What is a mechanical keyboard?
Keyboards that comes bundled when you buy a computer are usually membrane keyboards. Because of the plastic or rubber membrane design, membrane keyboards are generally inexpensive. You can buy one at $10. But, they provide a relatively poor typing experience and feeling.
You have to press a completely towards its bottom, known as bottoming out. This causes finger pains or fatigue, or worse repetitive strain injury (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndromes. It's harder to type when there are no tactile feedback too. Some TV Remotes, or buttons on your microwave ovens use the same membrane technique. They give feedback by beeps, or lights.
On the other hand, a mechanical keyboard has 'real' switches under each key. This recreates the feeling of typing on a typewriter, or the vintage keyboards like IBM Model M or Apple Extended Keyboard.
Depending on the type of switches, you can receive a crisp response from your finger, or even hear the 'click' sound feedback with your ear. With these feedbacks you can know you have pressed / activated a key on the half way without bottoming out. This's like using the camera half-press buttons, when you are doing focusing.
What are the benefits of using a mechanical keyboard?
- Get work done faster
- Reduce finger, hand, or wrist pains
- Clean and fix easily
- Worry less with high durability and quality
- Get supports from a growing community
For details, see the post Benefits of Using a Mechanical Keyboard
What are the disadvantages of a mechanical keyboard?
- Higher cost
For details, see the post Disadvantages of Using a Mechanical Keyboard
Why are the mechanical keyboard so expensive?
This is mainly due to the key switches.
For membrane keyboards, they are targeted for low manufacturing costs. For mechanical keyboards, they are aimed for durability and quality.
Despite the high price, mechanical keyboards have a better price-performance ratio, or a quality -price ratio (as used in the wine community).
As the mechanial keyboard community grows, there are actually more mechanical keyboards that target the general users these days.
Who should use a mechanical keyboard?
- Gamers who want faster double taps and typing speed, n-key rollovers, illuminated keys, extra keys, programmable keys
- Programmers, office workers, authors who want to type faster
- Anyone who love spending money on durable goods
- Anyone who spend more than an hour typing per day who wants to reduce pains or RSI