Why you Should Switch: Mechanical Keyboards

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

Today’s Sharpen Tech entry’s goal is to get you to steer away from membrane keyboards & finally experience real comfort thanks to mechanical keyboards, now let's talk mechanical keyboards!

Why spend more money on a mechanical keyboard instead of getting a membrane cheap keyboard, You might ask? Let’s answer this question with a little presentation of the mechanical keyboard listing the aspects that make it THE type of keyboard you want to be using.

  • Mechanical vs Membrane: The one & only similarity.

A mechanical keyboard shares only one similarity with membrane keyboards, & it’s the buttons (or upper housing) in terms of shape, yes both are pretty much the same, but when it comes to the make, most of mechanical keyboards upper housings are made with much more durable materials (either ABS plastic or PBT) which differentiate from each other in terms of feel & life-span.

  • Mechanical vs Membrane: The switches.

While membrane keyboards switches are limited to one type (which isn't ideal when it comes to feel, quality & life-span) which consists in a rubber cone that collapses under the pressure your finger puts on a one piece button that when pressed connects two printed membranes completing a circuit & registering the key-press action.

The biggest enemy for this kind of keyboard's architecture is the overtime wear of the rubber cone giving a "mushy" feel to the user, coupled with the non-modularity of the switches & the lack of keyboard software makes membrane keyboards a product you just get stuck with as is.

  • Mechanical Keyboards: How does it work?

On the other hand, mechanical keyboards offer (& it’s not an understatement) a PLETHORA of switch types, primarily only made by Cherry, the patent having expired, a lot of manufacturers started coming out with switches compatible & in some cases bringing interesting innovations while still being less costly than the original Cherry MX switches.

To sum it up, mechanical switches come in 3 variants (input type: feel & sound): Linear – Tactile – Clicky, the choice in this matter is totally of personal preference & here is the differences between them.

  • Linear: Constant resistance all the way until the switch bottoms out. Available variants: Red, Black

  • Tactile: The tactile feel is provided by the “bump” this switch has, which gives the user a more prominent keypress feel. Available variants: Brown, White

  • Clicky: As its name suggests, this switch is the loudest, with no bump feel, this key-press gives a clear registration feedback (loud clicky sound at each press). It’s a fun switch but I wouldn’t consider it for workplace use, or for night owls (nocturnal workers), for obvious reasons. Available variants: Blue, Green

Mechanical keyboard switches (on the contrary to membrane switches) provide a comfortable typing experience (buttons made with ABS, PBT materials), durability (solid well-made parts), with the biggest plus being the modularity those switches bring to the table. Yes, once you buy whatever mechanical keyboard you are not permanently stuck with the original set of switches. Say for example you bought a blue switch keyboard & want to change the whole set of keys or just part of it to silent red switches set, well guess what, you can! & you can even mix it all up, having some buttons as red switches & others as blue or whatever switch you want, as said earlier, you have a PLETHORA of types of mechanical switches to choose from (Take THAT membrane keyboards! :o).

  • Mechanical keyboard Formats: sizes fitting all preferences.

Not to bury membrane keyboards deep in the abyss, mechanical keyboards come in a lot of formats :

  • 60% keyboard: You might think this size seems impossible to work with, but you'd be surprised how some keyboard companies managed to create some really cool super functional models, making this type of keyboards gain popularity like crazy for the past few years.

  • TKL (75-80-87%): because let's face it, not everyone ever touches the numpad section, i know i don't haha.

  • Full size (the most common): Having been using a full size keyboard since… Forever, i can't deny that it really takes up way too much space for no reason, for me it feels like i bought a 5 rooms house to live alone in it,.... In all seriousness, this keyboard is literally taking 20cm off my work space for no legit reason, i'm sure i'm not the only one using a full size keyboard while only using 80% of it at best.

Speaking of 60% keyboards, i myself have committed to ordering one i'll be receiving (hopefully soon) so i can bring you guys a full-on review (& maybe convince you to get one for yourselves?) so stay tuned for that!

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