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Thread: Mechanical keyboard: yay or nay?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland

    Mechanical keyboard: yay or nay?

    Question for those of you who have some experience with mechanical keyboards: are they worth the money they cost, in particular for someone who couldn't care less about being able to light each key in a different colour and just cares about how writing and gaming feels on a keyboard?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Deck 4 Cargo Bays
    Mechanical keyboards are great, as long as you don't mind the noise. Especially when gaming. I have an old IBM Model M, the battleship, and when I use it to play an intense gaming session, the clicka-clicka-clicka starts to get annoying. Majorly so. So much so that I've gotten complaints from my visitors because of the noise. Maybe it's just my particular keyboards, but they seem to be very loud. YMMV.

    OCD is a go...

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Mechanical switch keys have gotten popular, so there are a lot of different key options available with varying keypress force, travel, clickyness, and noise level. You can even get "silent" mechanical key switches. They are not really silent, but they are quieter than the old IBM switches. The quieter ones have a little bit mushier feel than a traditional buckling spring key, but they still have more tactile feedback than a typical scissor type.

    I like the feel of a mechanical keyboard and I can type faster. But I spend most of my work day typing on a laptop, and it's awkward to go back and forth between full-height, long travel keys and chicklet-style keys with short travel. So I've been using a Dell KM714 on my desktop computers at home and work, which is a low profile keyboard that still gives me some tactile feedback. I am interested in trying a Hexgears X-1.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I'll cut in here with my favourite rant.

    It's not so much the key technology that bothers me, but the layouts.

    I can't comprehend why keyboard layouts just get worse over time, especially on laptops. I don't think there's a single laptop on sale at the moment with a proper keyboard layout.
    The one that I have at work - an expensive, insanely heavy workstation laptop designed for professionals - has no home and end keys on the keyboard at all, even though those are some of the most-used keys for programmers and basically anyone who spends a lot of time editing text.
    Meanwhile, it has a dedicated "launch calculator" key, media keys, a full numeric keypad, and about 3cm of empty space on each side of the keyboard.

    It's not rocket science. The original keyboards were laid out that way for a reason. Each key had a purpose and was in a reasonably sensible place (arguments for or against QWERTY aside); there was spacing between each group of keys so you could easily find them by feel alone. Yet now, everyone thinks that the layout doesn't matter, that squishing the keys into the smallest space possible while making it look impressive is all that matters.

    It's the kind of gross incompetence that bothers me and makes me wonder why these designers still have jobs they are clearly incapable of doing.

  5. #5
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Quote Originally Posted by Microwave Oven View Post
    I have an old IBM Model M, the battleship, and when I use it to play an intense gaming session
    I had one of those too (the 1995 model) and it's probably one of my favourite keyboards I've ever owned. Definitely not the quietest but it had a tactile feel that set it apart from other keyboards.
    Ultimately, any keyboard is a very personal choice. I hate spongy keyboards and I have a mechanical keyboard at home (A Razer with their "green" switches because it had the best feel vs. noise when I compared a bunch of keyboards). Ultimately, however, I cope with whatever keyboard is available - it doesn't make a huge amount of difference. What is far more important to me are keyboards that compromise their layouts - e.g. tiny enter keys or missing number pads - those annoy me more than any difference between a mechanical or a good membrane keyboard.

    Edit: What NV says - listen to him.

  6. #6
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    It's the kind of gross incompetence that bothers me and makes me wonder why these designers still have jobs they are clearly incapable of doing.
    I understand your frustration, but I think they are given a laptop space and told "make it nice". With limited space it's impossible to do right.

    I have a Macbook Air 2017. The keyboard is really nice to type on but it is missing a bunch of keys.

    My desktop keyboard at home is a Microsoft ergonomic and that has even weirder key placement, but for typing I recommend it.

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