Mechanical switch keyboards: Worth it?

Just imagine how it was back in the 80’s! :D

Wikipedia says correction fluid or white-out. All I know is I was about ten or maybe 12 when we moved to printing from a computer. Before though it was liquidy white stuff with a brush, rolly ribbon things that often broke off or that extra ribbon you kind of held in place to type over it.

I guess the actual product name is ‘wite-out’ but the functional description is white-out. So we’re both winners!

I can live with that :-).

Before our family became proud owners of an IBM Selectric, we had some kind of old manual lever-based (non-electric) thing. While it was kind of a pain to set your tabs on it, I used to kind of study how the thing was put together when I was a kid, and even then, it seemed to me like some kind of mechanical marvel.

Then we got a Selectric, and trying to figure out how that ball thing worked on a mechanical level just blew my mind!

I’ve had a CM Quickfire for a couple of years. It’s a solid, dependable mechanical keyboard, but the only negative is that the LED backlighting only works on selected “gamer profile” keys like WASD and the surrounding letters, and the first half of the number row. I finally decided it’s time for an upgrade. Well, just like the flashlight thread, I’m blown away by the difference a couple of years can have on prices.

Heavy-hitters like Cherry and Das are still expensive, but there are a ton of boutique builders now using cheaper knock-off switches that have really lowered the floor on pricing. It’s kind of crazy how low the prices are now. There are sub-$100 keyboards offering features that used to be the exclusive territory of units that were twice (or more) as expensive.

I wonder about the overall build quality of those cheaper mechanical keyboards. One thing I like about the Logitech G710+ is that it’s a solid, heavy keyboard. It’s not flimsy and doesn’t sound or feel “cheap” to me. (I still hate the G keys though.)

That’s the one I got. I love it. You’re right about the G keys too. :)

I had my reservations, but the ones I’ve seen have been pretty darned good.

I grabbed this one, for a cheapo test, and I’m really surprised at how solid it is. $40! Crazy. It kind of puts my Quickfire to shame for the amount of money I paid for it.

Of course, it may totally bone out on me a year from now, but I guess I’ll see.

Yeah. . . key quality, printing quality, backplate quality, logic board quality, solder quality, and of course switch quality (I doubt many of the Cherry knock-off switches have been out and about long enough to see if they manage quite the same legendary durability) all seem like things that could suffer as prices drop through the floor. . .

. . . or maybe I’m just trying to feel better about the $150 I dropped on my Filco a few years ago :-D

No doubt that there’s an element of buyer beware here. There are some pretty sketchy keyboards being offered that turn out to be real duds with bad LED lighting, flimsy bodies, cheap cords, or rough keys and switches. You don’t have to dig deep to find some with mediocre to bad reviews.

My suggestion is keep to good switches like Cherry and even Gaterons. You want your keyboard to be hassle free and reliable. The good ones are expensive, but they serve you very well for a long time.

I used to be happy with this Matias Ergo Pro. I am no longer. Definitely do not recommend.

For one, the fully split board is just annoying as I have to reposition the halves of the board as they drift over time.

Much more importantly, there’s something bad in the board somewhere in two ways: a) keys ‘stick’ (not physically, but Windows thinks they’re held down) way more often than they by any rights should, and b) the whole column of keys near the 6 on the right-hand board love to randomly input a 6 about once every few hours. That’s more than often enough to seriously piss me off.

That Geezer keyboard looks interesting. But what’s with that font on the keyboard???


I like the Matias alps switch. At times I feel they are much nicer to Cherry. I think it’s probably just that Ergo Pro. Maybe some quirks related to the PCB board/design. The switch itself should still be good.

I finally grabbed my first mechanical keyboard 10 days ago, an Archiss ProgressTouch Retro in the brown CherryMX variety to plug on my laptop. The shop had about 50 sorts of mechanical keyboards on display, and this one had one of the best touching feel, and turned out to be affected by some hidden promotion scheme, making it one of the cheapest too in the end (less than 80 bucks).
It required a bit of configuration as I am using this Windows keyboard on a Mac, using an AZERTY layout for my work to make things worse, but it is working perfectly, and it provides such an incredible relief for my arm issues.

Gamer rad Bro!

Noticed the Corsair K70 is a prime deal for $80. Yay? Nay?

I have a Corsair Gaming RGB extended keyboard that I like a lot, with Cherry MX Red switches which require a fairly light keypress (I I tried one with Blue key switches and they were too tough and too loud). Once you’ve used mechanical you won’t go back, provided it’s one with the right key pressure for you.

I’m not a huge fan of Speed switches, but it’s a very good keyboard.