In the world of technology, there’s usually several competing options when it comes to choosing any product. This industry is rapidly developing, causing new and better examples of products every year. And, keyboards are no exception. But, what exactly makes a keyboard different. Well, the most important part is the switches. They can make a great difference to the way that you type. So, it’s quite an important distinction to make. To help you out, this post will go through the most common switch types and the way that they work.
Chiclet switches are a great place to start. It’s not because they’re the oldest switches, but they’re the switches that you’re probably most used to using. Most modern laptops have chiclet switches, as they’re one of the more discreet options. A chiclet switch comprises of a small rubber come with a contact inside of it. When the key is pressed, the rubber compresses, and the contact makes a circuit. Most of these systems have plastic scissor mechanisms that act as a spring. This gives the keys more weight and makes them feel more responsive. The main downside to these switches is that way that they feel. They are often spongy and squishy and will slow down a lot of people’s typing. Of course, they’
re very thing, though. So, they’re great for saving some space.
In the past, most keyboards were made using cheaper membrane switchs. These are usually found on the sort of keyboard that you would find with a desktop computer. They are very common in workplaces, libraries, and other public computer spaces. Of course, this is because they are extremely cheap to make. Membrane keyboards have a PCB with a contact for each key. On top of the PCB, you will find a rubber membrane with contacts on it. The keys sit on top of the membrane and use it as their spring. This makes them even squishier than a chiclet keyboard. Often, these sorts of keyboards will be very unpleasant and slow to type on. But, of course, they’re a great budget option for someone who needs something hardy. These sorts of keyboards are found on remote controls and control panels, as well.
For true keyboard enthusiasts, the only option is a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical switches are the best when it comes to response time and feel, and they last the longest, too. Mechanical switches can vary greatly, depending on their design. Usually, they will be made using a plastic casing with a contact at the bottom. A plastic stem, with a metal contact on the bottom, will sit within the casing. The stem floats on a spring, above another contact. The key cap sits on top of stem. So, when a key is pressed, the stem goes down and makes contact with the contact below. These types of switch are more expensive than any other, but they last the longest and will be the nicest to type with.
Hopefully, this will give you a good understanding of the keyboard options that are available out there. Before buying a new keyboard, it’s worth trying to find a way to use it, first. You will be able to do this in a lot of computer stores. But, it might be hard to find the exact keyboard that you want. So, try ones that have similar switches.