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Eight mechanical keyboards reviewed

The right touch

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Introduction

Keyboards come in all shapes and sizes - from simple to advanced, basic or with display, or with a sound card or extra keys. The quality of the keys themselves often is of secondary importance. This review will focus on a category of keyboards that has been around since the early days of the PC, but is barely known today: mechanical keyboards.


Most keyboards that are sold today use a simple technique to register a keystroke. The key sits on a cushioning piece of rubber that allows it to be pressed down and return to its position. Underneath the rubber dome a membrane registers the keystroke. The disadvantage of this technique is that the key has to be pressed down all the way in order to register the keystroke. The positive side is that they are cheap to produce, and that it does the job quite well.


A keyboard with traditional dome switches.

Flat keyboards such as in laptops usually have the so-called scissor-switches. The keys are still elevated by rubber domes, but they are kept in place by interlocking plastic pieces. This technique allows for much thinner keyboards. The advantage is that it puts less strain on your wrists. Also, you do not have to press the keys down so far in order for them to register a stroke.


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