Mechanical Keyboards – Why?

James Young · April 27, 2011

For Christmas, my wife got me a Das Keyboard Ultimate S Silent.  I’d wanted a good mechanical keyboard for ages, since I spend a huge amount of time typing away on a keyboard and I’d gotten sick of mushy membrane keyboards.  So, I got one for work.

Of course, it wasn’t long before I couldn’t stand my membrane keyboard at home, and needed a replacement, but shelling out for another Das was out of the question.  So that led me to the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate.  It’s a mechanical keyboard using the Cherry MX Blue keyswitches (versus the Das’ Cherry MX Browns), so it’s a fair bit louder and clickier than the Das.  It has key legends, with a backlight, USB hub, audio passthrough, and macro keys.  And it’s pretty cheap for what it is.  I’m using one at home now.

So what’s the deal with mechanical keyboards anyway?

I won’t go into a big review of the differences, since there’s plenty of resources on the ‘net about it.  But suffice to say, if you type a lot, a mechanical keyboard is a godsend.  It’s far more responsive and tactile than a membrane keyboard, and they’re usually heavy and solid.

I was considering stuff like an old second-hand IBM Model M.  However, they lack newer keys and are very very loud.  Next on the list was the Unicomp Customizer, but again that is very loud.  Next up was the Steelseries 6Gv2, but that has a non-standard L-shaped Enter key.  I needed a completely standard 104 keyboard, to preserve key compatibility with my legendless Das Keyboard.

Next up, I’ll give some commentary and feedback on what I think of the Das Keyboard and the Blackwidow from actual use.

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