Input and Output Devices Found in Computers

There are two types of devices that allow interaction between the computer and an end user: input devices and output devices.

These devices are hardware and component parts of the computer system. Both types deal with information and ensure the system works effectively.

So, what are they exactly? Let’s find out more about the different computer input and output devices.

What are input and output devices of computers?

An input device, such as a keyboard or mouse, sends information to a computer system.

The computer will then display or reproduce that information via one or more output devices. It’s therefore essential for computer users to differentiate between input and output devices.

The vast majority of devices can be labelled as input or output since they will either receive information from the user or transmit it. You may also come across devices known as I/O devices that are capable of both taking input and showing output at the same time.

5 input devices often found in computers

Take a look at some common examples of input devices of computers:

1. Mouse

To put it simply, a mouse is a pointing device. This means that users can control the pointer on a computer display by using it. The touchpad on a laptop computer serves the same purpose as a mouse. 

Douglas C. Engelbart was the first person to create a working mouse in 1963. The original mouse used a rollerball under the mouse's surface, whereas most of today's optical mice use a laser. 

HP’s HyperX Pulsefire FPS Pro Gaming Mouse is a comfortable mouse with an ergonomic design. Plus, it has six programmable buttons to customise it for any need.

2. Keyboard

A keyboard is one of the most important input devices. You can use it to input data into a computer or other electronic devices. They do this by connecting to the computer in one of two ways: wirelessly or through a USB system. 

Letters A through Z and numbers 0 through 9 make up the keyboard. There are 17 digits on the numeric keypad, enabling a wide range of arithmetic operations. The top row of the keyboard also usually contains the computer's function keys. Furthermore, users can easily navigate the page and make selections using useful control keys like tab, enter, shift, etc.

While regions use different keyboard layouts, the worldwide standard for keyboards is the QWERTY keyboard. The term "qwerty" comes from the first six letter keys on the keyboard.

Here are the 9 types of keyboards: 

  • Flexible Keyboards

  • Gaming Keyboard

  • Wireless Keyboard

  • Multimedia Keyboard

  • Laptop Keyboard

  • Hand Keyboard

  • Mechanical Keyboard

  • Ergonomic Keyboard

  • Virtual Keyboards

Not sure which type of keyboard to choose? HP’s HyperX Alloy Origins Mechanical Gaming Keyboard suits any computer user’s needs. It has a compact, portable design with a detachable USB-C cable, so it’s perfect if you need a keyboard on the go. It also has lots of customisable options, so it can be adapted to suit different preferences.

3. Microphone

A microphone allows us to feed both prerecorded and live audio into a computer-based recorder.

It is a device that transfers the acoustic energy from an audible source into an electric signal for playback through an amplification system. Therefore, professions such as voice actors and filmmakers have benefited greatly from this technology. The mic’s primary advantages lie in its small size, low price, and high response sensitivity.

These days, microphones can also function as voice recognition devices. Furthermore, we can now use the “Speech Input Device” feature to dictate our text instead of typing it.

4. Joystick

You can guide the computer's pointer in any direction using a joystick. It most closely resembles a gearshift or a control stick on a plane. It also typically has user interfaces, like buttons, switches, or sliders.

In many scenarios, using a joystick provides far more intuitive control than a mouse. Thus, it is useful in a wide variety of situations, including when playing video games, training simulations, steering helicopters, and many more!

5. Trackball

The trackball is an alternative computer input device that functions similarly to a mouse. It looks like a ball and has a few buttons on top. A normal handling position involves your thumb being on the ball and the other fingers on its buttons.

Advantages of the trackball over the mouse: 

  • The Scroll is an outside roller that you may rotate to smoothly move the displays. When pushed, the Scroll also serves as a button to prevent the screens from stopping.

  • The buttons may be programmed to carry out a user's desired actions in their web browser or other applications.

  • A trackball is a track-sphere. Therefore, it has a feature found in certain wireless mouse models that allow for the rotation of the screen in any direction, not just up and down. This is very useful for games and other graphic design software.

Trackballs quickly gained popularity in portable computing devices because of their small size, making them easy to carry and store. Moreover, many users prefer trackballs since they're thought to be more reliable than a mouse.

5 output devices often found in computers 

Here are some common output devices of computers:

1. Speaker

A speaker is an audio output hardware component that is often linked to a computer. It works similarly to sound cards, which are a kind of hardware usually included within a computer and responsible for creating the audible output from the system's speakers.

The sound card processes the audio input and outputs sound via the computer's speaker. These days you will find a built-in speaker on almost all laptops near the top of your keyboard.

However, when you need to play the computer's audio at a louder volume, you may need to invest in a second external speaker.

2. Printer

Printers create a physical duplicate of digital information. Since the printer's primary function is to transform digital information into paper, they are essential to every digital environment.

Files, images, and other digital metadata are saved on a computer and can be printed using a printer. Offices, residences, PowerPoint presentations, and businesses all utilise printers to print signs and other materials. 

It’s important to keep note of your printer’s paper size requirements.

The size of the printed output depends on the paper size you use. On the other hand, the DPI density of a printer is a measure of the quality of the printed picture. The higher the printer's DPI, the sharper and more detailed the output.

In most cases, you will need a communication cable or a wireless network to link the printer to the computer. However, many modern digital printers have other connection alternatives, such as Wi-Fi or cloud. This makes it simpler and quicker to complete a printing job.

To quickly print a document, you can simply press the Ctrl + P keys.

3. Monitor

A monitor is an essential output device found in all computers. It is an adaptable tool used to display data visually.

A video adapter built into the computer’s motherboard is linked via cable to the monitor where the information is shown. Users can see files, images, videos, documents, graphics, or tables in real-time through the screen.

Examining documents, images, videos, graphics, and tables in their original format and in real-time is possible on the screen. LED, LCD and plasma are just a few examples of cutting-edge monitor technologies. 

There are 5 types of monitors out there:

  • LCD Monitors 

  • CRT Monitors 

  • LED Monitors 

  • Plasma Monitors

  • OLED Monitors 

The HP M24f FHD Monitor is a great monitor for any activity on a computer. It even comes with low blue light mode and anti-glare to protect your eyes.

4. Headphones

You can listen to your device’s audio privately by plugging headphones into the output jack. Otherwise, you can also use and connect this type of device via a wireless connection to a mobile device or PC.

People most commonly use headphones or earbuds in public settings when they want to listen to audio without bothering others around them. The sound card (or any other connected device) provides audio input, and then the headphones transform that signal into wave sound for output.

5. Projector

A multimedia projector is also an output device. Having access to a multifunctional projector is not unlike having a magic wand because it can do so much quickly and easily.

With the help of image projection, you can watch a film on a wall or screen for a full cinematic effect. This means it is possible to set up a home theatre even in a small space.

Whether for presentations, data visualisations, or documentary screenings, a projector is versatile and allows for a complete video broadcast. Hence, using a projector improves the audience's ability to absorb and process the presented material.

5 devices that can be both input and output devices 

Some computer devices can be considered both input and output devices. Here are some I/O devices you can find on a computer:

1. Headset

A headset combines an output device (the speaker) and an input device (the microphone). Headsets are a necessary and useful tool for anyone who has to communicate or listen to audio in a shared space. The HyperX Cloud Alpha S Gaming Headset is perfect for everyday use thanks to its comfortable design. It also has bass adjustment sliders to personalise your sound.

2. Facsimile

A facsimile machine or a fax machine is a machine that transmits and receives documents digitally.

3. USB Drive

Another example of an input and output device is a USB drive. You can use it to store and transfer data to and from other devices.

4. CDs 

Compact Disc (CD) and DVD (DVD) Drives store information from computers in the specified format. They can then transfer this data to other devices by taking up disk space.

5. Modems 

Modems allow you to send information via phone lines from one computer to another.

Final words

There are numerous input and output devices that you can connect to your computer. Input and output devices play key roles and are very useful for computers. Understanding the differences between these two devices is very important if you want to maximise performance.