It is possible that at some point you were curious about mechanical keyboards. Their defenders place them on a pedestal both for playing and for writing, although their appearance and their price mean that few are encouraged to take the step. In my personal case, in addition, I am very well used to Apple’s thin keyboards and the change to a mechanical one is very abrupt.
But there came a time when a mechanical keyboard has landed on my desk. And I checked in my own flesh how is the experience of moving from a conventional keyboard to one of these keyboards that seem too specific for the general public but that a priori do not seem to have any problem.
Mechanical keyboards: What you need to know?
First of all, let’s look at what a mechanical keyboard consists of. We have seen models from several companies, but we must pay attention to the specifications of the keyboard rather than the brand and the model to guess what to look for if we want to buy one. The mechanical keys are those that have an individual pressing switch, discarding the “rubber bands” that usually come in conventional keyboards. In this way we obtain a better tactile response towards our fingers and a greater durability. In return, the price to pay is higher.
This is the basics, and only the tip of the iceberg: there is a world of types of key switches, each one with its particularities, and that is what most makes users doubt. The most popular are the so-called Cherry, classified in MX Blue, MX Brown, MX Red, MX Black or transparent. Each of these types of switches responds differently to the touch of our fingers and emits a different sound. It is not, in any case, “return to the keyboards of before and point” that many believe.
Additionally, some manufacturers modify these switches to create their own version with which they sharpen the experience for gamers in their own way. A good example is the Razer Blackwidow Chroma v2, which has its own switches and which we have recently analyzed.
And here we enter into an eternal debate: which switch is the best for our fingers? Each person has their preferences. There are those who want the sound of traditional keyboards, there are those with a more adequate response to games, there are those who do not make as much noise and there are writers. In my personal case I used a keyboard with the Cherry MX Blue keys, since I have read through several websites that is very good for those who write. It is the KBT Pure Pro compact with key distribution.
Your hands thank you, but you have to get used to certain details
The keyboard may look very small, but its keys are full size and the general feeling is very comfortable. After spending several years using slim type keyboards, I was afraid to return to the thick keys. And the truth be told: the transition from a normal keyboard to a mechanical one is not a path of roses. At first you see it as a “junk”, something that costs to use. But that is only at the beginning.
The trick is to learn how the peripheral acts when we press a key: we can push it all the way down to write a letter, but it is only necessary to do it halfway, at which point you hear a slight click that tells us that the letter is already He has written. If we take this into account, we will see how our fingers get used to writing by pressing some letters down, but not all. Some letters, mostly those that remain in the middle of the words, we will write “on the fly” almost without realizing it. Once you get used to that, your writing speed improves noticeably. I noticed it after being about three hours with him.
Where I have also noticed a lot of improvement is in my own fingers : the keyboard of Apple that I used before caused me pain in the fingers while with the movements that I do in the mechanical keyboard these are reduced. They do not disappear (writing for several hours a day leaves you with consequences for a lot of keyboard you have), but they are reduced. I have gone from all my fingers hurt after a day to just notice my tired hands.
Another thing that I have always regretted from all the keyboards is that the feeling you have when writing changes as time passes. The rubber bands of the buttons wear out, the small levers are released … after a few months you have a keyboard that is not much less what you presumed to have at the beginning. And that, when you bought a high-end keyboard but without taking into account that it is not mechanical, it annoys.
If this is your case, you can do the test perfectly by pressing the letter keys, the ones you use the most, and then pressing keys that you almost never use. You will see how the sensation is completely different. The good news is that Apple has reduced this with its new butterfly mechanism, present in the Magic Keyboard and the keyboard of the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro. They are not entirely mechanical keyboards, but they use less rubber parts than before.
But still it is in the mechanical keyboards where the durability is greater. They are made so that the tactile response is the same no matter how much we use the keys, so keep in mind that if you buy one of these keyboards you will have it for a long time. Which also leads me to say that they weigh a lot, so be careful if you want someone to take you on a trip with you.
Not all are advantages: the mechanical keyboards, especially those with the MX Blue switch, are very noisy. It’s like going back to the keyboards of the 80s, you can not even listen to the music you have in the background. If you live alone or work in a closed office with no one nearby, it’s no problem, but these keyboards are far from adequate for common rooms in the house or places where entire groups of people work. For this the best thing is other quieter switches, although then the sensation when pressing the keys also changes. In this video they compare the noises of all types of Cherry switch so you can get an idea:
Another issue: it is very difficult to find mechanical keyboards with the keys layout. There are some models, but they are special for gamers and maybe we do not look for a keyboard that looks like a spaceship. The difficulty triples when in addition to a provision we look for a keyboard adapted for OS X. One for Windows also works, although we will have to map some keys so that they work in accordance with Apple’s operating system.
In short, and after several years of writing with a mechanical keyboard, I greatly appreciate the change. I confess that in times I return to the Apple Magic Keyboard for pure personal manias, but whoever wants to write comfortably and get used to the mechanical keys will not regret the decision.
Writing with a mechanical keyboard sacrifices some things like the silence of the keys, but it gains more speed when writing and more health for your hands. They are not keyboards for everyone, but I think it’s worth giving them a chance if we spend the day writing. There are even those who think that the sound of their keys is sexy.