In terms of gameplay, you want a switch that strikes a balance between rapid actuation and rapid return, while also being weighty enough to deter unintentional presses. This might be a thin linear switch for you or a thick tactile switch with clear feedback. Finding the appropriate switch is more said than done because everyone is unique. Be ready for some trial and error.
If you were to purchase any keyboard from Office Depot or Amazon, it’s likely that it wouldn’t support hot-swapping (i.e. the ability to change the switches out at will). This implies that, for better or worse, you’re stuck with the keyboard you purchase. Why does this matter? You might get a keyboard with clicky switches even if you have no idea what they are or that you’ll eventually despise them. You might purchase a keyboard with linear switches when you actually prefer a tactile keyboard for gaming. Lacking the capacity for hot swapping? Bad luck. Hot-swappable mechanical keyboards let you focus on the specific switch that will improve your gaming.
Better for typing
A mechanical keyboard that can be hot-swapped allows you to select the ideal typing switch for you, just like in gaming. This typically refers to linear switches. Typing benefits from whatever reduces fatigue, as opposed to gaming, which calls for split-second decision-making that can benefit from tactility bumps. However, it’s acceptable if you decide that tactile switches are what you want. The ability to precisely personalize your board is the best feature of the mechanical keyboard hobby.
They improve ergonomics
While it is feasible to purchase non-mechanical, ergonomic keyboards, their level of support is typically constrained.
You can discover example after example of incredible-sounding mechanical keyboards on TikTok or YouTube if you spend sixty seconds looking. The vast array of sound-altering add-ons and modifications, including o-rings, switches, and foam liners, allows a keyboard’s sound to be customized just as much as its appearance. Some of these modifications may possibly be made to non-mechanical keyboards, but not nearly as simply or comprehensively as with a mechanical keyboard. This is true because most modern mechanical keyboards feature hot-swap boards and discrete components, which enable complete board disassembly and reassembly without the need for a soldering iron.
They are more pleasant to the touch
Non-mechanical keyboards don’t, or only partially do, provide as many tactile experiences as mechanical keyboards. For instance, there are numerous profiles, heights, and textures available for keycaps. Keycaps that resemble vintage typewriters come in flat, round, and smooth varieties. There are keycaps that are shaped, cylindrical, and textured that naturally fit the hand. There are also a lot more. The variety of ways a keyboard can feel to the touch often astounds newcomers to the hobby. Trial and error is involved in finding your ideal set, but the discovery process is enjoyable and gratifying.
They seem more genuine
The sense of authenticity is another tactile pleasure mechanical keyboards provide. You understand what I’m talking about if you’ve ever switched from playing an electronic keyboard to an acoustic piano. The key on an electronic keyboard is thin and made of plastic, while the key on an acoustic piano is heavy and responsive. It’s the same process to switch from a non-mechanical to a mechanical keyboard. This is so that the mechanical switches on a mechanical keyboard may really move and contact the motherboard of the keyboard. Despite how straightforward the process seems, there are countless ways to customize keyboard switches to achieve various speeds, push-back sensations, tactile bumps, and other effects.
There are more excellent aesthetic solutions available
There are three standard aesthetics for commercial keyboards: sleek and minimal (Apple Magic Keyboard), LED-lit and gamey, and clunky and dark (everything else). Sorry if you’re aesthetic doesn’t fit into one of these categories.
Mechanical keyboards exist in a totally distinct universe. Mechanical keyboard makers frequently employ the “Group Buy” strategy of marketing, who are obedient to shareholders and quarterly predictions. Designers can produce distinctive and particular designs using this paradigm that appeal to more specialised, niche consumers. How specific? I’m referring to devotees of aircraft, espresso, and the jungle.
They could be employed in interior design
Maybe you don’t have any specific niche hobbies, or at least none that are so important to you that you need a keyboard to objectify them. Heard. You’re in luck because there are tonnes of gorgeous keyboards available. These tiny artistic wonders are ideal for bringing your office’s colours together or enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your desk.
They are more long-lasting
A flatscreen TV and a non-mechanical keyboard are analogous. If you don’t have a degree in electrical engineering and a soldering gun when it fails outside the warranty period, you’re out of luck. On the other hand, a mechanical keyboard is comparable to a bicycle. The components are distinct and simple to take apart. You may easily repair the tyre or chain yourself if it pops. Additionally, because the components are distinct, you may choose the best, most durable ones to purchase with knowledge.
Purchasing durable, eco-friendly components for your mechanical keyboard is fairly simple. Here are some illustrations. A decent circuit board should endure 50–70 years, barring water damage or other disaster. Therefore, avoid purchasing a flat-screen TV that will be thrown in the trash. Purchase a mechanical keyboard that can be repaired over time in a sustainable manner.
More often than not, they will be programmable
If you’re using a non-programmable keyboard and sitting there, you’re probably wondering, Programmability? Major deal. I, too, too held this unfavorable viewpoint and did not feel ashamed of it. I later acquired a programmable keyboard though. With a programmable keyboard, you may completely alter every aspect of it. I didn’t realize how much of a productivity boost and life hack I was losing out on until I purchased a programmable board for myself.
They can be completely customized
From the caps to the cord, a mechanical keyboard is configurable. Regardless of your aesthetic, you can probably find any keyboard you can think of. Do you want a keyboard that sounds just like the ones in the computer lab at the school where you attended as a child? You nailed it. Would you prefer a keyboard that appears to be capable of launching a rocket into space? You nailed it. Do you prefer a loud, annoying keyboard or one that sounds deep and muted? You nailed it.
They provide a stronger sense of neighborhood
You resemble me probably the most. All of my connections were established on a mutual appreciation of non-mechanical keyboards before I became interested in mechanical keyboards. In reality, the majority of the folks in my social network had a strong affinity for keyboards that weren’t mechanical. Commercial keyboards were beloved by my pals and I! It’s likely that you also made your buddies in the Office Depot aisles, where you casually glanced at one another (community!). Or amused each other with a joke in the Non-Programmable Keyboard Discord (memes!). Your social life is a rich tapestry, and you and your pals share a profound interest for commercial keyboards.