Getting a wireless keyboard with touchpad for your computer means that you will be able to use your computer without having to be sat right in front of it or have lots of trailing leads.
Wireless unlike infrared means that you do not have to be right next to your computer for it to work properly. In fact you could quite comfortably sit about the same distance you would from your television and still get a good signal. This is ideal for people who have a computer connected to their TV and want to be able to sit on their settee and still use their PC. Many people are buying the new multimedia computers that you can watch TV on, watch films and play music, a compact wireless keyboard with a build in touchpad is ideal for this.
There are essentially two types of design, the full size and the compact. The most popular is the compact version that looks very similar to a laptop keyboard with the touchpad below the compact key layout. Essentially it is just like using a laptop but for your desktop PC. There are several well kown brand manufacturers such as Logitech and Keysonic that both make excellent boards, I have a Keysonic myself.
As well as the mini or compact style you can get a full size wireless keyboard. Although not as popular as their smaller cousins some people do prefer having the size of the standard keyboard layout. With these larger models the touchpad tend to be at the side which for some may be harder to use rather than being below the keys where it is easier for your hands to rest especially if you are not using it sat at your desk.
There are two technologies that enable your keyboard to talk to your computer, these are wireless using the 2.4GHZ radio frequency and Infrared. With both types you will have a small dongle that plugs into your USB port that picks up the signal and a transmitter usually built into the unit itself. Wireless tend to be able to be used further away from the computer compared with similar Infrared models.
This is a question that you should consider as you will need to install batteries in the underside of the keyboard to power it. Depending on the model you may need 2 to 4 batteries and these are usually AA or the AAA types. Standard batteries such as the 1.5v ones that you can buy in most shops work well but can be expensive.
Rechargeable batteries will save you money but if you use the standard 1.2v types that are widely available in the shops they tend not to last that long and need recharging regularly which can be a pain. There is a new technology called rechargeable alkaline batteries which give the same power as standard 1.5v batteries but can be recharged. They tend not to be widely available in high street shops in the UK but you can order alkaline rechargeable batteries and chargers online, you need a special alkaline charger for them so it is best to get them as a set, it works out cheaper and you save a fortune on replacement batteries.
Overall wireless keyboards tend to perform better than Infrared especially if you are not going to be sitting near your computer. If you want to save money I'd recommend that you look into getting alkaline rechargeable batteries for your wireless touchpad keyboard. They can be recharged, give the same power as ordinary batteries and hold their charge for longer.