5 Mechanical-switch Keyboards tested

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Lane, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Lane

    Lane Ancient Guru

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    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/mechanical-switch-keyboard,review-32205.html

    Tomshardware review 5 mechanical Keyboards, outside the test themselves, there's excellent informations of the differents MX Cherry switch, basic of mechanical switch and all you want to know about mechanical keyboards.


    The 5 keyboards tested:

    - SteelSeries 6Gv2

    - Ione X-Armor U9BL

    - Ione X-Armor U27 (Gemini)

    - Zowie Celeritas

    - Razer BlackWidow ( ultimate )


    The result:

    Why no clear winner?

    Quite simply because there are no losers. Each keyboard has its own specific advantages and appeals to its own target audience. And whether illuminated or not, heavy or light, all have tiny advantages and disadvantages.

    Whether the user is a tactile light-typer or a heavy-handed key-pounder, we're sure that there's something for everyone represented here. All the keyboards tested performed at almost the same level, regardless of price: a rare enough result for a roundup. If you're playing with the idea of typing and gaming mechanically in the future, you can pick up any one of these models with a clear conscience. You certainly won't regret it.


    _______________________________________
    ( I personally own the BlackWidow Ultimate, and i need say if one day it break or if my house burn, i will without hesitation go buy exactly this keyboard again, whatever will be the cost.. )
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  2. Chillin

    Chillin Ancient Guru

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    I can't be the only one who doesn't see what all the hype about Mechanical keyboards are. I've used them and I still can't tell what is so "improved" over my regular Logitech.
     
  3. IcE

    IcE Don Snow Staff Member

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    Lifespan, they're better built. Beyond that it's more of a preference thing. I liked the tactile feel, it's easier to tell if you've made a keypress.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  4. honkeykrakker

    honkeykrakker Master Guru

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    If it is lifespan they must be 50 year Keyboards? I still have my G15 Keyboard and G5 Mouse(original Blue Spider Web) that I got in 2005 or 2006. They have been used rather heavily, maybe even by no-life gamer specifications. Daily use for 10+ Hours, and sometimes days at a time without sleep.

    However I have had my eye on the Blackwidow for a bit, 6 Months maybe. And, I have been looking at the Logitech G500 Mouse because I want to make use the programmable buttons.
     

  5. Chillin

    Chillin Ancient Guru

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    Lifespan seems to be a rather poor argument.

    I can get a fully loaded Logitech keyboard for roughly $15-$25. On the other hand, most of these loaded keyboards cost around $80-$100 (please correct me if otherwise). So I can buy a new keyboard every 5-6 years for the next two decades and still be under the amount I spent on the mechanical (inflation notwithstanding).
     
  6. deltatux

    deltatux Ancient Guru

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    They're much easier to type with especially if you have to write 20+ page reports. Right now I'm on an old school membrane keyboard because there's a flaw with 2 of my BlackWidow keys. The "e" and NumPad 9 key always double registers.

    deltatux
     
  7. IcE

    IcE Don Snow Staff Member

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    Membrane keyboards tend to degrade in performance over time and stick (At least in my experience). Mechanical keyboards will never have this problem. Plus the feel is really nice, it feels very solidly constructed.

    I have both the Black Widow and the G500, they're both top notch products.
     
  8. Corrupt^

    Corrupt^ Ancient Guru

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    Bought a Steelseries 6Gv2 2 weeks ago, I love it. It's robust, strong and it's simply a keyboard that get's the job done, nothing more, nothing less.

    Though the whole bs surrounding PS2 having a faster response time than USB is wrong. Theoretically PS2 should be faster since it sends a hardware interrupt, but on todays computers, polling from the USB actually get's the job done faster then the hardware interrupt.

    It's clearly noticable when trying to do trick jumps in videogames, timing is way off using PS2.

    Another benefit of the Steelseries 6Gv2:

    "If there's a robber in your house you can simply bash him to dead with it... seriously"
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  9. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    I have a filco with 100% cherry reds.
    I also have a low profile logitech, and a low profile enermax.

    I prefer the low profile hand posture, and the lower+wider keys (with smaller gaps between keys).
    [lightly] Illuminated really is nice at night.

    The mechanical is built like a tank. It's like you're using an industrial cash register. Heavy, decent bit of metal, and very distinctive feel [very soft, and linear] to the key press.

    For me, I just like to use everything.
    If I had to pick a favorite, I think the logitech low profile.

    But the filco's anti-ghost/N-key-rollover/whatever is nice in games, where I can hit ridiculous key combos without any input errors.

    The filco's keys are sensitive (little resistance, and they activate near the very top, so you barely touch them and they go), so you can consider that good for quick input - but the short throw on the logitech lets me 'mash' keys, and they don't travel far before they bottom out, which also improves speed. That's because usually I'll still bottom-out a key, even though it already activated - hence the Logitech's shorter travel lets me repeat a key more often.

    They're all good.
    This is about the most subjective category you can get as far as hardware goes.
    What's right, is really, what's right for you.

    -scheherazade
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  10. Deathspank

    Deathspank Maha Guru

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    I'm with you on this one brute.
     

  11. Chillin

    Chillin Ancient Guru

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    What I would really love is for someone to do a blind test on random people.

    Place them in a blindfold in front of a keyboard, either Mechanical or regular (just don't tell them), with earplugs and then have them type some random document from memory. Do it on several keyboards (some mechanical and some regular) and have them rate each keyboard.

    Afterwards, check the ratings and see if the mechanical keyboards really do come out ahead.
     
  12. thatguy91

    thatguy91 Ancient Guru

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    What we really need is USB3 keyboards and mice ASAP. Since they'd be backwards compatible with USB2. Reason for this is even better response time, but more importantly if you do keep a keyboard and mice for a few years, you don't want to be stuck with an old usb2 device on a usb3 controller :)
     
  13. Chillin

    Chillin Ancient Guru

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  14. Lane

    Lane Ancient Guru

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    the problem with that, is at the moment they will press a key they will know it's a mechanical keyboard... the feeling when you press the touch is absolutely not the same. the way the key react is not the same. For gaming is not as important, and it will completely depend of your gamestyle and gameplay.

    I don't say one is better of another, specially for gaming, it's all what like peoples and how they feel using it. (some will like tactile feeling as they got the feeling to win time by not have to really press the keys, some will like big keys press as they smash their keyboard ( hammer style ), some will like different style. Some will just feel better on one type as they have allways use this type of keyboard switch. )

    If i have post this article reviews is for peoples who intend to buy one of thoses 5 tested mechanical keyboard CherryMX based and want additional infos, + there's some good informations on what is the difference between each CherryMX switch and what is exactly a mechanical key switch. ( to note: all mechanical keyboard on the market don't use CherryMX, there's lower grade mechanical switch as different system )

    Then the debate of what is better suiting peoples or what is better is like for mice. it's complex, and i don't think one have the response.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  15. Darkest

    Darkest Ancient Guru

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    I'd say that comes down to personal preference. I'm currently using a membrane keyboard with fairly shallow keys, and even over prolonged use find it more comfortable to type on than any of the mechanical keyboards I've spent time with. The last being the Blackwidow.
     

  16. salanos

    salanos Maha Guru

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    I'm not too particular with the switches. I'm quite comfortable with my Sidewinder X6 (which I believe is membrane).
    I like slim keys, and I do prefer something without too much clacking.
     
  17. Chillin

    Chillin Ancient Guru

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    @ Lane - Good post, very true.

    I'm actually using a Logitech M570 Trackball, and their previous cordless trackball. When people see it for the first time they ask what it is, they can't believe that it's actually a mouse (new generation :( ).
     
  18. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    It's worth noting that the 'tactile feedback' that you get while using certain mechanical switches is NOT due to the activation mechanism, but is instead due to a mechanical 'bump' that a spring/plate rubs against.

    "When you 'feel' the feedback", and "when the switch activates", are two unrelated things.

    Essentially, the tactile switches are an entirely cosmetic feature.

    -scheherazade
     
  19. deltatux

    deltatux Ancient Guru

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    The polling rate has been quite the same even if it's USB1.1, 2.0 or 3.0. Most keyboards actually run at 1.1 speeds even if you plug them into 2.0 slots. Just that Windows won't complain to you about it being a USB 1.1 device.

    I've been using hundreds of different keyboards, mostly membranes and I can tell you from experience, nothing has so far beat my Razer BlackWidow (maybe other mechanical boards are better but I can't find any at a store except the BlackWidow).

    I've used ****ty $9 keyboards, to several budget Logitech keyboards to Microsoft's "Natural Keyboards" to the expensive Logitech and Razer keyboards, but the mechanical keyboard has been a lot easier to type than all the rest. Sure, the Logitech 350 (basic one) or the more expensive ones are comfortable, but they still need to have a bit more force required for them to work. This is why I've developed a bad habit of always slamming my keys home ... which was more apparent to me when I started to use a mechanical keyboard, I always find myself slamming the keys home.

    The worst keyboard I've used so far is the one I'm typing on right now. It's the OCZ Elixir. The membrane hardens very fast, right now I actually have to punch my keys in by my fingers. Sure, it's a nice workout but I can't type fast nor write a long report without having to rest for a couple minutes.

    Sure it's all comes down to opinions but I still say so far nothing has beat my BlackWidow when it comes to what I've tried so far. Not even the Razer Maurauder (not a bad board, my friend bought one over a mechanical board that's cheaper lol) is better and I play Starcraft II quite a bit and a keyboard designed with that game in mind doesn't really do it for me compared to the BlackWidow.

    deltatux
     
  20. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    In case you're looking for something that goes that little extra bit :

    "
    Filco use isolation diodes in their keyboard matrix to implement full N-key rollover (sometimes abbreviated NKRO), making them immune to both anti ghosting and key jamming. This sets them apart from most keyboards which, to reduce cost and design complexity, do not isolate all keys in this way. Instead, they use a matrix of key switches, without any isolation diodes, that assumes that only a limited number of keys will be held down at any given time.
    "

    http://www.madshrimps.be/articles/a...s-NKR-ASCII-with-Red-Switch-Keyboard-Review/5


    Cheapest place to buy it (U.S.)
    http://www.amazon.com/Filco-Majestouch-2-ASCII-Switch-FKBN104MR/dp/B004OX4HWG
    http://www.amazon.com/Filco-Majestouch-2-Tenkeyless-Switch-FKBN87MR/dp/B004OX7R28

    If you buy from the U.K. company directly (direct from the middle man*), it's here :
    http://www.keyboardco.com/

    Or you can get it cheaper if you follow the guide here :
    http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?12854-PChome-(Taiwan)-20-Worldwide-Shipping-Promo


    P.S.
    I use the full size version of this board - with num pad.
    Was it worth it? The raging nerd inside me says "YES!".
    But really, it's just a keyboard. I like it well enough, but it's not mind blowing or anything.

    I don't mind the price so much because peripherals follow me for a few generations of computer. I'll use the same kb/mouse/monitor while I go through 4+ new computers, so it's not that bad.

    It works very well, but it's not as comfortable (or as fast - for me) as this logitech is for me :
    http://www.logitech.com/en-us/keyboards/keyboard/devices/4740

    I the filco came in the logitech illuminated's shape/form-factor, it would be the "perfect" keyboard for me.

    -scheherazade
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011

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