Mechanical switch keyboards: Worth it?


#1

Hey QT3.

I’m hearing a lot about Mech switch keyboards. Comfort, speed, old school street cred! What’s not to like?

It looks like the majority of them are pretty pricey. So, I’m curious: Do you own one? And, do you think the cost is justified?

This looks incredibly appealing to me, but I’ll have to think long and hard before justifying the price.


Lame things you bought you're way too excited about
#2

Have you ever used one? It’s really kind of a love-it-or-don’t-care-about-it thing. We talked about them before here.


#3

Sweet link. Thanks Bags.


#4

Yeah, no problem. You kind of re-whetted my appetite for a sweet keyboard, though…


#5

I’m finding Cherry switches problematic for gaming, because the physical “bump” in the key travel doesn’t correspond precisely with where it closes the circuit. Years of rubber-dome use have programmed my muscle memory to expect the bump and the activation to be simultaneous, so when using a mechanical keyboard I end up with lots of accidental movement.


#6

This is with Brown switches? I’m reading a lot of pros and cons on Brown vs Black switches right now.

There’s a lot of anecdotes that corroborate what you said about Browns. The Black switches supposedly are much nicer for gaming. But, people also seem to complain about them sucking for typing; Since, it requires more force to depress.

I really like the sound of the Blacks, except for that last bit about my hands potentially hating me. I’d love to try one of each before purchasing … but it looks like that’s not really possible :(


#7

I have an old buckling spring keyboard I bought in a junk shop for $2. It’s awesome.


#8

The main place to get the Model M’s is Unicomp. They’re the company that took over manufacturing them when IBM gave up on it, and the USB model with Windows keys is only $79.

They can be a “drag” to use, because you do have to exert force to push the keys down, and they do make quite a racket. But since I switched to one, I’ve never had problems with repetitive motion syndrome, a problem I had with other keyboards.


#9

I have 3 Model M’s my own self. One for home, one for work, and a backup. Totally worth it for the durability and tactile feedback.


#10

I’m using a Cherry G80-3000 with blue MX switches for gaming (and typing) and I’m very happy with it. There’s a myriad variants with all kinds of switches and layouts out there and at 50 euro they’re not too expensive.


#11

These threads always make me sad. I love buckling spring keyboards, but my wife refuses to let me have one due to the racket. We’re both lifelong typists, and she loves the feel as much as I do, but the constant chatter of one drives her up the wall.


#12

I want something with NKRO, but it doesn’t seem to be possible with USB - and I only have a USB KVM.


#13

Supposedly the Microsoft Sidewinder X4 does NKRO over USB. Don’t ask me how.

This vid shows a Chinese keyboard doing the same:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olhxUZvB9nQ

Tangentially, hearing your nearly ubiquitous positive experiences is great. Picking up a mech keyboard will be a priority once cash is free.


#14

I picked up a Das Keyboard (brown switches) about 6 months ago. I absolutely love it, and have no problems with gaming.


#15

It’s a Filco Majestouch, so yup, MX Browns I believe. Browns really take very little pressure to actuate-- you can press them with barely more than resting force.


#16

As I said in the other thread, I love my Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless Otaku, blue switches. I tried going back to my Model M, but just couldn’t. Oh well. I’ll pass on the IBM to one of my grandkids in, oh, thirty years. I’m sure it’ll still work.


#17

So do any of these have that great clicky feel without being very loud? I’m not looking for silence and I don’t mind the sound myself, but I expect that my coworkers won’t feel the same.

Edit: should have read my own link. Cherry brown/black sounds like the ticket. Das Keyboard “silent” version, maybe?


#18

I wouldn’t characterize browns or blacks as “clicky” at all; they are linear (black) or very close to it (brown), without a pronounced tactile bump. That said, they are still “clackety” (i.e., loud) if you happen to bottom out the switch.

I think the quietest you can get with “clicky” switches is Cherry blues with some nice thick keycaps (e.g. Noppoo Choc Mini).


#19

Noppoo Choc Mini uses browns, says a google search. Nonetheless, the reviews I’m reading of the Das Keyboard Silent all seem to say that it does have that tactile quality… have you used one and been disappointed?


#20

Choc Minis come with browns, blues, or blacks. I personally have one with blues. While I like the key feel and the form factor, I find that I miss having the Ins/Del/Home/End/PgUp/PgDn cluster and the numpad (the virtual numpad layer doesn’t quite do it for me). If I had a separate numpad for the left hand, I might be able to use the Choc Mini as my primary keyboard.

As for the feel of browns, I have two keyboards based on brown switches, a Filco Majestouch and a so-called Ricercar SPOS. I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed with them; they just feel different from blues and require a different typing style. There is some degree of tactility but you will need a pretty light touch to feel it; there isn’t the sharp, crisp snap that I associate with the word clicky – hence my warning to persons who are explicitly looking for “that great clicky feel.”