Is it worth investing in a mouse and keyboard?

If you look at all the mice and keyboards I owned over the years, you will see a trend: simplicity. All my keyboards are simple, generic 104 key devices that came with the machine. If I buy a mouse I usually get an optical, 2 button, scroll wheel, wired Logitech or Microsoft. I don’t think I ever bought a mouse that cost more than $30-35. The $20 mice I use work just fine, and they last forever.

But, there is a huge market for premium mice and keyboards so obviously some people out there buy them. Hell, some people swear by these things. But I always wonder: do I really need a $70 Sidewinder or a $90 G9? Does it really make that much difference?

Microsoft Sidewinder MouseLogitech G9 Mouse

I heard people claiming that accuracy, smoothness of the scroll wheel, reconfigurability and buttons are often well worth the higher price. But I’m not entirely convinced. So here is a question for you, the reader.

Do you use a fancy, expensive mouse? If you do, why? Do you feel it really makes the difference? What is your favorite mouse? Do you think that spending $100 on a mouse would change my life for the better? Same goes for the keyboard. I really want to know. Maybe I’m missing out, using low end products when I should really treat myself to something more luxurious. And I do spend most of my time in front of my computer. In fact, chances are that if I’m awake and not in the car there is either a desktop or a laptop somewhere within my reach. So if I was to invest something that would improve my everyday experience, I would be utilizing it to the fullest.

[tags]mouse, keyboard, mice, microsoft sidewinder, logitech g9, logitech, microsoft[/tags]

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25 Responses to Is it worth investing in a mouse and keyboard?

  1. Muhammad SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I went from a Logitech Basic keyboard and a Logitech Optical wired mouse, which costs a total of SG$25, to a Logitech G15 keyboard and a Logitech G7 Wireless Laser mouse which is SG$270 total (yes I’m a Logitech fan when it comes to peripherals).

    And I’m never going back.

    Using a dumb Lenovo keyboard and mouse at work makes me long for my G15+G7 mouse combination at home. I’m not sure how to describe it. It simply “feels” better as you type. I’m also more accurate with the G7 than my basic optical mouse at work. You can try it out by playing some flash game that depends on the accuracy of your clicking, like “Urban Sniper“. I score better at home than at the office.

    Did I just admit to playing flash games in office?

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  2. Adam UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Premium mice are also about DPI. I can assure you that once you’re used to a nice mouse with higher DPI, you cannot go back to using value mice without hating the living shit out of them.

    If you do buy a nice mouse, be prepared to buy one for every computer you use. My $50 Logitech G5 turned out to be $150 for 3 PCs.

    Proper split-key keyboards like the Microsoft Natural 4000 are a similar proposition. After using one for a couple weeks you really appreciate how open they feel, and while you can use flat keyboards still they feel cramped.

    And uhhh…I’d never play flash games at the office either!

    /me looks over his shoulder

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  3. Ben UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I use a standard mouse, but I recently switched to a Microsoft 4000 ergonomic keyboard, and I love it. It really makes a difference. The key size is much improved over previous models. OTOH, I don’t use any of the silly buttons along the top. I’d be afraid of pressing one for fear of crashing Vista anyway.

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  4. Dax UNITED STATES Opera Windows says:

    I use the a standard bottom-line Logitech keyboard which is great. It cost me about $15 at CompUSA. I prefer Logitech mice as well, but the wife picked me up a Microsoft Optical wireless (bleh) mouse that has a great feel to it. It has a few extra buttons around the thumb area that I don’t use at all, but overall it’s a nice mouse.

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  5. Fr3d UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    I use a Razer Diamdondback gaming mouse (~£35, ~$70USD) – I find the extra functionality really useful when playing games, like the two extra buttons, and adjustable sensitivity in-game.

    I used to use a Zboard (~£40, ~$80) for my keyboard… It was *ok*, but nothing special. It took a long time to get used to the weird key layout (there are two space bars etc), but it wasn’t bad to type on. I recently upgraded to the new Apple Keyboard (~£30, ~$60), which is much nicer, very nice to type on and is somehow very small when you need desk space, but also full-size when you’re using it. And it works natively in Vista :D

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  6. Aaron UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I use just a normal keyboard and a 5 (7) button mouse because I can’t stand mice without a scrollwheel or the navigation buttons on the side.

    The only “extravagance” I use is the keyboard and mouse are wireless because I use a laptop with an external monitor instead of a desktop and corded mouse and keyboards can be quite a pain, and I also spend long times working on a computer, so it is nice to be able to move around.

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  7. hdw UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I use a split keyboard and a $99 Logitech MX Revolution mouse. Worth every penny.

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  8. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Wow, unanimous vote for the premium hardware. I was reading these comments and looked down on my disgusting old dirty work keyboard. So I broke down, and ordered a natural split keyboard for my desk. We’ll see how it works. I never really used the split layout, so this will be an experiment.

    Still contemplating on getting a fancy mouse. :)

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  9. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I think I’ll be breaking the unanimity now, I use cheap peripherals and see no problem with them – I’ve never found myself wishing my mouse were more accurate or my keyboard more ergonomic, and the ones I have suit me just fine.

    That said, there is a certain level of nice-ness I wouldn’t want to go below, with mice it has to be optical and have a scroll wheel or it doesn’t deserve to be called a mouse, and keyboards annoy me sometimes when the keys are too stupid.

    By stupid, I mean taking too long to notice that I hit said keys, most often because you have to press them down further than I expect for the sensor to kick in. I’m probably just too used to slim keyboards, being split between a laptop and an ultra-thin keyboard, but most other keyboards just feel far too clacky.

    So I have standards, but they’re low. I would probably find nicer hardware nicer to use, but I don’t see the price as being justified.

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  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Yeah, I plomped $30 for the natural keyboard but I think the price was not that bad. I was wanting to try one of those for a while so what the hell. If I don’t like it, I can still use the old Compaq keyboard that I found in the “spare parts” box on my first day at work.

    I use it as an external keyboard for my laptop when I’m at my desk. It has worked great for me ever since I found it. But at present there is so much funky gunk on the keys that you can’t read them anymore. It used to be white, now it’s brownish. It also has notes scribbled on it with permanent markers (like someones old password and my VI syntax cheet-sheet notes – I mean, someone already wrote on it, so what the hell).

    Plus the new keyboard is USB which means that I won’t have to use that PS/2 port in the back anymore. One less thing to plug into the back of the laptop when I come in in the morning. And no, I don’t have a docking bay. They never made one for my model. So I have the power cable, the VGA cable and a USB cable for the hub.

    I’m still weary of spending $100 on a mouse though.

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  11. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    $30 probably isn’t far off what I paid for my keyboard.. I wonder if stuff is proportionally more expensive when it’s sold in UK monies (or in UK shops)

    Just looked it up and the keyboard I mentioned earlier (the slim-lined one) is just under £13 from, so only about $4 different.

    $100/£50 for a mouse is damn high though

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  12. Jake UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I have a PS/2 Packard Bell keyboard I use. Enough said.

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  13. jambarama UNITED STATES Epiphany Linux Terminalist says:

    I was never a big fan of the split ergonomic keyboards. Once I got used to them I couldn’t type on my laptops. If I was only used desktops heavily, it’d be fine, but I my laptop gets a lot of typing.

    I was watching Gattaca some time ago with some friends and some know-it-all felt it necessary to say – “you can’t beat someone to death with a keyboard, they’re flimsy peices of plastic!” Maybe yours is.

    My favorite keyboard though is daskeyboard II. Feels like an old IBM keyboard, it is nice and heavy, and there are no markings on the keys. It helped my typing speed go from ~30-40wpm to ~60-70wpm. You could definitely beat someone to death with this keyboard.

    And the look on other people’s faces when they sit down to a foreign OS (xubuntu stripped of all menus save right click) and the keyboard has no markings, and I’ve swapped some key functionality (e.g. caps & ctrl) is priceless. That keyboard is totally worth it. It’ll never break.

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  14. jambarama UNITED STATES Epiphany Linux Terminalist says:

    Yeah but for mice I’m a cheapskate. My laptop doesn’t have a track pad (just a nub – that’s a thinkpad X series for you), and I don’t carry a mouse around with me. So accuracy isn’t that important for me. I had a laser mouse for a while at an old job – it did feel nicer, but not $70 nicer. A $10 optical mouse is fine for me.

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  15. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Big hands = not many mice fit nicely. Of the mice I’ve tried and liked, I prefer the standard MS optical wired mouse with scroll wheel. I’ve never used more than three buttons + scroll, and don’t like mice with so many buttons you can’t pick them up without hearing several clicks.

    Anyway, with the MS mouse, I use it with my fingertips, but can rest my palm on it’s back in-between mousing. I got a Razor Diamondback gaming mouse with the monitor I got from Dell, and I hate it. Bad shape and too sensitive – I prefer a mouse I can plug in and go with, not one I have to tune settings for. I’d like to try a trackball at some stage, I hear they’re great for lappies.

    Keyboards, I like the old model Ms when noise isn’t an issue, but at other times I like the net(something) keyboard – 104 keys, lock LEDs are on the actual keys, no softkey clutter, reasonable typing feel. Never used a natural keyboard but they look like someone’s left them in front of a heater.

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  16. jaymz UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I use a split keyboard (the ms 4000) and could never go back to a normal one for my own personal work, so I got one for each desktop I spend time with. Mice are less of an issue for me though, a decent, accurate laser one is about all I ever use although I’m forever contemplating shelling out for a ‘pro’ one…

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  17. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    @jambarama – the daskeyboard is awesome, but the price is a bit steep for a coat of black paint over the IBM Model M. Then again if you look at their website they talk about gold plated key switches and etc… So I guess the price might be justified.

    I hate touchpads and those little laptop nubs. I probably despise the nubs more than the pads, but both are horrible. I usually carry a small MS mouse in my laptop bag. If it seems like I will be using the machine for longer than 15-20 minutes I take it out. Otherwise it’s just a pain.

    @vacri – do you mean that keyboard that has keys that light up with different symbols and etc? That one is pretty awesome as well.

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  18. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Nah, I’m not talking about the OLED keyboard. The OLED keyboard is cool, but a real keyboard lover isn’t going to get much use out of it since they rarely look at the keys.

    I’m talking about the HP netserver keyboard. The LED for numlock is actually on the numlock key, scroll lock LED on scroll lock and same with caps. It’s a small thing, but I like it. In the link you can see a small dot on the scroll lock and another small dot on the shelf of the caps lock keys.

    I’d like to try a natural, but I’m not sure I’d like it permanently, since I often type one-handed, whether out of need or laziness.

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  19. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Actually some of te Dell keyboards are even smaller. Some of their keyboards basically have no extra space above and below the keys. So there is no landing strip below the space, or that huge space above the function keys.

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  20. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    heh, I meant the feature is small in scope. The tiny Dell keyboards… eurgh. :)

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  21. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Ah, ok. I don’t particularly like them either but they do save space. :)

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  22. Mark Bainter UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    For me, there are two important questions on a keyboard. Where is the \ key, and how good is the tactile feedback.

    I hate clunky keys that drag down my typing speed, and I really hate it when I can’t tell if I’ve pushed the key or not w/out looking. And of course, the \ key being in the lower right ALWAYS slows me down and throws me off.

    So, I generally go with a fairly inexpensive keyboard. I do have a Belkin split keyboard that works pretty well at home, but frankly not as well as the straight keyboard I have at work.

    As for mice – I hate em. I use a trackball. My favorite is the Logitech Trackman Marble FX. I have one at home, I’ve had it for over something like 8 years now.

    Sadly, they no longer make them, and they go for over a hundred dollars on ebay. So at work I have a Microsoft Cordless Optical Trackman. I do like having the extra keys, I have them mapped to various handy x-windows functions. But I’d trade it for the logitech in a heartbeat.

    I don’t get why people don’t make good trackballs anymore. Granted, it’s probably not as great for most gaming, but when you like to know where your mouse is at all times and make rapid precise movements it’s really nice.

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  23. bg INDIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I’d say the IBM model M was is and will always be the best keyboard a guy can get.

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  25. Virgil MEXICO Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    For years I used standard mice without paying much attention to them. Then I found a 5 button mouse, and it was delightful for web browsing. It broke and for a couple years i had to conform to standard until I could afford better devices.

    Right now I use a Logitech Marble Mouse (a trackball actually), and a VX Revolution (10 button cordless laser mouse) by Logitech as well, and both are fully customizable. I too wish there were more and better trackballs in the market. As of now, Logitech has discontinued the popular Marble Mouse, probably the only affordable one left.

    It wasn’t too easy to hand down US$45 for a mouse right after spending $20 on the trackball, but it’s worth it. The more buttons on a mouse, the less you have to move it to reach buttons on screen or recurr to keyboard shortcuts.

    For whatever it’s worth, the functions I have on the mouse are: back, forward, copy, paste, show desktop, switch application, and play/pause.

    Another reason to consider is ergonomy. I use both devices simultaneously, so whenever I feel fatigued with one, I switch.

    I’ve also been craving a small wireless keyboard with an integrated trackball, it’s $90. Since I have a laptop, it’s probably wise to have a second keyboard for heavy use, and not wear down the integrated one.

    As a bottomline, I’d say: never go cheapest, treat yourself.

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