Let’s face it – the way we communicate with the computer has since evolved so much nowadays that we are no longer limited to just keyboard or single-button mouse. Input devices or methods span across touch screens, motion sensors and even facial recognition to unlock our phones. But don’t worry, this post isn’t Computer 101 about hardware, this post is simply about keyboards.
I must admit, keyboard is still the only input device where I can always feel the satisfaction of conveying what I want to say onto the computer screen. No, I’m not talking about touchscreen keyboard on your smartphone but a real tactile, button-ful keyboard.
Nothing beats a generic keyboard. Just ask yourself this, when was the last time you type flawlessly on a touchscreen keyboard? Autocomplete or swiftkey is a supplementary to its flaw, not a complementary.
In my line of work as a programmer that deals with the text editor, the keyboard plays a major role in churning out thousands and thousands of lines of code. So having a good keyboard is vital to my performance and a great keyboard can saves me a lot of time.
Why time? That’s because typo. Typos are irritating. You may say that fixing a typo only takes a few seconds, but did you know that on average we spent hours per year fixing our own typo? Not to mention that typo kills the train of thoughts too.
The reason why I used the word ‘satisfaction’ previously to describe my typing experience is because typing can become an ecstasy when you are typing long sentences or paragraphs in one go with your train of thoughts are not being blocked or annoyed by typos. The click-clack sound the keyboard makes can become white noise for diving into your subconscious.
The keyboard that I am using currently is a mechanical keyboard and I recommend that you get one if typing is your business. Note that commercial keyboards all come with dome-switch while mechanical keyboards come with mechanical switch. I won’t go into the technical details but here is a short summary of why you should get a mechanical keyboard:
Actuation is the amount of force that you have to exert on the button for a key to register as typed. The problem with commercial keyboard is that each different buttons have different actuation. Imagine putting different strain on your fingers after a long day of typing. That will be very tiring. Now for mechanical keyboard, the switches are consistent across the board. After using mechanical for awhile, you will be able to feel the difference with dome-switch keyboard requiring more stress trust me.
Faith & Durability
Do you trust your keyboard? I am assuming that you readers out there type by looking at the screen instead of the keyboard. So, when you press that long ‘Shift’ key, the spacebar, backspace, or even the ‘Enter’ key do you trust it to register? If your keys sometime got stuck halfway when you’re hitting it, that means it’s time to change the keyboard. Dome-switch has an expected lifespan of 5-10 million hits while mechanical switches have a life expectancy of 50 million hits. We’re talking per key here. So if you are doing frequent typing on a commercial keyboards, you need to change one after one or two years. Investing in a mechanical keyboard isn’t that bad now isn’t it?
Key Rollover (NKRO)
This advantage is more to gamers. With key rollover feature, you will be able to press just about as many keys as you want on your keyboard and they will all register as once as compared to commercial keyboards where they only allow two to three keys at a time.
This could be a disadvantage for some people but for me, the sound that mechanical keys make is zen. It makes typing much more fun and it helps with the faith point that I mentioned – my ears act as a way to tell if a key has been typed or not. Also it’s one of the reason why purist typists are still using those ancient typewriter with a ding!
However, the sound might be annoying for people near you, but fret not as there are a lot of different mechanical switches out there, some are more quiet. So choose your flavour wisely. Note that you can even mod some dampeners to reduce the sound but I’ll leave that for you to discover yourself.
So that’s about wrap it up, tell me, are you considering a mechanical keyboard now? If you are already hooked onto one, how is your experience so far? I’d love to know. 🙂
(Top photo credit: Zen Garden)