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Toss-up: multimedia keyboards

Date

Adam Turner

Logitech Media Keyboard K200, $29.95.

Logitech Media Keyboard K200, $29.95.

A great keyboard can put your multimedia library at your fingertip so, if you're underwhelmed by the basic keyboard that came with your new desktop computer, it's not hard to upgrade to something better without breaking the bank.

A new USB keyboard can also make a handy addition to your desk if you want to treat your notebook PC as a desktop machine. If you're looking to create an ergonomically sound workstation, you might consider hooking up your notebook PC to an external monitor and keyboard, letting you look straight ahead at the monitor to reduce to strain on your neck. There are plenty of fancy wireless keyboards around but, to be honest, they can be overkill unless you're obsessed with eliminating cables from your desktop. These USB keyboards from Logitech and Microsoft are budget offerings but they still might add a few features not found in your basic keyboard.

Both keyboards offer a row of multimedia keys across the top, letting you press play and pause without the need to switch to your multimedia application. They're particularly handy when you're listening to music while doing something else, as you don't need to switch back to the music application to pause it.

Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000, $49.95.

Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000, $49.95.

You'll also find dedicated buttons for launching popular applications such as your web browser and email client, but Microsoft's keyboard adds options such as instant messaging and chat. Microsoft's five taskbar favourites buttons automatically launch the applications pinned to your Windows taskbar, while the zoom slider on the left is handy when working with photos.

The verdict

The Microsoft keyboard is more expensive but it's worth the money if you'll use even a few of those extra dedicated buttons.

Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000
$49.95
microsoft.com/hardware/en-au

Logitech Media Keyboard K200
$29.95
logitech.com

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