Mechanical keyboards have been gaining popularity in recent years, particularly among gamers and professionals who spend a lot of time typing. These keyboards are different from traditional membrane keyboards in that they use individual mechanical switches for each key. The switches provide tactile feedback, which can improve typing accuracy and reduce typing fatigue. In this article, we will explore the benefits of mechanical keyboard and why they are worth considering.
History of Mechanical Keyboards
Mechanical keyboards were first introduced in the 1980s as an alternative to the membrane keyboards that were popular at the time. The earliest mechanical keyboards used switches from companies such as Cherry and Alps, which are still widely used today. Over the years, mechanical keyboards have evolved to include a variety of switch types, keycap materials, and backlighting options.
Mechanical keyboards use different types of switches, each with its own unique characteristics. The most popular switch types are Cherry MX, which are available in several colors, and Gateron, which are similar to Cherry MX but generally less expensive. Other switch types include Kailh, Razer, and Topre.
Cherry MX switches are known for their tactile feedback and audible click, which makes them popular among typists and gamers. They are available in several colors, including red, brown, blue, and black, each with its own characteristics. Red switches, for example, are linear and require less force to actuate, while brown switches are tactile and require slightly more force to actuate.
Gateron switches are similar to Cherry MX switches but are generally less expensive. They are available in several colors, including red, brown, blue, and black, and are known for their smooth operation and durability.
Kailh switches are similar to Cherry MX switches but are often used in budget mechanical keyboards. They are available in several colors, including red, brown, blue, and black, and are known for their durability and affordability.
Razer switches are designed specifically for gaming and are known for their fast actuation and durability. They are available in several colors, including green, orange, and yellow.
Topre switches are unique in that they use a rubber dome with a spring, which provides a tactile feedback similar to that of a mechanical switch. They are popular among professionals who spend a lot of time typing.
Benefits of Mechanical Keyboards
Mechanical keyboards offer several benefits over traditional membrane keyboards. One of the main benefits is the tactile feedback provided by the switches. The tactile feedback can improve typing accuracy and reduce typing fatigue by providing a physical indication that a key has been pressed.
Mechanical keyboards also tend to be more durable than membrane keyboards. The individual switches are designed to last for millions of keystrokes, which can be particularly important for gamers and professionals who spend a lot of time typing.
Another benefit of mechanical keyboards is the customization options they provide. Mechanical keyboards often allow users to replace the keycaps and choose from a variety of switch types, which can make the keyboard more comfortable and personalized to the user’s preferences.
Drawbacks of Mechanical Keyboards
While mechanical keyboards offer several benefits, they also have some drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is the cost. Mechanical keyboards can be significantly more expensive than traditional membrane keyboards, particularly if they use high-end switches or custom keycaps.
Mechanical keyboards can also be noisier than membrane keyboards. The audible click of some switch types, such as Cherry MX blue, can be loud and distracting to others in the same room. Some switch types, such as Cherry MX red or black, are quieter and may be more suitable for use in a shared workspace.
Choosing a Mechanical Keyboard
When choosing a mechanical keyboard, there are several factors to consider. The switch type is one of the most important factors, as it will determine the feel and sound of the keyboard.
Other factors to consider include the size of the keyboard, the layout, and the customization options. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a mechanical keyboard:
Switch type: As discussed earlier, different switch types offer different tactile feedback and sound levels. Consider which switch type will be most comfortable for you to use.
Size: Mechanical keyboards come in a range of sizes, from full-size to compact, tenkeyless, and even smaller sizes. Consider how much desk space you have and whether you need a numeric keypad.
Layout: Mechanical keyboards also come in different layouts, including standard ANSI or ISO layouts, which differ in the placement of certain keys. Choose a layout that you are comfortable with and that matches your typing habits.
Customization options: Some mechanical keyboards offer customizable keycaps, RGB lighting, and programmable macros. Consider whether these features are important to you.
Brand reputation: Look for reputable brands that offer high-quality mechanical keyboards. Some popular brands include Ducky, Corsair, Logitech, and Razer.
Mechanical keyboards offer several benefits over traditional membrane keyboards, including improved tactile feedback, durability, and customization options. When choosing a mechanical keyboard, consider factors such as switch type, size, layout, customization options, and brand reputation. While mechanical keyboard can be more expensive than traditional keyboards, they can be a worthwhile investment for those who spend a lot of time typing or gaming.
Maintenance and Care for Mechanical Keyboards
Mechanical keyboards are built to last, but they still require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your mechanical keyboard:
Clean your keyboard regularly: Dust and debris can accumulate on the surface of your keyboard and inside the switches, affecting performance. Use a can of compressed air or a small vacuum cleaner to clean your keyboard regularly.
Avoid spills: Mechanical keyboards are not waterproof, and spills can damage the switches and circuitry. Avoid eating and drinking near your keyboard, and if a spill does occur, immediately turn off your keyboard and clean it thoroughly.
Replace keycaps: Over time, keycaps can become worn or faded. Replace keycaps as needed to improve the look and feel of your keyboard.
Use a wrist rest: Using a wrist rest can reduce strain on your wrists and make typing more comfortable. Choose a wrist rest that is compatible with your keyboard size and layout.
Store your keyboard properly: When not in use, store your keyboard in a dry, dust-free area. Avoid exposing your keyboard to extreme temperatures or humidity.
Mechanical keyboards offer several benefits over traditional membrane keyboards, making them a popular choice among gamers and professionals who spend a lot of time typing. When choosing a mechanical keyboard, consider factors such as switch type, size, layout, customization options, and brand reputation. With regular maintenance and care, your mechanical keyboard can last for many years and provide a comfortable, reliable typing experience.