Do you type faster on laptop keyboards than PC Desktop full size keyboards?


Distinguished Member
So this is a bit of a revelation to me. I use my Dell xps13 Ultrabook laptop less frequently than my desktop PC. I use full size "raised keys" keyboards on my PCs (one mechanical and the other just a normal keyboard). But yesterday my mother commented that she thinks I type faster on my laptop, not that she's watching but by the sound of my fingers tapping (during this lockdown, elderly folks keeps themselves busy with the minute levels of observations, bless them, lol.)

So I thought I test out her observations and blow me down, not only do I type faster on the laptop but considerably more so, maybe almost twice so. In fact, when I think about it, I realise I absolutely loath typing on full size keyboards! The feel of my Dell laptop keyboard just feel so lovely and my fingers have less travel, while each of my wrists rests so comfortably over the large estate besides the touchpad. It just feels so comfortable.

Whereas typing on my PC keyboards feel sluggish as my fingers constantly get "hooked" on the edges of neighbouring keys.

I also have a logitech k400 keyboard/trackpad combo with low profile keys (I think the technical term is membrane, am I right?) for use with my mediacentre pc in my living room. I find that I love typing on this too, than on my full size PC keyboards.

This is a bit of revelation to me. I never put much thought to the experiences I have with different keyboards. I had always thought nothing beats a mechanical keyboard for fast typing and comfort...or any desktop full size keyboard.

Now granted, a laptop keyboard doesn't have a numerical keypad and that is a drawback. But apart from that I love it and one can always attach a numerical keyboard accessory anyway.

I wonder if I am just different, or do you folks find the same? Perhaps you might not realise yourself, as I had not for the last 40 years of my life!

So I am now on the hunt for a standalone keyboard with the following features:

1. Must have some backlit keys
2. Must be UK physical layout (so many keyboards on Amazon describes their keyboard as UK layout but actually they are selling an American PHYSICAL layout with UK key labelling. The biggest difference is that the American ENTER key is a one row, two key size. But UK ENTER key is a two row size but thinner.
3. laptop low profile style. (membrane?)

My Logitech k400 would have been splendid to use but it has no keyboard illumination.

Can anyone help me find such a keyboard? I have looked all over the place and I cant find a keyboard that meets all three of the above requirements.
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Distinguished Member
Full size generally refers to the key spacing, the amount the key goes up and down is generally called the travel. The traditional amount in PCs is referred to as full depth or full travel, with less travel often being called low profile or short travel (although I have seen low profile occasionally just refer to the keycaps).

Key spacing rarely changes. Some small laptops do shrink them and I'm not familiar with the XPS 13 but you'll find the majority of keyboards have keys that are 3/4" apart (center to center), about 19mm (IBM was still designing stuff in imperial measurements into the 1980s).

Pure membrane keyboards are the sealed very flat sort you might find on a kitchen appliance, child's toy or very cheap remote control. It got used as a derogatory term by mechanical keyboard snobs to refer to everything except their switches because it's a common way to register a key press for all sorts of feedback mechanisms, even though it has no impact on how the keyboard feels. Unfortunately it does seem to have been picked up more widely.

The most common feedback mechanism is a rubber dome under the key that collapses as the key presses down on it. Low profile keyboards mostly use a variant of that called a scissor switch which add scissor legs either side of the dome to support the keycap rather than having it slide up and down in a channel above the dome.

A lot of key feel comes down to implementation rather than a class of mechanism. Personally I prefer a longer travel, low keyboards are just too light for me and I have to slow down to be sure I've hit all the keys. But I'd take a good low profile keyboard over a mediocre full travel keyboard. There aren't many top notch keyboards out there.

And speaking of preferences, personally I think anyone who wants stuff to the right of the enter key is mad. That's where the mouse belongs. All the secondary stuff like the numpad and arrow keys can be shuffled off to the left of the keyboard. I've used that layout for the last ten years and it works fine. It annoys me that more keyboards don't adopt it.

Anyway, Matias does keyboards that meet your criteria of backlit, low profile, and UK layout with numpad (in the conventional place) in both battery and USB powered forms and Windows and Mac legends.

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