If you are into gaming, you would perhaps have heard about a Mechanical Keyboard. Just around half a decade ago, we were never aware of what a mechanical keyboard was all about and what benefits does a mechanical keyboard offer you. Fast forward to the current time, and we have a huge number of mechanical keyboards vying for your attention.
With a huge number of options and technologies developed, the concept of mechanical keyboards has now moved beyond the traditional options and that is exactly why you would need to have a complete guide on mechanical keyboards. This can be helpful in understanding the underlying technologies and achieve the best choice for your keyboards.
The complete mechanical keyboard guide here should help you understand the keyboards in a better manner.
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
Before we can move ahead, it is I portant to understand what is a Mechanical Keyboard.
To put it simply, a Mechancial keyboard is a keyboard that uses mechanical switches for each of its keys. In sharp contrast to the rubber dome switches used in the traditional membrane keyboards, the mechanical keyboards make use of the mechanical key switches. The use of conductive materials in their switches is what provides you a great feel and experience when working with a mechanical keyboard.
The huge advantage that you stand to gain with a mechanical keyboard is that they offer you the kind of tactility that you may not be able to get with the rubber dom switches on a membrane keyboard. Even when the mechanical keyboards have been around the 1980s, they have been going through a period of renaissance over the past decade. Since the advent and growth of PC gaming, the mechanical keyboards have become one of the prominent options ever.
The components of a Mechanical Keyboard
Having found what a mechancial keyboard is all about, it should be practical to check out the different components of a mechanical keyboard. Let us explore each of the components of a mechanical keyboard in a finer detail.
The main parts of a mechanical keyboard can include
- Swtiches and switch types
- Keyboard layouts
The key switches
The key switch refers to the compontenjust below the keycap. In fact, the single factor or component that differentiates the normal keyboard from a mechanical keyboard is the key switch and its construction. You would find a wide range of mechanical key switches that used on a mechanical keyboard. The different key switches are differentiated by the shape, travel distance and the sound produced by them.
The primary key switches belong to three specific categories viz Linear , Tactile and Clicky switches. The parts of the key switches would be identical between all those types, but the working of each of those types would be slightly different.
Components of a switch
The individual components of a switch can be summed up as here below –
The top and bottom housing
The top and bottom housing of the switch provide the stability to the key switch. They hold the other components of the switch in place.
The stem is what provides the mechanical key switch its actual genre. A switch assumes the role of a linear, tactile and clicky functionality based on the stem on the switch.
The leaf is a set of two metals pieces inside the switch. The two leaves are separate when the key is not pressed. When you press a key, the leaves touch each other and actuate the circuit on the circuit board.
The spring is the component that decides the resistance and the actuation force needed to actuate the key.
The Keyboard Layouts
The mechanical keyboard are generally made in two different layouts – ANSI and ISO. The two layouts come with an inherent difference between the two. There may be a few other layouts such as JIS, but the ISO and ANSI layouts have been used as the prime layouts on mechanical keyboards.
The ANSI layout was introduced by IBM on their personal computers. It went on to become the standard layout in the US. Almost all the keyboards in the US follow the ANSI layout.
The ISO layout is quite popular in the European region. The difference lies in the way a few specific keys are arranged on the keyboard. A few keys would be enter key, left shift key, backspace, right alt key, compatibility of keycaps, and the number of keys.
The keycaps are the plastic caps that cover the keys on the keyboard. They are available in various sizes, shapes, colors, and plastic and even the legend on them. The best part with the keycaps is that the keycaps can be easily swapped for the relevant keycaps of the same brand or construction.
The keycaps are constructed with different types of materials. The two primary materials used in the manufacturing of the keycaps include ABS and PBT. ABS is one of the largely used keycap materials and primarily used in the case of the double shot keys. It is the softer material and may give in faster. One of the major issues with the ABS keycaps is that they can get shiny over time.
The PBT keycaps do not get shiny. The textured surface that you stand to gain with the PBT keycaps can be what would make them one of the sturdy options.
The Different Types of a Mechanical Keyboard
Ther are several sizes of the keyboards that you would find quite impressive option so that you can pick the keyboards as per your own preferences. You can choose the mechanical keyboard designs as per your own working standard.
- The Full sized keyboard that offers you a complete layout that includes the alphabets and function keys, number pad, and arrow cluster.
- TenKeyLess keyboards, also known as TKL. They are the normal keyboards without the number pad. The TKL keyboard layout is one of the preferred options for the best gaming keyboard layout.
- 75% keyboard – This comes with a distinctive function row.
- 65% keyboard – This keyboard comes with at least one arrow cluster.
- 60% keybaord – The 60 keyboard layout keyboard follows a normal keyboard design minus a dedicated arrow key cluster, home/end/page up and page down or function keys
Those apart, you would also find a few other keyboard sizes such 40% and miniature keyboard sizes. But they are quite rare and may nit have a universal application when it comes to the gaming keyboard layout.
Before we conclude…
The mechanical keyboards are quite expensive, and that is exactly why most of the users do not pay enough attention to these options. However, there are several benefits and advantages that you stand to gain with the mechanical keyboards. When you are looking to buy a mechanical keyboard, it is always essential to have a proper understanding of what to look forward to on a mechanical keyboard.
The complete mechanical keyboard guide outlined above should be helpful for you in understanding the mechanical keyboards and their capability in a better manner. That way, you would be able to take the right call in deciding on which keyboards would you want to go with.