WHAT I THINK ABOUT MECHANICAL KEYBOARDS
The main question that comes up around the topic of mechanical keyboards is 'Why?' 'Why spend a tonne of money on a keyboard, when a cheap $10 one does the same thing?'. And this is absolutely true. We can't deny that it does what it's supposed to do. But there's more to it.
For many of us a keyboard is an essential tool we use everyday, whether it be at home or at work; or both. So why not get something that may potentially better your experience?
The cool thing about mechanical keyboards is the variety, and the ability to be able to pick out a keyboard that suites your needs. Variety in how a key press feels, layout, programmability, aesthetic, materials and so on, is very limited with the membrane keyboards we see in normal electronic stores.
Don't need a number pad? Just get rid of it with a tenkeyless. Need dedicated macros? Macro away. Want better ergonomics? Get a split or ergonomic keyboard. You like the colour blue? Find a blue themed keyboard. It's all there. But the main aspect of mechanical keyboards is how it feels to type. This isn't something you can really control with membrane keyboards, since they're just collapsing domes. But with mechanical switches, you can get a range of weights. You can go with a clicky, tactile, or a smooth linear switch. Getting something that feels good to you, and serves your needs can potentially impact on your efficiency, performance, and just straight up enjoyment.
But the deeper you go, the more expensive it gets, and the more it starts not to make sense to the outside world. But this is when it starts to get more fun. And this is what's usually shown to the outside - all these mad decked out boards; showing the expensive end.
But that's one of the underlying misconceptions of mechanical keyboards. Not all mechanical keyboards need to rip your wallet apart, and this is one aspect I'm quite passionate about. Objectively mechanical keyboards cost a lot of money, especially to those who live in certain areas in the world. But there are many keyboards coming out of China that can be affordable; at say $30 USD and upwards. While the quality and tolerances will not be as good, these will still deliver the mechanical experience - and that's the important part.
I've been thanked by many people for covering these lesser known and cheaper keyboards, since most of the mainstream outlets concentrate on Razer, Steelseries, Logitech, Corsair etc - which are indeed expensive. There's nothing wrong with the cheaper boards, in fact I love them. Because they represent the resurgence of mechanical keyboards, by recognising that they are actually a thing, and making them widely available for everyone.
So if you see someone with a cheaper board, congratulate them - don't hate. If you have one, bring it to a mechanical keyboard meetup. We're all part of the club.
So in the end, it's an important tool that we use everyday for extended periods of time. It can boost our productivity, or make for a more enjoyable gaming experience. You could go for a cheap one, or indulge yourself and find yourself digging a deep continuous hole in that is the hobby of mechanical keyboards.
Are they worth it? Absolutely!
- except for some of the Razer and Corsair ones (there's better value out there) - still okay though, don't discriminate! :)
Photos courtesy of @spoicedandy