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Mechanical versus Membrane
If you’re browsing for a budget keyboard that just does the job, it’s almost certainly going to be a membrane keyboard – they’re easy to manufacture, making them cheaper on the whole, and are often the go-to choice for many offices, businesses and schools. But if you’re a keen gamer, or even a typist, then you’ll likely find membrane keyboards rather frustrating.
Mechanical Keyboards will always be more expensive than a membrane counterpart, but there’s one big reason why, and quite simply, it comes down to the overall quality. If you’re looking for a more refined typing experience, with the ability to choose what kind of feedback you get from your keystrokes, then mechanical is definitely for you.
Whereas membrane keyboards work via electric currents which are triggered when the keys are fully pressed (bringing them into contact with the membrane, and in turn, the PCB), mechanical keyboards work via spring-loaded switches situated beneath each individual keycap. Not only does this allow for “key rollover,” meaning more than one keystroke can be registered simultaneously, but it also helps with the longevity of your keyboard, as the quality of the various switches, springs and keycaps combine to offer far more keystrokes than a membrane keyboard ever could.
Speaking of keystrokes, these mechanical switches also have different types and ranges of actuation, meaning you can tailor your experience by changing the type of switch. Some switches are more sensitive, requiring far less force to press, meaning a highly responsive keyboard that requires very little “touch” to activate. Others can offer more resistance and need to be “bottomed-out” in order to actually register the keystroke, so are more suitable to those prone to “brushing” their keys a lot as they type. You can even opt for “tactile” switches, often known as “clicky” switches, due to the small bump you feel as feedback, confirming that the key has been actuated – though these can be quite noisy in office environments. There are even switches designed especially to be as quiet as possible, mimicking the softer, more delicate sounds of the cheaper membrane options.
If you’re serious about gaming, or even just spend a lot of time typing, then a mechanical keyboard is definitely your answer. Between sturdier build quality, choice of switches, and more often than not, the oh so important RGB lighting effects, you really can’t go wrong.Read more about Gaming Keyboards on our blog post