A rubber keyboard is a keyboard which has components primarily made from rubber, making the keyboard highly flexible and also very durable. Classically, a rubber keyboard is made by casting a solid key mat, housing electrical components behind the mat, and attaching a rubber back piece. These specialty keyboards are available from some electronics stores, and also through their manufacturers. Some manufacturers also produce rubber keyboards which are designed for use in laptops.
The primary advantage to a rubber keyboard is that it is flexible. A rubber keyboard can be rolled up and stuffed into a bag or briefcase without the need to worry about sharp edges or potential damage to the keyboard. For people who like to have a full size keyboard to attach to laptops and other portable digital devices, a rubber keyboard can be a useful tool, as it is less cumbersome than other travel keyboard designs.
Many rubber keyboards are also resistant to spills, which means that they can be used in inclement weather and users do not need to worry about errant drinks. Some can even be used underwater. The durability of rubber also makes these keyboards useful for people who tend to pound on the keyboard, as it is difficult to damage the keys with heavy hands and fast fingers. Some rubber keyboards are also extremely sensitive, requiring only a light touch to function, which cuts down on keyboard noise significantly.
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A variety of connections between keyboard and computer are available, with USB being the connection type of choice for most manufacturers. Some rubber keyboards are wired, and must be connected directly to a computer with a cable, while others are wireless, allowing more range of motion and promoting more comfortable positioning. Wireless rubber keyboards have a slot for batteries or a port to connect to a recharging station, and the wireless component may be embedded or included as a dongle with the keyboard.
A variety of keyboard layouts from truncated keyboards to full keyboards with number pads and hotkeying capability are available. For people who like to coordinate their computer accessories, rubber keyboards come in a rainbow of shades, from basic black to hot pink. Before purchasing a rubber keyboard, it can be a good idea to field test it, if possible, to get a sense of how the keys feel. Reading reviews of available models is also recommended, as some design flaws only come out with extensive user experience.