With many of us still stuck working at home because of the coronavirus crisis and some employers saying it could be months before they reopen offices, it is time to start seriously thinking about your home set-up and whether it could be more comfortable and efficient. A decent keyboard and mouse could prove a good investment – ensuring your working day takes less of a long-term toll on your joints.
With seemingly endless options to choose from, here’s a quick guide to some standouts, from the dirt cheap to the ergonomic.
Cheap and cheerful
Trust Basi Mouse – £6
If you want a cheap, solid and ambidextrous mouse that doesn’t need batteries, the Trust Basi Mouse is it. Simply plug and play via USB-A, and two buttons and a scroll wheel get the job done with the minimum of fuss. If you only have USB-C ports you will need an adapter costing about £5.
Kensington ValuKeyboard – £8
A cheap, but effective workhorse, the Kensington ValuKeyboard is a fairly-compact, full-size keyboard that plugs in via USB-A and is spill-resistant. Simple.
Quiet and compact
Logitech M330 Silent Plus – £30
Some mice can be really loud, particularly when you are cooped up in close quarters with others. Logitech’s compact M330 Silent Plus is designed to be almost silent, with clicks more than 90% quieter than normal mice, a rubber smooth-scrolling wheel and Quiet Mark certification. It is high quality, wireless (with a USB receiver) and lasts up to two years on a single AA battery. The Logitech M590 (£36) is similar but with Bluetooth, too, if you need it.
Logitech K380 Multi-device – £35
Logitech’s K380 multi-device Bluetooth keyboard is one of the very best compact so-called tenkeyless (lacking a number pad) and quiet keyboards, with good spacing and key feel from its scissor-switch design, plus the ability to pair with up to three devices and quickly switch between then, whether it’s a PC, Mac, Chromebook, iPad or smartphone. Two AAA batteries last two years. This is the one I’ve used for the last three years.
Microsoft Classic Intellimouse – £28
Microsoft has brought back its much-loved Intellimouse from the 1990s with the same right-handed ergonomic design, five customisable buttons, firm scroll wheel and plug-and-play wired USB connection. The Classic Intellimouse has even got the little glowing tail light, now in white not red, and tracks more precisely, thanks to modern optical technology.
Mechanical keyboard – £50 and up
Mechanical keyboards have had a resurgence in recent years, bringing back the clicky, responsive feel of the original large computer keyboards but in modern, sleeker, durable and often gamer-focused packages. Cherry’s MX key switches are the gold standard for mechanical keyboards, with the firm’s MX Blue considered the best for typing by aficionados, thanks to their tactile feedback when pressed. They don’t come cheap but at under £70, HyperX’s Alloy FPS Pro is one of the lowest priced with the MX Blues.
Logitech MX Master 3 – £88
The Logitech MX Master 3 is, simply put, the best right-handed wireless mouse money can buy. It has ultra-precise tracking on practically any surface, seven customisable buttons, wireless or Bluetooth for up to three devices with quick switching, 70 days’ battery and USB-C charging wrapped in an attractive, super-comfortable shape. But the best bit is the all-metal magnetic wheel that automatically switches between a silent but tactile line-by-line click to a free-wheeling scroll that glides through documents in seconds.
Logitech MX Keys – £100
It may be pricey for a non-mechanical keyboard but Logitech’s MX Keys is one of the very best scissor-switch keyboards available, with exceptional key-feel that rivals the very best in the business. It is wireless and Bluetooth, connects to up to three devices, quickly switching between them, and has automatic backlighting. It lasts up to 10 days with the backlight on or five months with it off, charging via USB-C.
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop – £85
Microsoft has been making ergonomic keyboards since the 1990s with a split, wave-style layout that puts your wrists into a natural position. The Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop has a similar design but separates the number pad so you can get the mouse closer to the centre if you are right-handed. It is wireless with a USB dongle and ships with or without the Sculpt Ergonomic wireless mouse.
Logitech MX Vertical – £93
Ergonomic mice come in all shapes and sizes but Logitech’s MX Vertical is my right-handed pick for its natural handshake position and ease of getting used to. It is wireless and Bluetooth, can quick switch between three devices, has lots of buttons, full customisation, the same premium feel and precise tracking as Logitech’s best mice and lasts four months between charges via USB-C.