Are mechanical keyboards better for gaming? Yes, gamers across the world usually prefer mechanical keyboards for gaming. Gamers and anyone who performs tasks requiring reflexive actions and extensive typing, like mechanical keyboards more than regular membrane keyboards. Moreover, the reason behind this is the durability, tactile feedback, and fast keyboard response.
Normal keyboards are not completely useless either; the main difference is in their keys. The keys in membrane keyboards require relatively more activation force and are not necessarily tactile, either. However, the mechanical keyboards are designed for gaming, allowing faster actions and responses due to their switches under each key.
Are Mechanical Keyboards Better for Gaming?
As compared to membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards work better during gaming. Multiple features compel people to fall in love with mechanical keyboards.
Allow me to walk you through these features one by one.
One main difference between a mechanical and traditional keyboard is its key structure. The keys in mechanical keyboards are activated differently. Typically, the traditional membrane keyboards’ keys have a rubber dome or membrane under the keys.
When you push the key down, this rubber dome goes down to push the circuit and activate it. Consequently, this push-down of the keys registers the keystroke. Moreover, the keystroke only registers when the key is pressed down completely. Otherwise, it results in missed or mixed keystrokes.
On the other hand, mechanical keyboards use a phenomenal method for key activation. It has individual switches under each key. A spring, a metal contact point, and a stem make these switches. So, even a light touch can register keystrokes on a mechanical keyboard. Therefore, gamers like it because they do not have time to focus on each click.
As established earlier, the individual switches under each key on a mechanical keyboard make typing easier and less time-consuming. Moreover, it has a shorter activation distance and lower activation force, so you can press it with only 40-45 grams of force.
Consequently, this reduces the typing time and response time. Your keystrokes register quickly and easily, allowing you to perform more actions in less time. Furthermore, gamers have to make reflex actions, and especially in a fast-paced game, they cannot rely on a traditional membrane keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards are more durable than other keyboards. It is due to the material used in its making. It is made from higher-quality metal contacts and plastic stems, which are resistant to spills, dust, etc. Moreover, the individual switches under each key allow billions of keystrokes.
Regardless of the high quality of the keyboard, if you encounter any issue with any key, you can change it easily without changing the whole keyboard. Unlike mechanical, normal keyboards have rubber domes or membranes under the keys, which means they are prone to wear and tear, and if there is an issue with a key, you will have to change the entire board or be stuck with a faulty key.
Additionally, the metal frames of mechanical keyboards make them sturdier and enable them to withstand heavy typing or gaming sessions. They usually work efficiently and last longer comparatively.
The mechanical keyboards allow maximum customization in various parts. It attracts gamers as they can tailor their keyboard to suit their taste. The first thing that can be replaced on a mechanical keyboard is the switches. Moreover, different switches have different features; you can choose the ones that match your need and personal preference.
One of my favorite features is the customization of the keycaps; you can choose from a sea of different keycaps for various reasons. For instance, you can get ergonomic keycaps or greater visibility. I like to choose keycaps based on their designs because millions of designs are available, and you can replace your keycaps with stylish caps to embellish your keyboard.
Additionally, it offers customizable backlighting. You can change the color and the tone of the lighting. Moreover, you can increase or decrease the backlighting intensity according to your choice. It looks cool, especially when the surrounding lights are off. So, you do not need any external lighting to see your keyboard.
Another amazing customizable feature is the macros. Mechanical keyboards offer macro keys that can be programmed to perform multiple complex actions with just one click. Moreover, you can customize the function of the macros as per your choice. Mostly, these keyboards come with software that allows all kinds of customizations.
N-key roller or NKRO is the best feature for gamers who must perform complex actions or commands by pressing multiple keys simultaneously. The issue with traditional keyboards is that pressing several keys simultaneously can result in misspellings. However, mechanical keyboards have a microcontroller that can register multiple strokes at once.
There are two types of NKRO. You can choose partial or full. Partial allows 6-7 simultaneous keystrokes; with full, you can press an unlimited number of keys. Usually, gamers like full NKRO as it provides maximum keystrokes simultaneously.
This leads us to the ‘ghosting’ of certain keys in the traditional keyboards. When you press many keys simultaneously on a membrane keyboard, it ghosts them and does not perform the command. However, the mechanical keyboards offer ‘anti-ghosting’ technology, which simultaneously recognizes all the clicked keys and performs the task without issue.
The coolest feature of mechanical keyboards is their tactile feedback. Due to the placement of individual switches underneath each key, a registered keystroke gives a ‘click’ or ‘clack’ sound. Moreover, many mechanical keyboards provide tactile bumps only, while others give a full fledged ‘click’ sound after the tactile sound.
This feature is limited only to mechanical keyboards because membrane keyboards do not have the clicking sounds of keys due to the rubber dome or membrane under the keys. Furthermore, this tactile feedback is extremely satisfying for the ears and improves the keys’ accuracy. The click-clack sound is a guarantee of a successful keystroke registration.
Comfortable to Use
Gamers need a keyboard that is comfortable to use during long gaming sessions. Therefore, mechanical keyboards have ergonomic keycaps that can be easily pressed. Moreover, the backlighting makes typing easy, even in dim lighting.
The click and clack sounds are so satisfying and soothing to ears that the user does not feel tired of typing and using the keyboard.
Budget and Weight
Due to the advanced features, mechanical keyboards are expensive compared to normal ones. You will have to spend some extra money to avail all these features. However, if you are a gamer and want to build a good setup, this keyboard is worth all the money.
One of the disadvantages of mechanical keyboards is their weight. It is bulkier than the normal keyboards and, therefore, less portable and difficult to move around.
Tips and Tricks
- Use the right type of switch. If you do not like the loud sound of keys, you can use switches with physical pumps for feedback.
- Use wrist rest for a comfortable experience.
- Use macro keys for shortcuts to complex multiple-key commands.
- Use a full N-key roller.
- Use software and customize all the features to your personal preference.
Common Misconceptions Regarding Mechanical Keyboards
Some people assume that all mechanical keyboards have audible, tactile feedback. While it is true for some models, you can still purchase ones with only a physical bump and no sound.
There is another misconception that mechanical keyboards only have heavy and large models. In reality, you can find compact and portable mechanical keyboards which are not very heavy.
How can I maintain my mechanical keyboards?
To maintain mechanical keyboards, you need to clean them regularly. To clean your keyboard, you need a clean, soft, and dry cloth to clean it thoroughly. Moreover, you can remove the keycaps, clean them and install them again. Individual switches can also be replaced if they are not working properly.
Are mechanical keyboards only for gaming?
No, you can use mechanical keyboards for a variety of tasks. People love using it for typing jobs as it makes typing easier, quicker, and more enjoyable.
Is there any downside to mechanical keyboards?
There are a few downsides to mechanical keyboards. They are very expensive, and not everyone can afford such a huge amount of money for a keyboard. Moreover, the tactile feedback is not always pleasant; others in the same room might find it annoying.
Are there any wireless mechanical keyboards available for gaming?
Yes, you can find wireless mechanical keyboards in the market. They are completely functional. However, most gamers prefer wired keyboards over wireless, which are more reliable with better response mechanisms.
How long do mechanical keyboards last?
Mechanical keyboards are sturdy and can last up to several years with proper care and maintenance. However, you might need to replace the keys or keycaps occasionally.
Overall, mechanical keyboards give various advanced features that make them a better option for gamers. For instance, it offers maximum customization to suit your preference, tactile feedback, faster response, accuracy, sturdiness, anti-ghosting technology, and more. Moreover, it also has to backlight for aesthetic and visibility purposes. So, mechanical keyboards are better for gaming if you have the money.