There are basically 2 types of keyboards : membrane and mechanical.
- Membrane keyboards : works by sending an electrical signal between two plastic membranes, which is prone to failure and in general with less obvious feedback.
- Mechanical keyboards : works by having a a descrete switch underneath each key cap and are generally more rugged, reliable and with better feedback.
Even though my best keyboard ever was an ungodly expensive membrane keyboard, typically mechanical keyboards are more expensive and in general regarded as better.
Mechanical keyboards are first and foremost about the key switches and they come in mainly 2 types :
- Linear switch : actuates at the bottom, so a linear switch needs to be pressed to the bottom just like a membrane key (however, the feedback is superior to the membrane key)
- Tactile switch : actuates halfway down, so a tactile siwtch can optionally be released after being pressed only halfway, which allows for a different style of finger movement on the keyboard and some say for faster typing.
- Bonus Buckling spring switch : similar to tactile switch but without the tactile bulge halfway down. Most noteably in use by the iconic IBM Model M.
The gold standard for mechanical key switches are the german Cherry MX, which are used by many keyboard producers and if they don't, they typically try to copy the Cherry MX mechanics. Cherry MX comes in the following variants :
- Cherry MX Red : quiet linear switch requiring a light touch of 45 grams of force to actuate.
- Red Silent : very quiet variant.
- Cherry MX Black : quiet linear switch requiring a touch of 60 grams of force to actuate.
- Black Silent : very quiet variant.
- Cherry MX Brown : quiet tactile switch requiring a light touch of 45 grams of force to actuate.
- Cherry MX Blue : clicky ?? switch requiring a touch of 50 grams of force to actuate.
- Cherry MX Speed : linear switch requiring a light touch of 45 grams of force to actuate and a travel of only 1.2 mm (that's why they are called "Speed").
- Cherry MX Silver :
- Cherry MX Green : extra-clicky ??
- Cherry MX Clear :
Unfortunately some big keyboard producers like Razor makes their own mechanical switches and name them in colors just like Cherry, however a Razor Green does not have the same properties as a Cherry Green - so that's fast becoming confusing.
In addition some cheaper chinese switch brands like Greetech and Kailh creates copies of Cherry MX and these switches are often used by keyboard producers to keep cost down.
In the lead :
- Corsair K63 Wireless :
- Cooler master MK730 : recommended over the Corsair K63
- Logitech G913 Lightspeed : wireless winner in RTings 2020 competition.
- GL Clicky - audible click and tactile feedback
- GL Tactile - a gentle bump for some tactile feedback
- GL Linear - a completely smooth keystroke
- Corsair K68 : RTings says K68 is less good than K63 (even if K68 is full RGB)
- Logitech MX Keys :