I wrote the only useful keyboard type explanation on the internet!

if you ever tried reading explainers on various keyboard types you probably saw one of three types of articles written by retard tech reviewers:

1 - laptop vs desktop keyboard
2 - membrane vs mechanical keyboard
3 - linear, vs clicky vs tactile mechanical keyboards

what they all have in common is none of these people have any idea of what actually makes a keyboard good. if they did - their entire industry would be dead.

so what makes a keyboard good ? two things:

1 - the key must have approximately 4 millimeters of travel and actuation point should be approximately 1.5 millimeters from the top. anywhere from 1.0 to 2.5 mm is good - it isn’t the actual number that matters but rather the actuation point should be roughly in the middle of the overall key travel range. all mechanical keyboards have that feature while all membrane keyboards actuate at the very end of the travel range and in fact a little bit past the end of the range, which is why they are shit.

2 - actuation mechanism must be instant, accurate and reliable. ( this is where 90% of mechanical keyboards struggle )

most keyboards including ones costing over $300 do NOT meet both of these criteria. the cheap membrane keyboards fail criteria 1 while the expensive mechanical ones fail criteria 2. however MY keyboards pass both tests and if you keep reading you will know how to be cool like me.

both laptop and basic $10 desktop keyboards are membrane keyboards which basically means the key has to be fully bottomed out to register a key press. this is what makes them trash because this forces an inherent compromise between comfort, tactile feedback and speed.

to be comfortable and fast a key has to actuate early and then offer generous over-travel to give your finger space to slow down. all mechanical keyboards have that feature and is the reason why mechanical keyboards are premium yet amazingly NOT A SINGLE TECH REVIEWER in any of the articles i have read over the DECADE of reading about keyboards was able to identify this reason for why mechanical keyboards are superior to membrane. YES THEY ARE THIS STUPID.

mechanical keyboard have their own problem though - namely debounce delay. essentially when a metal contact is hit in a mechanical keyboard it vibrates and the keyboard has to wait for vibration to end before registering key press or else it will register multiple key presses. as bad as that is for gaming that isn’t even the worst part. the worst part is overtime the contact may get looser and the vibration period may get longer and the keyboard will begin registering false double presses. this happened to my Logitech Keyboard that was their flagship unit at the time i got it and i was forced to throw it in the trash !

is there a solution to this ? actually there are THREE ! ! !

these are:

1 - optical-mechanical or optomechanical switches ( Razer, Asus )
2 - electro-capacitive or EC switches ( Topre, Niz, Varmilo )
3 - hall effect / lekker ( magnet based ) switches ( Wooting, Steelseries )

those three are the ONLY ones i even consider for my own keyboards !

i currently have two Optical keyboards and one Electro-Capacitive and i have previously had a Hall Effect keyboard ( Steel Series ) but that keeb had other issues ( wireless didn’t work etc. )

between these three the Optical tech strikes me as the one that makes the most sense for a basic keyboard in that it should make for a compact and accurate switch. most new high-end mice for example now use optical switches and i would not buy a mouse that used any other type of switch.

but Capacitive and Magnet based switches have an ace up their sleeve - they can be analog. That is to say they can measure key position ( depth ) rather than simply detect on or off states. Keyboards such as Steelseries or Realforce for example allow you to set your preferred actuation depth in software while the Wooting has even more advanced features such as Rapid Trigger which dynamically adjusts the actuation depth on every single keystroke to allow you to fire at maximum rate in games which is actually a competitive advantage so large that most Esports athletes are switching to the Wooting keyboard regardless of who is sponsoring them.

so on one keystroke the key may actuate at 1 millimeter deep while on the next at 3 millimeters and the next at 2 and so on - the keyboard will adjust it in real time to keep you firing at maximum rate and ensure you don’t miss a single key press by mis-judging the actuation depth - it will simply retroactively adjust the actuation depth to whatever your key press was - essentially recognizing you missed a key press and then pressing it for you to save your ass !

the Wooting keyboard is of course impossible to get. last time i checked the scalpers wanted $600 for it, which is several times the MSRP.

now Razer has figured out a way to make optical switches behave as analog but the analog range of adjustment of optical switches is limited as the optical tech really isn’t meant for analog operation.

on the other hand unless you have the right software like what the Wooting has and / or are going to actually adjust the activation depth manually on your RealForce or SteelSeries then you may as well get the more common Optical keyboard which is likely to be cheaper and just as fast and potentially better in other ways due to being from a bigger manufacturer and using a more compact switch that allows for better RGB LED placement for example.

one reason didn’t get the Topre RealForce RGB keyboard for example is because the EC ( Electrocapacitive ) switch design of Topre puts the RGB in an awkward spot where it doesn’t shine through the key cap very well.

on the other hand the most recent addition to my Keyboard collection that i’m actually going to keep and use places the RGB LED right in the center of the key which Asus is able to do with the optical switch and the benefit is brightly lit legends with little light spill to reflect off the TV screen …

if you don’t understand anything i written above feel free to ask.

i may also update the text later with some illustrations, thou you don’t really need to know how these things work. you only need to know the disadvantages of some of the commonly used keyboard types.

Keyboards i currently use and will continue using until further notice:

1 - Niz Plum TKL ( Electrocapacitive Topre Clone )
2 - Asus ROG Scope RX Wireless Deluxe TKL ( Optical )

Keyboards i would like to have but don’t due to sourcing issues and / or price:

1 - Topre RealForce ( Electrocapacitive )
2 - Wooting 60 HE ( the “HE” stands for “Hall Effect” so obviously these are Hall Effect switches )

again, you can google and read about how all these technologies work. no need for me to copy/paste that shit here. my focus was to explain what NOT A SINGLE ARTICLE has ever explained, namely that the main reason to use a “mechanical” keyboard is that the keys have “post travel” and don’t need to be bottomed out on every single key press. it was unbelievable to me that the most fundamental reason for using mechanical keyboards is the one that nobody is aware of, so i had to write about it.

essentially what happened is that mechanical keyboards have devolved into a fetish where people now obsess over the color and shape of interchangeable keycaps, the sound keyboards make, the tactile feel and so on and nobody remembers anymore why it all started in the first place …

the average keyboard enthusiast simply “knows” that mechanical keyboards are “better” than membrane keyboards but they do not know why ! well they don’t know but i know and now so do you.

the reason this is important is because there are cheap membrane keyboards that may sound and feel pretty good and expensive mechanical keyboards that may sound and feel bad and if sound and feel is all you have to go by you will be tempted to conclude that mechanical keyboards are not worth it …

however the difference between those two keyboards will be the depth at which the key is actuated that will be in the range of about 1.2 to 2.2 millimeters for a mechanical keyboard and all the way down at the bottom for the membrane keyboard. this means that it will be simply impossible to use the most efficient typing technique on the membrane keyboard in which you type so light and fast that you don’t bottom out the keys on every single key press.

since idiots aren’t aware of this however and most of them are coming from membrane keyboards they are probably still using the same technique of bottoming out every single key press at which point they are getting very little benefit from the mechanical keyboard except paying 10 times more to get something that is less reliable.

hopefully if you understood most of the above you won’t be one of those dummies going forward.

the above of course was just the very basics. from there you can consider things like keys that are damped on the downstroke, keys that are damped on both down and up stroke, stabilized keys, lubed keys, gasket mounted plates, case foam, led position, force curves etc …

there is potentially quite a bit to know about keyboards …

the problem is most keyboard enthusiasts jump into these more advanced subjects while skipping right over the basics i outlined in this thread …

don’t put the cart before the horse. understand the basics first.

i have to add that even though standard contact based mechanical switches are slow and unreliable compared to Optical, EC and HE switches this may not matter in some scenarios …

for example the latency that debounce delay introduces to contact based mechanial switches while a serious ( and frankly UNACCEPTABLE ) issue in gaming - it is of ZERO consequence for typing.

if you have to spend an hour typing a text and the debounce delay ads an extra 10 milliseconds to that hour - nobody gives a shit. on other hand if you’re 10 milliseconds slower than your opponents in a shooter game then why did you pay a high end price to get low-end performance ? because you didn’t read my article that’s why.

likewise even though contact based switches are unreliable ( the contact becomes looser overtime causing the “bounce” to become larger than “debounce” which starts to manifest itself as unintentional double presses ( this also happens in cheap mice that don’t use optical switches )) … this may not matter if your keyboard uses a hot swap PCB where you can easily replace old worn switches in seconds !

some hot-swap keyboards will include a few extra switches and for others you can typically order extra ones for a few bucks.

so while i would never use a contact based KB for gaming they can be OK for typing so long as you get a Hot-Swap PCB model where you can replace switches as they begin to fail.

finally even though the optical switch itself should last forever the RGB LED is likely to burn out after a few years. and likewise on a hot-swap PCB you will have the same problem as the RGB LED is not part of the switch and can’t be replaced.

so no keyboard will last forever but you should at least shoot for about 3 years of good performance for whatever your use case is ( gaming or typing or both ).

it can additionally be argued that keyboards for typing should have a tactile bump that lets you feel when you have activated the key while keyboards for gaming should have an activation point closer to the top of the stroke without any tactile bump this way you can register a key stroke as quickly as possible.

for these reasons:

Topre Realforce is considered the End-Game for typing

Wooting 60 HE is considered the End-Game keyboard for gaming

considering you need to buy the Wooting from scalpers for about $600 and order the latest version of Realforce from Japan for about $400 you’re looking at about $1,000 to cover all the bases.

needless to say i am a poor Jew and can’t afford that, however i still have one typing optimized keyboard ( NIZ ) and one gaming optimized keyboard ( ASUS ). except mine are $180 and $160 respectively and not $400 and $600 as the ones i actually wanted.

of course i have separate computers for typing and gaming …

if i only had one computer for both and had to get one do-it-all keyboard …

i would probably get Asus ROG Azoth:

it’s probably as close as you are going to get to a keyboard optimized for both typing and gaming and and $220 is actually shockingly cheap for what you’re getting. when it was first announced reviewers were expecting a higher price.

the Azoth is a great platform with the switches being the weak point IMO ( they aren’t damped ) but they are hot-swap replaceable if you decide they aren’t cutting it for you anymore and you want something quieter.

Asus ROG Azoth received universally excellent reviews and my own Asus ROG ( Scope ) keyboard also exceeded my expectations so i am inclined to believe those positive reviews of the Azoth …

unfortunately the Azoth only comes in 75% form factor. my preference is the TKL ( 80% ). but many people think 75% is ideal.

the Azoth is close to a perfect marriage of a custom typing keyboard ( hot swap PCB, gasket mount plate, case foam ) and a gaming keyboard ( full featured RGB, software support for various gaming features ) and as a bonus it comes from a big mainstream company that is known for quality and respected in both gaming and workstation environments.

for example my latest PC has a workstation class Asus motherboard ( best in the world ) and a gaming type Asus graphics card ( tied for 1st place for quality with Nvidia Founders Edition ).

so if there was going to be a company to merge the best of gaming and professional worlds in one product it makes sense that it would be Asus …