Mechanical keyboards can seem a little bit much, especially if you’re not all that sure what ‘mechanical’ means in this context. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the different switches on different boards, with keys that light up in a technicolour display brighter than some fourth of July fireworks. Is all this really necessary for a bit of Fortnite or typing away at your PC?
Honestly, it really can be. Not only are mechanical keyboards far more robust than their brethren, but there are many customisation options available that can better suit your needs and preferences at the desktop. You see, mechanical keyboards can feel entirely different depending on the switches each one uses. So, whether you prefer keys that clack loudly and ping back with each press or quietly actuate with each rapid tap, we’ve broken down everything you need to consider when looking at the best mechanical keyboards available now.
Das Keyboard 4 Professional
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which many consider to be the sweet spot for both gaming and typing – not too sensitive that you end up with many accidental key presses, but responsive enough for when you need to react in a pinch. They’re one of the quieter options available too, so ideal if your computer use flitters between rounds of Overwatch and essay writing late into the night.
As if to assert its place further as the ideal all-rounder, there’s also in-built dedicated media controls with a large volume knob and two USB ports hidden away on the back of the keyboard. The Das Keyboard 4 Professional can sometimes be hard to find and doesn’t come cheap, but its worth it for these additional features and a superior build quality.
Logitech has thrown a whole factory load of its own smarts into the G810 to create one top of the line gaming keyboard. If you want to hear features, it boasts Romer-G mechanical switches that are designed around ultra-responsiveness while remaining robust enough to survive over a whopping 70 million key presses.
Customisable function keys and media controls give the keyboard a great deal of versatility while gaming too – from simple tasks such as muting music and adjusting volume, to creating your own customisable macros that can perform complex functions with a single button press.
And still there’s more. The RGB backlighting is mightily impressive as well, not only allowing you to create a pretty pattern to dazzle others but you can also customise right down to the individual key for highlighting specific inputs. Altogether it’s a piece of kit that could be considered any gaming enthusiast’s dream.
HyperX Alloy FPS Pro
Do you use the numpad on your current keyboard? Does anyone? OK, maybe it still does have its uses, but unless you’re into some serious accounting or ever want to run the original Final Fantasy VII port for PC, you probably won’t need it. The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro knows this and does you a big favour by lopping off the calculatory appendage to save some space on your desktop.
If the name hasn’t given it away this keyboard is designed exclusively around gaming, using Cherry MX Red switches for more rapid actuation and response times. The compact tenkeyless design is ideal for portability if you find yourself lugging your rig around regularly and you can look stylish while doing so with the red dynamic backlighting. All for a decent price too!
AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard
It’s not just gaming that can see a benefit from the switch to a mechanical keyboard. Many typists love the satisfying feeling that comes with tapping away on a board with Blue switches. With this AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard there’s a strong audible click to be heard and a tactile bump to be felt with every key press. Some find the feedback wonderful, others the most irritating thing in the world.
Don’t let the comparatively low cost put you off. If you want to see if the clicky and impactful mechanical keyboard style is for you then this worth a shot. Just know that this is not an ideal choice if you play fast-paced games regularly and be sure the constant clacking isn’t going to be too disturbing for yourself or others!
Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2
Razer has become synonymous with gaming peripherals and so it’s no surprise that they offer a wide range of mechanical keyboards. Currently, the flagship product is the BlackWidow Chroma V2, which ships with a selection of Razer’s own-brand switches to suit your taste in clickiness and tactility.
The emphasis is clearly on gaming with the Razer Yellow switches, which are linear and silent with ultra fast actuation, there are Razer Green and Razer Orange options available if typing is a priority too. The keyboard also comes with five programmable macro keys that can be a huge convenience in many online games.
Similar to the HyperX keyboard above, a tenkeyless version is also available if you wanted to ditch the numpad in a similar price range.
With that, we hope we’ve cleared up some of the confusion surrounding mechanical keyboards, whether it’s your first or you’re looking for a hot new deal. Either way, enjoy your entirely new typing experience!