Mechanical or Membrane? Which keyboard for a professional gaming experience?
*update november 2019*
Gaming Online. Almost 10 years ago exclusive territory of nerd generation, ( which I am proud to be part!), but today times have changed.
Today there is more and more talk of E-Sports, the online gaming experience it’s so competitive as to be considered a real Sport, so much so official sources, such as ESPN, have recently announced the possibility to include E-sports games in the next 2020 Olympics!
So Gaming Online evolves in the same way as keyboards and mice, once basic peripherals, they now adapt and differ according to gaming needs: Fps, Moba, Mmorpg, etc.. Today I will try to explain the difference between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard and if it is really worth spending a little bit more for the first.
These are the classic keyboards, the most used ones, looking at the picture below, taken from Wikipedia, you understand that we speak of membrane because the keyboard inside is composed of several layers. The individual keys are therefore part of a whole stratified membrane.
The middle layer is the one containing holes, once pressed, they activate the electrical impulse generating the writing.
Classic membrane keyboards have advantages and disadvantages. The quality of contruction materials, which are inexpensive, makes them cheaper compared to the mechanical ones. The membrane makes the typing silent, but at the same time the tactile sensation is reduced, usually this leads to a “slower typing/writing” because you need to fully push the keys .
It stands for professional gaming. In the mechanical keyboards, each single key closes directly the circuit.
This means more precision, smoother typing (and even more noise!). The switches that activate the mechanism are usually of two types: low quality like the Outemu Blue color, in photo, and Cherry MX (top tier). The switches can be easily removed, which means easy maintenance and cleaning when it comes to mechanical keyboards.
Common features while looking for gaming pro keyboard
If you need to buy a new gaming keyboard, mechanical or membrane, there are some common features that are synonymous of good quality.
- Anti-ghosting feature: It allows to press a lot of keys at the same time, the limit in normal keyboards is 2 or 3, here you can reach 104!
- Macro functions: the ability to store a key combination in a single key or configure multiple game profiles: e.g. for a shooter (Overwatch) or mmo (World of Warcraft)
- Backlighting effect: In the best keyboards there are many ways to configure the lighting of the keys, such as letting the key you press illuminate for just a few seconds.
Switch Cherry MX and imitations
Mechanical keyboard means switch. The better the switches, the higher the price and quality of a mechanical keyboard. There are basically two types of mechanical switches, low quality like outemu (cheapest ones) or competitive top tiers switches a.k.a. Cherry MX.
Cherry MX are the most famous switches that identify the highest quality mechanical keyboards, all the other types of switches are actually nothing more than imitations that you will find in cheap entry level products, usually around 25-60 euros. So here is a summary of the best Cherry MX mechanical keyboard switches!
Cherry MX Black
They’re the heaviest. of the category, 60g, the noise of the click does not match the activation of the key that happens before, that is to say to half press, while the noise will be heard only pressing up to the end of the key. They are the best for those who love games like Overwatch, Battlefield, or others FPS because ” they don’t distract” too much this type of players that uses so much WASD keys to move.
Cherry MX Red
They are perhaps the best known and most widespread on the market. Weighing only 45 grams, they represent the evolution of the Black Cherry Mx. In fact, on these keyboards too there is no correspondence between sound and activation; keybinds are very light to press, flowing to the bottom in a linear manner. They are the top of the range for those looking for a mechanical gaming keyboard that is not too noisy.
Cherry MX Blue
They are the loudest in their category and the most loved by people who love to write. In fact, a large number of gamers prefer them to others. This is because of the sound scrub they give back. In my case, for example, since I play mainly World of Warcraft and Dota, I prefer to hear a well-marked click at each action I trigger with a single button.
Cherry MX Brown
Let’s conclude the list of the best mechanical keyboard switches with a hybrid version: with a weight of 45 grams and a well-marked but not excessive click, they adapt a little to all needs. In fact, just a half pressure is enough to activate the click without reaching the bottom. This allows you to type quickly and improve your responsiveness at the same time.
Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboards
The main feature of a mechanical gaming keyboard is its noise level. If for various reasons (children, girlfriend unable to sleep ,relax, watching movies because of your super mechanical typing during your gaming session!) you’re wondering if there are quieter mechanical keyboards on the market nowadays, the good news is that some gaming keyboards belonging to the top brand have developed silent mechanical keyboards.
Thanks to the use of special switches such as Cherry MX Red Silent the noisy typing is muffled a lot while maintaining the wonderful tactile feeling of a mechanical keyboard. Here are two of the best silent mechanical keyboards on the market
The switches described above identify the best types of mechanical keyboards for gaming or writing on the market. It’s not possible to say which color is the best in absolute because everything depends on the style of typing that you prefer, but cherry mx for sure, represent the best kind of gaming switches in the market.
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