Personally, I find the sound of a mechanical keyboard very appealing – a kind of feedback that lets you know a key has been successfully pressed. That satisfying click together with seeing a letter pop up on the screen confirms that all is well. But just what is a mechanical keyboard, and how is it better than regular ones?
Most of us use regular keyboards at work and at home, which are membrane keyboards with rubber domes. They are cheap, quiet, and gets the job done.
So if membrane keyboards are “good enough”, just what are the main appeal of mechanical keyboards?
Here are the the top 5 benefits to keep in mind.
1. Ease of Replacing Individual Keys
Mechanical keyboards have individual switches under each of the keys and this makes them more precise. It also means you can easily replace individual keys if they break or if you just want to customize your keyboard. Go for LED lighting effects if you’re a gamer, as this will provide some trendy visibility at night.
Whatever you want, you can get it from mechanical keyboards. There are a lot of custom keycaps that you can buy online. There are some mechanical keyboards that come with key pullers so you can replace keys easily.
Mechanical keyboards are considered easier to clean as you can remove individual keys. The switches are self-contained and can be re-attached. A disadvantage and inconvenience with a membrane keyboard on the other hand is that if something goes wrong, you need to replace the entire keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards use more durable switches which means longevity is on their side. Research reveals that the rating for a membrane key is about 10 million key strokes against the 50 millions strokes of the mechanical.
Essentially, a mechanical keyboard will last 5x longer than the membrane one. The long life of mechanical keyboards when compared to others is certainly an advantage. Look at the IBM Model M keyboard, released way back in 1984 and which is still being produced to this day. In fact many made in the 1980s are still performing well today. Buying a mechanical keyboard like these will see you being pretty content as they’re well built so that even the budget keyboard will stand the test of time.
3. Personalized Typing Experience
You have heaps of customization options, allowing you to use different switches and to also tailor or customise your keyboard with different key cap combinations. You can swap mechanical switches and keycaps randomly, eliminating the need to buy a whole new keyboard. So essentially, the nice thing about these mechanical keyboards is that you get the different types of keys catering for typists or gamers.
The switches of a mechanical keyboard differ one from the other. These different switches in different colors have specific attributes and encourage different typing habits. The best known mechanical key switches come from a company known as Cherry Industrial.
4. Increased Speed and Accuracy
Heavy typists and gamers prefer mechanical keyboards for a reason. The switches on these keyboards don’t even need to be pressed fully before registering a stroke. This means less work for your fingers. Press a key, and the keyboard sends a signal to the PC telling it that you pressed that particular key.
5. Reduces RSI Dramatically
Extended keyboard use is linked to upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. These are known as repetitive strain injuries or RSI. As mentioned already, the keys on mechanical keyboards require less force to register, which decreases finger muscle activities overtime. Less muscle activation leads to a decreased likelihood of getting repetitive strain injury (RSI) even when typing or gaming for longer periods of time. There are other characteristics of mechanical keyboards that make them a lot more ergonomic than regular ones.
Not all mechanical keyboards perform the same. When you’re shopping for one, take into account the kind of switch it uses, and whether it offers auditory feedback. You’ll also want to know about the pressure that the switches require from you as that will affect its functionality and whether you’ll battle with finger fatigue.
What appeals to one gamer or typist may prove impractical for the next. Certain mechanical keyboards come with lighter switches and a lower actuation point, and this makes them excellent for gamers, what with the keyboard being able to produce quicker keystrokes.
Mechanical keyboards are simply better for gaming and typing in general and you can add durability and versatility to their list of positive features. True, they tend to be more costly, but expenses aside they simply provide a better, more accurate and comfortable experience.