As a serious gamer, the decision on purchasing the right keyboard is very important and could mean the difference between being an amateur gamer or a professional one.
We’re here to help guide you on deciding the right keyboard for your gaming right.
To start off, we want to compare the differences between a mechanical keyboards to regular keyboards.
This article will evaluate the differences of each and by the end of it, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make your purchasing decision.
Mechanical Keyboards vs. Ordinary Keyboards
A mechanical keyboard uses a mechanical switch under each key to record your keystrokes. Each of these physical switches is triggered and bounces back quickly once pressed, returning to its original position.
In contrast, an ordinary membrane keyboard uses a rubber dome and membrane to allow for the button to be pressed, and the key is registered in the system. These keyboards are standard because they’re quickly and cheaply produced.
Before choosing a keyboard, you should understand what each one has to offer.
When looking for a gaming keyboard, your primary concern should be a keyboard that lasts long against the test of time and regular use.
Mechanical keyboards last long regardless of their manufacturer since their switches are certified to be durable. They’re durable despite hundreds of hours of service and can withstand over 50 million key presses. Membrane keyboards don’t last nearly as long.
One of the most important aspects of choosing a keyboard is the key resistance and feel. If you’re looking for the satisfying “click” that you hear when using a mechanical keyboard, then you probably want to stay away from the spongy feel of a membrane keyboard.
You won’t get this sound from a membrane keyboard because the rubber dome underneath the keyboard keys offers a less sturdy, nonlinear resistance to pressure, making their keys wobbly.
N-Key Rollover Feature
Mechanical keyboards allow you to press more than one key simultaneously compared to an ordinary keyboard. This ability means that you won’t have an issue with a mechanical keyboard registering your keystrokes while gaming.
Maintaining and Cleaning Mechanical Keyboards
Keyboards are highly susceptible to dust, spills, crumbs, and many other kinds of dirt over time. Unfortunately, this is the plight of all keyboards. This issue can be even worse with membrane keyboards because it’s harder to clean the dirt out of the sticky rubber. On top of that, the way ordinary membrane keyboards are made makes it difficult to get all the gunk out of the base, key switches, and keycaps.
One of the most attractive features of a mechanical keyboard is the customization options. Mechanical keyboards allow you to change out the keycaps for more custom options, add graphics, logos, backlighting for the keys, and more. Customizations not only personalize your keyboard but may add some advantages to your gameplay.
With an ordinary membrane computer, there’s a chance of your hands getting exhausted after hours of gaming from the force needed to press the buttons.
On the other hand, mechanical keyboards allow you to type quickly, more accurately, and with less exertion.
We recommend using a mechanical keyboard to game or work for long periods and a membrane keyboard for light sessions.
RBG stands for Red, Green Blue. This cool feature allows you to change the color of the backend lights on your keyboard. You’ll see alternating lights as a common feature amongst modern keyboards.
Gamers will often pair their lighting keyboards with a mouse and fit their entire gaming rig with a cohesive themed color.
- Linear Switches - exhibits a smooth and linear feel when pressed. This is great for gamers who need to double-tap buttons in quick succession when gaming. (Recommended for Gaming)
- Tactile Switches – There’s a bump in the middle between the keys. The advantage of the bump allows you to know that the key has been registered. It’s great for typing because you get to know if your keys are being registered or not.
- Clicky Switches – offers a loud “click” sound as feedback. The sound is very satisfying to hear. You can get O-Rings to dampen the sound if it’s too loud or if you’re in public area to avoid unwanted attention.
Extra Lesser-Known Features
Mechanical Keyboards are Hot-Swappable
Keyboards that are hot-swappable allow you to easily switch the switches with a switch puller instead of having to desolder a switch and then solder a new one back on. The great thing about this is that if one switch breaks, you won’t have to throw out the whole keyboard. All you need to do is replace a switch.
Custom USB-C Cables
In addition to custom keycaps, there are also custom USB-C cables. These can be bought from custom makers to your exact specs. You can choose what connector and length you need, as well as colors and more
These are extra keys that make your life easier. Are you looking to turn the volume up? Instead of going to the sound icon and increasing the volume, certain keyboards have multimedia keys that allow you to quickly increase the volume with a simple click.
Extra Macro Keys
These are special keys on the keyboard specifically designed for gaming. Instead of pressing a series of combos that take up precious milliseconds, pressing a macro key will automatically activate the sequence of buttons it takes to perform the necessary combo. In games where matches are won by milliseconds, having special macro keys give a distinct advantage to players without them.
Also known as “Tenkeyless”. The number pads in some keyboards adds to the weight of your keyboard. For gamers, the number pad is useless in most instances unless you’re playing a multiplayer using a long keyboard.
The “tenkeyless’ keyboard is a favorite among online gamers because of its lightweight and portability.
Removable Palm Rests
Over the years, gamers have gotten fancier. Enter removable palm rests! These are ergonomic pads that help ease pressure on the wrist during intense bouts of gaming. Simply add the removable palm rests underneath your keyboard and instantly feel the tension sap from your wrists.
Pros and Cons of Mechanical and Membrane Keyboards
- Similar typing experience to mechanical keyboard
- Quieter than a mechanical keyboard
- Easily carried and portable
- Smaller and fits on a work surface easily
- More affordable
- Lack of tactility
- Lack of N-Key rollover
- Shorter lifespan
- Difficult to Clean
- Keycaps are removable
- Great tactility
- N-Key Rollover
- Easier to Clean
- Flexible options allow the user to choose different weight and sizes according to preferences.
- More expensive
- Older generations can be loud
- May require some DIY
Membrane Keyboard vs Mechanical Keyboard: Which One You Should Use?
In the end, the decision lies with your needs, personal preference, and your budget. There are many different keyboards with many different manufacturers. All the keyboards out there have their own pros and cons. When you spend a lot of time on a computer either gaming or working, you primarily want something comfortable and accurate.
Due to the tactile feedback, the customization options, and the accuracy, most gamers will choose a mechanical keyboard. If you’re looking into becoming a serious gamer, we recommend going that route. Using this information, you’re ready to pick out a keyboard that's perfect for you and your gaming needs. Even better, here at Patriot Memory, we have a wide array of choices for you to choose from. Check it out!