomically-focused mice, however. At around $35, it also won’t deliver the extreme speed and precision of a high-end mouse.

The best gaming mouse

best computer mouse Razer DeathAdder V2

Gamers who prioritize comfort, as well as speed and accuracy, will appreciate what the Razer DeathAdder V2 has to offer. 

The Razer DeathAdder V2 is a favorite among gamers because the computer mouse offers speed, precision, and a comfortable grip. With up to 20,000 DPI, the wired customizable gaming mouse has plenty of speed and accuracy.

Beyond just the high-precision hardware, the mouse has a large arched grip and a comfortable thumb rest, which earned it a recommendation from The Verge. The mouse is also outfitted with several different buttons. Both the buttons and DPI settings can be adjusted using Razer’s software. A switch on the bottom allows the mouse to store up to five different setting combinations, which is ideal for different games or moving from gaming to web browsing.

While the $70 mouse is fast, some of that speed comes from the fact that it’s wired. That’s preferred by many gamers but can still be an inconvenience.

The best customizable gaming mouse

best computer mouse SteelSeries Rival 600

The SteelSeries Rival 600 has two sensors and custom weights for gamers that want ultimate customization, all for an affordable price.

The SteelSeries Rival 600 has two optical sensors that create a mouse with excellent tracking, including detecting when you pick it up. While SteelSeries says the mouse is best for esports, Tom’s Guide calls it one of the best all-purpose gaming mice.

The 12,000-DPI mouse offers custom sensitivity settings as well as custom weights. Four weights can be configured into slots on both sides of the mouse to customize the feel and balance. The lift-off distance can also be configured between 0.5 and 2 mm.

The mouse is made from reinforced plastic and has seven buttons. The buttons use mechanical switches that have been tested to 60 million clicks. The downside is that the button placement isn’t quite perfect, according to PC Gamer.

The best budget gaming mouse

best computer mouse Logitech G502 Hero

The Logitech G502 Hero is good for gamers that balk at the higher price points of most gaming mice.

Gaming mice tend to be higher in price, but the Logitech G502 Hero is around $50 and still offers the features most gamers look for. 

The Logitech G502 allows gamers to customize the weights as well as the RGB lights. With DPI from 100 to 16,000, the mouse can easily be customized depending on if speed or accuracy is most important to the game. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Wirecutter’s biggest complaint is that the many buttons can limit where you place your hand.

 The G502 is a wired mouse, which is better for speed, but it is also available in wireless as the pricier Logitech G502 Hero Lightspeed.

How to find the best computer mouse for you

Buying computer peripherals is seldom a one-size-fits-all scenario. Both the shape of your hand and your primary use will change your definition of a great mouse. When choosing a computer mouse, consider the following:

Optical or Laser? Optical and laser mice are quite similar, says Free Geek‘s Gilmore. Both use a camera-like sensor to look for changes in the surface to tell the computer how to move the cursor. A laser mouse uses a laser to light that sensor and tends to do a bit better on glossy surfaces. Some can even work on glass. But on a typical wood desk, most users won’t notice a difference.

DPI or CPI: The dots-per-inch (or counts-per-inch) specification on a mouse is similar to the resolution of the sensor. A higher DPI means a faster mouse, Gilmore says, which is even more important when using a high-resolution monitor. A lower DPI mouse can be more precise. Some high-end mice allow you to choose different DPI settings, so you can switch based on whether you want speed or precision.

Connectivity: A wireless mouse eliminates the cord but uses a USB dongle to connect to the computer. A Bluetooth mouse is similarly wireless but doesn’t need that dongle to connect with a Bluetooth-compatible device. You might want to consider that option if you have limited ports. Take a look at wireless and Bluetooth mice’s battery lives so you’ll get a sense of how often you’ll be charging them. Wired mice still have their place, particularly for gaming. Wireless and Bluetooth mice may introduce some lag that’s noticeable in fast-paced games.

Weight: Lighter mice are typically easier to move around. Fast-paced gamers tend to consider the weight of a mouse.

Comfort: How a computer mouse feels will depend on the size of your hand, says Kevin Weaver, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy at New York University. He is also certified by the Board of Certified Professional Ergonomists and the Oxford Institute.

He suggests using both hands with an ambidextrous mouse to halve the time spent on a mouse. “As best as you can, centralize your mouse,” he said. “If you look at most laptops, the touchpad is built into the base, right under the space key, in a centralized position. That’s a best-case scenario because you can use your left or your right and have half the frequency.”

If using your non-dominant hand feels too odd, he suggests choosing a contoured mouse that fits with your dominant hand. “[I]t’s important to go test these out in a showroom or store. One size does not fit all, one rule does not fit all,” he said.

What else we considered

We like the Anker Ergonomic Vertical Mouse and the Logitech M720 Triathlon, but both are being discontinued by their respective manufacturers. You can still find the Anker model for around $21 and the Logitech for about $39.

What we’re currently testing

While the mice above come with excellent reviews from reputable publications, we’re testing all the mice to determine what’s the best for different applications. In addition to the mice above, we’re also testing two more.

The Logitech MX Vertical: This vertical mouse is recommended by several publications. Using a vertical mouse takes some getting used to. We’ll try it out to see if that learning curve may be worth the effort for users with wrist pain.

The Apple Magic Mouse 2: Apple’s mouse uses gesture controls on the surface, much like the trackpad on a MacBook. The mouse is slimmer, however, and doesn’t fit into your hand like a contoured mouse.

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Active seating promotes movement, improves posture, and activates your core while sitting, and some models can work in tandem with a standing desk, so you can find the perfect combination of sitting and standing throughout the day. These are our top picks for the best active seating.


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If you spend the majority of your day parked in your office chair, you owe it to your body to choose a chair that gets an A+ for ergonomics. Our top picks will help improve your posture and may even help relieve back pain.


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Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best mesh Wi-Fi routers for improving your home network

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Mesh Wi-Fi networks, also known as mesh routers or mesh systems, are a hot trend in home Wi-Fi.
  • The best mesh networks deliver range and reliability beyond what a Wi-Fi router can match.
  • Mesh Wi-Fi networks are expensive, but they offer simple set up compared to routers and extenders.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems, which are also called mesh routers or mesh networks, promise superior range and reliability compared to Wi-Fi routers. They’re perfect for covering large homes and fixing persistent Wi-Fi dead spots.

They also appeal to owners who want a simple, app-based setup process. This makes a mesh system easier to configure than a network of Wi-Fi routers, access points, and extenders. Router brands know many people find networking confusing and are building mesh networks with simplicity in mind.

Unfortunately, mesh Wi-Fi systems are expensive. Most are sold at prices that are equal to, or above, the most extravagant Wi-Fi routers on store shelves. Prices are coming down, however, and basic mesh Wi-Fi systems are now available for prices that equal mid-range Wi-Fi routers. If this continues, mesh systems will likely replace Wi-Fi routers as the default choice for most homes.

Here are the best mesh Wi-Fi network systems you can buy:

The best mesh Wi-Fi network system overall

Best mesh wi fi netgear orbi

Netgear’s Orbi AX6000 is fast, reliable, and boasts massive range; it’s perfect for large homes and demanding users.

The Netgear Orbi AX6000 supports Wi-Fi 6 and has two 5GHz Wi-Fi bands to reduce network interference and improve reliability. This has led to great results in reviews, most of which place the Orbi AX6000 in the top tier of wireless performance. The Arris Surfboard Max AX6600 is the only competitor we recommend that can match its speed.

CNET’s review of the Orbi AX6000 found it delivered speeds of more than 500 megabytes per second, even at a range of 75 feet from the primary router. It spreads the speed reliably enough to cover large homes, and you can extend the range by 2,500 square feet if you purchase additional nodes. 

The Orbi AX6000 uses an app-based interface that most owners will find approachable. It’s Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatible, so some features can be controlled by voice command through a smart speaker or smartphone. 

However, the Netgear Orbi AX6000 is the most expensive mesh network we recommend. Fortunately, you get what you pay for. 

The best mesh Wi-Fi network system for performance

Best mesh wifi system arris surfboard max ax6600

The Arris Surfboard Max AX6600 has great performance and a better price than many of its competitors. 

Arris is among the less well-known brands in home networking, but its mesh network systems are strong contenders giving Netgear, Linksys, and Asus stiff competition.

The Arris Surfboard Max AX6600 is its mainstream tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system, and its performance can match even Netgear’s Orbi AX6000. Reviews indicate the gap between the two seems small enough that they’re basically equals. However, the Arris is often sold for much less. This makes it an excellent value. 

While its performance is impressive, the system lacks configuration options. Arris uses an app-based setup, which works well but lacks the advanced options that some owners might expect. This includes advanced parental controls. 

The system lacks a wired backhaul, which allows an optional wired connection between nodes for maximum performance. Most homes don’t need this feature, but most competitors have it, and it can be useful in homes already wired for Ethernet. 

The Arris Surfboard Max AX6600 will work best in homes that don’t need advanced features but do want fast Wi-Fi speeds at a reasonable price. 

The best budget mesh Wi-Fi network system

best mesh wi fi TP Link Deco X60

The TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 is as inexpensive as a dual-band, Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi system gets.

The TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 is affordable compared to most other mesh systems, costing less than some of TP’s pricey wireless routers.

This system’s Wi-Fi 6 performance is generally the lowest of any on this list and offers no significant advantage over the Nest Wifi, which doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6. TP-Link’s Deco X60 is the most affordable system on this list, though, so mediocre performance isn’t a surprise. It doesn’t offer a lot of ports, and there’s no USB.

One notable perk is the Deco X60’s configuration options. TP-Link’s app supports features like dynamic DNS and port forwarding, features that aren’t found on some more expensive systems. This is good news for owners who need an affordable mesh router that still plays nice with a home media or file server. You’ll have more control over how devices communicate on your network, which, in the case of home servers, is sometimes needed for them to function properly.

The TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 is not an impressive mesh system, but it’s affordable and good enough for homes that aren’t demanding. Those looking for a basic but functional mesh network can pick this system up for less than many wireless routers. 

The best mesh Wi-Fi network system for smart homes

Best mesh wi fi nest wifi

One of the easiest mesh systems to set up and use, the Nest Wifi is a great choice, despite limited capabilities. 

Google’s Nest Wifi is among the least capable mesh Wi-Fi systems on this list. It doesn’t even support Wi-Fi 6. Why is it on this list? Ease of use is a key reason. 

Most mesh Wi-Fi systems are easy to set up and use, but Nest Wifi is on a different level. Setting up Nest Wifi is fast and easy. Once finished, you can easily control the network settings through a smartphone app that looks similar to other Google apps. 

Nest Wifi also has a unique feature. Each router or node doubles as a Google Assistant-compatible smart speaker. This is a bonus for buyers who don’t have smart speakers throughout their homes. You can play music, listen to podcasts, and interact with Google Assistant, just as you would on an Android smartphone.

Wired connectivity is extremely limited, even on the router. There are no Gigabit Ethernet ports on the nodes, and USB is also absent.  

Though it doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 (the newest and fastest Wi-Fi standard), Nest Wifi delivers solid performance for its price. Most reviews find the Nest Wifi outperforms similarly inexpensive Wi-Fi 5 mesh systems and can come close to Wi-Fi 6 systems. This is not the performance pick, but it’s good enough for many homes.  

Google Nest Wifi is great for smaller homes and for shoppers who care more about ease of use and smart-home connectivity than maximum wireless speeds.

The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh network system for smart homes

best mesh wi fi amazon eero pro 6

The Amazon Eero Pro 6 has a built-in Zigbee radio, making it attractive for smart-home enthusiasts with lots of connected devices. 

Amazon’s Eero Pro 6 is the most expensive and feature-packed option from the brand, and it’s aimed at smart home enthusiasts. 

The Eero Pro 6 has a built-in Zigbee radio. Zigbee is a wireless standard designed specifically for smart-home devices. While not a mainstream name, Zigbee is popular in the world of smart home devices and is used by brands like Philips Hue, Yale, Honeywell, and Bosch, among many others. The Eero Pro 6 is also Alexa compatible, so you can control router functions through Alexa voice commands. 

All this sits on top of a solid, app-driven interface that makes setup and configuration easy. Although it shares the advanced configuration limitations of many mesh systems, the Eero Pro 6 rivals Google’s Nest Wifi for ease of use.

The system’s Wi-Fi 6 performance is fine but can’t compete with the fastest mesh networks available. The main reason you’d want to choose the Eero over the Nest Wifi is if you have a more spacious home, as it covers a larger range. 

Though the Eero Pro 6 works well and has good smart home support, it comes at a high price. A single Eero Pro 6 router is nearly as expensive as Google’s Nest Wifi two-pack, and pricing swiftly increases from there. Despite this, the overall feature set and performance offered by the Eero Pro 6 is not impressive compared to systems like the Asus ZenWifi XT8 AX6600 or Linksys Velop AX4200. 

Still, the Eero Pro 6 can make sense for those who are as interested in smart-home support as Wi-Fi performance. The included Zigbee radio provides broad compatibility that will fit well with many smart-home devices.

The best mesh Wi-Fi network system for large homes

Best mesh wi fi Linksys Velop AX4200

Thanks to a three-device bundle, the Linksys Velop AX4200 offers good coverage for spacious homes. 

The Linksys Velop AX4200 is another great tri-band, Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi system. It provides strong coverage and good Wi-Fi performance that’s suitable for the largest homes.

Linksys cheats the competition by including three nodes in a bundle that matches the price of competitors that have just two units. Any of these can be the primary or child nodes. Because it has more nodes, the Linksys Velop AX4200 can more easily cover large spaces and handle pesky Wi-Fi dead spots. 

Each Velop node is massive and has an excellent array of wired connectivity, with a variety of ports. The size is a downside it shares with the Netgear Orbi system, and the Velop’s extra node means you’ll have even more hardware taking up shelf space. 

The Linksys Velop is easy to set up and configure, but it shares the configuration limitations of the Nest Wifi and Arris Surfboard Max AX6600. A mobile app is the only way to control your mesh network, and it doesn’t offer the advanced network options found on a typical wireless router.

Still, the Linksys Velop AX4200 is a great pick if you have a large home or persistent Wi-Fi issues in more than one area of your home. The Velop AX4200’s inclusion of an extra node at a reasonable price is a huge perk over the competition.  

Do you need a mesh Wi-Fi system?

Mesh Wi-Fi systems promise improved reliability, performance, and range, all of which sound attractive. 

The core difference between a mesh network and a traditional Wi-Fi network is the use of multiple nodes or satellites, which are the extra devices you place around your home, away from the main router. A proprietary solution controls communication between these extra devices. This lets all the nodes appear as one network and lets owners easily extend the network by purchasing more access points.

This is useful, though only if you need to have your network extended or have a troublesome Wi-Fi dead spot. A mesh network isn’t required to cover most homes under 2,000 square feet or larger homes that don’t have persistent dead spots.

Owners enjoyed the first mesh networks because they were easier to set up and use than routers, which have a bad reputation for confusing and disorganized interfaces. Router manufactures have caught on, however. Most wireless routers now offer fast setup and useful smartphone apps that are similar to those used with mesh networks.

Mesh networking products often make extravagant claims about their range or reliability. You can find products on Amazon that claim to cover homes of 5,000 square feet with three devices for just $150. Take these claims with a grain of salt. 

The fastest, most effective mesh networks have multiple bands and use large units with large antennas, adding to the cost. Shoppers who just want a reliable Wi-Fi network at a low price will be better served by a standard wireless router. Mesh Wi-Fi systems remain a premium option that’s more of a luxury than a necessity, though pricing on the most basic systems can now match a mid-range Wi-Fi router. 

When is a Wi-Fi router better?

Modern Wi-Fi routers still have a definitive edge in network control and customization. Most mesh routers use an app-based setup process. A few, like Netgear’s Orbi, include a web-based interface for advanced customization. Most don’t. 

That can be a problem if you need or want in-depth control for settings like the router firewall, port forwarding, and static IP addresses. Most homes don’t need these features, but they are useful for gamers and those who manage a home server.  

Can you mix mesh network devices?

Unlike Wi-Fi itself, which is a standard developed by an organization called the Wi-Fi Alliance, mesh Wi-Fi systems are not standardized. The specifics on how they work vary significantly between brands or even between products from the same brand. 

You can’t mix mesh network devices between brands. Many mesh Wi-Fi products are designed as a complete package and don’t work with different systems from the same company. In most cases, you can extend your mesh network only by purchasing more devices of the same model that you own. 

Router companies are working to fix this by expanding compatibility between products, with some success. Still, it’s best to assume you won’t be able to mix and match until brands prove that compatibility between their own devices won’t be phased out after a few years. 

Tri-band vs. dual-band

A Wi-Fi band is a specific frequency range of radio waves used by wireless networks. Today, Wi-Fi typically will use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Most routers are advertised as dual-band, which means they broadcast in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. 

You’ve likely noticed this already. Most Wi-Fi routers that exist today will create two different networks by default: one for the 2.4GHz band and one for the 5GHz band. In most cases, the 5GHz band has a “5G” added to the network name. This, by the way, has nothing to do with 5G networks used by mobile data networks, but the similarity in the names remains a source of confusion. 

A tri-band mesh network adds a third band that, in most cases, is another 5GHz band operating at a slightly different frequency from the first. This reduces interference between bands, providing both better performance and improved range. 

Dual-band is fine for a basic mesh network. The engineers designing routers are clever and can use various tricks to help routers and wireless access points communicate in a dual-band arrangement. Still, a tri-band mesh network is always technically superior to a dual-band mesh network. 

What else we considered

Asus ZenWiFi XT8 AX6600: There’s a lot to like about the Asus ZenWiFi, especially its price compared to the Netgear Orbi. However, we had difficulty finding it in stock.  

Netgear Nighthawk MK63: Netgear’s Nighthawk MK63 is an affordable, dual-band, Wi-Fi 6 system. It’s a good deal if you can find a bundle with three units. Otherwise, the two-unit system has a less impressive range that doesn’t measure up to some of the others on this list.  

What we’re looking forward to

The release of Wi-Fi 6 means router manufacturers are in the middle of updating their product lines, but most mesh Wi-Fi systems have updated to the new standard. 

The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced an evolution of the Wi-Fi 6 standard, Wi-Fi 6E, in 2020. Wi-Fi 6E adds a 6GHz wireless channel alongside the 5GHz and 2.4GHz channels already supported. 

At CES 2021, Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link, and Asus, and Arris showed mesh Wi-Fi systems that support Wi-Fi 6E. Upcoming options include the following:

You’ll have to wait until the second half of 2021 to buy any of these systems, and other brands will likely announce additional Wi-Fi 6E systems between now and the holiday shopping season.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems that support Wi-Fi 6E will likely have a performance edge over current models, but you don’t have to wait if you’re ready to buy. Today’s Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems are extremely quick and have excellent range. Wi-Fi 6E will be an evolution, not a revolution. 

 

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The best WiFi routers in 2021

  • TP-Link’s Archer AX50 is an affordable router, but its performance makes it a reliable pick for the best router.
  • Your router’s speed and reliability will affect the speed of every Wi-Fi device in your home.
  • Today’s best routers support the Wi-Fi 6 standard, which is now available at affordable prices.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The humble router is an often-overlooked device that’s key to unlocking great performance from computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices that rely on a fast Internet connection. Buying the best router you can afford will ensure your home network’s performance doesn’t become a bottleneck.

Wi-Fi 6, the latest wireless networking standard, helps affordable routers achieve speeds that used to be reserved for the most luxurious models. Mesh networking has improved Wi-Fi reliability in homes with spotty WiFi signals, as well, though it’s not necessary in every home.

2021 is a great year to buy a new router. The Wi-Fi 6 standard is now broadly supported by new devices, but it remains a fresh innovation. Today’s best Wi-Fi routers will be useful for at least five years.

Here are the best Wi-Fi routers:

The best router overall

TP Link Archer AX50

TP-Link’s Archer AX50 is the gold standard in the router market. Affordable yet fast, the Archer AX50 challenges not only its inexpensive competition but also premium routers. You can spend a lot more on a router without seeing a significant boost in everyday performance.

The secret to this router’s success is a simple but fast Wi-Fi 6 implementation. The AX50 can’t claim the highest maximum bandwidth or the most Wi-Fi bands, but it consistently performs well in many situations. 

It can handle real-world download and upload speeds of up to 800Gbps within one room from the router. Its performance will be slashed to half that a couple rooms over, but this remains more than adequate for most uses.  

The AX50‘s range isn’t great for homes larger than 2,000 square feet unless it can be placed directly in the center of the house or apartment. 

Still, this router is incredible value. It’s a great fit for a family of up to four people in a home or apartment smaller than 2,000 square feet.

The best mesh router

Nest Wi Fi 2 pack

The Google Nest Wifi is a mesh network system that combines multiple wireless access points into a single wireless network. This happens seamlessly without additional management. Mesh networks are great for homes with Wi-Fi dead spots that a single router can’t fix and are superior to Wi-Fi extenders.

Ease-of-use is Nest Wifi’s key feature. Both setup and router control are handled through an intuitive smartphone app. Those who own other Nest devices, or frequently use Google Assistant, will find it instantly familiar. 

It even supports Google Assistant. The access points serve double duty as Google Assistant smart speakers. This will be a killer feature for some buyers.

Nest Wifi is an entry-level mesh network with less impressive specifications than competitors. It doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6. It also offers just two Ethernet ports per access point, which can be a problem if you connect to multiple devices over Ethernet. 

These flaws are forgiven by the price. The two-device bundle, which contains the Nest Wifi router and one wireless access point, is less expensive than many standalone routers. This makes Nest Wifi a great fit if you’ve found that a single router can’t provide acceptable Wi-Fi performance to your entire home.

The best budget router

TP Link Archer A7

The TP-Link Archer A7 was once the best value in routers. It’s an older model with good performance and range for the price. It doesn’t offer Wi-Fi 6, however, and was replaced by the Archer AX21 in 2020.

Why is this router still relevant? Because it’s ridiculously affordable. The Archer A7 is barely more expensive than a family dinner at Applebee’s. That makes it an attractive option for those who live in a home or apartment under 1,000 square feet. 

As mentioned, this router does not support Wi-Fi 6. You can expect real-world performance between 350 megabytes per second and 50Mbps, depending on a device’s range from a router. That’s mediocre by modern standards, but it’s decent if your devices are close enough to the router to see the higher side of that range. This is all you need if your Internet service plan doesn’t include speeds above what the Archer A7 can provide.

Setup is easy, and the router’s range is good enough to cover most two-bedroom homes and apartments. The router itself is small but still offers the four Ethernet ports found on most routers, so it can handle several wired Ethernet devices.

The best router for value

TP Link Archer AX6000

TP-Link’s Archer AX6000 is among the most expensive routers available from the company, and its specifications receive an appropriate boost. The Archer AX6000’s maximum possible bandwidth is twice that of the AX50, and the AX6000 has a more robust antenna arrangement that can better handle multiple simultaneous devices. 

This router has great range for the price. Windows Central found it could reach devices up to 40 feet away over its 5GHz band, or over 50 feet away on the 2.4GHz band. Its range is perfect for apartments or homes as large as 3,000 square feet if the router can be located near the center of your home. 

There’s good news for wired Ethernet, too. The Archer AX6000 has eight Gigabit Ethernet ports. It also has a 2.5Gbps WAN port, an uncommon feature that can be useful if you have wired network devices, like network-attached storage, that support 2.5Gbps Ethernet. USB-A 3.0 and USB-C 3.0 ports round out the wired connectivity. 

The Archer AX6000 is a large router, measuring about 10 inches on a side and two and half inches thick. It has a square, industrial look that can stick out in a room. This could annoy buyers who can’t easily hide the router. 

Still, this router is perfect for those who want excellent range and performance without paying a premium.

The best premium router

Asus RT-88AX

The Asus RT-88AX is a nice upgrade for buyers who want excellent performance and enough range to handle larger homes, but don’t want to stretch their budget into the extreme realm of tri-band routers or premium mesh networks.

This router offers eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, double the ports found on most routers. Although this isn’t unheard of in a premium router, the Asus RT-88AX is among the least expensive routers with this feature. It also has a USB-A 3.1 port. This router is a great pick for those who have many wired devices.

The Asus RT-88AX is no slouch in wireless performance. It can come close to delivering on Wi-Fi 6’s promise of wireless speeds close to the performance of wired Gigabit Ethernet. This is only possible at close range, but PCMag found its bandwidth still exceeds 450 megabytes per second at a range of 30 feet.

Despite these features, the Asus RT-88AX has a conventional, sleek router look. This contrasts with alternatives that have a more industrial design. The RT-88AX is a good choice if you can’t hide your router and don’t want it to stand out in a room.

The best gaming router

ASUS Rapture showcase

Asus’ ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a top-tier Wi-Fi 6 router. It’s a tri-band router, which means it has two 5GHz Wi-Fi bands and one 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band. You can choose to split the 5GHz band between devices, or reserve one of the bands for just a single device that you want to have maximum wireless performance and reliability. 

This router is marketed to gamers, but its capabilities are a good fit for large families and large homes. Tom’s Hardware found it offers nearly 100 feet of range, and its performance held up well as range from the router increased. The Asus GT-AX11000 is a good fit for homes larger than 3,000 square feet.

The Asus GT-AX11000 has a robust interface with many options designed to provide better control over how devices access the network. Power users and enthusiasts will like this interface.

Wired connectivity is a weakness. This router has just four Gigabit Ethernet ports alongside a single 2.5Gbps LAN port. It also has two USB-A 3.1 ports. Although enough for many homes, its mediocre wired connectivity is odd given the otherwise extreme feature set. 

This is also among the most expensive home routers sold today. Its performance, while exceptional, isn’t a great value compared to the TP-Link Archer AX6000. However, the Asus GT-AX11000 is a better fit for large homes packed with dozens of wireless devices.

The best mesh router for performance

Netgear Orbi Mesh Wifi

The Netgear Orbi Pro AX6000 is a fast and reliable mesh network system for large homes. Like the Nest Wifi, this system uses multiple wireless access points to deliver more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity and get around obstacles that might otherwise block Wi-Fi signals.

Netgear’s system is far more capable, however. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and has a significantly more robust antenna arrangement. This system even provides four Gigabit Ethernet ports per router or access point, so you can attach plenty of wired devices. 

The least expensive Orbi AX6000 WiFi Mesh System bundle includes one router and one access point, which should work for homes between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet. You can add more access points for even greater range. The four-pack system, which has one router and three access points, should work for homes of up to 8,000 square feet. 

Other Wi-Fi mesh networks can offer similar specifications, but reviewers currently lean towards the Orbi AX6000 as the best option. Forbes and Tom’s Hardware both named it the best Wi-Fi mesh router available.

Price is the only downside. This Netgear Orbi system is three times more expensive than Nest Wifi. Netgear does sell less expensive Orbi systems but, like Nest Wifi, they currently lack Wi-Fi 6 support,

The best value mesh router

ASUS ZenWiFi AX 6600

Asus’ ZenWiFi AX6600 is a great mid-range mesh network that is suitable for most homes. It’s among the most affordable mesh options to support the new Wi-Fi 6 standard. 

Wi-Fi 6 support leads to excellent performance. CNET and PCMag both named this router an editor’s choice thanks to its speed. The ZenWiFi AX6600 can deliver Wi-Fi speeds competitive with the more expensive Orbi AX6000 system in some scenarios. The Orbi pulls ahead at long range, but the ZenWiFi AX6000 is often neck-and-neck with the Orbi when connected to devices 30 feet away or closer.

That’s an acceptable compromise for homes and apartments that are smaller than 2,500 square feet. Asus’ ZenWiFi AX6600 system also provides smaller, more attractive satellites that will be easier to hide. The system’s router has three Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 2.5Gbps WAN port. 

While not the most powerful mesh system, Asus’ ZenWiFi AX6600 hits a sweet spot of price and performance. It’s a great alternative to similarly priced routers which, although packed with more capable hardware, are often more difficult to manage.

Why you should buy a Wi-Fi 6 router

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wireless standard. It’s backward compatible with previous standards but also offers a huge leap in performance.

The maximum theoretical speed of Wi-Fi 6 is 9.6 gigabits per second (Gbps), up from 3.5 Gbps with Wi-Fi 5. While most consumer Internet service plans can’t hit these speeds, they’re still useful for devices on your local network, such as network attached storage. 

More importantly, the measured real-world performance of Wi-Fi 6 routers blows away their predecessors. A 20 to 50 percent improvement is common. Wi-Fi 6 routers also have better range and see less reduction in performance when handling many devices, traits that are useful in any home.

This comes with an important catch. Both the router and the device connecting to it, such as your smartphone or laptop, must support Wi-Fi 6 to boost performance. If not, the connection will fall back to the Wi-Fi 5 standard (or an even older standard, if you’re connecting an ancient device).

Still, Wi-Fi 6 is the way forward. Most new smartphones, computers, and smart home devices introduced in 2021 will support Wi-Fi 6. It will be the expected standard for new devices by 2022. 

A Wi-Fi 5 router or mesh network can work well, but only makes sense when pricing significantly beats alternatives with Wi-Fi 6 support. That’s why most routers and mesh networks on this list support Wi-Fi 6.

What is a mesh network, and should you buy one?

Mesh networking is the latest trend in wireless connectivity. Mesh networking devices, often sold in packages as mesh network routers, mesh access points, or mesh network systems, provide multiple wireless access points for your network. 

Each access point can communicate with its partners to balance network load, which ultimately provides a more reliable home network. The use of multiple access points can also help deliver Wi-Fi coverage to hard-to-reach wireless dead spots, like a basement or a room on the far side of a concrete or brick wall. 

This might sound complex, but simplicity is among mesh networking’s best features. Most companies that sell mesh networks provide attractive companion apps that are more approachable than a typical router’s user interface. 

Mesh networks will make standalone routers obsolete in the future. Pricing is all that holds them back. Even the most affordable examples are priced to compete with premium routers. This makes sense; you’re getting multiple access points instead of one router. Still, high pricing will turn off many buyers. 

While mesh networks are excellent, buyers should beware so-called mesh networking devices that are glorified Wi-Fi range extenders. They’re often sold as add-on devices instead of mesh network systems with multiple access points in a single package. The term “mesh network” doesn’t refer to any specific technical standard, so the marketing minds at router companies are slapping the term on anything that can extend a wireless network.

What we’re looking forward to testing

The release of Wi-Fi 6 means router manufacturers are in the middle of updating their product lines. Most manufacturers have updated their consumer routers to the new standard, but mesh network products and specialty routers are still in the middle of updates.

The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced a new standard, Wi-Fi 6E, in 2020. Wi-Fi 6E adds a 6GHz wireless channel to the options available, alongside the 5GHz and 2.4GHz already supported. This is helpful because congestion on existing bands is a constant issue. The 6GHz band should also provide better performance in ideal scenarios.

Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link, Asus, and Arris announced Wi-Fi 6E routers or mesh systems at CES 2021. The Wi-Fi 6E options announced include:

  • Arris Surfboard Max AX6600 mesh router
  • Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router
  • Asus RT-AX68U router
  • Linksys Velop AXE8400 mesh router
  • Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 router
  • TP-Link Archer A96 router
  • TP-Link Archer AX206 router
  • TP-Link Deco X96 mesh router
  • TP-Link Deco X76 Plus mesh router

Most of these options won’t be available until the second half of 2021. Though Wi-Fi 6E will improve performance in some situations, you shouldn’t hold off on purchasing a router because of this new standard.

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Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best 4K computer monitors of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • 4K monitors offer the highest resolution commonly available to PC desktops and laptops. 
  • I’ve reviewed hundreds of monitors and laptop displays over the past 14 years. 
  • Dell’s S2721QS combines sharp 4K resolution with vibrant color and an affordable price.

A 4K monitor is the sharpest, most attractive display for most computers sold today. Only Apple’s 5K displays pack more pixels per inch. While 4K monitors are often marketed towards professionals or enthusiasts, their superior image quality is obvious in everyday use. It’s possible to buy an outstanding 4K monitor without emptying your wallet.

I’ve tested over 600 desktop monitors and laptop displays over the past 14 years, and I’ve kept a log of instrumented test results for the past decade. While monitor technology hasn’t changed drastically in nearly 20 years, quality has certainly improved. Modern monitors are much brighter, more colorful, and sharper than those sold a decade ago.

Despite that, pricing continues to fall. Dell’s affordable S2721QS is a great example. It’s excellent by every measure, providing a crisp, vibrant, bright image. It’s also sturdy and includes an ergonomic stand. If the Dell S2721QS isn’t for you, though, don’t worry. There’s several great alternatives for people with more specific needs.

Here are the best 4K computer monitors you can buy:

The best 4K monitor overall

best 4k monitor dell s2721qs.JPG

The Dell S2721QS delivers a bright, colorful, sharp 4K picture at a surprisingly affordable price.

Pros: Vibrant color, high maximum brightness, attractive design, sturdy ergonomic stand, great value

Cons: Mediocre HDR performance

Dell’s S2721QS is a fantastic monitor that raises the bar for value. Though not the best in any category, it has many strengths and no major flaws. It’s also among the most affordable 4K monitors currently sold. 

This monitor has a sharp, vibrant image. Its color performance is excellent, displaying a wide range of color with great accuracy. It can realistically display photos, video, and games as their creators intended. 

It’s an exceptionally bright display, which is useful if your home office or computer room is brightly lit. The S2721QS is bright enough to compete with open windows on a sunlit day and has an anti-glare finish that reduces reflections.

The S2721QS supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), a standard that helps movies and games provide better contrast and color. Despite its vibrant color and intense brightness, this monitor’s HDR performance is mediocre, as it lacks advanced features like a backlight that can selectively dim when necessary. Having said that, the S2721QS is the best monitor for HDR on this list. 

You’ll enjoy looking at the S2721QS even when it’s off. The monitor’s design is sleek, modern, and professional. It has a sturdy ergonomic stand has the ability to rotate 90 degrees for use in portrait orientation. It’s VESA compatible for use with third-party monitor arms. 

The S2721QS is affordable, but sometimes out of stock due to its popularity. You should also consider the (similarly named) Dell S2721Q. This monitor has comparable performance but lacks an ergonomic stand, though it includes a VESA mount for attaching a third-party monitor arm. The S2721Q is less expensive and rarely out of stock. 

The best 4K monitor for gaming

best monitor Viewsonic XG3200

The Viewsonic XG3220 is a large, sharp, and colorful monitor with AMD FreeSync support.

Pros: Attractive color, good contrast in dark scenes, impressive display size, AMD FreeSync supported, significant image customization 

Cons: Poor HDR performance, limited viewing angle, not a high-refresh monitor

Gamers prefer a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate (or higher) because higher refresh rates let a monitor respond more quickly to player input. Unfortunately, high-refresh 4K monitors are very expensive and hard to find in stock. That’s why I recommend the large yet reasonably priced Viewsonic XG3220.

4K resolution pairs nicely with this monitor’s 32-inch display, providing excellent clarity that gives games a sharp, immersive look. The XG3220 performs well in contrast by reaching a deep, inky black level that most monitors fail to achieve. Gamers who enjoy the horror and simulation genres will appreciate this. 

The XG3220 technically supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. Its brightness is just mediocre, however, leading to poor HDR performance. I recommend you leave HDR turned off. The XG3220 has poor viewing angles, so you’ll need to view this monitor straight-on for best results. 

AMD FreeSync is supported, and the monitor unofficially works with Nvidia G-Sync. The monitor can match its refresh rate to the framerate of games, eliminating stutter and image tearing.  

The XG3220 has a detailed on-screen menu that offers a variety of customization options. This lets you customize the display’s image quality to your preferences. The monitor also includes gaming-specific features, such as a dark stabilizer that can be activated to brighten dark areas of the screen. Gamers can use this feature to see foes hiding in dark corners. 

It technically pivots up to 90 degrees, but the monitor is too large to use in portrait orientation. It’s VESA compatible, so you can swap to a third-party monitor arm.

The Viewsonic XG3220 is a great value. Its retail price is close to 32-inch competitors that have a lower 2560 x 1440 resolution, yet its image quality is superior to many alternatives.

The best 4K monitor for professionals

best 4k monitor BenQ PD3220U

BenQ’s PD3220U has pinpoint color accuracy and tons of connectivity. 

Pros: Great color accuracy and wide gamut, supports 10-bit color, excellent connectivity, plenty of display customization

Cons: Mediocre brightness, poor HDR performance

All the 4K monitors on this list have vibrant color, but professional photographers, videographers, and digital artists demand more.  They need precise color accuracy and the ability to display colors outside the range normally supported by a monitor.

The BenQ PD3220U delivers. It has exceptional color accuracy out of the box. That’s important for professional work, as it means an image displayed on the PD3220U can represent how it will look on other displays or in print. 

In testing, the BenQ PD3220U handles up to 89 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut. DCI-P3 is a standard color gamut used when shooting and editing for film and television. This monitor also supports native 10-bit color, which expands color support from 16.7 million to 1.07 billion colors. The real-world difference is less than those dramatic numbers suggest, but the PD3220U’s ability to display additional colors is critical for professional use.

The PD3220U’s color performance is backed by deep customization. You can select a variety of color temperature, gamma, and gamut presets and make tweaks to color hue and saturation. These features aren’t relevant to most readers. Professionals, however, need this customization so they can change the monitor’s look to match the standards of the project they’re working on.

Brightness is this monitor’s only flaw. The BenQ PD3220U is fine for use in most rooms but can struggle to compete with a sunlit window. This also impacts the monitor’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) performance, which is lackluster. It’s useful for professionals creating content that will be viewed in HDR but doesn’t deliver much visual punch. 

The BenQ PD3220U has excellent connectivity. It’s a great monitor to use with multiple inputs and it can charge laptops connected to it via Thunderbolt 3.

This monitor has an adjustable stand and is VESA compatible, so you can switch to a third-party monitor arm if you’d like. 

It’s important to note this is a true professional-caliber display and is priced to match. Readers not familiar with this monitor’s special features, like 10-bit color and the DCI-P3 color gamut, shouldn’t buy this monitor. The BenQ PD3220U’s superior performance will only be obvious to the eyes of professionals who work with photos, video, or digital art. 

The best 4K monitor for USB-C

best 4k monitor dell U2720Q

Dell’s UltraSharp U2720Q 27-Inch 4K Monitor can handle up to 90 watts of power over USB-C, easily charging most laptops. 

Pros: Accurate and realistic color, excellent build quality, delivers 90 watts of power over USB-C, great warranty 

Cons: Poor HDR performance, no Ethernet por

Anyone who uses a laptop with an external monitor should consider a USB-C monitor. A single USB-C cable between a monitor and a laptop that supports USB-C charging can handle both power and video. It even turns the monitor into a USB hub. This lets you replace the mess of cords normally connected to your laptop with a single USB-C cable between your laptop and monitor.

Many USB-C monitors are available, but the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is the best 4K for most people. This has everything to do with its power delivery. The U2720Q can deliver up to 90 watts of power over USB-C. That’s enough to power any laptop that supports USB-C charging. Most competing 4K monitors support only 60 to 65 watts of power over USB-C. That’s fine if you own a 13-inch laptop, but it’s not a match for more powerful laptops like Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 or Dell’s XPS 15. 

This monitor can act as a USB-C hub. This is helpful when the monitor is paired with a USB-C laptop that has limited connectivity. However, unlike some more expensive USB-C monitors, the U2720Q doesn’t have an Ethernet port. 

The U2720Q has excellent image quality with precise color accuracy. Like the BenQ PD3220U, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q supports the expanded DCI-P3 color gamut used in professional film and television production. Though not as accurate as the BenQ PD3220U, the U2720 is a good monitor for photographers and digital artists.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is supported, but the U2720Q doesn’t handle it well. The monitor is bright but not as bright as the less expensive Dell S2721QS, so it lacks the punchy, vivid look HDR is supposed to provide. 

This monitor’s stand can rotate 90 degrees to put the monitor in portrait orientation. It’s also VESA compatible with third-party monitor arms. 

While the U2720Q is a great monitor, I only recommend it if you can take advantage of its USB-C connectivity. You won’t get your money’s worth if you pair it with a desktop over HDMI or DisplayPort. 

The best 24-inch 4K monitor

best 4k monitor LG 24UD58 B

The LG 24UD58-B 24-Inch 4K Monitor packs 4K resolution into a 24-inch size, providing the sharpest image available on a PC.

Pros: Incredibly sharp, good image quality, compact size, supports AMD FreeSync

Cons: Unattractive design, no ergonomic stand

Not everyone needs a large monitor. If you want a small 4K monitor, however, your options are slim. 4K monitors smaller than 27 inches were easier to find in 2016 and 2017, when 4K monitors first appeared. LG’s 24UD58-B is the only reasonable option remaining.

Packing 4K resolution into a 24-inch display has the advantage of drastically upping pixel density to 185 pixels per inch. Only Apple’s 5K iMac and the rare handful of 5K monitors sold over the past five years beat that. The result is a remarkably sharp, crisp image. Pixels are virtually indistinguishable unless your nose is touching the monitor. 

The LG 24UD58-B is otherwise an average, mid-range monitor. It has acceptable color accuracy, can display a wide range of color, and is bright enough for use in most rooms. This monitor has some trouble with dark scenes, because it can’t display a rich, deep, inky black. It also tends to show bright spots in dark scenes because of uneven backlighting. 

This monitor can’t display an HDR signal. It does support AMD FreeSync, so it can match its refresh rate to a game’s framerate for smooth, stutter-free gaming if you have an AMD video card. 

Unlike other monitors on this list, the LG 24UD58-B has a flimsy stand that only slightly adjusts for tilt. The monitor is VESA compatible, though, so you can add a third-party monitor arm. This monitor isn’t much to look at, with simple black plastic construction and thick bezels around the display.

The LG 24UD58-B is the least expensive 4K monitor on this list and the least expensive commonly sold today. It’s a fine option for people who don’t want a display larger than 24 inches. 

What else we considered

4K monitors, once rare, are now extremely common. There are dozens of options, ranging from 24 to 43 inches, with prices from $300 to over $3,000. Most alternatives provide great image quality but didn’t make the cut due to pricing, a lack of additional features, or known flaws. 

  • AOC CU32V3 ($389.99): This 32-inch 4K monitor is inexpensive and has good image quality but can’t match Viewsonic’s XG3220. It also has a flimsy stand that only adjusts for tilt.
  • Asus VP28UQG ($274.99): The Asus VP28UQG is the least expensive monitor of its size. Its image quality is acceptable though not outstanding, but the monitor’s build quality and stand leave a lot to be desired.
  • Acer Predator X27 ($1,343.99): The Acer Predator X27 is a high-end, 27-inch 4K gaming monitor that throws in every feature imaginable. That leads to an extremely high price. It’s also frequently out of stock online and often sold at inflated prices when it is available. 
  • BenQ EL2870U ($299.99): This 28-inch 4K monitor is among the most affordable sold today, but the Dell S2721QS has superior image quality. The BenQ EL2870U also has a limited stand that only adjusts for tilt. 
  • Dell Ultrasharp PremierColor UP2720Q ($1,599.99): The UP2720Q is Dell’s top-end 27-inch monitor for professionals that need nearly perfect color. It even has a built-in colorimeter that lets you calibrate the display on the fly. Still, it’s hard to justify the monitor’s premium over the BenQ PD3220U. 
  • Dell U3219Q ($864.99): The Dell U3219Q is a credible competitor to the BenQ PD3220U. It’s a couple years old, however, and Dell is likely to replace it with a new display soon. 
  • HP V28 ($324.99): HP’s V28 is an affordable display similar to the Dell S2721QS, but its design is unimpressive and the stand only adjusts for tilt.
  • HP U27 ($464.99): The HP U27 upgrades its design to better match the Dell S2721QS, but it also ups the monitor’s price into a higher tier that forces it to compete with better displays. Despite the price bump, the stand still only adjusts for tilt.
  • LG 27UL850-W ($449.99): LG’s 27-inch 4K monitor is a great display with excellent image quality and attractive design. But it’s more expensive than the Dell S2721QS and doesn’t have an advantage in image quality. The LG27UL850-W does include USB-C, like the Dell U2720Q, but it only provides 60 watts of power delivery. 
  • LG Ultragear 27GN950-B ($799.99): The 27GN950-B is among the best gaming monitors available. It has 4K resolution, a Nano IPS panel, and a fast 144Hz refresh rate that responds quickly to player input. Unfortunately, its expensive retail price is only inflated by short supply. Gamers who want this monitor will likely have to pay over $1,000 to a third-party seller.
  • LG 43UN700-B ($599.99): This massive 43-inch 4K monitor is affordable relative to its size, but it’s too large to make sense as a desktop monitor, and its image quality is mediocre. 
  • LG 32UL950-W ($1,296.99): This 32-inch 4K monitor has features comparable to the BenQ PD3220U but targets professional use with less precision. It isn’t as easy to customize, and its color performance isn’t as accurate. 

What we look forward to testing

  • LG 32UL500-W ($296.99): This extremely affordable, 32-inch 4K monitor seems too good to be true, undercutting competitors significantly while claiming color performance that’s in line with more expensive displays. Owners seem to like it, but I’ve yet to test this monitor. 
  • Philips 328E1CA ($349.99): Philips monitors are once again coming to the North American market, and they look to undercut the pricing of established competition. This 32-inch 4K monitor is nearly as inexpensive as the LG 32UL500-W and makes similar claims, though it has a curved screen as well. I hope to test this monitor in the coming months.
  • Acer Nitro XV282K KV ($899.99): Acer’s upcoming 28-inch 4K monitor has a 144Hz refresh rate and wide color gamut and supports HDMI 2.1. That last specification is important for gamers, because it will make the monitor compatible with 120Hz output from Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5. It will be available in May 2021.
  • Asus ROG Strix XG43UQ (TBA): This 43-inch 4K monitor has every feature you could possibly desire, including a 144Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, a wide color gamut, and support for the DisplayHDR 1000 standard. Asus has not announced pricing or availability, but I expect it will easily exceed $2,000. 
  • LG UltraFine OLED Pro 32EP950 (TBA): OLED technology, which is common among televisions, remains almost unheard of among monitors. This 32-inch 4K display will change that. Pricing and availability remain to be announced but expect it to exceed $2,500. 
  • Viewsonic XG320U (TBA): Viewsonic’s XG320U is a 32-inch 4K monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, and a wide color gamut, features that make it a perfect companion to an Xbox Series X or Sony PlayStation 5. It will be available in the first quarter of 2021, though pricing remains unknown.

Our testing methodology

I test displays using a Datacolor SpyderX colorimeter. This device creates a performance report that checks the monitor’s color accuracy, color gamut, gamma, luminance uniformity, and white point against industry standards. 

The Datacolor SpyderX is precise enough that the details of its report aren’t relevant to most people, but it provides an objective benchmark that can be used for comparisons between monitors. 

I have used this device (or its earlier version) for over a decade, and I have logged all my results. I’ve tested over 600 laptop and desktop displays. 

There’s more to a monitor than image quality, though. The best monitors also have good connectivity, a highly adjustable stand, attractive design, and a customization menu that’s easy to navigate and offers many options. Pricing is also a major factor in my final recommendations. 

In fact, image quality rarely elevates a monitor to a top recommendation. Many companies make monitors, but most source parts from the same suppliers and construct their monitors in similar ways. That limits how much image quality will vary between displays. Monitors instead set themselves apart with great design, impressive connectivity, or a surprisingly low price.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best mouse pads of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good mouse pad has a smooth surface for your mouse that ensures precise tracking of your movements.
  • Some mouse pads protect your desk, while some boast extras like RGB lighting and wireless charging.
  • The slick and durable Corsair MM 350 Pro is the best mouse pad we tested.

Mouse pads provide a smooth, uniform surface for your mouse to move properly and precisely. They’re also multipurpose, protecting your desktop and your mouse and picking up lint and dust that would otherwise attach to your mouse. They’re simple to clean, too, ensuring your workspace is up to par. Mouse pads come in different colors and materials. You can choose between a silky smooth layer that enables fast movements, or a rougher textured surface that enables greater precision. Gamers, in particular, will have personal preferences depending on the games they play and their play style, but anyone can reduce the risk of a slip or tracking error with a good mouse pad.

Some of the latest mouse pads even come with RGB lighting so you can match one with your keyboard, mouse, and rig lighting. Others offer wireless charging, which can be very handy if you have a mouse that supports it. 

I’ve tested several mouse pads, employing them for work and gaming to see what benefits they offer. I also included my son in the testing process, subjecting each mouse pad to the ultimate test of durability (that is, an 11-year-old gamer’s bedroom). 

Here are the best mouse pads of 2021

The best mouse pad overall

Corsair mouse pad

The Corsair MM350 Pro features a slick, durable surface with a non-skid base, making it our favorite mouse pad. 

Pros: Smooth surface balances speed and precision, large option to cover desktop, thick padding adds comfort, stitched edges to prevent fraying

Cons: None to speak of 

Measurements: 36.6 x 15.7 inches; 4mm thick

The Corsair MM350 Pro is a quality mouse pad, spacious enough to accommodate your mouse and keyboard, as well as protect your desktop. I also found its padded comfort helped to reduce the noise of mechanical keys clacking, as it absorbs the impact of your key presses.

The top of the pad is a micro-weave surface, and the cloth Corsair uses is silky smooth and dense. This makes it great for fast, frenetic action that requires sweeping movements. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to sacrifice much accuracy to deliver on the speed, so it’s good for precise gameplay and everyday work alike. The smooth top layer is also spill-proof and by far the easiest to wipe clean of any mouse pad I tested.  

The bottom is covered in an anti-skid rubber base that ensures the pad never slips. Its tight stitching around the edges (where cloth mouse pads usually start to fray after a while), ensures it’s designed to last. The smooth top layer is also spillproof and by far the easiest to wipe clean of any mouse pad I tested.  

You can also get the same quality design in a smaller and cheaper package by opting for the MM300 Pro, which is more of a standard medium-sized mouse pad.

The best budget mouse pad

Razer mouse pad

The Razer Gigantus V2 has everything you need in a cloth mouse pad at around $10: a textured surface, padded comfort, and a non-slip underside.

Pros: Balanced surface for speed and precision, comfortable padding, comes in multiple sizes

Cons: No stitching to protect edges, green sides might not suit everyone

Measurements: 14.17 x 10.83 inches; 3mm thick

You can’t get much for $10 nowadays, but it is enough to snag you Razer’s Gigantus V2 mouse pad. It’s a bit larger than similarly priced competitors and comfortable to rest your wrist on.

Crafted from a textured microweave, the top layer is quite smooth to the touch and offers a good mix of speed and precision. It’s a bit smoother than the Glorious PC Gaming Race mouse pad, but not as silky as Corsair’s MM350 Pro. There’s a bright green anti-slip layer on the bottom, which shows through around the sides and in the subtle Razer logo tag. 

Unfortunately, this mouse pad lacks stitching around the edges, so there’s a risk it will fray and degrade slightly over time. On the plus side, the top layer is easy to wipe clean and feels long-lasting. My son has been using the large Razer Gigantus V2 for around three months now and it’s holding up well; after a wipe with a damp cloth, it still looks as good as new.

If the medium is too small for you, there are larger sizes to ensure you never run out of space. The biggest 3XL option is 47.24 x 21.65, but it costs five times the price.

The best oversized mouse pad

Glorious PC slide

The widespread Glorious PC Gaming Race 3XL Extended mouse pad will coat your entire desktop in mouse-friendly padding.

Pros: Largest mouse pad available, comes in multiple sizes, stitched edges to prevent fraying, machine washable

Cons: Open fabric absorbs spills and dirt

Measurements: 48 x 24; 3mm thick

If you want something big, then the largest mouse pad from Glorious PC Gaming Race has you and likely your entire desktop covered. It certainly boosts comfort, too, with its plush padded top layer. This cloth mouse pad strikes a fairly good balance between precision and speed, but leans more toward precision. It feels quite rough, compared to the Corsair MM350 Pro, but there’s a non-slip rubber base that prevents it from sliding, especially important here as more objects will be layered atop the oversized pad. 

Neat stitching around the edges helps to reduce the risk of fraying, and it is machine washable. This is vital, as the top surface is plain black and very absorbent. I found that it picked up stains and dust quite quickly as well.

The best hard mouse pad

Logitech mouse pad

If you want a mouse pad that will stay in place and deliver perfect precision,  the Logitech G440 hard mouse pad delivers.

Pros: Slick surface for speed with fine control, durable hard plastic coating, suits mice with high DPI settings

Cons: Not so comfortable to use, only one size

Measurements: 13.38 x 11 inches; 3mm thick

This compact mouse pad proves you don’t need a lot of space, especially if you ramp up your mouse sensitivity via the dots-per-inch (DPI) settings. This hard surface, with a mouse set to a high DPI, means very slight and quick movements register accurately and you can maneuver your mouse extremely quickly. 

With a polypropylene top layer, a polystyrene core, and a rubber base for added grip, the Logitech G440 provides a rigid, easy-to-clean surface with just a little give. It has a consistent surface and never slipped around while testing. A simple white G at the bottom right corner is all that breaks up the black surface, but the bottom layer is blue, which gives a subtle pop of color around the base of the pad. 

The best mouse pad with lighting

Roccat pad slide

The Roccat Sense AIMO provides a frame of glowing light around the mouse pad, an affordable option for RGB fans.

Pros: Bright programmable RGB lighting, textured surface for precision, comfortable padding, comes in two sizes

Cons: Relatively expensive compared to other mouse pads (but affordable for RGB mouse pads), must plug in, noticeable power control module at the top left

Measurements: 14.65 x 13.39 inches

I was a little skeptical about light-up mouse pads, but the Roccat Sense AIMO has won me over.

It comes in two sizes, but we tested the smaller one and realized its flexible cloth feels like others we tested, but with a twist. The big difference is that it plugs via an included Micro USB to USB-A cable and has a frame that runs around the outside (beneath the stitching), lighting up in a rainbow of colors.

This bright RGB light has two programmable zones, which you can tinker with via Roccat’s Swarm software, or you can leave it to the default behavior of cycling through the colors. It will also react to some of the devices and apps you use if you download the Sense AIMO module and leave it on the intelligent lighting setting. There are other effects available, and, if you have accompanying Roccat gear, you can sync it up with your mouse and keyboard.

Beyond the lighting, this is a cloth mouse pad that has quite a pronounced textured finish, though I found it much more comfortable than other rougher mouse pads to rest my hand on. Accuracy and speed are sufficient, though it leans towards precision. There’s also a rubberized non-slip back to prevent any slippage.

You will need a spare USB port to plug this into and it means you have another cable on your desk, which is a definite downside for me. The module the cable plugs into is also quite large, with a brightness control button on it which can be configured via the software. If you use a wired mouse this module is a potential snag point.

The best wireless-charging mouse pad

Corsair MM100

The Corsair MM1000 mouse pad will suit you well if you want a dual-purpose pick for your desk, ideal for clicking and charging. 

Pros: Charges any Qi wireless charging device, pass-through USB 3.0 port, relatively affordable

Cons: Can’t charge mouse in use, no soft surface option

Measurements: 14.17 x 10.23 inches; 6mm thick

If you’re looking for a multipurpose mouse pad that can also charge your devices, the MM1000 from Corsair is the one we recommend.  Aside from wireless charging, it adds some thoughtful extras and nails the basics of a good hard mouse pad, but there are limitations here. 

Finished in a hard textured surface that offers low friction for speedy maneuvers, the Corsair MM1000 has a large power module at the top left which needs to be plugged into a USB port. 

The wireless charging zone is a specific area at the top right and can charge any device that supports Qi wireless charging, setting it apart from competitors. With the Corsair MM1000, you simply rest your mouse on the charging spot, though you can’t boost your battery while you’re using it. 

Turning the chunky power module into a positive, Corsair has added a USB 3.0 pass-through port. Corsair also supplies USB to Micro USB, Type C, and Lightning connectors, so you can charge other devices on the charging spot.

While it is quite pricey, it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as the competition, though you could pair one of the best wireless chargers with our budget mouse pad pick and save yourself quite a bit of money. 

What else we considered

What else we considered

SteelSeries Qck: A former top pick, this basic cloth mouse pad does the basics right, offering padded comfort with a micro-weave cloth surface and an anti-skid rubber bottom. It’s an affordable no-frills mouse pad that delivers. Starting from just $10, it’s also very affordable and another option aside from our budget pick, the Razer Gigantus V2.

Corsair MM600: This hard mouse pad has an unusual dual-sided design with one side designed for speed and the other for precision, though it’s not as affordable as some of our other picks. AmazonBasics Gel Computer Mouse Pad: While a budget option, it’s extremely small and there’s some doubt about whether wrist rests offer any benefit. If you set up your desk, chair, and position ergonomically, you shouldn’t need a wrist rest on your mouse pad at all.

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The best keyboards of 2021

  • Ergonomics, wired or wireless, and other factors come into play when choosing a keyboard.
  • Our tips for choosing a keyboard will help you pick the right one for your setup.
  • The Das Keyboard 4Q is our pick for the best keyboard because of its unique notification system. 

When it comes to your home or office setup, a keyboard shouldn’t be an afterthought. You want something that’s comfortable and won’t strain your wrists, but there are also a lot of decisions to make. While there are a lot of inexpensive options, you don’t want to sacrifice comfort and support for something you use for hours every day.

If your computer doesn’t have a ton of USB ports, you might want to consider a wireless keyboard. Gamers will have a different set of priorities than someone who’s using a keyboard mainly for typing. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to make sure it’s compatible with all the devices you’ll use it with. 

Ergonomics are an important component of any good work or gaming setup. Be sure to factor in keyboard layouts and height, so they work with your typing style. Sound and key feel matter a lot to some people, with some preferring a clickier, responsive experience. Whatever your criteria are for a keyboard, you should find something on our list.

Here are our picks for the best keyboards:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

 

The best keyboard overall

The Best keyboard Das Keyboard 4Q

The RGB backlighting on the Das Keyboard 4Q doubles as a notifications platform, you can get alerts on your keyboard.

Pros: Unique alert system, two USB ports 

Cons: Q software takes some getting used to

Many keyboards come with RGB backlighting, but the Das Keyboard 4Q puts it to use, letting the colors serve as notifications as reminders. The logo is dark and unobtrusive, so it looks more like a work keyboard than a gaming one, until all the lights start flashing. 

The Q utility allows you to set up individual keys to light up for reminders like Google Alerts and weather forecasts. You can even customize it so that the keyboard lights up if you’re tagged on social media or blinks when it’s time to take a break and move around. 

In its full review, PCMag says the Das Keyboard 4Q’s N-key rollover feature is what makes it perfect for people who need a keyboard that keeps up with them. The device packs a lot into its 18-by-6.8-inch layout. There are media controls in the top right, including a large volume knob. The switches are Cherry MX Brown, not quite as clicky as the MX Blue.

The Das Keyboard 4Q includes two USB ports and an instant sleep button, rounding out an already excellent feature set. 

The best gaming keyboard

best gaming keyboard Razer huntsman elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite gaming keyboard has optical switches designed for faster speed and performance. 

Pros: Optical switches, discrete media controls, wrist rest is very soft 

Cons: Keyboard takes up second USB port on your PC

Speed is essential for gaming keyboards, and that’s what the Razer Huntsman Elite offers with its optical switches. Instead of using metal contact leaves, it has a laser under every switch. It’s among the first gaming keyboards to feature the technology, which uses infrared light beams to detect keystroke actuation. 

While the Razer Huntsman Elite is a clicky switch, the click mechanism is separate from the switch’s actuation mechanism, making this ideal for rapid tapping. The switches have their own stabilizer bars to ensure consistent switch behavior no matter which corner you press. Each switch is rated to last 100 million keystrokes, according to Razer, compared to Cherry MX’s 50 million keystrokes.

You can easily program the Razer Huntsman Elite with Razer’s Synapse software, which allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped for complicated commands. This should help with players of first-person shooters as well as various esports. 

Tom’s Guide raves that this keyboard is comfortable while maintaining a futuristic look, although they thought the light-up padded leather wrist rest was a little gaudy. The wrist rest magnetically attaches to the keyboard, so you don’t have to use it. 

For its hefty price tag, this keyboard boasts layers of personalization options and in-came effects like underglow lighting unlike any other.

The best ergonomic keyboard

Best ergonomic keyboard Logitech Ergo K860

The ergonomic design of the Logitech Ergo K860 can help support your wrists and improve posture. 

Pros: Terrific ergonomic design, comfortable palm rest, Bluetooth support for up to three devices

Cons: Ergonomic design takes getting used to, pricier than standard Bluetooth keyboards

Logitech’s wireless Ergo K860 is the best ergonomic keyboard we’ve used. Not only does it provide a more comfortable typing experience, it can help improve posture and alleviate wrist strain. 

The keyboard rises to a slope in the middle, and the layout of the alphanumeric keys is split apart. If this is your first ergonomic keyboard, you will have to get used to the different typing position, and you’ll probably make some mistakes for a bit. This design puts you in a proper typing position, as it reduces pronation, and places your arms, neck, and shoulders in a more relaxed posture as well. Logitech says the palm rest along the bottom can reduce wrist bending by 25%. Flip-out legs can tilt the keyboard even higher if needed. 

The Ergo K860 operates on two AAA batteries, which provides the keyboard with two years of power, according to Logitech. The device only connects to a computer wirelessly, either via Bluetooth or with a USB dongle that’s neatly stored beneath the keyboard. 

We tested the Ergo K860 with a MacBook Pro using Bluetooth. Set-up was quick and easy, and the keyboard quickly re-pairs every time we start up the laptop, without fail. It can pair with up to three Bluetooth devices. In addition to the MacBook Pro, we paired it with an iPhone and iPad, and we seamlessly switched between three without issues.

The keyboard is very lightweight, but the unique design does require annexing a bit of table surface. The plastic makes the Ergo K860 feel deceptively cheap, but from our experience, it’s well-made.

Insider Reviews Senior Editor Les Shu tested the keyboard for several months, and he hasn’t noticed significant improvements to his sitting posture (good workplace ergonomics requires more than just changing a keyboard), but the Ergo K860 has alleviated any pain or discomfort in his wrists. This was especially noticeable when he returned to using a non-ergonomic keyboard. While it is pricey for a keyboard, he thinks the ergonomic features are well-worth the cost.

The best multi-device keyboard

Best multi-device keyboard Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard

The Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard allows you to use tablets and other devices like a PC.

Pros: Easily share files among connected devices, soft keys for quiet typing

Cons: Circular keys may not be for everyone

If you want to turn your tablet into a computer, the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard could be the right keyboard for the job. At 6.2 by 14.9 inches and less than an inch in height, it has a low profile and fairly compact footprint. A built-in cradle holds smartphones and tablets right above the keypad. You can connect to your devices via Bluetooth or use a USB receiver to connect to a laptop or desktop.

A Tom’s Guide review noted that its circular keycaps will be a turn-off for some users, but also says Logitech’s software offers a lot to make up for that. Logitech’s Flow technology allows for file-sharing from one device to another, as long as both are connected to the keyboard via Bluetooth. 

The keyboard’s customization options allow you to remap keys. The keyboard already has designated keys that allow you to switch back and forth between three connected devices. It does weight just under two pounds, so you might not want to lug it everywhere.

The best large-print keyboard

best large print keyboard Nuklz N

The Nuklz N Large Print Computer Keyboard makes typing easier for novice computer users or for those with visual impairments. 

Pros: Good for new typists and those with visual impairments, easy to use

Cons: Large footprint, no backlighting

The Nuklz N Large Print keyboard has high-contrast keys in large, bold type that are easier to see in low or dim lighting. It’s lightweight, and the keys are soft and quiet. There aren’t a ton of features, so there’s no backlighting, for example.  

The Nuklz N connects via a USB cable, so you’ll need an available port to use it. In order to make it highly visible, some keys, like delete, are abbreviated, so it may take some time to familiarize yourself with them. 

The keyboard is on the large side, measuring 18 by 7 inches, and it’s 1.5 inches tall. It weighs just over a pound. 

The best portable keyboard

best portable keyboard Ikos Bluetooth Folding keyboard

When folded, the Ikos Bluetooth Folding Keyboard is smaller than an iPhone 6 Plus. 

Pros: Lightweight, folds up fairly small, good battery life 

Cons: Keyboard layout may be a deal breaker for some

The Ikos Bluetooth Folding keyboard is a bifold-style portable keyboard that has a tactile feel when typing. Slim and lightweight, it’s half a pound and measures 11.54 by 3.32 inches. It’s 0.47 inches thick when you fold it up.

A two-hour charge produces 80 hours of battery life, about two months on standby mode. Its case doubles as a stand for your phone or tablet, but it works remotely with devices that are about 30 feet away. 

If you’re using multiple devices, this keyboard’s built-in memory feature will track and remember those connections. You can switch back and forth between three devices by toggling between slots. Because it folds up, the Ikos keyboard has a gap in the middle of the keys. That may take some getting used to when you’re typing. 

Some reviewers pointed out that you’ll need a hard, flat surface to use the keyboard and noted that unfolding and folding the unit doesn’t turn it on or off; you will have to do that manually. 

The best quiet keyboard

best quiet keyboard HP Wireless Elite Keyboard V2

The HP Wireless Elite Keyboard V2 opts for quiet over clicks. 

Pros: Nearly silent typing, battery indicator light 

Cons: Uses 2 AAA batteries instead of rechargeable ones

Some people love the click and clack of a keyboard, but others will prefer the quiet of the HP Wireless Elite V2. One of the reasons this keyboard is so quiet is its scissor-style keys, which have a silent, spring-like rebound. 

The full-size keyboard is 17.28 by 6.02 inches and 0.61 inches high. It can connect to up to five devices at once and has a 16-month battery life, though it runs on 2 AAA batteries you’ll have to replace. An indicator light illuminates when they’re running low. 

This keyboard’s wireless connection allows you to move it around to find the right typing distance, within a 30-foot radius. There are hotkeys dedicated to volume control and other desktop features, as well as additional media playback controls. 

In its review, PC World noted that the V2 responds quickly and quietly to each keystroke and is very comfortable to type on.

How to choose a keyboard

Our top pick is a great keyboard, but it won’t be right for everyone. Some people might need an ergonomic keyboard or prefer wireless options. Here are some basic features you’ll want to think about when selecting a keyboard. 

What are you using it for: The first question to ask yourself is how you’ll be using your keyboard. Gamers will want responsive keyboards, while someone doing a lot of data entry won’t want a layout without a numeric keypad. Some keyboards make it easy to switch between devices, so that’s important to take into consideration if you’re looking to use yours with a laptop, phone, and tablet, for example. 

Ergonomics and layout: If you find yourself with a lot of wrist pain during the day, you might get some relief with an ergonomic keyboard. These are shaped very differently from a flat keyboard. They curve upward in the middle and separate the keys into two groups. That means you’ll have to get used to a new way of typing. Folding keyboards will also split up keys. If you’re used to typing on a Macbook, you might want to look for keyboards with a similar layout or one that you can remap; the order of some keys is different for Mac and PC keyboards. 

Wired or wireless: You’ll never have to worry about your keyboard suddenly running out of battery if you use a wired keyboard, but they also take up valuable port space. If your laptop doesn’t have room for something to be always plugged into it, then wireless might be right for you. You’ll want to make sure your devices are compatible with the keyboard as well. 

Mechanical keyboards: Mechanical keyboards are big with gamers, because of their responsiveness. Their design does make them louder, however. The type of switch will make the sound level and feel of the key different. A mechanical key tester can give you an idea of what it’s like to type with different switches. 

 

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