A case for better keyboards

PC enthusiasts have a tendency to focus their attention on what’s inside the box. Indeed, we’re guilty of that here at TR. Most of our time is spent reviewing core internal components, which are easy to evaluate objectively—and with pretty graphs. These components contain the most exciting new technologies, and they largely define the capabilities of our PCs. In some ways, however, they’re also very far removed from the computing experience.

The high-tech Tinkertoy set that makes up the modern PC is typically hidden away inside an enclosure that sits under our desks. You might have a case window or easily accessible internals, but how much time do you really spend poking around in there or peering through the plexiglass? I’ll give you a hint: not nearly as much time as you spend pecking away at your keyboard. But you probably didn’t drop nearly as much on your keyboard as you did on your last graphics card, processor, motherboard, or hard drive. Why not?

For whatever reason, a sizable segment of the enthusiast population seems to place precious little value on physical interfaces. I’m amazed at the vague, lifeless keyboards I’ve seen attached to otherwise high-end systems worth thousands of dollars. I get that the cheap stuff works, but so do Celerons and $50 graphics cards. You won’t find many enthusiasts running those.

It pains me to admit that I have been guilty of skimping myself. For years, I pecked away at a Microsoft Comfort Curve keyboard with mushy rubber-dome switches. The keyboard’s wider stance and slightly larger keys were a good fit for my sausage fingers, and my forceful typing style never fell short of bottoming out the squishy keys. Then, a few months ago, I picked up an wireless Enermax Aurora keyboard for my home-theater PC. Scott reviewed the full-sized version a couple of years ago, and the chopped-down, couch-friendly model uses the same scissor switch mechanism for its keys. The more I used those keys, the more I became dissatisfied with the rubbery, imprecise response of the Comfort Curve in my office. It would have to go.

After a little Googling, I settled on a Das Keyboard—specifically, the Model S Professional Silent. The Das uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which have a tactile "bump" just before an actuation point halfway through their 4 mm travel. With a $123 street price, this particular unit is pricey for a mechanical keyboard but also cheaper than most of the individual components inside my PC. Since I’m apparently managing to make a living banging out words on a keyboard, I rang up the business expense and popped down to NCIX to pick it up.

At first, I was rather unimpressed. The keyboard’s glossy top panel is made from the sort of awful, smudge-prone glossy black plastic that should be banned from anything within reach of greasy fingertips. After years on the Comfort Curve, the Das’ standard layout felt a little cramped, too. The comparatively small key caps didn’t make adjusting any easier. Then there’s the Silent moniker, which is laughable at best. Each keystroke generates a clearly audible cha-chunk.

But man, what a cha-chunk.

This isn’t an annoying or rattling clickety-clack. My keystrokes ring with a throaty, mechanical thunk that’s nearly as satisfying as the perfectly balanced key action—which, I might add, is delightfully consistent across every single key on the board. The simple act of typing feels good. That might seem like an odd thing to say, but I caught myself smiling during some otherwise mundane Excel data entry the other night because I was enjoying the simple act of punching digits into the numpad. The sensation is even better when I’m writing at speed, which makes the keyboard purr with a staccato of keystrokes. Despite the din, there’s a softness to the acoustic profile that keeps the additional noise from being distracting.

Key switches may be relatively boring in the realm of modern hardware, but they’re a fundamental connection point with our PCs, and one that’s all too often an afterthought. The average enthusiast probably logs thousands, if not tens of thousands, of keystrokes in a given day. If you sit at a keyboard for a living, like so many of us do working both within and outside the tech industry, odds are your keystroke count is even higher. Yet I see so many scoffing at the notion of dropping a Benjamin or more on a mechanical keyboard. Do the math. The cost per keystroke is minuscule, especially when one considers Cherry’s reputation for durability. Remember, too, that peripherals tend to be in their prime for much longer than the components that live inside our our PCs. A solid keyboard with good switches isn’t likely to become obsolete anytime soon.

While the Cherry MX Browns work for me, they’re far from the only option. Mechanical switches are available with a range of characteristics, including bump-less linear travel for gaming, different actuation forces for a lighter or heavier touch, and clicky feedback if you want to drown out the nagging of your significant other. If none of the mechanical options feel right under your fingertips, quality scissor-switch mechanisms can be found in keyboards like Enermax’s hard-to-find original Aurora, its tragically glossy Acrylux successor, and Apple’s chiclet-on-aluminum design for desktops.

Live with good key switches for a little while, and I’d wager you’ll kick yourself for not upgrading sooner. So, the next time you price out a new CPU, graphics card, motherboard, or SSD, ask yourself whether you’ve spent enough on your keyboard lately. There’s a lot of room for meaningful upgrades outside the box.

Comments closed
    • Mumrik
    • 8 years ago

    Basic ergonomics will continue to be more important than button quality for me. I really need a curve or bend in the keyboard to be able to keep my wrists in a relatively neutral position. Nice button action doesn’t help me much if my wrists hurt from being forced into a position that is better suited for a small child.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 8 years ago

    I think the rubber dome/’mechanical’ distinction is a silly one, anyone whose tried a really good rubber dome keyboard generally agrees it’s just as good as one with plastic switches. The trouble if they’re more difficult to get hold of though, as most of the current ones have no travel after the bump (which feels pretty awful), the only new ones I know of are the Torpe Realforces and the HHKB Professional, both of which are very expensive.

    If there’s any prospective keyboard makers reading this, get hold of an old Gateway anyway or a new HHKB Pro and find a way to produce the same sort of feel on a decent budget.

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      The Topre switches are really more of a hybrid dome/mechanical design. There’s an extra spring inside the rubber dome, which significantly changes the feel of the keys.

      That said, yes I’ve used a couple of dome keyboards that I would say were pretty good. Keytronic used to make some nice ones; when my original Keytronic died I ordered another one direct from them, and it sucked. That was when I went back to mechanical keyboards (first Unicomp, and now Rosewill Cherry-based).

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah there’s a range of quality within both types. I have a Logitech that I’m sure uses domes, but I love that keyboard and hope it never dies because it’s a quality typing experience. The $0.28 POS Dell dome keyboard I’m typing on here at work is, however, the second worst keyboard I’ve ever used next only to the HP ones that the lab at my med school had. Horrible feedback that’s mushy at best.

      I have a Model M from 1984 that’s older than I am and still works and feels great, but it’s wired-ness and ugliness are dealbreakers for me. Could double as a good home-defense implement given its heft, however…..

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    Welcome to the dark side, Geoff!

    As I’ve already noted elsewhere, I love my Rosewill RK-9000s. The RK-9000 is a bit cheaper than the Das, and does not have a USB hub… just a basic, no-frills mechanical ‘board.

    • Thrashdog
    • 8 years ago

    Having used a everything from off-brand rubber-dome keyboards to Thinkpad keyboard to the legendary Model M, I have to say that my preference is actually for a nice, low-profile scissor-switch design. I prefer the shorter travel, and personally I find the Model M to be just TOO DAMN LOUD.

    Right now I’m using a Logitech K340 that I’m not really in love with, but it was wireless and decent value for money. I’m kicking myself for not grabbing an Aurora when I saw it in the local Micro Center.

    • Decelerate
    • 8 years ago

    Welcome to the mechanical world! I just dived into this myself this past summer. Brown MX switches are my choice also, after having tried the MX blacks (Steelseries) for close to a month (Best Buy), and typing on those available 4 MX Blue keys on Razor black widow. In short, I want my feedback.

    I really like my Leopold tenkeyless, but do feel missing the numpad here and there.

    It’s nice to see that keyboards are coming of age, with Corsair jumping in full throttle.

    Next step for you Dissonance (and anyone just starting): customizing your keycaps. It’s an expensive hobby 🙂

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    If you can’t find a real original Model M (preferably the ones with the gray IBM logo) and a PS2->USB converter, then Unicomp sells modern clones that are natively USB and feature 104 keys. They’re actually slightly cheaper than these $99 keyboards at $79.

    I can tell the difference between that and a real M, but it’s a good substitute if you don’t want to mess with a converter and cleaning up an older board.

    edit: wow, they’ve got an [i<]APL[/i<] layout available!

      • AssBall
      • 8 years ago

      You can still buy WYSE keyboards. They are virtually indestructible. Sometimes you can find them for around 45$.

    • Captain Ned
    • 8 years ago

    1391401.

    There is no substitute.

      • Malphas
      • 8 years ago

      I had one (or maybe two) of those, nice satisfying clicking noises and lots of resistance I remember right.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      I still have one. The only way I’ll give it up is for one of Unicomp’s Customizer 104 keyboards, which uses the same buckling springs –Unicomp bought the rights from Lexmark. The Unicomp also has Windows keys and can be bought in black (with gray keys) –and it’s around $80, considerably less than a Das Keyboard.

      My Model M currently goes through a KVM switch (second half goes to systems I work on for others), to a two PS2 (both keyboard and mouse) to USB adapter, to my desktop system, where it still works perfectly.

      As we used to say back in my younger geek days “It clicks, so you KNOW it works.”

      As for the PS2 mouse, I’d have a hard time giving up my Logitech MX-1000 Laser cordless, too. I bought a used mint-conditioned one on Fleabay for when this one gives up the ghost.

    • FireGryphon
    • 8 years ago

    Take away: Apple got it right all these years by having good enough hardware with an exceptional aesthetic computing experience.

      • flip-mode
      • 8 years ago

      Charlie: “Tell him Ray”
      Raymond: “Apple’s keyboards suck”

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      Apple is now chiclet.

      No matter how good you make a chiclet keyboard, it is hard to remove the “suck” factor from one.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        imma agree with you there. chiclet keyboards =garbage. i’d rather get kicked the balls then type with one.

    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    I’m very satisfied with the slightly bend keyboard of MS.
    Microsoft Comfort Curve Keybaard 2000 v1.0 it’s called
    I have used lots of keyboards. They’re very important for me because I type a lot, and I havce to be carefull to avoid RSI (or whatever they call that nowadays), and that keyboard is the best so far.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I notice TR is getting obsessed with keyboards and Vsync lately.

      • kroker
      • 8 years ago

      Some of us feel that better data input and data output experience are important considering that’s all a computer does. Mechanical keyboards, high-precision gaming mice, high-end monitors, HD, smooth framerates, high-quality sound, lower wait times with faster hardware and faster internet connection etc. Yes, neither of these are necessary for most people, but isn’t this a site geared towards computer enthusiasts?

      I’m glad mechanical keyboards are getting more and more recognition. Maybe Logitech and Microsoft will follow suit. Personally I didn’t even know about mechanical keyboards until I read about the Das Keyboard on TR, so I’m glad TR is “obsessed” with them. Now I own a Razer Blackwidow Standard (only blue-cherry switch keyboard available in my country at the time I bought it, besides the Ultimate version) and, tough certainly not perfect, I love it

        • Bauxite
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, we can’t pay any attention to the two primary interfaces to all computing experience (in a nutshell: hand + eye interaction) and everyone should be happy with disposable keyboards and recycle-me-soon monitors, since it saves us $5 that we can spend on a bigger drive or whatever.

    • travbrad
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Live with good key switches for a little while, and I'd wager you'll kick yourself for not upgrading sooner. [/quote<] Nope. I tried it for a couple months (on a Model M) and I think I actually prefer my cheap $15 keyboard. (Both are good for typing but the Model M sucked for gaming). The reliability argument is fairly specious too. It may be true that the "Das" has great reliability, but so do a lot of really cheap keyboards (that same $15 keyboard is almost 10 years old). My keyboard just sits on my desk though, I don't go skateboarding with it or anything. 😉 I'm sure you and many people benefit from and love this type of keyboard, but they aren't for everyone.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Huh. I actually like my M better for gaming than I did the rubber-dome jobbie it replaced.

      • travbrad
      • 8 years ago

      -1 for having different preferences? I guess should have known better than to think for myself. 😉

        • etrigan420
        • 8 years ago

        Meh, haters gonna hate.

        I drank the kool-aid and bought a Filco Majestouch 2 and can honestly say that my next keyboard will most certainly *not* be mechanical…

        Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent enough board, just not worth the price difference in my opinion.

        Keyboard elitists are weird.

        EDIT: Speeling.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          yah. i don’t get it beyond a dislike of chiclet. any non-chiclet keyboard is fine with me. unless it looks weird.

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]The reliability argument is fairly specious too.[/quote<] {[i<]New superman style[/i<]} WRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!

    • no51
    • 8 years ago

    The ‘crappiest’ keyboard that my fingers ever encounter is the keyboard on my thinkpad. Otherwise, I have my Rosewill RK-9000 with blue cherries at my desktop and my ABS M1 with black s-alps at work. Maybe I’ll change my work one to one of the new Rosewills with brown cherries, but not really seeing much motivation to do so.

      • travbrad
      • 8 years ago

      If you ever want to feel something equally bad try a 2003 HP pavilion laptop. The word keyboard can only be loosely applied to such an abomination.

        • Bauxite
        • 8 years ago

        He was being facetious about the thinkpad keyboard being terrible. (hence the ‘ ‘)

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      What ThinkPad is that? My ThinkPad T61, T400, and T420 have all had some of the best keyboards of any laptop I’ve worked on.

      I’d say the T60 keyboard I put on my T400 when I got ahold of one is the best of the four, though.

      EDIT: My bad on the “quotes”, I typed so fast on my T420, I didn’t realize those were there until I was done.

    • luisnhamue
    • 8 years ago

    I SMASHED ONE KEYBOARD DURING A FOOTBALL GAME AGAINST A FRIEND.

    THE KB WAS JUST, TOO SLOW, AND SOMETIMES NON RESPONSIVE, EVEN WITH CONTROL PANEL SETTINGS SET TO MAX.

      • squeeb
      • 8 years ago

      Hulk smash ?

    • Derfer
    • 8 years ago

    I buy $15 straight, low profile rosewill keyboards because I’ve yet to use a high end keyboard that was actually any better. Seriously high end keyboards are all the same save for mechanical, and I find them to be very misused. They make low profile mechanical keys yet they still put those tall clunky keys on shit? Why would anyone besides a stubborn old fart want to keep using those things? Get me a low profile mechanical keyboard that looks simple and doesn’t do some 90 degree angle shit and I just might buy it.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      You realize you just called 1/2 the TR staff “stubborn old farts”.

    • Starfalcon
    • 8 years ago

    I am still rolling on my MS natural pro that I got about 13 years ago. Although I have a few model M’s, I just cant stand a non ergo keyboard now without media keys. I have just not found a good replacement for it yet that I liked. I have to say though this keyboard has held up extremely well over years and I have not had a single problem with it.

      • eofpi
      • 8 years ago

      I have an MS Natural Pro too, but mine’s starting to wear out after 11 or so years. I haven’t found another membrane board that feels as good as this one, and I’m unwilling to give up ergo.

      Does anyone know of any mechanical ergonomic boards besides the incredibly rare model M15?

        • anotherengineer
        • 8 years ago

        how about this?

        [url<]http://www.trulyergonomic.com/[/url<]

          • wibeasley
          • 8 years ago

          It lacks media keys (I agree with Starfalcon). I listen to music most of the day on my computer.I like being able to quickly play/pause and adjust the volume without reaching for the mouse.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            plus it just looks weird. you want to be the weirdo with the weird keyboard? I sure don’t. weirdos.

            • just brew it!
            • 8 years ago

            Or you could do what I do (provided your music player supports it) — assign global hotkeys to control your music playback. IMO dedicated media keys are a waste of space; I much prefer having a smaller footprint keyboard.

          • eofpi
          • 8 years ago

          The layout would take some time to adjust to, but it looks tempting. I have volume controls on my mouse, so I don’t care about the lack of media keys.

          They aren’t taking orders yet, so pricing info doesn’t seem to be up. Any ideas on pricing?

      • Aphasia
      • 8 years ago

      I had the original natural keyboard, and after that wore out I tried the following models, and the logitech ones, etc. But those half-size keys that some of the microsoft boards used just didnt cut it. Nowdays I’m very happy with the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 I’m using. Even have a spare one I got from work. Couldnt be happier with most of the things. And while the keys are quite soft, they do work quite well for a whole lot of typing anyway.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]ask yourself whether you've spent enough on your keyboard lately[/quote<] Heck, I usually start by asking myself "what do I need" and from there I start asking myself "which components can I spend just a little more money on and get a lot more for it." Mechanical keyboards need to cost less. If I could get one for $50 I'd strongly consider it. It would take me several months to cave in and get one at that price. I don't know why they have to cost as much as they do. Perhaps the components that go into them are that costly. I dunno. Maybe when my current keyboard - a bog standard Dell keyboard with some media keys - is no longer doing the job (it's been doing it well for 3 1/2 years now) I'll give one a try. The upside of spending $100 on a keyboard is that it's potentially the most future-proof component you can get. 15 years from now I'll almost certainly have had a very legitimate need to upgrade every other computer component 2 or 3 times or maybe more. But the alphabet will probably bee the same still, and USB will probably still be around. But after 15 years the biological residue... can you pressure wash these things? But remember, all of you, before you run of and get mechanical - we're in the post-PC era now, so what do you need a keyboard for anyway, LOL.

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      Don’t wait 15 years to clean it, and its not a problem 😉

      Its a lot like a toilet/shower/sink…a few minutes on a regular basis saves you the BL4 suit cleanup thats required if you put it off for months.

    • excession
    • 8 years ago

    I’m a big fan of my Unicomp Customiser! (UK version 🙂 ) with the buckling-spring switches. I was using a genuine Model M keyboard but the cable got really dodgy and it was about the same price to just get a Unicomp. The feel is outstanding although it’s very “clicky”. My girlfriend doesn’t like sharing a study with me though – apparently I’m audible throughout the house when I’m doing anything except PgUp/PgDn!

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I agree, I should have gone mechanical a long time ago. I’m annoyed by the lack of decent multimedia keys on my razor black widow. I don’t expect the das keyboard is any better. I like mechanical keyboards but there aren’t allot of options out there right now and they are pretty bare on features. Corsair looks to change that but I don’t like their choice of switches though everything else going into the design is absolutely phenomenal.

    • Malphas
    • 8 years ago

    I disagree. I have a Filco with Cherry MX Browns also, it’s great but it’s not like you’re missing out on anything spectacular if you just have a regular rubber dome keyboard. If you have lots of disposable cash then yes mechanical keyboards are nice, but if you only have so much to spend on your PC then you’ll get a lot more return from putting the cash towards a better graphics card or a bigger monitor or an SSD than you will from buying a high end keyboard.

    It’s easy to be bowled over by something new and get carried away, it’s also human nature to justify our purchases to ourselves by thinking ourselves into being more satisfied and impressed than we really are. It’s the same as supposed “audiophiles” that would have the hearing of some sort of bat species if you believed all the BS they spout about hearing the differences in various high end sound systems.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      ha yeah the only way they can document real improvements is synthetically their ears can’t actually detect 99 percent of the stuff they talk about. I only wish video was on the same level as audio has been for the last couple decades, lol.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 8 years ago

      I thought the same thing, then I had to use a membrane keyboard after using nothing but a mechanical for a month.

      Never going back, no way. 🙂

    • Cannyone
    • 8 years ago

    I recently had a keyboard go bad on me. Just a few of the keys would either not work, or produce erratic results. The frustrating part was 2 of the 3 bad keys were ones I use constantly for password input.

    The part that adds to my frustration is that that keyboard was part of a Logitech wireless set that only works with one receiver. So that means I didn’t just loose a keyboard. I also lost the use of one of my favorite mice. Which just happens to be a model they have chosen to discontinue.

    After a good deal of research I wound up getting a Steelseries 6Gv2. And now I’m also finding the “other… mushy” keyboards on my computers to be less than satisfactory. I just wish I knew of some company that made a Wireless Mechanical switch keyboard. (I have one system in particular that I want to be wireless.)

      • KoolAidMan
      • 8 years ago

      Good pick. I had a Filco with brown switches for a little bit, then switched to the 6Gv2 since the stiffer switches suited me better. I made a lot of mistakes on the browns because they are so sensitive. In any case, they’re excellent to type and game on, plus you have lots of switch options based on personal preference.

      I don’t understand why people sink tons of money into the guts of a PC but then completely cheap out on keyboards, LCD monitors, etc. They are our direct physical interface with the guts of the PC, why not demand the best there too if you can afford it?

        • Bauxite
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]I don't understand why people sink tons of money into the guts of a PC but then completely cheap out on keyboards, LCD monitors, etc. They are our direct physical interface with the guts of the PC, why not demand the best there too if you can afford it?[/quote<] Because $2000 computer (most of which gets blown into the top tier cpu and too many top tier gpus) hooked up to a free keyboard and some $100 open box special lcds is pure awesome. Repeat every 2 years or so 🙂

    • StashTheVampede
    • 8 years ago

    My daily keyboard is a Kinesis Ergo. I know they use Cherry MX switches and I’m pretty sure they are brown. What I’d love to play with is a keyboard with Topre switches. Those keyboards seem to put the Kinesis even to shame!

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    I swear by – and never at – my steelseries 6GV. It was around $100 (Cdn) at NCIX, and worth every penny.

    • jrr
    • 8 years ago

    How’d you decide on the Das S? (or more specifically, the cherry browns?) When I start googling, I wind up at geekhack more confused than when I started – there are so many switch types and I’m pretty sure I can’t try any of them in a local store.

      • Dissonance
      • 8 years ago

      A combination of online research and first-hand experience with several different Cherry switch types. I specifically wanted tactile feedback–the little bump before actuation–so that narrowed things down quite a bit. It’d be great if places like Fry’s had keyboard demo stations that let you try out different switch types. The difference between them is quite noticeable after just a few keystrokes.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I have one of the logitech illuminated keyboards, and its fantastic. Its wireless and was SUPPOSED to be $99, but they had it marked wrong at staples for $69.99 and I had a $30 off coupon, so I got it for $40. That + a Performance MX which was also on sale, I got both of the ‘top of the line’ logitech peripherals for < $100.

    The Logi Illuminated does use scissor switches, as well. I love the feel of it, and only wish I could get a few more. They did just introduce a mac version, however I simply swapped the windows key and the alt key on my windows version, and use a key remapper in OS X to make it all honkey dorey. I just wish the logitech software for mac was less suck. Why can’t it automatically recognize you’re on a mac and swap them in software for you? Theres also a bug in the latest version when run on Lion that makes the back button not work properly in browsers. You have to map it to Command-+ or Command– for forward/back.

      • Decibel
      • 8 years ago

      I’m a big fan of scissor keys, and have a Logitech Illuminated on my system at home too.

      I’d expect that it happened to me because of how many years I’ve spent with laptops as my primary systems at work. I slow down if I have to type on a full stoke keyboard these days.

    • DancinJack
    • 8 years ago

    I have a Das Pro S. I love the sound MX Blues make while I’m typing away. Typing on this keyboard is so much better than any other keyboard I’ve ever used. I even like it better than the old Model M that I used to have. The clicking is almost like music to my ears.

    I imagine there will be a lot of people here commenting about paying so much for a keyboard and why some folks here at TR preach the awesomeness of mechanical switch keyboards. I believe this: The keyboard and monitor are the two most interactive things on my computer. If there is an option for me to buy a monitor or keyboard that makes using those things much more enjoyable and comfortable for me, then I will. Everyone has different tastes. Give a mechanical keyboard a try before you knock it.

    • JohnC
    • 8 years ago

    I would pay a lot of $$$ for a good quality keyboard with a GOOD backlighting. I have tried almost all of current “gaming” models from various brands (basically all of the Logitech models plus all of the similar Saitek models) and none of them have as bright and uniform backlighting as the keyboard on my MacBook Pro… Currently I am (temporarily) using Logitech Illuminated Keyboard, but its backlighting, while better than on any other Logitech’s model, is still not bright enough for my needs and I don’t really like its “flat”, short keys. I’d like to try out the Corsair’s Vengeance K90 keyboard but I’m afraid that it also might have a very weak (for my needs) backlighting…

      • Johnny5
      • 8 years ago

      Have you tried the Microsoft Sidewinder X6. I have it, and it seems bright to me at max illumination.

      • no51
      • 8 years ago

      why do you need strong backlighting? i rarely look at the keys on my keyboard and don’t really need a reason to.

        • JohnC
        • 8 years ago

        I can also type “blind”, but even after 15 years of PC keyboard usage I do need to look at keyboard from time to time, and when I do – I want to see the labels on keys, which is sometimes hard to do during dark periods of day since I prefer not to use the room lighting when I’m using my PC at home and since my current monitor can get bright enough to produce excessive glare on the surface of keyboard’s keys. Of course, I can simply decrease the monitor’s brightness but I’d rather not to since it is pretty satisfactory to me now and it is not uncomfortable to my eyes even in completely dark room.

      • KikassAssassin
      • 8 years ago

      The Vengeance K90 has an individual LED under each key, rather than only a few LEDs with fiber optics going to each key like most backlit keyboards do, so it should theoretically be far brighter, depending on the LEDs they’re using. Deck keyboards, for example, have seven backlight brightness settings, and I’ve seen some complaints about them because people think they’re too bright even on the dimmest setting.

      • StuG
      • 8 years ago

      My Razer Black-widow Ultimate is the best backlighting I’ve seen.

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      If the corsair isn’t up to snuff for your needs, check out deck keyboards. Its a more expensive way to get cherry switches with backlight options. The green version probably has the highest apparent brightness.

        • JohnC
        • 8 years ago

        Yea, I actually been checking out Deck keyboards online recently and they do look like they might fulfill my needs… I might go for the “frost” (white-colored backlighting) version when they’ll finally get them in stock.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    I have a lovely little XArmor with Cherry MB blues in it (for gaming)

    However, I actually type all day on an ergonomic keyboard, because the wrist position is more important for me than the key action.

    Does anyone have a good list of ergonomic boards with Cherry MX switches in them? The only ones I’ve ever found are ridiculously expensive and bespoke, made by those sideline firms that cater to extremely unusual requirements such as industrial and disability-friendly keyboards.

      • anotherengineer
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://www.trulyergonomic.com/[/url<]

      • d34thly
      • 8 years ago

      I have a Razer black widow but I am on the lookout for the best cherryMX brown based keyboard (if only corsair had used MX browns on their new lineup). I have, so far , found out that cherry currently produces only one such model; The G80-1865LXNEU-2 is the only model with cherry MX browns(odd considering that this Wisconsin based company is responsible for making ALL the variations of every cherryMX switch on every keyboard). I also concede that Das Keyboard Model S professional silent is prolly the best feeling keyboard in the world; too bad i need gloss-less, flat front wall to flush up to monitor stand and ten-key-less preferable. If neither of these two models suit you than go to elitekeyboards.com

    • squeeb
    • 8 years ago

    I just got a Daskeyboard Pro S at work. Love it..and the noise really isn’t that bad. I’ve yet to have a single person make a comment.

      • kcarlile
      • 8 years ago

      Sadly, my penchant for ergo keyboards (namely, MS Natural 4000s) leaves me out in the cold as far as mechanical switches go.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        If you ever come across one, at one time IBM made a split-ergo version of the Model M, the M15.

        [url<]http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index.cfm/fa/items.main/parentcat/12675/subcatid/0/id/354175[/url<]

        • anotherengineer
        • 8 years ago

        [url<]http://www.trulyergonomic.com/[/url<]

          • d34thly
          • 8 years ago

          @anotherengineer
          thank you for the link, this looks PERFECT. I had never heard of this seemingly awesome MXbrown keyboard before.thank you thank you thank you.

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