What are mechanical keyboards, and how do they differ from regular membrane keyboards? We’re here to help you understand the differences, as well as go through some of the pros and cons between a mechanical keyboard and a regular keyboard.
What is the difference between a membrane keyboard, and a mechanical keyboard?
Membrane keyboards are the most commonly used keyboards of today. They are designed with a switch that is based on a plastic layer, which then passes through to a second layer to register the stroke through electrical contacts. Membrane keyboards generally have a softer and quieter feel to them.
On a mechanical keyboard, each key is an individual mechanical switch that needs to be fully depressed to activate. The key difference (see what we did there?) is tactility; the feeling of how the keys work. On the mechanical keyboard, the switch is metallic and spring loaded, requiring more travel and effort to activate.
With those differences in mind, let’s explore more of the differences between mechanical keyboards versus traditional membrane keyboards.
The Typing Experience
Mechanical keyboards need that extra bit of travel distance to depress the keys, which might not be that comfortable for some typists who are used to the softer travel of membrane keyboards.
Conversely, due to a more direct sense of how the keys feel through the required additional travel force, it’s not so easy to accidentally bump the wrong key which can happen with membrane keyboards. If you are a touch typist or generally type faster, your speed and accuracy are likely to improve on a mechanical keyboard, as you’ll always need to get that keypress more accurate.
Certain models also come with a satisfying click as the key is depressed, which can help with the speed, flow, and the rhythm of your typing. Just make sure that anyone around you is okay with those extra clicks; it might be extremely irritating and distracting!
A mechanical keyboard is better suited to writers and programmers in quieter environments.
Not really suitable for the office, schools, or your home entertainment center.
Our Reinforce Series is the model you would want to consider if you have a preference for that tactile click experience.
Cost and Quality
Mechanical keyboards are durable and tend to last longer at 35-50 million keystrokes, though they do have a premium price.
Traditional membrane keyboards are much cheaper, and last for around 5-10 million keystrokes.
Some membrane keyboards won’t let you press a combination of multiple keys at the same time; they just aren’t really designed for this purpose. For most people that isn’t of any concern, as we only need one key pressed at a time while we are typing.
The effect is more of a concern to gamers, who often need to have more than one key depressed at the same time to fully control their game. For example, moving forward is one key, while shooting at those enemies needs another key pressed.
On a membrane keyboard, it might not accept certain combinations of keys, and the effect is that some key combinations won’t work together. This defines the term ghosting, as the key you needed to work in your combination has effectively disappeared.
Much better suited for the gamers who depend on keyboard actions for their game.
It’s a feature you may not need, and it can increase the cost of the keyboard.
Our Combat Combo Series features full anti-ghosting, which means that you’ll never be caught out with keys not responding to your every requirement.
Mechanical keyboards are heavier than their membrane counterparts. Generally, they won’t move around your desk unless you physically pick them up. That’s great if you don’t want your keyboard sliding around your desk like lighter membrane keyboards often do.
Due to the heavier nature of mechanical keyboards, they aren’t a great choice if you require something portable.
Many mechanical keyboards have the extra addition of colorful lighting, just like our Reinforce Series. Those keys are backlit in a variety of colors and the effects can either be programmed to your preference or just display a range of pre-programmed lighting effects.
Those lights look extremely impressive, and will definitely set you apart from the mob of other keyboards out there. Those late night sessions of gaming or typing will let you find those keys you are looking for much more easily if your surrounding lighting is dimmed or turned off.
All of those flashing lights can be distracting, but thankfully, they can be switched off with a simple combination keypress.
To conclude, you owe it to yourself, and your fingers, to try and see what a mechanical keyboard feels like. Your keyboard requirements should include a natural and comfortable feel on the fingers to suit your individual typing style.
When it comes down to purchasing a mechanical keyboard, take your preference and circumstances into account. Mechanical keyboards are much more suitable for those who are faster typists and should be a definite consideration for those gamers.
* Keystroke Source: https://www.daskeyboard.com/blog/keyboards-save-companies-money/