Mechanical keyboards hold a special place in the hearts of many, especially gamers and typists who crave tactile feedback, customization, and durability. Try as I might, though, they just don’t suit my taste. Here’s why I don’t click with mechanical keyboards.
The Soundtrack of My Discontent
Mechanical keyboards are infamous for their audible symphony of clicks and clacks. While some people find this sound oddly satisfying, I find it grating on my nerves. The noise can be bothersome in shared spaces, and even in solitude, the relentless clatter can become irritating.
My partner has a home office next to mine, and I can still hear those mechanical switches clicking and clacking like some sort of eldritch insect through the wall.
A Bulky Proposition
When it comes to size and weight, mechanical keyboards are no shrinking violets. Most models are noticeably larger and heftier than their non-mechanical counterparts, making them a less-than-ideal option for those needing portability or with limited desk real estate.
While it’s true that mechanical keyboards are now available with drastically smaller footprints, their vertical height is still just too tall to be comfortable for me.
This might ruffle some feathers, but typing on mechanical keyboards is an experience I find more tiring than enjoyable. The extended key travel and actuation force can lead to fatigue during lengthy typing sessions. In contrast, modern membrane keyboards have come a long way, offering a comfortable typing experience without the drawbacks of mechanical keyboards.
RELATED: What Is a Membrane Keyboard, and Is a Mechanical One Better?
I’m someone who writes, on average, about 10,000 words a day, and after trying dozens of keyboards over the years, my weapon of choice has become the Apple Magic Keyboard. It has just the right amount of travel and allows me to type with the sort of speed reminiscent of that scene from Ghost In The Shell.
Apple Magic Keyboard
If you're a Mac user, you will probably want to stick with Apple accessories, and the Magic Keyboard is a great typing experience in and of itself.
Gaming Advantages: Much Ado About Nothing?
Advocates of mechanical keyboards often claim that they provide a competitive edge in gaming. However, in my experience, this advantage is limited to a small percentage of elite players. I have never felt limited by non-mechanical keyboards in video games, although the clicky feedback of a mechanical switch can of course feel satisfying while playing, if we’re not strictly sticking to whether it makes you play better or not.
Personally, I’ve found a good compromise in the Razer Tartarus V2 one-handed gaming keyboard. I’ve been using this for years, and it combines membrane and mechanical switch technology to give you sweet spot middle ground between the technologies. Most importantly, this dedicated gaming pad isn’t something I have to use for anything else than gaming, and it doesn’t take up the whole desk.
Razer Tartarus v2
Razer's Tartarus gamepad features 32 programmable keys, a thumbpad for eight-directional movement, and an adjustable palm rest.
The Price of Admission
Mechanical keyboards tend to carry a heftier price tag than membrane options. Although they offer greater durability and customization, I have to question whether the benefits truly justify the cost for most users. For the price of a premium mechanical keyboard, you can often find a high-quality membrane keyboard with similar features and a more comfortable typing experience. Making for a better general-purpose keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards have a reputation for being the ultimate high-end choice. However, I believe that many other modern keyboard technologies offer a better all-around experience. While mechanical keyboards may have a dedicated niche, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
While I can appreciate the allure of mechanical keyboards for some people, they don’t align with my preferences. The cacophony of noise, cumbersome design, less-than-ideal typing experience, and questionable gaming benefits all contribute to my lack of enthusiasm. The higher cost and overblown reputation also make me question their value for the average user, who might get taken in by the amount of hype and uncritical recommendations of these keyboards by their fans.
I’m certainly not telling anyone what they should buy, but I do think anyone looking for their next keyboard should consider the full spectrum of keyboard options rather than assuming the Church of the Mechanical Keys is always the best way to go.
RELATED: What Is a One-Handed Keyboard, and When Is It Better?
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