Mechanical keyboards are a familiar term to gamers and modern PC users. But, how much do you know about mechanical keyboards? Why is it called mechanical, and what is the difference between a regular keyboard and a mechanical keyboard?
Let’s find the answer to these questions today.
Types of Keyboard
Most people today use two kinds of keyboards:-
- Membrane Keyboard
- Mechanical Keyboard
Most regular keyboards are Membrane Keyboards. They are everywhere because they are cheap. There is a rubber dome under each key of a membrane keyboard. When you press a key down, it connects the circuit that lays like a membrane under the keys.
Mechanical Keyboards look the same as the Membrane keyboards from the outside. But, they are entirely different in how they work inside. On a mechanical keyboard, each key has a plastic switch beneath it that connects the circuit when you press them.
The most resemblance of the Mechanical Keyboard is the doorbell of your house. You press it, and it rings. If you have several doorbells in your home, you can ring them separately or all at once by pressing them at the same time.
Both keyboards connect with the keyboard circuit, but the main difference is how they do it.
The Difference is in Operation and Built
Keyboard switches are simple in their design. A stem is connected to the keycap. You press any key, and it goes down and makes the connection.
In a membrane Keyboard, that stem pressures a rubber dome, and it feels soft on your fingertip. On a Mechanical Keyboard, there is an actual key and a spring that goes off when you press any key. You can hear the distinctive click sound, and when you remove the pressure, the spring expands to push the key upwards.
This is why there is lovely feedback when you type on a mechanical keyboard. It feels good both to your ear and finger.
Mechanical keyboards are best for writing as people tend to make fewer mistakes with them. In a membrane keyboard, sometimes you do not know you already pressed another button.
It also depends on the person’s typing speed. Ask any gamer; they will tell you they love the mechanical keyboard for feedback.
Types of Keys in a Mechanical Keyboard
The keys in a mechanical keyboard are of two types, depending on how they work.
Linear switches need to press down all the way to work, and tactile switches work when they are only halfway down. This means it requires less work to type on a tactile switch mechanical keyboard. However, the feedback response is better in linear switches.
Most mechanical keyboard users love the switches manufactured by Cherry. There are three most popular kinds of cherry mechanical switches.
- Cherry MX Blue
- Cherry MX Red
- Cherry MX Brown
The typist favors cherry blue. They have the loudest noise and excellent tactile feedback. So when you are writing 2000 words every day, this helps a lot.
Cherry Red switches are smoother and have less tactile feedback. You can press them all the way down and repeatedly without a problem. Gamers love this switch variation.
The brown switches are a mix of blue and red cherry switches. They work halfway down and have less tactile feedback, smoother for working and gaming too. So if you are not sure which version you should buy, go for the brown switches.
Apart from these switches, there are cherry MX black, red, green, and clear switches. They also have a silent version of the black and red switches. These versions are a bit stiffer and make less noise when typing.
Advantage of Mechanical Keyboard
- They last longer than the regular membrane keyboard. When a single switch is not working, you can change the key, not the whole keyboard.
- If you spend a lot of time on the keyboard every day, it is enjoyable to use a mechanical keyboard. They will help you type faster without error and mark each keypress with a click sound that you can hear and feel.
These are the two main reasons to choose a mechanical keyboard over a membrane keyboard.
There are some problems too. Mechanical keyboards make loud noises, so if you are typing in a silent room or at night, this can ruin the peace of others.
Regular membrane keyboards are cheaper than mechanical keyboards; for this single reason, most common PC users choose a membrane keyboard.
To gamers and programmers, precision is a must when pressing multiple buttons, and they do not want to make any mistakes. A mechanical keyboard can register the multi-press without a problem and give feedback at the same time. Whereas a regular keyboard sometimes fails when pressing multiple buttons simultaneously.
Cleaning a keyboard is also time-consuming and more challenging with a regular keyboard. You can’t change particular buttons or add custom switches to a traditional membrane keyboard.
So, if you are looking to improve your typing speed or play games more efficiently, then our recommendation is to go for a mechanical keyboard. We have a suggested list for gaming keyboards; you can check them here.