There are two reasons why you are reading this article right now, either you’ve recently heard about mechanical keyboards and you’re intrigued by them, or you have no clue what they are, but you know the name sounds fancy.
Either way, let’s get to the point here. What is a mechanical keyboard? Well, a mechanical keyboard looks the same as your regular keyboard, but each key is activated by it’s own mechanical switch. How is this different from your regular or “gaming” keyboard? Those keyboards have a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) with contact points on them. A rubber-domed sheet goes over the top of it with more contact points and your plastic keys push the two contact points together to register a keystroke. How would a mechanical keyboard make a difference for me? Well, you don’t have any tactile feedback, no audible click to tell you when the key has been registered, and you have to push down further. But why does any of this matter exactly? With some tactile feedback and the keys pushing back at you, you’re able to know when to pull back and it helps you type faster. With an audible click when a key is registered, your brain subconsciously knows when to carry on with the next key, which one of your other fingers would probably already be on. This means less mistakes and not having letters in the wrong place. It also helps you learn “touch typing” (not looking at the keys when typing). Lastly, when you don’t have to push down further, you’re able to type faster. These benefits are not only good for typists, but for gamers too.
In the last couple of years, mechanical keyboards have started making a big hit in the gaming crowd. I mainly put it down to the company, Cherry Corp, whose keyswitch line, Cherry MX, has become very popular among keyboard manufactures as of late. Mechanical keyboards are not a new thing though. This technology has been around since the 80’s, most notably in IBM’s Model M keyboard, when personal computers were still becoming a thing. The reason why these didn’t survive in the market is because the type of keyboard you’re probably using right now is a lot cheaper to produce. With a $5 keyboard compared to a $100 + (on average) mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX switches, it’s a no brainer for computer companies to go with the cheaper one. Especially when they can just add some lights, mark the price up far beyond its worth and sell it. That’s why mechanical keyboards aren’t so popular anymore, but the good news is that it’s a lot easier to get them now.
What I’m going to show you in this RoundUp is a couple of mechanical keyboards I’ve been sent for review. Sadly I wasn’t able to get a nice range of different keyboards to review, but I have recently played with some other mechanical keyboards with different switches. So I’ll be able to tell you about those ones too, but I didn’t have enough time with them to be able to write full reviews about them. I’ll also give you a bit of a guide on what type switch you should be looking for and also the brand of keyboard you might want to get for your needs.