Mechanical Keyboards are a strange piece of tech. They're bulkier, louder and more expensive than normal keyboards, so why is it the niche group of avid techies, typers and gamers choose to throw their money at such a simple gadget? There are many, many reasons why:
Let's start with the History...
Photo of an Alps SCB1A163
Starting as early as the 1800s, mechanical keyboards have been used for a very long time, however, it was only until the early 1970s that we had access something closely resembling what we call Mechanical Keyboards today. That is keys that we could pull out by hand to reveal the Mechanical Reed Switches underneath. This meant that every time a key was pressed, a magnet would pass by a tube, causing the reed to touch and key to register. These contactless switches have been said to last for millions of presses - far longer than any other keyboard in today's time (however we have yet to confirm anyone who has consciously pressed a key over a million times (in fact the closest we came was a skeleton with its' bones resting on an Alps SCB1A163, see the image below).
The Mechanical Keyboards of Today...
Photo of my Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard (Brown Switches)
Now that we know a little more about the history of mechanical keyboards, we can look at what they are today...
Mechanical Keyboards are a Key tool (no pun intended) for anyone serious about typing speeds, PC gaming, or just that relaxing sound of the mechanical switches. It truly is a feeling that is unbeatable by any other keyboard on the market. Everything from the customisability of individual key switches to the time it helps you save on those long write-ups you have to do for tomorrow morning (We are all too familiar with that feeling)...
Mechanical vs Non-Mechanical
There is a definitive line between mechanical and non-mechanical, besides the thick profile that mechanical keyboards have,
it is the switches that makes the investment worthy.
Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Switch
Here we see a mechanism, which actually feels similar to a clicky pen, that works non-electronically and keypresses are registered physically before being converted to the digital action (i.e. a letter pressed, character moving forward) So why is it better?
- You get a better sense of keypress, as it is far smoother than that of a traditional membrane keyboard, which feels squishy and unnatural to type at speed or game.
- You'll type with higher accuracy as each key is raised and is better differentiated to the hand, you get used to where the keys are, whereas with traditional keyboards unless you can type easily without looking, it can be tricky!
- Your typing will be so much faster. I took a test before and after switching and went from 64wpm to 100+ wpm after a week of use. At first, I had to adjust, but once I had, the results were amazing!
Traditional Membrane Keyboard Switch
Ok cool, but why should I care?
The mechanism of the switches in Mechanical Keyboards (as shown above) has many different variants of switches, allowing you to choose exactly how your keyboard feels. Want to feel every click, Blue switches are super tactile. Want fast-pressing key for gaming? Red switches are perfect. I'll summarise it for you:
Blacks are often used by gamers that don't play games that require super-fast reactions, but instead accuracy of a keypress is more important. Clears are much alike the Blacks, however slightly lighter and offer a tactile feel like blues!
NOTE: These are Cherry MX Switches I am referencing, as they are the most commercially used switch, however brand like Razer create their own switch which is like a combination of the quick red and tactile blue (however I have tested it myself and my opinion is that Cherry switches are the way to go!)
Why you should switch in 2020
If everything else so far hasn't made any sense, I'll explain briefly as to why it is worth the investment before 2020 comes to go mechanical...
Mechanical keyboards are less likely to break
They are a physical switch which means that in the event that accidentally spill your drink on your keyboard (god forbid it to happen!), you can simply remove the keys, unplug your keyboard and easily wipe the switches dry, ready to use in no-time!. As well as this, they are a much stronger switch that'll last so much longer than a traditional membrane keyboard. You buy cheap, you buy twice...
Mechanical keyboards make you type better
With a high profile design, you will find that your typing accuracy will improve so much. Like most things in life, it takes a little getting used to at first but when you are used to it you'll never want to use any other keyboard ever again...
Mechanical keyboards look cooler
Nothing quite completes the look like a mechanical keyboard on your desk. They come in all colours and designs nowadays which means you can truly tailor it to your setup. And if you can't find one you want straight away, you can always change existing keys with custom keycaps that won't break the bank!
Mechanical keyboards are classic
Whilst keyboards are constantly changing in their switches and mechanisms, the mechanical keyboard has remained relatively the same over-time. With only little adjustments being made for the benefit of efficiency, quality and sound, mechanical keyboards are tried and tested to be the most reliable keyboard to date.
They're GrabaGadget approved ;)
This blog was written on a Corsair Strafe Mechanical Keyboard with Brown Switches (as I like the subtle click, as well as the occasional gaming on Steam!) We value technology and strive to find the best ways that save you time and money,
We give mechanical keyboards the 2020 stamp of approval!
At the end of the day, the power is in your hands. If you just browse the web and don't care too much about your typing game, or video games, then keep the keyboard you got and save yourself some money. However, if you're trying to improve your efficiency, perhaps at work, or just in general and like to game on your computer, the mechanical keyboard is one of THE most single important upgrades you could make this year and in 2020, and the year after that, and the year after that...
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