Shall I go for mechanical or normal keyboard?

bondhu

26 Apr 2017, 19:41

I am asking this question with regards to me being a programmer?

I have always used a normal keyboard so I am not quite sure how mechanical keyboards work. I read on this webpage: http://www.laptopforprogramming.com/bes ... ogramming/ that there are all sorts of actuation points and weight of the keys.

I am simply looking for precision as that is very important for me. So shall i stick with normal keyboard? If not, then which mechanical keyboard will you suggest?

My budget is $50-$69

Thanks

Sankart

26 Apr 2017, 19:54

Personally I think $20+ Rubberdomes are a waste. You could try getting a old BTC or something, those are supposed to feel really good and (at least used to) go for low prices.
If you actually want to spend your budget, I'd definitely go for a mech.
Which one depends on what you want to have? Silent, Fullsize and vintage (better bang for buck), or maybe even a clicky 40% keyboard? There are a lot of layouts to consider.
Hope that helps a little.

User avatar
zslane

26 Apr 2017, 19:54

When it comes to mechanical keyboards, what you buy will depend on your preferences in a number of areas: form factor (layout), switch type, backlighting, colors.

Form factor: do you need a full-size board? Or do you prefer a TKL (a "normal" keyboard minus the numpad)? Or are you interested in a small keyboard like a 60% board (a TKL minus the 13 nav cluster keys)?

Switch type: do you want linear, tactile, or clicky switches? If you are accustomed to conventional membrane keyboards and want to keep something similar to that feel, then you'll want a board with tactile switches (MX brown, for instance).

Backlighting is a feature I can't stand, but it is becoming more and more popular, and in fact you might not be able to avoid it (though you can usually turn it off). Is backlighting important to you?

Colors: black/black is the norm. If you like anything else, you will probably be searching for something outside your price range. What color scheme are you after?

The answer to these questions will help guide you to a keyboard.

User avatar
chuckdee

26 Apr 2017, 19:58

In addition to what zslane put above, there's a pretty indepth keyboard guide on reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyb ... _buy.3F.22

User avatar
czarek

27 Apr 2017, 12:54

With that budget you can get yourself Cherry G80 or some used but better quality keyboard (Model M or QFR).
I would personally go with that rather than any rubber dome, even with G80 quality being a bit sketchy ;)

g3rain1

30 Apr 2017, 05:57

zslane wrote: Switch type: do you want linear, tactile, or clicky switches? If you are accustomed to conventional membrane keyboards and want to keep something similar to that feel, then you'll want a board with tactile switches (MX brown, for instance).
Switch selection is hugely subjective and I'd recommend to get a sampler before buying a full board.

User avatar
Menuhin

30 Apr 2017, 14:49

Just curious about the 'normality' concept of keyboard. :D
For me, mechanical keyboards are still part of the 'norm'; and the more atypical / 'abnormal' keyboards for me include the split keyboards, e.g. ErgoDox, and the Maltron keyboards, Planck, etc.

zslane made a few good points - form factor, and for me layout also affect me decision a lot.
I would rather use a rubber-dome keyboard if I am forced to choose between a totally unusable layout and clumsy form factor mechanical keyboard versus a rubber-dome keyboard with familiar and comfortable layout.

I second g3rain1's suggestion to try out some of these switches first. For me, it helps a lot: most 1st time mechanical users talked quite loudly about they like their MX brown switches, and I contemplated getting one for a while until I tried the boards with MX reds, MX browns, MX blues, etc and rubber-domes in a shop - I immediately crossed them all out on my list. For MX switches I prefer MX blacks (heavier reds) => MX clears (heavier and more tactile browns) > MX greens (heavier blues).

As in "programmers", many of them just use their laptops. Quite a few that I know use the IBM Model M keyboards. And for some more well-known hackers: for example, Richard Stallman uses a HHKB (Fujitsu Happy Hacking Keyboard) which has capacitive switches with tactility created by rubber domes; John Wiegley, the current Emacs maintainer, replied on GeekHack saying that he's currently using MX blues.

You can just get a cheaper used one first.
If you are patient, I have seen quite a few Cherry mechanical boards available from time to time at below $35 range, given that you are not picky about their key cap (which are mostly laser-printed, different from the state of the art sought after ABS doubleshot key caps or PBT dyed key caps - I know it sounds really weird for you at the moment, but many people into the interest care a lot about the key caps). For IBM Model M, if you try hard to look for and wait out a bit, you can perhaps get one below $55.
But you probably cannot think about the HHKB even used in that price range... they are not that special, they just feel like really high quality rubber-dome, but you may feel like you have joint a cult when you use one.

There is a whole world of switches, so take your time to choose.

p.s. One more thing: if you plan to save money, then you just go and get one cheap from Craigslist or eBay, AND never visit one of these forums like here and lurk around again. The later suggestion is more important.

whm1974

01 May 2017, 20:10

Menuhin wrote: p.s. One more thing: if you plan to save money, then you just go and get one cheap from Craigslist or eBay, AND never visit one of these forums like here and lurk around again. The later suggestion is more important.
I wouldn't go that far, as this will be a learning experience for most folks new to mechanical keyboards. Before I choose the AZIO MK-Retro keyboard I was using the SolidTek 6600c board. Not a great board, but it was my first mechanical for only $50 back in June 2013, and it was still better then the rubber dome keyboards I have been using.

However I would still check Newegg and Amazon before eBay or Craigslist to ensure the buyer isn't paying brand new prices for used products.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

02 May 2017, 00:08

One of the most significant decisions is whether you need a full-size keyboard with a numpad or not.

A decision for "no-numpad" will drive you towards a large realm of modern "compact" and/or "gaming" keyboards, while a "numpad-required" decision will open up a huge pool of vintage gear.

User avatar
vometia
irritant

02 May 2017, 15:15

Menuhin wrote: Just curious about the 'normality' concept of keyboard. :D
Some people grew up with Sinclair Spectrums. *shudder*

User avatar
vometia
irritant

02 May 2017, 15:26

Menuhin wrote: As in "programmers", many of them just use their laptops. Quite a few that I know use the IBM Model M keyboards. And for some more well-known hackers: for example, Richard Stallman uses a HHKB (Fujitsu Happy Hacking Keyboard) which has capacitive switches with tactility created by rubber domes; John Wiegley, the current Emacs maintainer, replied on GeekHack saying that he's currently using MX blues.
Oops, missed this bit. As another random programmer, I never really found my ideal keyboard until a Model M happened unexpectedly in 1996: particularly unexpected as it was on a Dell. Totally blew away anything I'd used before, though I hasten to add I'd never really used PCs all that much other than some slightly mushy-feeling Philips keyboards, prior to that most of my typing being on DEC VTs and their clones which were mostly not entirely terrible rubber domes but which weren't all that spectacular either. And prior to that, it was non-PC home computers: the BBC Micro had a much vaunted keyboard and was quite nice, though perhaps I lacked appreciation as I couldn't tell much difference between that and my Dragon which was supposedly much worse (both are probably Alps of some sort, at a guess).

More recently I tried a Filco with Cherry MX blues. It's okay, but the switch type isn't my favourite: I guess for all the reasons it doesn't feel like an M, so a bit light in both feel and sound and a slightly gnarly action. It's not bad and probably one of the better solutions for a modern layout but I'm not really a fan.

And there's Lot Lizard's M-F project which could be interesting, so I may possibly be sold on the F now that a variant with layout that isn't insane is actually accessible, but we'll see. For the time being, a Model M it is, preferably in SSK layout so that I don't have to reach as far for the mouse.

Oh, and I only use laptops on the rare occasions I'm away from home. They're tolerable. Compared to a Spectrum. :D

g3rain1

02 May 2017, 17:56

Also, don't buy the line that any mech is better than a membrane board that a lot of enthusiasts like to go by. I love my mech but I would use an $5 dell keyboard over the most amazing mechanical board in every other respect if it had either MX browns or any linear switch.

User avatar
snoopy

02 May 2017, 18:15

with that budget... go for a used Model M on ebay. You will be happy.

(and if you totally hate clicky keyboards, then go for a Cherry G80 with mx black)

User avatar
paecific.jr

03 May 2017, 15:06

One thing as a computer engineering student, I need my num pad to be efficient. If you enter numbers often you will appreciate having it.

User avatar
THATGUY69

04 May 2017, 03:22

paecific.jr wrote: One thing as a computer engineering student, I need my num pad to be efficient. If you enter numbers often you will appreciate having it.
Most definitely, I picked up a Pok3r and It's my first 60% keyboard and I find it damn near unusable for my needs. People say you get used to the 60% layout after awhile, but it's almost been a month, I might sell the damn thing. Like the switches though, might pick up a full size keyboard with mx clears.

User avatar
paecific.jr

04 May 2017, 05:11

THATGUY69 wrote:
paecific.jr wrote: One thing as a computer engineering student, I need my num pad to be efficient. If you enter numbers often you will appreciate having it.
Most definitely, I picked up a Pok3r and It's my first 60% keyboard and I find it damn near unusable for my needs. People say you get used to the 60% layout after awhile, but it's almost been a month, I might sell the damn thing. Like the switches though, might pick up a full size keyboard with mx clears.
See I have a Magicforce 68, a small 60%ish, keyboard, I use it for portable use. I'm actually taking it with me to Florida over the summer (You can't use only cheap rubber domes for 8 weeks). Small keyboards have their purpose, but the F122 battleship is where the fun is at.

User avatar
cookie

04 May 2017, 11:26

What a question to ask in a keybaord forum full of cork sniffing keyboard snobs (me included).

Yes you definitely should!

70 bugs is an mid tier budget. I'd rather invest a bit more and get a keybaord with PBT caps.
But please for the love of god, stay away from Razer and all that gaming crap. They are just too obnoxious with all the promises and glowing in the dark unicorn puke.

Be warned though, the keyboard hole reaches deep into your pocket if you get hooked by this fairly nonsense hobby.

I guess OP was a troll anyway.

User avatar
paecific.jr

04 May 2017, 18:27

cookie wrote: Be warned though, the keyboard hole reaches deep into your pocket if you get hooked by this fairly nonsense hobby.
Nobody gave me this warning!

User avatar
cookie

04 May 2017, 18:35

paecific.jr wrote:
cookie wrote: Be warned though, the keyboard hole reaches deep into your pocket if you get hooked by this fairly nonsense hobby.
Nobody gave me this warning!
Well now you know :D

User avatar
Mr.Nobody

25 May 2017, 15:11

So mechanical keyboard is abnormal...

pcaro

25 May 2017, 16:29

Take a Model M. For me, It's the best for programming. Using a SSK now

User avatar
cookie

26 May 2017, 12:19

pcaro wrote: Take a Model M. For me, It's the best for programming. Using a SSK now
And the wrath of the office is yours!

User avatar
vometia
irritant

26 May 2017, 15:04

cookie wrote: And the wrath of the office is yours!
We all had Model Ms at one place I worked! It was quite loud. A bit weird how the relatively cheap Dells had the nice keyboards whereas the expensive Silicon Graphics workstations had something comparatively nastier (though also quieter, for those who were concerned about such things).

whm1974

26 May 2017, 18:00

vometia wrote:
cookie wrote: And the wrath of the office is yours!
We all had Model Ms at one place I worked! It was quite loud. A bit weird how the relatively cheap Dells had the nice keyboards whereas the expensive Silicon Graphics workstations had something comparatively nastier (though also quieter, for those who were concerned about such things).
I'm not surprised. Dell had a much larger volume of sales than SGI did, so they could get a good good deal on decent keyboards then then what SGI could.

User avatar
vometia
irritant

26 May 2017, 20:11

whm1974 wrote: I'm not surprised. Dell had a much larger volume of sales than SGI did, so they could get a good good deal on decent keyboards then then what SGI could.
I guess I'm surprised: shipping a workstation costing £thousands with a £5 keyboard instead of a £100 keyboard seems a bit cheap. I mean my original home computer cost just £200 and came with a much better keyboard than the Indy.

User avatar
MrDuul

26 May 2017, 21:42

IBM Model M or Model F.

whm1974

26 May 2017, 22:00

vometia wrote:
whm1974 wrote: I'm not surprised. Dell had a much larger volume of sales than SGI did, so they could get a good good deal on decent keyboards then then what SGI could.
I guess I'm surprised: shipping a workstation costing £thousands with a £5 keyboard instead of a £100 keyboard seems a bit cheap. I mean my original home computer cost just £200 and came with a much better keyboard than the Indy.
I agree with you about that, for what their workstations cost, SGI should have shipped keyboards that matched their prices

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

26 May 2017, 22:08

Just don't go for what MrDuul is doing:
giphy.gif
giphy.gif (1.92 MiB) Viewed 1631 times


:maverick:

User avatar
MrDuul

26 May 2017, 22:16

seebart wrote: Just don't go for what MrDuul is doing:
giphy.gif


:maverick:
Wow I am jealous of Homer simpson.

What a boss. :evilgeek: :oops:

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

26 May 2017, 22:18

Haha good. Either way he is the man.

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”