Jan 9, 2014

Mechanical keyboards

(Tux says “Hi.”)

I purchased a Monoprice mechanical keyboard almost a year ago (Jan. 30). It was around $60 and has the loud, clicky Cherry MX Blue keys. It’s on the cheaper-end of the mechanical keyboard range, but it has literally the same switches as the more expensive keyboards, like the Das Keyboard.

I use laptops a lot these days (perhaps exclusively), and they all have the Apple-style chiclet keys. I don’t have a problem with these keyboards – I’ve been using them for around 7 years now. If I’m not using my mechanical keyboard, I’m using a chiclet keyboard.

Many people claim that the tactile feedback from the Cherry MX Blues is really great for their typing. They like the feeling. When I first started typing with a mechanical keyboard, it’s really noticeable. You hear the distinct “click” and feel it too. You know when you’ve pressed down on a key. Now that I’ve been using it for a while, I find that I don’t notice the tactile feedback anymore. I don’t think I even hear the keyboard anymore. I tune it out.

I also don’t notice the difference between my laptop keyboards and the mechanical keyboard anymore. They’re just different. What I do notice is interesting: I make more errors on chiclet keys. It might be because you don’t have to press the keys down fully on a mechanical keyboard – the keys “click” somewhere around halfway. It’s harder to do that on a chiclet keyboard. Even if you think you’ve pressed down all the way, keys don’t register. I think it’s the primary cause of typing errors for me.


Cherry MX Blues are loud. Even if you like it and are able to tune out the clicks, your neighbors probably won’t. I think people can hear me typing in my room, with the door closed, from across the apartment. It’s not incredibly loud in this case, but it’s noticeable. I’d say it’s on the level of someone strumming on an electric guitar unplugged.

I’d love to take this thing everywhere, but it’s probably going to be a nuisance for others. It’s unfortunately, since I think I feel more productive typing on a mechanical keyboard. I think for around $60, it’s worth it. I would say getting a Das Keyboard for $100 or more isn’t worth it.

I haven’t tried out other Cherry MX keys yet. I’m not sure where I can try them out. I’ve never seen mechanical keyboards in stores, but maybe I’m not looking hard enough. These things are relatively expensive so I can’t just buy one to try it.

As for my mouse, I’ve been using a Logitech G5 from 2007. Still goin’ strong!

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