Is this linked because the switches reached $6 each?
I am not surprised. The mechanical keyboard community has a good contingent of people that have a lot of money and nothing to spend it on. People post their keyboard pictures to reddit with a Rolex Submariner or a $750 bottle of scotch in the background. I don't mean this as a criticism in any way, but there is very much that element to it. People pay $600 for a set of keyswitches to get a $600 set of keyswitches, not because of the incremental value over a $0.10 keyswitch.
So, I'm a bit of a cheapskate, so my soul wants to agree 100%.
But I also spend something in the neighborhood of half my waking life using a keyboard, so I could see choosing to spend money there even if you're happy with a $10 wristwatch. Assuming it really is that good, of course. I'd perhaps rather that than spend $1000 on a nice sofa when one of the $300 Ikea models will do.
You may not believe me, but Holy Panda switches feel amazing to type on, even among mechanical switches.
There certainly is the aspect of exclusivity and collection, but there's a reason it became so notoriously desirable in the first place, and that's the feel: zero wobble, and an unusual tactility profile.
I'll agree with that - I have a board that I built with Clear-minded Pandas (basically the same thing, but a Halo Clear stem instead of a Halo True), and it is so amazingly satisfying as a tactile board. Like you said - basically zero wobble, and an almost instant tactile bump that no other switch really has.
I use mechanical key switches and definitely do have other things I’d rather be spending the money on, but I find that they do substantially increase my typing comfort (I didn’t spend $600, but did spend over $300 on my keyboard) so do personally find they’re much better for me than $0.10 key switches.
Oh, I'm talking about mechanical keyswitches when I cite 10 cents. That is approximately what the Cherry clones run for in quantity. (They are about 30 cents at retail.)
You may cringe at "clone" but the reality is that after the MX patent expired, the Chinese manufacturers are making way better switches than Cherry ever did. Cherry got so bad that the competition forced them to retool; they would have been perfectly happy selling you scratchy switches from decades-old tools if it weren't for the innovation that is happening in China.
In my experience of Red and Brown switches, Gateron ones have always been more pleasant to use than Cherry ones. On my desk at home I have a Cherry MX Brown board (Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro L) that I am seriously considering taking apart in order to replace the switches because a cheap mech I got years ago with Gateron browns is probably the most plesant switch I have ever used.
Edit: Having said that - I admit my sample size is small and I did enjoy the two Cherry MX Blue boards I have used.
The Ergodox EZ has "hot-swappable" switches; you just pull them out and snap new ones in. So you can get the keyboard now and experiment with switches forever.
Edit to add: I have two EZs. I also ordered my first one with Kailh's copper speed switches and found them TERRIBLE. Speed switches are very hard to type on. (Imagine pressing Enter when you mean Backspace. It's stressful!) The hair-trigger on the switches combined with not knowing where backspace was on that keyboard made learning a very difficult experience. I now run Healios (linear) and Box Navy (clicky) on my Ergodoxen.
I would also recommend getting comfy with QMK before your keyboard arrives. Install the build tools, make a Github fork for your configuration, and make sure you can build images easily. You will want to tweak stuff extensively when you are just getting started, as the default layout is pretty garbage. (So are the online configuration tools.)
From the switches I have used it does appear that Gateron QC is more consistent than Outemu or Kailh - but I have handled 10 different mechs at most so the sample size certainly isn't large enough to draw any meaningful conclusions!
Really? I'm the opposite thought I'm not comparing apples-to-apples. I have both a Gateron Brown (one of those Kickstarter Keychron keyboards), and a regular mx-browns on an Drop Alt. The Keychron with Gateron's feel like I'm playing with Fischer Price toys. I'm not sure if it's the switches or plastic base vs aluminum, but I prefer my MX browns on my other keyboard Any thoughts on this? (I'd happily get a keychron with browns on an al base if I can expect the typing experience to be better.
Well I have a KC60 with Gateron Browns which I have used with both a plastic case and an alu one, and whilst this does change the typing experience quite a lot I do enjoy both. The feeling is consistently a nice, clean and snappy typing experience.
One thing which could contribute to why I don't enjoy the Cooler Master board is that the switches sit on a plastic plate which does cause the keypresses to feel a little mushy. That and the fact that the keypresses themself feel coarse, so the combination of the coarse feel of the brown switch and the flex in the plate ruin the experience. Perhaps if I had MX Browns in a different board I would feel differently but I must admit the experience has put me off, moreso considering the premium you often pay for Cherry. I would probably want to spend a week using any MX Brown mech in future before committing to a purchase (which I probably should have done before buying the CM mech, but it can be hard to find shops near me to experience a wide range of mechs).
I say all of this knowing that I could disassemble the MX Brown switches and lube them, as well as changing the springs. However the 1 Gateron Brown and two Gateron Red mechs have been really enjoyable to use 'out of the box'.
My point was more that I don’t see a problem with spending a lot of money on better tools, while yours seems to be that people are spending more as a status symbol, when substantially cheaper options exist of the same (or very similar) quality. So we weren’t really commenting in the same thing, sorry about that :)
There are so many dirt cheap (even the cheapest Gaterons are actually 20 cents) key switches that this is like saying "I find blue handled pens write better for me than green handled pens". Maybe it's true of the pens you tried, but there's little correlation.
I have everything from Topres to Zealios... my current daily is using switches that cost 30 cents.
The quality to price ratio in mechanical keyboards is completely and totally non-existent since other manufacturers came to the scene, and honestly we'd be seeing even better values if mechanical keyboard users weren't so hellbent on shoving money into things and assuming it makes them better.
I overheard someone saying they wish there was a more expensive version of a certain budget keyboard the other day.
When asked why, the person didn't really have a reason. They just wish it wasn't a budget keyboard so they could like it (read: show it off).
Yes, I see I misunderstood the comment a little bit. I completely agree. Sometimes people spend more money on things simply so they don’t feel cheap, even if the end experience is otherwise exactly the same.
> not because of the incremental value over a $0.10 keyswitch
Things like that never have "incremental" value - in my experience, it's almost always something along the logarithmic scale. Same with whisky: a limited Ardbeg release or a record-breaking Octomore is 2-3 times as expensive as a standard 10 year Laphroaig, but the difference in quality is much less than between latter and a typical cheap blend like Black Label.
I’d be a lot more interested in this wiki entry if there was a bloody force graph. Without that we have to rely on baloney like “a short rounded bump”. What is the definition of short? Rounded? Why is “bump” quoted in the article?
If you can’t provide a force graph, at least publish the total travel, the activation force and distance, the deactivation distance, and how far the tactile feedback is from both.
I thought I had replied earlier, but it appears it was eaten.
Thank you for posting those, that picture is worth a bunch of words.
That said, it doesn't seem like a mechanical switch I'd want to use. The lack of correlation between the tactile feedback and the activation point would drive me nuts. To me, the value of the tactile feedback is to indicate when the switch has been activated, so I can type without having to bottom out the switches.
There are in my opinion two sorts of tactile switches: the ones where the tactility exists so you can be reminded to not bottom out (like Cherry Brown), and ones where the tactility induces you to bottom out, like rubber domes (including topre) and Box Navy.
These have the heaviest point before the tactile 'collapse', so once you clear the bump it's mostly smooth sailing all the way to the bottom, but there's enough resistance to eat up most of the energy before impact.
Or skip all this Holy lubed Pandelioz nonsense and get a Steelseries Apex Pro. Astounding smoothness, Hall effect action (no contact), very close to the original TK Microswitch keyboards I used and loved back in the late 70’s at MIT. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_keyboard
Optical/Hall Effect switches generally require special PCBs some part of the sensing is often surface mounted to the pcb instead of integrated into the switch housing. There is a hall effect board coming out the mechanical keyboard community called the Keystone (https://kono.store/blogs/keyboards/the-future-of-keyboards)) but generally speaking such an undertaking is to big for the community in general. Requiring both full switch design (generally new switches from the community are simply tweaks to existing designs, maybe just a slight adjustment to the stem, spring, or leaf) or new layouts using existing switch footprints (generally speaking just the cherry mx footprint, but there are quite a few pcbs that will support cherry mx and old ALPs/Matias switches.
Switches do not activate at the bottom of the travel, they typically activate about halfway down. The force increases linearly to the bottom-out point. (For tactile switches like these, there is an additional spring that is unrelated to the bottom-out force, which makes the first half of the travel non-linear.)
The travel after the activation point is just to prevent your fingers from pushing the keys all the way to the bottom. Once you hit the bottom, infinite force yields a movement of 0mm, so it's "infinite grams". So you should look at these numbers as how much cushioning you need after you hit the activation point. With purely linear switches, you don't need a spring to "catch" you, so you can go lower. With tactile switches, the force abruptly goes to almost zero, so momentum will carry your fingers farther down the travel. The bottom-out spring is designed to dissipate that energy before you slam the slider into the bottom of the switch. (As a thought experiment, imagine a car suspension spring as a keyswitch that requires 1 nanometer of travel to activate. You would not tire yourself out typing on that, and you would never bottom out.)
I use 67gf bottom-out switches, "Healios", and they are very middle-of-the road in my opinion. I have used lighter switches, I have used heavier switches. I do not bottom out on them, but they do feel about as light as I'm willing to go. (I use Box Navy as my daily driver, which are quite a bit heavier in terms of activation force. Also louder!)
It’s more realistic to interpret a test graph than to look at the PAF #. E.g.: Traditional Cherry switches will increase resistance during the press while HPandas [and many others] dip quickly and settle back into the initial resistance.
It’s hard to describe what that feels like in practice, even still.
Another good tip is to always request google.com as a desktop website in mobile safari. If you don't, you get mobile google, which forces you to go to the AMP reddit, which then pops up multiple banners every page load asking you to install mobile reddit so Reddit can track you. Entirely unusable and endlessly frustrating.
I think I'm an oddball who uses google.com to browse reddit, but I prefer to to the apps.
Although the old design isn't exactly perfect either - as soon as the browser window is a bit too narrow the site basically breaks completely, from not properly displaying posted pictures or videos anymore, up to making text smaller when zooming in or moving the whole site content sideways out of the frame if you type a long comment without linebreaks.
Anybody can recommend a decent unconspicuous full mechanical keyboard that does give the feedback but doesn’t bother everyone around? I’ve seen plenty of gamming kbs that I wouldn’t use in an office, I’d like to find one that looks just like a regular keyboard.. Don’t care if it’s wired or not
Check out the drop alt or Ctrl. They make a non rgb version or u can just turn off the LEDs. It allows you to hot swap switches. Trust me you will want to try out a bunch until you find the perfect option!
I have no idea, I'll check them out. The problem is that I am not sure how noisy these are, I'm sure the feedback is good enough. Btw, I don't care if a keyboard is fully mechanical as long as it has a nice feel to it. Leopold looks nice too.
They're pretty quiet on their own, but also have further silenced variants (often called type-s or some such). Also look for Topre Realforce or HHKB Pro 2. The latter is what I generally recommend to folks that want to get a good board without having to wait around for the typical group buy periods. The small form factor takes getting used to, but I love it. There's a newer model called HHKB Pro Hybrid that has both wired and bluetooth, but iirc it's a bit hard to find right now.
They are very different, but as someone who has been a die-hard buckling spring user since childhood, I found I actually really like them.
I wen to a Mechanical Keyboard meetup (for the first time) last year. I brought my model Ms for people to try out. Someone there had brought his boards and had one of them for sale. Without knowing what it was, I typed on his board he was selling and instantly liked it. He was only asking $200 so I bought it. He was telling me it was using Holy Panda switches, but I had no idea what that meant. I just liked how it felt.
It has a very strong tactile bump, right at the top of the travel.