A full size keyboard usually refers to some of the larger keyboards that are purchased with computers. They typically include all alphabet keys, most often arranged in the QWERTY configuration, which include the row of numbers and symbols above the letters, function keys, shift, space, directional keys with arrows, and a number pad located to the right of the keys, which may be helpful in ten-key and data entry operations. Such keyboards are generally at least 17 inches (43.18 cm) wide and about 6 inches (15.24 cm) or more deep.
There are distinct advantages to a full size keyboard because it contains all the extra keys, and plenty of space to type with generous spaces in between keys. It’s roughly similar to key space and width of typewriters, though a bit smaller, and it may be appreciated by those who learned to type on a typewriter instead of smaller computer keyboards. Smaller keyboards are certainly widely available, and they may save space by eliminating some keys, shrinking space in between keys or doing both. These may not be as easy to work with for those used to full sized keyboards, though they have their advantages too, and have been particularly appreciated for use with small-sized laptops. Shrinking the keyboard can mean reducing overall weight and size of a laptop, though there’s been some movement back toward larger ones, especially for people who want larger screens or larger keyboards.
With some of the very small devices that require keyboards, it may be easier to use a mini keyboard or at least a smaller plug in. Those who do want access to a full size keyboard for things like texting from a personal organizer or cellphone do have some options. There are now laser keyboards that project keys onto a surface and sense which keys are being touched. Another option are flexible or foldable keyboards which are fairly simple to use and easy to pack.
Even though a full size keyboard may be desirable, many people prefer smaller keyboards. They may be easier to set in the lap, they’re usually lighter and they take up less space on a desk. They pack quickly into laptop bags, and this may be helpful for those who prefer a keyboard larger than one that comes with their laptop and yet not a full size version. Some feel that elimination of certain keys on smaller keyboards is no problem because they don’t routinely use things like direction pads or 10-key pads in any case.
There is another definition for this term. A full-sized keyboard can also refer to synthesizers or electric pianos that contain a certain amount of keys or that have key size and spacing similar to that on most pianos. This may be a little confusing since a synthesizer called full size might only have 61 keys, while the average piano has about 88. However what is meant by full size here is that key size and space between keys is close to standard piano size.