23/04/2014

Mechanical keyboard

Picture: Cooler Master
Everyday, I use a computer. A laptop at work or a PC at home. Being a lifehacker, I'm always looking for better solutions. For example, I like and use the Colemak keyboard layout.

Today, I'll present you my new piece of hardware: I bought a Cooler Master Quickfire XT mechanical keyboard.

For some time, I was looking for a better typing experience. Using my computers intensively, that would make sense. As a kid, I learned touch typing. I'm my parents still grateful for that! Unfortunately, I was taught QWERTY in stead of Colemak so I had to switch later.

First of all, I went looking for an ergonomic keyboard. There are many types of them: curved ones, split ones and ones with alternative key layouts. Altough the manufacturers and their resellers praised their products, I didn't find convincing evidence they were worth their money. I even found some articles stating the opposite. I'm glad for anybody who likes these devices but I won't buy one.

So I did some more research. After reading some articles about mechanical keyboards on Lifehacker.com, I became interested in this category. Like many others, I started computing with a mechanical IBM keyboard. Later on, I got used to to membrames which are most common nowadays.

Most inexpensive keyboards utilize a flexible membrane layer beneath it's buttons. Users have to press the keys entirely to type. Mechanical keyboards however, use a switch underneath every button. They provide tactile feedback and a clicking sound. They're also durable.

There are many types of switches available. Each of them with their own characteristics and purpose (gaming, fast typing, etc.). I choose Cherry MX Blue switches as these are recommended for typing.

After reading some reviews, I decided to buy a Cooler Master QuickFire XT. Why? Because it was the cheapest available. Mechanical keyboards are rather expensive. I'd liked to buy one with eighty something keys as I use with my laptop but the full size model was less expensive.

The Cooler Master is about two months on my desk now and I love it! The keyboard is rather heavy and looks solid. The kit comes with some additional keys and a little tool to remove keys. Directly, I removed the Windows keys and replaced them with CM logo keys. It worked directly on my Debian powered PC. The typing experience is good: I like the feedback of the keys.

Is such an expensive keyboard necessary? In my opinion not. Yes, it seems durable and yes, it provides comfort which is nice if you spent many hours using it. But for much less you may buy a decent, proper functioning keyboard as well.

Do you use a mechanical keyboard?

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