Mechanical Keyboards – Is it Worth a Try?

At Four Directions we like to test out different forms of technology from computer hardware to office software and online apps. I decided to try out a different type of keyboard. My Partner Robert Voss has been using a mechanical keyboard, otherwise known as a gaming keyboard. I decided after using it a couple of times that I wanted to try one out and see how well I would like it and if it would affect my typing. Here is my review.

A mechanical keyboard is different from a standard keyboard used today. These keyboards are called or referred to as membrane keyboards. Most keyboards are composed of a set of three plastic membranes, with rubber dome-shaped switches underneath each key. Press a key, and the rubber switch pushes through a hole in the middle membrane to connect the top and bottom membranes, which creates a circuit which sends the input to your PC. A membrane keyboard is inexpensive and spill-resistant, but it doesn’t have the same feel of sound as a mechanical keyboard which can change the way you type. A mechanical keyboard uses actual, physical switches underneath the keys to determine when the user has pushed a key. Press a key, and you press its switch down. Press the switch down, and the keyboard sends a signal to the PC telling it that you pressed that key. It has a more pronounce tactile feel and a satisfying click when you type.

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I used an Azio (brand) mechanical keyboard at my desk for about a month. I still used other keyboards when not at my desk and I was able to make a good comparison. During the month I found that I was able to type faster and more accurately. I also got more satisfaction from each keystroke I made. I knew when I was hitting the key which allowed me to really type better. It reminded me of when I learned to type in typing class in middle school before membrane keyboards really became a common thing.

I still don’t really enjoy typing long reports or proposals but I find that it is easier and not as taxing with the mechanical keyboard. If you have to type a lot I would recommend giving one a try. They are more expensive but they do last longer and some of them come with cool lighting features. Some keyboards are backlit or keys that light up, some in different colors. All in all, I would say that this is one instance where newer technology is not better.

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