Mechanical keyboards have grown in popularity over the last few years. After the personal computer’s advent, mechanical keyboards were the only type of keyboards that were used. Although many gamers shifted to membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards are seeing a revival.
It’s also important to mention that the rise in popularity of mechanical keyboards also has something to do with the expanding market for PC gaming. Apart from this, mechanical keyboards are also great for typists who go through a lot of typing assignments regularly as a part of their profession.
In the following section of this article, we will try and give you the reasons why do people like mechanical keyboards instead of membrane keyboards. Mechanical keyboards also come with a variety of features, which may explain their increasing popularity.
Reasons for Popularity of Mechanical Keyboards
1) Mechanical vs. Nonmechanical keyboards
There are many differences between mechanical and nonmechanical keyboard variants. Nonmechanical keyboards generally use rubber dome switches which are inexpensive. The pressing of the key is registered when the dome collapses. These types of keyboards work quite well for casual users, and many people use them regularly.
In the case of mechanical keyboards, they come with individual switches for each specific key. The longer stroke of mechanical keyboards is one of the biggest reasons why some people prefer it compared to membrane keyboards. Another major factor that separates mechanical keyboards from their nonmechanical counterparts is that they generally tend to last for a lot longer.
One of the major reasons mechanical keyboards are popular is that the switches they feature are of a higher quality. The user gets more satisfying feedback during usage than one can expect from a nonmechanical keyboard. Mechanical switches are of various types, such as Cherry MX, Blue Outemu, and others, and each of these varieties has slightly different tactile and audio feedback to suit the preference of different users.
The three main types of mechanical switches can be divided into linear, tactile, and clicky. Among these 3, linear switches are generally the fastest and a lot smoother as compared to the others. They have the simplest mode of operation and do not give you any tactile feedback or clicking noise.
The smooth keystrokes are ideal for gamers because of their lower actuation force. On the other hand, Tactile switches have a higher actuation threshold and are ideal for typists who type regularly for long periods. Lastly, we have the clicky switches which work the same way as tactile switches. The only difference is that clicky switch variants are characterized by additional audio feedback that goes hand in hand with tactile feedback.
The satisfaction you get from typing and pressing mechanical switches are the main reason why people tend to prefer using mechanical keyboards. It’s a difficult thing to explain if you have never used a mechanical keyboard ever before. But in simple terms, we can say that it gives you a fulfilling tactile feeling during gaming or typing or pressing individual keys in general.
While using a mechanical keyboard, it is a lot easier to prevent mistakes while pressing different keys. This is because the buttons have higher sensitivity, so you have to press it fully in order to register a key command. This can end up boosting your productivity significantly and improving your typing accuracy. As we mentioned before, there are numerous different options available at your disposal in terms of the resistance and tactile output of different mechanical switches.
3) Build Quality
Most mechanical keyboards are really good when it comes to their build quality. Thus mechanical keyboards are able to withstand regular usage over a longer period of time. This is a big factor as to why mechanical keyboards are steadily growing in popularity.
The enhanced build quality is a great feature for gamers and typists especially. If you play games on a regular basis, you will know that it often involves button mashing. Button mashing is a tool that some games demand you to use where you have to repeatedly press a particular key. This action is very demanding on the keys of any keyboard, and most membrane keyboards are not designed to handle this kind of usage on a daily basis.
It’s a similar situation in the case of typing. Typing is all about speed, and speed is about rhythm. Once you get into your rhythm, you normally look to type quickly, and this exerts additional pressure on the keys. And all of this additional pressure builds in the long run and could damage your key switches if they are not of good quality. This is where mechanical keyboards’ viability is perfect since the switches are built to endure higher sustained levels of pressure during usage.
Also, in the case of typing, many people who use mechanical keyboards have reported much lower error rates. This makes sense as mechanical keyboards demand more precise and accurate clicks due to the higher levels of actuation force required. The feeling of bottoming out when you press a key switch on a mechanical keyboard is also partly responsible for some people’s insistence on using it as their go-to choice for typing.
4) Customization Options
This is another huge reason for the ever-growing popularity of mechanical keyboards. In the gaming community, this factor can be considered as equally important as the feel of using the keyboard. Customization options in mechanical keyboards give you the ability to set the device up according to your preference and choices.
An important feature that many mechanical keyboards have in terms of customization is the RGB backlighting options. Most modern mechanical keyboards come with different RGB or backlighting options that give you the chance to create your patterns or use preset patterns installed in the keyboard already. A lot of the highest-rated mechanical keyboards generally let you control your RGB settings’ specifics through software that can be downloaded and installed on your PC.
Apart from this option, lots of mechanical keyboards also let the user set different macro keys’ functions according to their preferred requirements. This is also a very good feature to have, especially for gamers, as it gives them a lot of flexibility.
5) Gaming Feasibility
We have already spoken about the fact that modern mechanical keyboards are hugely popular amongst gamers. It is safe to say that the gaming industry as a whole has massively contributed to the popularity of mechanical keyboards. A lot of mechanical gaming keyboards come with some additional features that are great for gaming, and we will discuss a few of those features in this section.
The first such feature worth mentioning is the n-key rollover feature. This is a feature that is required mostly for gaming. It basically allows the user to press a lot of keys together at the same time in order to bring about the desired result. This feature is called the n-key rollover, which allows the keyboard to detect all keystrokes regardless of the number of keys being pressed simultaneously at the same time. Many popular games require you to press a set of different key combinations in order to bring about particular outcomes. The n-key rollover feature basically gives you a license to press n number of keys at the same without bringing about any undesired outcome.
This factor is also related to another impressive feature in the case of mechanical keyboards called anti-ghosting. Sometimes while using different key combinations together, the keyboard might not register one of the keystrokes owing to multiple commands being run simultaneously, resulting in ghosting.
As far as gaming feasibility is concerned, it’s also important to mention that a lot of mechanical gaming keyboards are equipped with the special wrist resting pads. These may or may not be detachable depending upon the brand and the model in question. Regardless of their detachability options, these rest pads are crucial for people who sit at their PC for long gaming or typing hours. Using a keyboard for a long time is often stressful for your wrist, and the wrist rests help in alleviating accumulated fatigue. This, in turn, could end up boosting your productivity and gaming performance.
In this article, our focus was on mechanical keyboards. We have tried to explore the reasons for people choosing mechanical keyboards over others. We started with a brief intro on the nature of mechanical keyboards and how they have grown in popularity over the last few years. We also spoke about the differences between mechanical and nonmechanical keyboards, where we outlined some of the different features that mechanical keyboards have.
In the next section, we delved deeper into why people prefer mechanical keyboards. Starting with how mechanical switches are better suited for gaming and typing requirements, we discussed a few other features that contribute to mechanical keyboards’ popularity.
These included gaming feasibility, building quality, and customization options offered by mechanical keyboards of different varieties. We hope that you find the things we discussed in this article useful. If you feel like you need more in-depth information on mechanical keyboards, we urge you to do your research. Until next time, then!