The ancient Romans had a saying"de gustibus non est disputandum"or, loosely translated, "there's no arguing matters of taste." When it comes to input deviceskeyboards, mice, trackballs, and game controllersthat's indisputably true. An input device that one person loves another may hate, and vice versa. So, although we won't presume to recommend specific models in this chapter, we will tell you what to look for when you are choosing one for yourself.
Few people ever think about upgrading their input devices. That's unfortunate, because, along with your display, the quality of your input devices have more impact on system usability and comfort than any other component. We have seen people using cheap, sticky keyboards and mice so worn their pointers jump around, apparently unaware that for $25 and 30 seconds' work they could swap those shoddy old parts for a modern keyboard and optical mouse.
Nor is the problem limited to old components. Cheap consumer-grade systems often include keyboards and mice we wouldn't use on a bet. We once unpacked a keyboard that had come with a consumer-grade system and made the mistake of turning it upside down to look for the label. Several of the keys fell off. We don't know how much they pay for these components, but on the cheapest consumer-grade systems we'd be surprised if the keyboard and mouse together cost $5. Replacing the keyboard and mouse on even a new consumer-grade system can be the best $25 upgrade you can make.