Thursday, June 30, 2016


 There are now different keyboards available in Canada and you may or may not like them.

Recently we decided that it was time to see if we could get a smaller laptop for when you are on the road instead of always carrying around the 15.6 laptop all the time. The decision we needed to consider was size and weight as well as would it do everything that we needed it to do. We thought through some of the different things we wanted and having a basic computer to do some of the daily things was what we really needed. It also meant that size was something else that we needed to consider.

The result for size was something around the 11.6” screen as that would be easy to carry but also large enough to see when sitting and typing. The keyboard was then something that needed to be considered as we wanted an actual keyboard and not just the touch screen keyboard. After a lot of consideration it came down to three different convertible laptop/tablets. The reason for the laptop/tablet device was there are times that I would like to work on a tablet and other times typing on the keyboard is what I want. Another thing we considered was how much storage was available on the system so that some of the items that are worked on can be carried easily and not needing the usb key always being plugged into the device.

The three devices that were then in consideration were:
  • Dell Inspiron 11.6 Touchscreen Convertible Laptop, 500 GB Hard drive
  • Acer Aspire R 11.6” Convertible Laptop, 500 GB Hard drive
  • HP Pavilion x360 11.6” Touchscreen Convertible Laptop, 500 GB Hard drive

We did a lot of reviewing of these three devices as we wanted to make sure that the one that we decided on met the requirements that we had for the device. Usability was the biggest thing and the keyboard was a huge part of the decision factor as well as battery life. After doing all the reviewing that we could it was time to go and actually look at the three devices at a store and see which one worked best. The reason for going to look at the devices at the store was to make sure that typing was easy on the device so writing is a key part of my life.

Canadian bilingual keyboard
Each computer was tested and I found out a major problem with two out of the three keyboards and that was they had the Canadian bilingual keyboard and not the standard keyboard that was available when you could specify an English or French keyboard when you made your selection here in Canada. Also all the pictures on the website of the Canadian stores showed the standard keyboard and not the Canadian bilingual keyboard. Now what some of the manufacturers have done is make one keyboard that will maybe meet the needs of some customers in Canada. The keyboard has an extra key before the enter key on the right hand side and on the left hand side there is an extra key between the z key and the shift key. As a touch typist I found that the extra key made it very difficult to type because I couldn’t easily select the shift key or the enter key. We left the store so that a bit more investigation could be done of the available keyboards before making our final decision on the device we were going to buy.

A chat with one of the companies let me know that yes here in Canada the choice of keyboard available was the Canadian bilingual keyboard and that was it. I didn’t have a choice between English and French keyboards any longer. The person during the chat said that if I wanted the standard keyboard I could always order the computer through Amazon or some place like that. The challenge with Amazon is so many things if ordered through will not be shipped to Canada so I would still end up with the Canadian bilingual keyboard.

standard keyboard
So the decision was made as to which computer we were going to be getting so off to the store we went to get the one that I could type on. After buying the computer the first thing we did after leaving the store was to open the box to ensure that we did have the standard keyboard and I am happy to say that we did get the standard keyboard and typing is pretty good on the new device.

The device that we did end up getting was the HP Pavilion x360 11.6” Touchscreen Convertible Laptop, 500 GB Hard drive. Typing on the keyboard is pretty good and it is nice to not have to fight with the extra keys that were on the other two devices.

What this showed me was that just knowing what you want isn’t good enough and you cannot rely on the pictures on websites to show that a device will meet your needs. Actually typing on each of the devices showed me some of the issues that I was going to have with the other keyboard. Making sure that you can type on the computer that you are going to be using is very important. I would suggest that if you are going to buy a computer try typing something on the keyboard to ensure you are comfortable using it. A picture of a keyboard is one thing and the actual keyboard layout and feel is something else.

The computer is nice and I have been able to get some writing done on it already. This entire blog was written using the new device and I can say that the device is meeting the needs for me. Thank you HP for providing the standard keyboard as the keyboard that you offered here in Canada. You got our dollars and the other two companies ended up losing out just because they didn’t give me a choice on the keyboard they offered.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Darlene, I too have noticed the difference in keyboards - but it was between using the desktop at work, and my laptops at home.

    The other key difference I found when looking at laptops to buy was if there was a number pad or not. The funny thing was that I thought I really had to have the number pad at home, because of how much I use it at work. Guess what...that is totally wrong. What I do at work is very different from what I do at home. I did spend the extra to get the number pad, but it rarely gets used.

    Loved to see how you did your research and what the results were !