If you have ever watched a professional streamer or ever stepped into a gaming lounge, you may be familiar with the *CLICKY SOUND* of a keyboard. Those are the Mechanical Keyboards. Actually, it feels like everybody owns a Mechanical Keyboard nowadays. But why?
When choosing a keyboard, we’ve always had 2 options, one is the Membrane keyboard, which is a mushier and quieter one, and the other is a Mechanical Keyboard, the noisy and clanky one. Both send your keystrokes as inputs for the computer to process, but they do so in different ways.
How Mechanical Keyboards work
A membrane keyboard has exactly what its name says, a membrane. Each key lies over a different part of a three-layered membrane that is pressure sensitive. If you apply pressure by pressing a key in the specific area, it registers as a keystroke.
A Mechanical Keyboard meanwhile, uses an individual switch for each key. Once you press down far enough and engage the switch on a key, it registers as a keystroke.
So, why choose Mechanical over the Membrane? Well, let us tell you.
One part is the kind of feel you are going for. Mechanical keyboards give you clear feedbacks, from pressing the switch to the key springing back. Almost like using a typewriter. Contrast this with a membrane keyboard, which is softer to engage and not as noisy as a mechanical one.
The biggest difference for Typists and Gamers, however, is how multiple keystrokes are handled. In activities that demand very high action typing, each keystroke is like a life or death, especially for Gamers. Mechanical keyboards shine here because each key is engaged and registered individually. When you press keys near-simultaneously, they are still registered in the correct order. Membrane keyboards have had a lot of problems with simultaneously key inputs or Rollover as it’s called. They are built with many pressure pads on one membrane. If you press many keys at once or try to type very fast, some keystrokes wouldn’t be registered.
Wear and Tear
The other big distinction is wear and tear. So your most commonly used keys, like SpaceBar, will need a lot more pressure to register than something like the Tilde(`) key. As well, once a key dies, it can be a very involved task to replace, especially if the membrane is affected. Meanwhile, in a Mechanical keyboard, keys are built to last more than ten times as long as in a membrane keyboard. The SpaceKey works exactly the same on the first day you use it as on the hundredth day. And when a key goes (stops working), just take it out, pop in a new one and you are good to go.
Brief History of Mechanical Keyboards
Actually, mechanical keyboards have been favored by typing enthusiasts throughout history. Look no further than the grandfather of modern keyboards, a Typewriter. Each key was independent of the other keys in a typewriter. All throughout the late 1800s and mid 1900s, typewriters were the way for typing. And even IBM’s first keyboard, the Model M, in 1986 was Mechanical. If you are old enough, you can still hear that loud clicking sound as clear as day. It wasn’t until the ’90s when membrane keyboards started gaining popularity. They were quieter, lighter, and more streamlined. These keyboards were perfect for the new laptop generation of computers. And even PCs were more marketable with less clunky accessories.
So, which of these keyboards will you pick? Newer Membrane keyboards have improved a lot. With longer lifespans and far more impressive Rollover. But Mechanical Keyboards are still the go-to for demanding keyboard use such as Gaming or Typing. Personally, as loud as the noise of a mechanical keyboard can be, nothing is more annoying than missing keys on a membrane keyboard because you didn’t press hard enough. All of a sudden, missing spaces, missing Caps and typing, it’s unbearable.
So, these are the more general reasons why a Mechanical Keyboard is better than a Membrane keyboard. Users may have their own reasons for preferring a Membrane keyboard over a Mechanical one. It could be loud noise of Mechanical Keyboards, a higher price than a membrane keyboard, Bulky design, or heavyweight for traveling. But for most of the Gamers and Typists, performance is far more important than sound or being streamlined. The satisfaction and Tactile feel of a Mechanical keyboard can never be achieved by a membrane keyboard. And the variety of keys that you can get in Mechanical Keyboards is one of the most key features of Mechanical Keyboards.
What do you think of Mechanical Keyboards, do you also think they are better than Membrane keyboards and why? tell us in the comments.