Why Aren't Keyboards Built To Last?

@Janey1966 (24127)
Carlisle, England
March 20, 2010 8:12pm CST
I have a desktop computer that has served me well for many years. However, I am already on my second keyboard! The original keyboard was a Sony so you would expect it to last forever...well, it didn't and the lettering on the keyboard starting splodging with over-use. Well, the same is happening with the cordless Advent keyboard I am now typing on. Now, the screen has been brilliant (and the speakers replaced very recently) so why on earth are keyboards built...er, NOT to last? Is it because they are made in China or what? I remember this keyboard being on offer when it was bought around 3-4 years ago. It is now at full price. Thank goodness I got it then and not now lol. It has responsive keys though, I suppose, it's just I don't like the splodges, they make it look cheap, you know what I mean? Does anyone else have this problem and does it apply to laptops as well? I'd love to know what the keyboards are like on those just so I can compare the two!
4 people like this
23 responses
@kaylachan (4776)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
21 Mar 10
Keyboards and mice are the two devices that get the most use out of any computer. Or, I should be saying direct use. Keyboards are used for typing or performing commands. So they take a lot of abuse especially if we are the type of person to use them quite frequently for a lot of typing. I find, that.... the same problems exist with laptops, but they aren't as easily replaced. Quite frankly though your keyboards seem to be lasting you a lot longer then most do.
1 person likes this
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
It seems that manufacturers these days are more bothered about what is IN the laptops, etc than the outward appearance of them, which is a shame. One would have to pay a lot of money for a really good computer but then again who knows how long the keyboard will last? I type such a lot though, lol.
1 person likes this
@gunagohan (3415)
• India
21 Mar 10
U guys are forgetting the actual concept of computer... It's not the keyboard or the Mouse which is being used mostly.... It's the Processor, Motherboard , RAM and so and so are being used more than the hardware u specified.. The processor is responsible when u start and turn off the computer, it has to work throughout and so the Physical Memory of ur computer (RAM) and even the monitor... So just drop out the idea that keyboard and mouse are the most working parts of a computer..
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Thanks for your input guys, it's much appreciated.
@goldeneagle (6775)
• United States
23 Mar 10
because they want you to have to buy a new one every few years, but I have to admit that I have had pretty good luck with keyboards over the years
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
24 Mar 10
Glood for you! I've had this one for 3 years so I'm not doing too badly. Cosmetically it doesn't look too great but at least I can still type on it!
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
24 Mar 10
I've just made up a new word "glood" lol. Obviously, I meant "good." Sorry about that!
21 Mar 10
If you think about it and apologies if someone else has mentioned this, the keyboard and also the mouse are the two pieces of a computer system which comes into the most human contact. So in many ways it’s sort of makes sense that these two items, which are more open to physical abuse and heavy handedness would be the ones more likely to break and look worn and dirty. I think in the last 10 years I have probably gone through about 7 keyboards, some suffer actually technical faults of unresponsive keys, others have lost the lettering making it that bit harder to type. I am yet to find one which is hard wearing and that I feel comfortable with. I actually keep a keyboard in reserve so that if the one I am using breaks or becomes unusable I have an immediate fallback. But the one thing I have learned is not to waste too much money on them because even the more expensive ones, and I have spent silly money on a couple, are just as likely to loose their lettering or break as a cheaper one. Oh and as for laptop keyboards, well I love them except I’ve wrecked those as well and they are more of a pain to replace.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Can I have your spare one? Yes, it makes sense not to spend too much on a keyboard but I often wonder what is considered "expensive" and what is "cheap?" That's a good point you make about keyboards on laptops. If they go you have to replace the whole thing, am I right? It makes me wonder if manufacturers do this on purpose so more laptops are bought. Crafty, eh?
22 Mar 10
You can just replace the keyboard element on a laptop but often the replacement keyboard is three times more expensive than a standard one and it is fiddly work to take apart a laptop and replace it. I've done it a few times, but the last time I ruined my laptop keyboard I just plugged in a normal one and used that instead. Doesn't look as good but a lot less hassle and expense.
• United States
21 Mar 10
for the same reason nothing lasts anymore. if they make it too good,we won't buy new ones for a long time.they don't make money that way.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Well, I suppose I should be thankful that this Advent keyboard has lasted 3 years!
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 10
3 years is a good long time nowadays. most often mine die from "act of family"..and it's funny..i know i didn't do it,but nobody's fessing up!
@mr_pearl (5037)
• India
21 Mar 10
Oh well... Let me tell you what I know about keyboards.. Every keyboard has a definite life. I have studied 4-5 different types of keyboards when I was in college- it was part of our syllabus, basically. All of them have different lift-spans and it is defined on the basis of 'million key presses'. Suppose a particular keyboard's life is said to be '20 million key presses' then it means that the keys of that board can be pressed 20 million times safely and after which, one isn't sure whether it is going to work fine or not!!! I am sorry I can't provide with detailed information, as I left college before 5 years and my memory is too feeble when it comes to studies . I don't know much about modern keyboards, but the ones we use at office are much sophisticated and easy to use. I wish you I could provide with more info about this.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
All that information you have provided is quite interesting, actually! Thank you! I suppose it makes sense that works keyboards are designed better than home keyboards as that has been my experience, thinking about it. Keyboards at work..well they were bomb-proof, unlike the flimsy things manufacturers palm us off with at home. The thing is, with all this home-working becoming more popular nowadays you would think that the manufacturers of home computers would provide better equipment. Also, we have to save up for ages in order to buy an over-priced computer in the first place, whereas companies seem to have an unlimited budget for such hardware.
@mr_pearl (5037)
• India
22 Mar 10
I agree with you Janey... Companies of course have a lot to put into buying hardware, which is why, the keyboards at office are fun to work at ;). Well the hardware equipment is getting cheaper here day by day, since the chinese products have invaded the market LOL... I hope it is the same in your parts too... Have a good time!
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
21 Mar 10
Hi, I have a desk top and the keyboard is the part that needs replacing the most. In 11 yrs, I've replaced my computer once. The Keyboard doesn't last the brand or the price doesn't seem to matter. I'd always bought the cheaper ones because it was all I could afford. Well, last year I had the extra cash and once again needed a keyboard so I went to Radio Shack and got a fairly expensive one and was sure that in the long run it would save me money. It didn't. I really did not last any longer than the cheapo ones that I normally buy. I usually buy one for 10.00 and it lasts me a year or more. so that really isn't that bad. I will never pay much for a keyboard again. If I pay 10.00 and it starts to look bad or not work so good then I'm ok with replacing it.A couple of them have lasted well over a year. Sometimes it is totally our fault when they need replacing. Spilling a drink in them will kill them instantly. I had one last me almost 3 years. For 10.00 (maybe 15) that's not too shabby. I suggest go with the cheap ones.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
You make an interesting point about not spending too much on keyboards. The one I have was about £19 as it was reduced in the shop...the other week we were in the same shop and it was £35 (obviously back up to its original price) and there's no way I'd pay that for a keyboard. Maybe a Microsoft one as I know what they are like but even then I'd probably wait for it to be reduced lol.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
22 Mar 10
Its really not worth spending a lot. It's just all that much more money you are out of when it turns to junk and what I've learned from other items that I buy is that the amount of money you spend doesn't always insure quality. Sometimes it just means you are out more money.
• Malaysia
21 Mar 10
I have been using my keyboard like over 10 years now and it still in perfect condition although it's kinda dirty. I practically use my keyboard everyday. I was quite surprise that it still lasted until now
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
What brand is it my friend? Wow, 10 years, that's most impressive! Let's hope it lasts another 10!
• Malaysia
22 Mar 10
I am not sure bout the brand. but im really happy with this keyboard, all the keys are still working fine even though i smash and hit the keys really hard but it still works..all of them. My advise to you just get a simple keyboard with a good quality it does not have to be expensive
@Dumpertaker (1188)
21 Mar 10
It appears that things are just not meant to last any more, it is a throwaway culture we live in it seems...things are produced is a huge mass so they are cheap to buy and replace. MUst admit, I'm shocked at Sony...not like them usually.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
I can't remember the year I replaced the Sony keyboard...and I couldn't buy another Sony as they are very difficult to get hold of. It was a very good keyboard, actually and probably lasted about 6 or 7 years. This Advent one, however, is looking rough after about 3 so I guess you get what you pay for. It would not put me off buying Sony in the future, however, as it remains my favourite brand..mainly through ease of use of its products. You should see my Sony TFT monitor, still going strong after nearly 10 years and it remains still as bright and eye-friendly as ever. Firefox add-ons help to lessen eye-strain as I can change the colour of the background on MyLot (apart from the box I type in) plus any site I go on. It has become an invaluable tool in maintaining the performance of my computer and I was pleased to discover Firefox fairly recently.
21 Mar 10
Totally agree, Sony has to be one of the best brans in the World, I have always used their PCs and TVs....the last PC I bought of theirs lasted almost 10 years, which was great!
@dawnald (84132)
• Shingle Springs, California
22 Mar 10
I have never had to replace a keyboard. I guess I do much more mouse work than keyboard work. The way my daughter pounds on it, I might have to replace the one at home eventually though.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
22 Mar 10
Haha! I used to pound away on a manual typewriter at school, then Mum bought me one so I could practice on it at home...and times I used to wreck my fingers getting them "stuck" inbetween the keys!
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
22 Mar 10
Unfortunately, it could be that you simply have a higher level of acidic skin oil. Or possibly you have stuff on your fingers that causes the paint to smear. Or even you might just sweat a lot. I have a roommate that sweats a lot. Nothing can be done about it. They have to replace their keyboard on a more routine basis. I, on the other hand do not, and most last 4 to 5 years. I have owned a few Sony products and have not noticed them to be much better than any other manufacturer. Not sure where that "Sony lasts forever" idea comes from. Must be great marketing.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
22 Mar 10
Well, the Sony keyboard I had (that came with the computer) lasted 7 years and this Advent one has started to look "dodgy" after 3, so I still have faith in Sony products. I agree that not all their products are cheap but they are simple to use, which is why I like them. As for the "sweat" I am unsure about that one...I think it's just a cheap Advent keyboard that is the actual problem here but I take it on board what you are saying and thank you for your response.
@Christoph56 (1508)
• Canada
21 Mar 10
Maybe it's just from how much you use your keyboard... how much do you type? with my keyboards, I have 2, a wireless and a wired one, and both of them have lasted me through the entire life of my computers. Granted, I'm not a huge typer, I don't need to be typing pages and pages all day, just pieces like this, plus e-mails and so on, and my keyboards are still in good condition.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
I'm the same. I suppose the most typing I do is here on MyLot. However, the problems with my keys started a long time before that...and I reckon it's a cosmetic thing with the actual keyboard. The next one I buy I shall inspect. When I bought this one it was on display in the shop, but in its box. I will not do that again, I shall make sure the one I buy is displayed so I can have a good look at it. It's still a good keyboard though. It types very well.
@May2k8 (3634)
• Indonesia
21 Mar 10
the price is not the problem, even if you buy it with expensive equipment still can be damaged condition or not working properly. It depends on how you use it, type it roughly can make no button is pressed and the keyboard can also be sensitive to humidity temperature. For me the most important thing is to be used.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
My keyboard is used every day. The only respite is when I visit Mum but no doubt that will change if I ever buy a laptop! That's a long way off though which I suppose it just as well!
@ramp123 (191)
• India
21 Mar 10
They are. You just need to care for them a little. Don't hammer the keys too hard, don't spill liquid on them. They will last as long as the computer will. By the way, a computer's life is around 3 years, after that it becomes hopelessly obsolete. So what's the difference if the keyboard does not outlast the computer? And, yes, the same thing applies to laptops, though some brands have much crisper keystrokes than others. Lenovo is one I particularly like, so is Dell.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
I think in my computer keyboard's case, it's purely cosmetic. I'm quite sure that if I was banging the keys too hard more of the lettering would wear off. Welcome to MyLot!
@gunagohan (3415)
• India
21 Mar 10
Well, i have seen a lot of programmers in my day to day life and even i'm a programmer, but we have not complained about keyboards .... I have Logitech Mouse and Keyboard .. The Lettering are still visible ...i updated my CPU just before 7 months, but i did not change my keyboard \ Mouse \monitor.. They are giving very high performance.. Even i have seen my friends using Laptops and they dont tell that the keys are going out.. I think u have to check out the manufacturer .. Sony is very good brand and have a good reputation ..
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
It's not a Sony keyboard I have now...it's an Advent.
@pandaeyes (2068)
21 Mar 10
Laptop keys get shiny with use. Mine has a highly polished sheen on the most used keys and the space bar. You can get replacement laptop keyboards but they have to be specific to the model. By splodgy I guess you mean the printing is coming off the keys? You can clean them with meths on a cotton bud(meths evaporates so wont kill the keyboard) but you need to have it all turned off while you do it. My desktop keyboard allows the keys to be prized off and cleaned and that is useful for getting out any dust and crumbs from underneath.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Many thanks for that suggestion, it's much appreciated. My keyboard is coated by a powdery, aluminium "film" which, I presume is what is wearing off, showing black underneath, which must be its original colour. It reminds me a bit of that silvery stuff on scratch cards but, obviously, it's coated a bit better than that as only a couple of keys are affected. Glad I didn't pay full price for it though!
@udayrao2 (782)
• India
21 Mar 10
Are you sure the keyboard is bad or is it that when you type you bang the keys!!! Don't laugh I am serious, nor am I making fun or a joke on you; as I had the same problem till someone told me that my problem was what I just mentioned - you see I graduated to the computer keyboard from the manual typewriter where we I was used to using a little more pressure and that habit stayed,( I think most of my age do the same), so much so that when I got a laptop after using a desktop for almost 18 years I was advised to buy a separate keyboard ( either USB or cordless & I bought the latter with a cordless mouse!!) because my daughter told me that with my hard typing the keyboard would go kaput before its lifetime and then laptop keyboard replacing is costly whereas external ones are not. Hope you take this in the right spirit Bye, regards
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Of course I take it in the right spirit my friend! I don't think I type too hard on the keyboard as the keys themselves are quite responsive...not too springy. My Sony keyboard had the keys sticking up more so it did make a racket when I typed on it. Mind you, this one isn't that much better lol.
@derek_a (10902)
21 Mar 10
Well, I've had a Logitech keyboards for around 6 years now, and (touch wood) it is still going well. One or two keys are slightly sticky now and again, but overall it works well. The letters on "S" and the "D" keys have gone very faint, but it seems my fingers know exactly there they are. _Derek
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Well, yes, that's true! In my case it's the "E" and "N" that look a bit unwell, plus there's an annoying splodge on the spacebar. Perhaps it's the cheap aluminium finish that's wearing off? Glad it didn't cost a lot of money, otherwise I'd be a bit miffed!
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
21 Mar 10
I have changed my keyboard a few times too. It is indeed the most used and abused item on my desktop. I think the designers of these items just made them last a certain limit. Maybe a couple of years. That way, consumers would continue buying new ones.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Yes, you are probably right in that assumption. As someone said earlier, we live in a throwaway society so manufacturers don't seem to bother about giving much thought to the keyboard design and how long it is going to last. My husband has an eMac and the keyboard supplied with it is horrendous, I don't like it at all, considering how expensive Apple products are. I'm glad my hubby uses it and I have a PC of my own. I do like Macs though but I just don't like the keyboards.
• Philippines
21 Mar 10
Try buying more expensive keyboards like IBM. Like in shoes, there are expensive shoes that last almost a lifetime. This also applies to keyboards.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
An IBM keyboard would be very difficult to get hold of here although they probably exist if I look hard enough (like on the internet) so I will bear what you say in mind my friend. Welcome to MyLot!
@fsound (757)
• Philippines
21 Mar 10
computer keyboards tend to be disposable. if you're a touch typist, the keyboard that you're using may last longer. keyboards are really cheap these days, so why not replace your defective keyboard to new one when the right time comes.
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
21 Mar 10
Yes, I may do some research online (Amazon UK is a good site) to see which keyboards are the most reliable as they do vary don't they? I do LIKE they keyboard I have now, I just find it frustrating that the lettering on the keys didn't really take too long to wear off (on a few keys, not all) so I shall see if anyone else goes on about that in any of the reviews.