In this article, we’ll explore what mechanical keyboards are, and why they are a huge and worthwhile upgrade from normal keyboards.
Typing is not just about pressing keys. It’s about the rhythm of your thoughts flowing through your fingertips, creating a symphony of productivity and creativity. When it comes to keyboarding, the difference between a mechanical keyboard and an ordinary office keyboard is like that between a grand piano and a keyboard synthesizer. Mechanical keyboards deliver a unique sensorial experience that excites our senses – sight, sound, and touch – enhancing both our performance and enjoyment.
Imagine striking keys that provide satisfying tactile feedback. Each press delivers a crisp, audible click, an acoustic affirmation of your action. With mechanical keyboards, even aesthetics come into play. You can personalize keycaps or light up your desk with vibrant RGB lighting, transforming your workspace into a dazzling display of your unique personality and style.
But what precisely are mechanical keyboards, and how do they work? At their core, these keyboards have mechanical switches under each keycap. Each switch contains moving parts, typically a spring and a stem, which provide tactile and auditory feedback.
Mechanical switches can be broadly categorized into three types – clicky, tactile, and linear. Clicky switches offer noticeable bump and audible click sound when pressed. Tactile switches provide a discernible bump when actuated, but with a milder click sound, making them quieter. Linear switches, on the other hand, have a smooth and consistent keystroke without any bump or click.
There is no “best” switch type – it all comes down to personal preference. For instance, gamers may prefer linear switches for their quick and smooth actuation, while typists might favor the tactile feedback of clicky switches. To figure out your preferred switch, you might want to consider something like the mechanical switch sample pack from gloriousgaming.com. It allows you to experiment with various switches before committing to one.
What are the differences between mechanical vs. normal keyboards?
Normal keyboards are generally membrane keyboards. They operate via a rubber or silicone membrane that flexes when you press a key. This flex connects two circuit layers and registers the keypress. However, membrane keyboards tend to have a mushy feel and lack the tactile response and audible “click” sounds that mechanical keyboards provide. Customization is also limited, restricting your ability to create a keyboard that reflects your style or needs.
On the other hand, mechanical keyboards are typically much more compact than normal membrane keyboards, freeing up valuable desk space. The structure of mechanical switches allows them to be housed in more space-efficient designs without compromising comfort or functionality.
What are the benefits of a mechanical keyboard?
Beyond the sensory and aesthetic experience, mechanical keyboards also offer practical benefits. They’re generally of higher quality and offer a level of durability unmatched by ordinary keyboards. One unique advantage is their modularity. If a key stops working on a membrane keyboard, you’re typically looking at replacing the entire keyboard.
Because mechanical keyboards like the GMMK keyboards are “hotswappable”, you can simply swap out the faulty switch, extending its lifespan significantly. Hotswappable means you can add and remove mechanical switches with simple removal tools, and without the need for soldering.
If you are a PC gamer, a mechanical keyboard is essential to enhance your gameplay. They allow you to make swift key presses given their compact design, and they also allow you to program macros and keybinds so that you can perform multiple actions quickly.
96% Keyboard Layout
Keyboards like the Full Size GMMK 2 96% keyboard maintain every key, but optimize the layout for space efficiency. It is a second generation edition of the original GMMK, which was the world’s first modular mechanical keyboard.
The GMMK 2 is an excellent, entry-level keyboard for those new to the hobby. Keep reading to learn more about the GMMK 2 65% keyboard layout. It is currently priced at $119.99 with free shipping within the contiguous US.
60% Keyboard Layout
The GMMK 1 Compact, currently discounted at $79.99, also with free shipping, takes space-saving to another level. It removes secondary numeric side keys but maintains the first row of number keys, providing a balance between compactness and functionality.
65% Keyboard Layout
Slightly bigger than the 60% layout, the GMMK 2 65% keyboard also features next-generation enhancements for improved acoustics and tactility. With a solid aluminum top frame and a polymer bottom, it feels like a premium upgrade from the GMMK 1, which is only made of plastic. Despite its superior quality and customizable components, it’s still priced very competitively, delivering exceptional value.
75% Keyboard Layout
For the pinnacle of mechanical keyboards, the GMMK PRO is an award-winning, top-of-the-line choice. With a hefty full-body aluminum design and a premium switch plate, it exemplifies quality and style. Its gasket mount, an interface between the plate and case that reduces typing shock and noise, enhances the typing experience. The programmable infinite spin knob adds another layer of convenience and customization.
Building your own mechanical keyboard
Mechanical keyboards have a dedicated community of enthusiasts who take pleasure in modding the look, sound, and feel of their boards. Many prefer to start with a barebones board, which includes the keyboard base, but leaves the choice of switches and keycaps to the user.
For the ultimate do-it-yourself experience, you can build an entire keyboard from scratch. The FlexKit Bundle provides a range of base and gasket options for your exploration and creativity. The joy of building a mechanical keyboard from scratch is not just about creating a tool that perfectly fits your needs. It’s about the journey of discovery, exploration, and personalization – all made possible by the versatility and richness of mechanical keyboards.
Are mechanical keyboards really worth it?
The leap to a mechanical keyboard may seem extravagant, but for those whose careers involve copious typing, the upgrade is nothing short of transformative. Picture this: You’re drafting your umpteenth email of the day or weaving complex lines of code. Instead of an unending, monotonous chore, each keypress is a gratifying experience, turning what was once tiresome into an enjoyable task.
Plus, a mechanical keyboard isn’t just an aesthetic or sensory upgrade; it’s a wise investment. In an era where sustainability is increasingly important, the ability to repair and maintain a mechanical keyboard is not only financially sound, but also environmentally friendly. Instead of throwing away a whole keyboard due to a single faulty key, the capacity to replace individual components means less waste and a longer-lasting product.
Once you’ve experienced the symphony of clicks, the gratifying tactility, and the undeniable style of a mechanical keyboard, there’s no going back. Standard office keyboards will feel as appealing as soggy cereal after a five-course gourmet meal. Gross indeed!
Invest in a mechanical keyboard, and transform not just your typing experience, but also your perspective on productivity and creativity. There’s a whole world of clicks and clacks waiting to be discovered, one that turns the mundane act of typing into a rich, sensorial symphony.