The next category of keyboards is best classed as seriouskeyboards that are more or less conventional in shape and layout but are designed for heavy-duty work.
If you find that conventional keyboards are too flimsy or have too light a feel, consider what enthusiasts call a battleship board a heavy-duty keyboard that includes much more metal and correspondingly less plastic than lower-priced keyboards. The main difference between battleship boards and regular keyboards is that battleship boards usually use a buckling-spring switch under each key, whereas regular keyboards use switches constructed around rubber domes of one sort or another. Buckling springs give a much more solid click (both tactile and aural) than rubber domes and feel much more solid. Theyre also heavier in weight, heavier duty, and more expensive.
This essential difference distinguishes most battleship boards from regular keyboards, but youll also find other serious keyboards that dont use buckling-spring switches on the keys. Some of these serious keyboards have different layouts than standard keyboards. For example, some serious keyboards have the function keys on the left side of the keyboard instead of on the top row. Some even have two sets of function keys: one on the left side, one on the top row. Few people need such a different layout of function keys, but youll know if you do.
IBM used to make the best battleship boards, and their technology lives on. Perhaps the best site for battleship boards of one type or another is PCKeyboard.com ( www.pckeyboard.com ). They are a division of Unicomp, which bought keyboard technology from Lexmark International, the company that used to make the keyboards for IBM (and, before being spun off as a separate company, was part of IBM).