Mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard
If you are someone who is into PC gaming there is no ignoring the fact that gaming peripherals play a huge role in deciding the quality of the overall gaming experience. The essential peripherals that go into deciding a good gaming …If you are someone who is into PC gaming there is no ignoring the fact that gaming peripherals play a huge role in deciding the quality of the overall gaming experience. The essential peripherals that go into deciding a good gaming experience include the monitor, the mouse and the keyboard. It is clear to state that all these peripherals have seen a good amount of advancement in all aspects, and they have become better than ever. However, when it comes to the keyboard, there is always a debate on whether a mechanical keyboard or a regular keyboard provides a better gaming experience.
Keyboard tends to be primarily of two types as mentioned above and there is always a divided opinion on which one is better. As such to help gamers get a better understanding of these two, we have pitted them against each other to see what differences and advantages one has to offer over the others. Let us take a detailed look at these two types of keyboard.
A Regular keyboard is also known as a membrane keyboard and its design is composed of three different layers of flexible membrane. The first layer is known as the top membrane layer, under which lies a conductive trace. The second layer is composed of holes, which allows the pressure pads at the bottom of the key to coming in contact with the conductive trace of the first layer. After they come in contact a circuit is complete and the desired letter gets typed.
The most common design that is used in regular keyboards is the dome switch design which is dome-shaped and comes printed with the letters on it. In this design, the keypad is usually made of silicone or rubber, and when the keys are pressed the top membrane layer collapses coming into contact with the conductive trace, thus completing a circuit and then sends a signal. This signal indicates that a key has been pressed. In most cases, the conductive trace happens to be made of graphite.
What are the advantages of using a regular keyboard?
Regular keyboards are the most used type of keyboards and before the coming of mechanical keyboards, they were the mainstay. Let us take a look at the advantages which regular keyboards have to offer.
1. Quieter: One major advantage that regular keyboards have over mechanical keyboards is that they are much quieter to operate than mechanical ones. This is because they use a soft membrane layer which produces less noise and also is much more sensitive to presses. As a result, they are preferred in office environments, hospitals, schools etc.
2. Affordable: A regular keyboard is much more affordable than mechanical ones, and this serves as a major advantage. They are affordable as the materials that go into making them are cheaper, and they also require less time to put together.
3. Highly Portable: Another major advantage of regular keyboards is their portability. Regular keyboards tend to be lighter and also possess a smaller footprint. This is because they are made of lightweight materials such as plastic and rubber. The simple design nature also allows it to have a much smaller footprint adding more versatility to it.
4. Value for money: Regular keyboards often provide better value for money than mechanical ones. This is because they come packed with multiple features which are not seen in mechanical keyboards under the same price range.
These are some of the major advantages of regular keyboards.
What are the disadvantages of using a regular keyboard?
Though Regular keyboards come with numerous advantages, however, they come with their own set of shortcomings as well. Let us discuss the disadvantages of regular keyboards.
1. Subpar typing experience: Since regular keyboards have soft membranes they require more of an effort to type them. The travel on regular keyboards is also much shorter as well. This gives users a mushy and unsatisfying feeling which hampers the typing experience.
2. Key Rollover: Key Rollover happens when you type multiple keys at the same time however not all of them get registered. This problem is seen in the majority of regular keyboards and can be a nuisance for fast typists.
3. Durability: A Regular keyboard is often times made of lightweight materials commonly plastic and this has a drastic effect on its durability. As such the body of a regular keyboard is more prone to damages. On the other hand, the membrane underneath the keys also tends to wear out quicker taking away the typing experience too.
4. Maintenance: Keyboards are generally prone to dust, dirt and all kinds of debris and thus require regular cleaning. However, since regular keyboards don’t come with removable key caps cleaning them can turn out to be a challenging task.
The above highlight some of the major disadvantages that a regular keyboard possesses.
What is a mechanical keyboard?
Mechanical Keyboards just as the name suggests is a keyboard which is made of mechanical components. The primary component that goes into a mechanical keyboard is the mechanical switch. In a mechanical keyboard, each key comes with its own switch and the switch can be of different types. The design of a mechanical switch is generally composed of a base, spring, and stem respectively. In a mechanical keyboard when any key is pressed the switch underneath it gets activated and this sends a signal indicating that a key has been pressed.
Mechanical switches generally come in red, green brown, black and blue colors. Mechanical switches are generally of two types which are linear and tactile. Linear switches have no bump after you press it, while tactile switches bump after the press has been registered. While both tactile and linear switches got the option of having lighter or heavier options. Clicky switches (a variant)is also a thing a lot of people go for, due to the satisfying click/sound.
Mechanical keyboards as you see today have not been around for as long as regular keyboards (modern ones that is) The typewriter for example was mechanical goodness. There have been cases of mechanical keyboards but it wasn’t really that crazy popular. However, they have gained a good amount of popularity. Let us take a look at the advantages which a mechanical keyboard carries with it.
1. Good Build Quality: The overall build quality of mechanical keyboards is much better than regular keyboards. This is because they are primarily made using metal and metal components, which tend to last longer and can also handle more abuse over time. The mechanical switch that comes with it is also much more durable than traditional membranes which collapse and deteriorate much quicker.
2. Satisfactory typing experience: One differentiating factor that makes mechanical keyboards much better than regular ones is its superb typing experience. Mechanical keyboards employ mechanical switches, and these switches give the user solid and superb feedback when typing. The longer travel also ensures a good tactile feel which can register key easily.
3. Anti-ghosting: This feature is also known as N key rollover and what this means is that the keyboard can register multiple presses at a single time. Therefore, with mechanical keyboards, users can press multiple keys simultaneously which can be a boon for fast typists and gamers.
4. Highly customizable: Another major advantage of mechanical keyboards is that they are highly customizable. Most mechanical keyboards allow users to remove the key caps and then configure it according to their liking. Some mechanical keyboards also allow users to reprogram the keys as well. Besides, these mechanical keyboards also come with RGB lighting functionality. As such this allows users to have a personalized experience.Mechanical keyboards as such possess quite a good number of advantages over that of regular keyboards.
What are the disadvantages of using a mechanical keyboard?
Despite enjoying good popularity amongst the masses, mechanical keyboards are far from perfect. They also carry with them some downsides, and they are as follows.
1. Expensive: The first disadvantage of a mechanical keyboard is that they are expensive. They are generally made of more expensive materials such as metal or aluminum, and the components and technology that go into making it are also complex and modern. These factors combined command a higher price tag for mechanical keyboards.
2. Loud to operate: One seeming disadvantage of using a mechanical keyboard is that they tend to be loud while operating. The noise generated while typing is due to the mechanical switch, which has mechanical components. As such, using it public workplaces may cause inconvenience to others. There are silent variants of switches, but it does not beat a membrane.
3. Not-portable: Mechanical keyboards being made of higher quality material such as metal and aluminum are much heavier and thus cannot be carried easily from place to place, unlike regular keyboards. They also have a much larger footprint which may be a deal breaker for some.
These are some of the disadvantages that come with using a mechanical keyboard.
As is seen from the detailed breakdown of the two types of keyboards, neither of the keyboards are perfect. Each type of keyboard carries with them its own pros and cons, and they serve different purposes based on the needs of the user.
When it comes to gaming, there are multiple factors which come into play when deciding which type of keyboard to use for gaming. Games have advanced quickly over the years and have become more demanding and sophisticated both in terms of hardware and software. Let us take a look at some of the factors which affect the overall gaming experience.The first thing to discuss is the Actuation point of a keyboard.
The actuation point is the travel distance of the key before it gets registered. Actuation points as such vary between keyboards, with Mechanical keyboards reaching actuation point at about 2 mm, while regular keyboards generally require about 4 mm to reach the actuation point. The second factor is the feel or typing experience of the keyboard. Keyboards generally offer either tactile or linear feedback when the key reaches the actuation point. When it comes to Tactile feedback, users will feel a slight bump indicating that a key has reached actuation point, whereas in case of linear feedback users will not feel a bump but experience a smooth range of motion.
Lastly, we have the reset points which differ from a switch to another. A reset point is a point where a key which is being pressed is no longer registered. The reset point also plays a major role while typing and using the keyboard.
Taking the actuation point, typing experience, reset points and a host of other factors into question we can find out which type of keyboard is best for gaming. When it comes to actuation points, gamers often prefer keyboards with shorter actuation points as seen in mechanical keyboards.
Coming to the typing experience, gamers also prefer keyboards with tactile feedback as they allow the user to be aware of whether the key has been pressed or not. Mechanical keyboards generally have tactile feedback and this tactility allows gamers to be sure of whether they have pressed the key or not, thus improving the user experience. The Reset point also plays a significant role and it can mean a difference while playing games which may require longer presses.
Taking the above factors into consideration, it is quite clear that mechanical keyboards provide an overall better gaming experience. This is because gamers often value faster response times, better feedback and reset points. Besides these mechanical keyboards also offer better build quality, making them more durable and robust. They are also highly customizable, thus allowing users to personalize and configure them according to their liking. The mechanical switches in mechanical keyboards also enable them to be more precise, accurate and comfortable at the same time.
As such from a gamers’ perspective, Mechanical keyboards tend to provide an overall better gaming experience. Though, they may be on the expensive side of things they make very little compromises when it comes to gaming performance. This has made mechanical keyboards a favorite amongst the gamers and its popularity continues to grow.
Learn more about mechanical keyboards and it’s workings down below!