If you are a gamer, it’s doubtless you know the virtues of a mechanical keyboard, but if not then you are in for a treat. Mechanical vs membrane has long been a contest of performance vs affordability. In the line of mechanical keyboards the Cherry MX-Board 3.0 comes out strong with its design of this responsive keyboard, however, the board itself is bare minimum as far as flashy or drastic features, this is a keyboard at its most classic and the music of the solid clicks provides me the rhythm of a typewriter.
The test model in this article is the Blue MX Cherry boasting a 60 cN (centiNewton) force for contact between keys. As it may seem that number represents a very small quantity but just enough to keep your fingers springing and going on to the next key in secretion creating a smooth flow and music to the ears.
Good question, if you are a gamer the answer is longevity and customization. If you are into typing, or productivity then the answer is reliability and longevity. Those are just the high level basic answers, the real answer comes in understanding how a mechanical keyboard works and how it can work for you. Fundamentally they are physically different in their construction. Membrane keyboards use a rubber or silicone sheet under the keys comprised of domes which make contact with sensors under each key to complete a circuit and this register as a key strike. Mechanical keybboards operate via individual physical switches that are both mechanically more reliable, last longer, and much more customizable. How customizable? Currently Cherry offers 5 different types of key switches to select from. Each switch offers a different level of feedback, force to depress, travel distance, and actuation point. Didn’t realize there was so much tech stuffed into your keyboard did you? Most likely there is’int in the keyboard sitting on your desk now, but there could be with a Cherry MX.
So whats the advantage of the Cherry MX over my plain jane membrane?
So glad you asked. To put it bluntly, you are wasting your effort, literally, on your membrane keyboard. Most people hit the keys on their keyboard harder than they need to in order to be sure that what they press is registered in the computer. Think about it, how many times have you missed a key only to go back and hit the same key twice as hard as though the extra effort is going to force the PC to recognize your selection. If your keyboard was a Cherry MX you wouldn’t be doubting if you had hit the key hard enough in the first place. They are called “clicky” keyboards for the tactile and lightly audible click that is generated when you pass the actuation point. That actuation point can be as little as 1.2mm or as much as 2mm with key depression force being as light as 45g to as heavy as 60g and the resulting “click” being quiet or loud. What this means if you get to choose how your interface feels. Never thought about how your keyboard felt to use before? You should, its 50% of the equation with any PC use where you are entering data. The other half being your mouse. So at the end of the day the Cherry MX allows you to do more with less, which is good unless you just like wasting energy and contributing to your carpel tunnel syndrome or arthritis, or both.
Now mechanical keyboards cost more yes, but not significantly so, the Cherry MX 3.0 can be found online for as cheap as $78 and cheaper still with some ingenuity. That’s about the price of good membrane keyboard you can find. So its your fingers and wrists let them decide.
A great feature of the keyboard line is the tangle free ability to unhook the cable from the keyboard itself through a mini USB connection, this lets me shift the keyboard around my work area without having to disconnect from my PC and rerouting the main line through all my cable hell. It takes some effort keeping so many devices in one space yet maintaining a clean view!
Let’s talk about the tech and your choices.