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Mechanical Keyboards

When it comes to buying a desktop computer, people normally focus on the Motherboard features, Processor power, the LCD size and resolution, Hard Drive space, RAM and the Cabinet Design, the one area people don’t care too much about is the Keyboard & Mouse, which is strange considering that these 2 peripherals are always in contact with our hands when we operate a computer. Usually people are generous in spending money on the internal components of a computer but when it comes to the keyboard & mouse most people cheap out.

The problem with working on cheap keyboards on a daily basis is that it leads to strain on the wrist and fingers and even may lead to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). So it’s a good idea to evaluate your keyboard right now, consider the following questions:-

  • Do you find it uncomfortable to type on your keyboard continuously?
  • Do you feel any pain/discomfort on your fingers/wrists while using the keyboard?
  • Is there any lingering pain on your fingers/wrists even when you haven’t used the keyboard for couple of hours?

If the answer to the above questions is YES then it’s time to start looking for a new keyboard.

If you are considering buying a new keyboard then it’s important to know what are the types of keyboard available. There are basically 3 popular types of Keyboard — Membrane Keyboard, Scissor-Switch Keyboard and Mechanical Keyboard. The first 2 types of keyboards are common and you must have definitely used them because these keyboards are relatively cheap and usually are bundled with desktop computers or laptops. The third type Mechanical Keyboards are expensive and are not commonly available in stores and very few popular keyboard brands make these types of keyboards.

Membrane Keyboards

This is the most widely used keyboard type. The primary reason for it’s popularity is that it’s cheap. Mostly desktop computers use this keyboard now, current laptops house Scissor-Switch Keyboard. For a detailed description on Membrane Keyboards click here.

Scissor-Switch Keyboards

These types of keyboards are mostly used in Laptops popularly known as Chiclet Keyboard. Scissor-Switch keyboards have a better tactile feedback then regular Membrane Keyboards. They also require less space compared to regular membrane keyboards which is why they are primarily used in laptops to conserve space.

Apple Wireless Keyboard with Scissor-Switch/Chiclet Keys
Apple Wireless Keyboard which houses Scissor-Switch Keys

Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical keyboards use individual switches for each key and due to this they are slightly bigger and heavier than regular keyboards but this enhances the durability of the keyboard, the switches on Mechanical keyboards have a life cycle of 50 Million operation whereas regular keyboards have a life cycle of 5-10 Million operation.

On regular keyboards you have to press the key all the way down to register the key whereas in Mechanical Keyboards you just have to press the key half way and the key is registered. The point where the key gets registered is called the Actuation Point. So Mechanical Keyboards have a higher actuation point which reduces fatigue.

One of the main features of Mechanical Keyboards is the availability of different types of SWITCHES, each type of switch provides varying form of resistance and tactile feedback. There are at least 6 types of switches available — Red Switch, Green Switch, Blue Switch, Black Switch, Brown Switch and Grey Switch. Each switch type has a different feedback/resistance level and are suitable for specific purpose, for example, the Blue and Brown switch is specifically made for typing whereas the Red switch is meant for gamers. For a more detailed information on Mechanical Keyboards and Types of Switches check the following 2 articles:-

Introduction to Mechanical Keyboards.

Introduction to different types of Mechanical Switches.

Cheryy MX Blue Switch
Cherry MX Blue Switch

Although Mechanical Keyboards are great and will replace the membrane keyboards sooner or later, there is one major down side to them PRICE. Mechanical Keyboards are ridiculously expensive. The keyboard that I use Cooler Master Quick Fire TK Compact costs ₹8,000/-. The keyboard that I intended to buy in the first place but refrained due to the high price was the Das Keyboard which costs ₹13,000/-. If you want a affordable Mechanical Keyboard then go for TVS-e Gold Bharat, this keyboard implements the Blue Switch and costs less than ₹2000/- but beware Blue Switches have a audible click on Actuation Point that is when the key is pressed halfway and are generally considered the loudest of all the Mechanical Switches and thus are not suitable for Office Environments. Below is a short introduction of different types of switches:-

  • Blue Switch:- Preferred for Typing. Creates a click sound on Actuation Point and is considered the loudest of all Mechanical Switches. If you don’t mind the sound and need a keyboard for work then go for it. Mechanical Keyboards with Blue Switches are expensive and are usually priced above ₹6,000/- but cheaper models like the TVS-e Gold Bharat are also available.
  • Brown Switch:- Preferred for Typing. The Brown Switch is the best option for typing work, these switches don’t provide any sound on Actuation Point but provide a bit of resistance when you reach the Actuation Point which helps the user to know that they have registered the key. I personally recommend this keyboard for typing/coding work. Mechanical Keyboards with Brown Switches are expensive then the other switches and is not easily available in India.
  • Red Switch:- Preferred for Gaming. The Red Switch is popular among gamers. They neither provide a click sound on Actuation Point (like blue switches) or provide any resistance on reaching the Actuation Point (like brown switches). Mechanical Keyboards with Red Switches are expensive and are usually priced above ₹6,000/- and is easily available in India.

If you are not sure which switch is right for you then go to Amazon website and read customer reviews of different types of Mechanical Keyboards. You can also find videos reviews on YouTube. To shop online for Mechanical Keyboards checkout Flipkart, HomeShop18, eBay and Amazon.