What is a Mechanical Keyboard? Pros, Cons & More

What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard is a high-quality, super-built keyboard with spring-activated switch made with customized modularity. The keyboard has stabilizers and springs which are making every keystroke perfect with a digital sound offering durability, longevity, and reliability along with aesthetic modulations.

This keyboard is mainly used for typing, gaming, and programming. It can easily be customized, repaired, and aesthetically changed for creativity.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The sturdily built high-quality keyboard is known for its perfectly linear switches.
  • These mechanical keyboards are highly expensive but they are popular among coders, gamers, and typists.
  • Different types of mechanical switches are making these boards equipped with loads of features.
  • There are different colors of mechanical switches on these boards which represent their work forms.

Understanding Mechanical Keyboard

What is a Mechanical Keyboard

The mechanical keyboard has its roots back to the 19th century.

With the successful years, these mechanical keyboards have evolved with accelerated progress and enthusiastic aspects of modularity, customization, switch-ability, and professional approach.

It was seen in 1970 when a company named Alps later made computer keyboards for Apple and started offering mechanical keyboards.

Here the switches can be pulled off by hand. These are mechanical reed switches with two metal reeds with a hermetically sealed tube.

From Model M to the newest Cherry MX switches, the mechanical keyboards are best for customization and tactile feedback. It remains unparalleled among the membrane-based counterparts.

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Mechanical keyboards are derived from a physical keyboard where keys are used in replacement of the spring-based switches.

The keyboard switches here to carry out the operation by itself. it is pressed down to make a contact mechanism on the keyboard PCB.

This completes the circuit with a registered key press. Here each of these switches is made of up different components which directly affect the usage.

There are three standard layouts for a mechanical keyboard: Full-size, TKL, and 60%.

  • The Full-size keyboard has a numpad, arrow keys, modifiers, etc.
  • The Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards have form factors but no variation with directional keys.
  • The Compact / 60% keyboards do not have a numpad, function, or arrow keys.

Mechanical keyboards stand out for their well-engineered switches which are intricately used as multiple components and offer loads of mechanisms at the same time.

  • Keycap: The letter printed on top of the key
  • Stem: A bridge between the cap and the mechanism forming the mount of the cap.
  • Switch housing: The case that holds the mechanism and the mount.
  • Slider: it blocks the connection between the metal leaves and forms the part that pushes against the spring.
  • Metal contact leaves: By completing the circuit after receiving the stroke.
  • Spring: It goes around the base offering tension after the keypress and key resetting followingly.

All these together form a combination of mechanisms which accelerate the typing speed, add ergonomic comfort for the wrist and add work value by offering aesthetic and functional customization.

Types of Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Mechanical Keyboards have different types of switches which are mainly available in three categories: clicky, tactile, and linear.

Clicky Switches

Clicky switches are bumpy and these are louder by design. These switches are bumpy and offer satisfying audio feedback which can be similar to an old typewriter.

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These switches are not suitable for an office environment. But the extra bump can be considered the best one when someone wants to add a little bit of sound to the working environment.

Tactile Switches

Tactile switches add a halfway bump while going down the keyboard. This is known as the actuation point which means the keypress is being registered before it reaches the bottoms fully.

This offers a faster typing experience which is preferred by programmers, gamers and even typists sometimes prefer it as the key does not have to travel down to actuate.

Linear Switches 

There is no tactile feedback in the case of linear switches as it has a smooth and consistent actuation.

The actuation happens when it bottoms out but as there are no bumps in between that you can think that these linear switches can easily glide down without any resistance.

Gamers and typists do prefer these types of switches as it offers a smooth experience during the game.

Advantages 

  • Higher quality, longevity, modularity, and high stability/robustness.
  • There are about 104-key anti-ghosting features for typing acceleration.
  • Improved typing experience with feedback offering a smooth linear experience with a mechanical switch mechanism.
  • No wear & tear thus a long lifespan as the keyboard is tested with 30 to 70 million key presses.
  • Customization offers aesthetic architecture & nice feeling with switches to accelerate work like typing, coding, and gaming.

Disadvantages

  • Highly expensive compared to any membrane keyboards.
  • Requires more research before buying as to which size and switch will suit the purpose of work for mechanical keyboards.
  • Sometimes the clicky switches are loud with feedback which disturbs the work environment.
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Questions & Answers:

Are Blue Switches on Mechanical Keyboards Loud?

Yes, the Blue switches refer to the Cherry MX Blue which is the clicky switch offering audio feedback that can be loud to some users.

What Colour Switch of Mechanical Keyboard is the Quietest?

Cherry MX Brown are less tactile switches which are the quietest. These are preferred for office usage as the actuation is reached halfway thus offering a smoother experience too.

Which Switch Mechanical Keyboard is Best for Typing?

The Linear switches are considered the best switches for typing. These are the fastest and no tactile movement is required to register the mechanism. Thus, it is the fastest and the feel is also comfortable thus preferred for typing.

Conclusion 

Mechanical keyboards are popular and at the same time due to their longevity, these keyboards are now favored by millions out there.

You can simply customize these keyboards and have a wonderful work experience but if you don’t know how to code, game, or type then this board will not do any magic for you.

It can only accelerate the work process but the real logic lies in you.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin