Switch Types Guide to Choose an Ideal Keyboard
With this guide, we want to help you find the best type of switch for the use you want to use your keyboard, for this, we will talk a little about the available types and some recommendations on how to choose the one that best suits your needs.
There is a wide variety of keyboards of all kinds, but their main difference is the type of switch, according to this we can choose the type of keyboard according to our needs, to write, play, office automation, multimedia, etc. This is why we must base our choice on the type of switch needed and then choose the model, with more or fewer extras.
Basically, we can differentiate between 6 types of Switches :
- Capacitive Hybrids
- Rubber dome or membrane
- Hybrids Mechanical and Membrane
- Opto-Mechanical or Optical
- Differences between the different Types of Mechanisms
- There are essential differences between the different types of switches, for example, those of the membrane type are much quieter than any type that mixes mechanics, in addition to the capacitive one, since it does not have any type of mechanism, it is the quietest of all.
- The mechanics give a robust appearance to the keyboard and generally need more force to press the keys, within the mechanics, some mix this mechanism with others. The mechanical and membrane hybrids differ in the type of actuation of the key, being membrane the pulsation is much softer. However, in capacitive or optical hybrids, the response time is much lower, so they offer faster response times.
- Each one has its advantages, by mixing two types of switches, for example, mechanical and membrane, we try to get the best of both switches, in some cases providing advantages and also a significant price reduction, as would be the case in this case.
- In this keyboard there is no physical or mechanical keystroke, we can simply touch the area marked for this key, and the contact with our finger will press on a capacitor, varying its capacitance and will send an electrical signal indicating that this key has been pressed . . A more common type of use for this keyboard can be in electronics, working with Arduino or raspberry pi systems.
This type of switch, used by the Cooler Master in the NovaTouch TKL, mixes mechanical switches with the response speed of capacitive keyboards. We are facing a keyboard with a very low response time, highly interesting for FPS or Shooter players.
Its touch-type keys offer resistance of 45 g to the keystrokes and a total travel distance of 4.0 mm, it does not look like a Gaming keyboard, but according to the features it offers, we do not doubt that it is a good choice for this purpose.
Rubber Dome or Membrane
This type is the most widespread in terms of PC keyboards, we can find many variants, lately, keyboards with a mechanical switch type are gaining ground, either for entertainment or for long writing sessions.
Membrane keyboards are very widespread and we can find them at a very good price, although we also have more expensive models that incorporate extra features, such as the possibility of using the same keyboard in several operating systems.
There are many models, shapes, and colors. These keyboards can be with individual rubber membranes for each key, the so-called rubber dome, or a large piece of rubber for the entire keyboard, more commonly called “membrane keyboards”.
The operation of these is very simple, when we press a key, it pushes the upper membrane to the lower one, when they are touched, contact is made and creates electrical conduction. This will indicate that this key has been pressed.
These keyboards are easy to clean and maintain, as the membrane acts as a protector against dust and humidity. In terms of duration, we can use them up to approximately 5,000,000 keystrokes, some models can even double this figure, which ensures a good useful life. This keyboard is a good economic option for office automation work, or we can choose a good membrane keyboard with specific characteristics and higher quality at a higher price. If you want to write silently and play sporadically, this is your keyboard.
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Keyboards with mechanical switches have become popular in recent years among Gamers since they meet the requirements demanded by the most skilled players of all types of games. Already by the 90s, mechanical keyboards were present in personal computers, robust, strong, and heavy keyboards, creamy gray, and with an appearance and resistance that made them unbreakable. They have changed a lot until they evolved into what we know today as a mechanical keyboards, in most cases, aimed at demanding players.
The switches are easy to differentiate, we only have to lift the cover of the key, in some cases the keyboard includes this tool, and we will be able to see the characteristic color of the switch, and the mark printed on it.
We will start by classifying the main mechanical switch brands that we can find on the market, without a doubt the most recognized is the German Cherry and its Cherry MX switches. There are many variants of the cherry brand, without a doubt a benchmark in terms of mechanical switches.
We can easily tell them apart because when you remove the key cover, you can see the corresponding color switch and brand printed on the mechanism.
CHERRY MX ORIGINAL
Within this range, we have the most popular keyboard switches that have been used for a long time, specifically since 1983 they have been manufacturing MX switches. In each ORIGINAL MX switch we find two variants, the normal switch and the RGB one, they differ because the mechanism of this one is transparent, compared to the black color of the one that does not have RGB lights. We will see each model in detail.
CHERRY MX RED
A fast and effortless switch, chosen by many gamers and present in many of the well-known brands of mechanical keyboards aimed at Gamers, for example, the Corsair K63 Wireless or the Aorus K7 analyzed by us.
The MX Red have a linear commutation, with a total travel distance of 4.0 mm, although 2.0 mm is enough to start operating, for this we must exert 45 g of force, which makes them light switches to press, with a distance of actuation at half of the total travel, where the click is not audible, within what are the mechanical switches since these are noisier than a membrane keyboard.
HERRY MX BLACK
It is a sensitive and precise switch with linear switching, less popular than the previous one, but present in keyboards such as the Mionix Zibal 60, it has a higher actuation force than the MX Red, we must exert 60 g to make it work, although the total travel distance and actuation point are the same, 4.0mm and 2.0mm respectively, as above, the click is not audible on this switch.
CHERRY MX BROWN
This variety has an effortless and silent click, although not as much as we would like, unlike the previous ones, the tactile switching of this switch makes it versatile both for long typing sessions and for occasional gameplay, since we have the same total travel of 4.0 mm and actuation travel of 2.0 mm, the difference is in the force to be exerted which is 55 g. Present in keyboards like the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM makes them a highly demanded switch for people who are going to give their keyboard a mixed-use.
CHERRY MX BLUE
This is perhaps the noisiest switch in the range, with a precise and audible click, it is the one with the most actuation travel, 2.2 mm, with a total journey of 4.0 mm and a necessary force of 60 g, the MX Blue are the ones that We must hit harder to be able to activate them, which is why they are not very present in the gaming keyboards that are so fashionable.
CHERRY MX SILENT RED
As its name suggests, it makes the famous MX Red quieter, we are facing a soft switch, which has been achieved by slightly modifying its total travel to 3.7 mm and slightly lower actuation travel to 1.9 mm, having to exert the same 45 g of force, which together with a non-audible click make it quieter.
CHERRY MX SILENT BLACK
This one, like the Silent Red, has reduced its actuation and total distances to 1.9mm and 3.7mm respectively, what we do have is an actuation force of 60g, like the original MX Black, so we’ll have to hit a slightly stronger this switch, but less than the MX Black.
CHERRY MX SPEED SILVER
Here we have a very fast switch where the total travel and actuation distances have been greatly reduced to 1.2mm actuation travel and 3.4mm total travel, so it’s much easier to hit a key and quickly get to the end of your switch. travel, also with only 45 g of force exerted, it will not be difficult to accidentally press a key when we are writing a long text, that is, in games where speed of movement is required, shooting, weapon changes, etc., it will be wonderful to have this speed of action on the keys.