1. #1
    Ubi-Kay's Avatar Community Manager
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    Choosing the Right Keyboard Switches

    THE RIGHT KEYBOARD FOR THE JOB

    With all the different keyboard switch types out there, making the right purchase can prove difficult. Rather than leave it to luck, we are here to help! We have put together this handy guide to help you get to know the most important switches currently available and understand their basic features. Armed with this information, we hope to help you understand your hardware!


    For the sake of keeping this guide straightforward and brief, we are only going to cover the most commonly used Cherry MX keyboard switches. Some companies use specific switches that are unique to their own hardware. If shopping for their products, your best bet will be to use the knowledge from this guide to understand what these manufacturers compare their switches to.

    There is a lot of hardware out there and this first article only just scratches the surface - covered in keys, that is.


    THE STAPLE

    Cherry MX switches are going to be the most common types you’ll encounter when looking for keyboards. Each variation will have its own pros and cons, depending on what you plan to use it for. For example, if you are using your PC exclusively for gaming purposes, you might not be concerned at all with the feel of a switch while typing. However, if your keyboard will do double duty between light typing and gaming, you’re going to want something that reacts well in both scenarios. Choosing according to your personal needs is key




    CHERRY MX

    • CHERRY MX RED
    • CHERRY MX BLUE
    • CHERRY MX BROWN
    • CHERRY MX BLACK
    • CHERRY MX SPEED


    With the exception of the Black and Blue Cherry MX switches, these all feature a fairly light key press. Black and Blue are bit tougher to press and register, which, depending on personal preference, can be either a pro or a con. Heavy handed? Consider a Black or Blue to give a little push back. Want to mash keys effortlessly? Red, Brown, or maybe the Speed variation might be right for you.

    Of course, these keys differ in more aspects than their resistance alone. The Red and Speed versions are both a light press, combined with a stroke that has no feedback, or click, to them. The click felt with Red and Speed switches is actually the switch bottoming out against the keyboard base. Basically, when pressing a Red or a Speed key, you are going to have little to no resistance until you hit the face of the board. While this might sound odd, it’s specifically satisfying to bottom out a key with a light press and quick activation. Downside? These can be a bit strange to type on and often result in a lot of multiple key presses when trying to fire off an email.

    Looking for a feedback free press but with slightly stronger resistance? Check out the MX Black switch, it has that same bump free stroke, but coupled with about 50% more force required to press them than Red and Speed.

    Sliding the fader slightly closer to all-purpose typing and gaming, we have the Cherry MX Brown. These keys are going to feel a touch heavier than the previously mentioned switches, but with a subtle tactile feedback at the midpoint of the press. The Brown variant requires little force, has a nice quiet sound, and a slight feedback that allows for comfortable typing, making it the best all-purpose key of the Cherry line up.

    However! We can’t move on just yet. The odd ball of the bunch is the Cherry MX Blue. These switches are kind of a specific type. Loud - with a heavy press, and an audible click at the midpoint that some might find obnoxious, these keys are primarily for typing. This, of course, does not mean you cannot use them for gaming, just that you might find the combination of the resistance and feedback a bit much over an extended session. While the resistance is similar to the Black switch, the click is really like no other offering of Cherry MX switch. While the Red, Black and Speed switches only give a slight sound when bumping the base, and the Brown has a subtle typing keyboard style feedback, the Blue is actual click. This is probably the number one turn off for these switches. But hey, if you want to have that feeling of an almost mouse click style feedback, these might be the keys for you.



    THERE IS MORE, BUT DON'T WORRY

    I know what you’re thinking: There have to be more switches out there! And you would be right. However, you now already know the essentials. Just keep the following principle in mind: The color-coding is key. The color scheme is going to match up between various manufacturers. So next time you see a manufacturer offer their red switch, you can expect its characteristics to be the same as the Cherry MX Red, with only some minor differences. We are talking 5% more force to press the switch, which is almost unrecognizable.
    That just about covers the finer details hidden under your keys. Keep an eye on out on Uplay for more info on all things hardware!

    @mattshotcha
    Community Manager
    Tom Clancy's The Division
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  2. #2
    Awesome, I've never really had a cherry mx keyboard, always used chiclet keyboard
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  3. #3

    Cherry MX Keys ,board design in general & Build More Razer Naga's!!!

    Hi,

    Thanks for your insight into the world of Cherry MX keys and Choosing such keys.

    As a writer and a gamer who not only needs those two functions combined in a keyboard but also i am a Right arm amputee, So i require a keyboards that is compact as possible without being ludicrously small.

    Ok, So for the past several years i have been running a low tech Logitech board which simply has the board painted UV Orange on the board itself, behind the Keys, which is just enough to separate the keys after dark with just the low light produced by my DELL Screen to give you a clear guide as too where your fingers lie on the boards at any one moment. This board was reliable and ample for me over the past decade. what i liked in particular was the almost smooth cobblestone of keys across the board, letting your fingers slide flom one key to another enabling swifter typing, Whilst in Gaming i could rest my finger simultaneously on the 'S' & 'Z' keys allowing me to move backwards while calling for my horse simultaneously , then mounting my horse seamlessly and thrashing off after whatever bandito Witcher of 'Witcher: the Wild Hunt' required me to venture off into. That Anti-Ghosting technology allows us to press more than one key at a time without one being cancelled out by the other, enabling such seemingly straightforward but previously impossible maneuvers as running whilst you mounts your faithful Steed !


    However , as new and Ever more demanding Open World RPG & Adventure games started to appear in the Fall of '16 (Fallout 4) and into '17 and now - All Hail the Techno-Verse - 2018 is here with Graphical updates to the all ready Awe-inspiringly Beautiful game that is UBISOFT Canada's 'Assassins Creed: Origin's.

    However, as AC:Origins was released my faithful old board was giving up the ghost, which made me re-examine the wide breadth of Keyboards that are available for purchase today. there are literally 1000's , 100's of which are supposedly aimed Directly at the 'Gamer' .

    I had a good read up , and sallied forth to buy a new keyboard that was as much a Writers Friend as a Gamer's grip on life n death ! ..

    The first board i purchased with Cherry MX Red keys, Out n Out gaming Keyboard: the Corsair Strafe.
    All Cherry MX red keys. RGB Lights, controllable in every aspect, from simple waves of colour rippling across the board, to the Almost Useful custom setup i settled on , in which the key you just hit remains lit for 0.5 seconds then fades over the following 1.5 secs. this is actually quite handy when typing at speed, late into the night, and if like me you have eye's flitting between screen and keyboard continuously, I occasionally question whether a key was most certainly hit. Ha! now, with 'Fading pressed keys' (my catchy macro nym!) you can now see you have not missed a single key! .. Amazing i hear you cry in unison, ..or not......

    That Keyboard cost over £100 , to be exact, it was £114:99 (now £82:49 on Amazon as of 23/01/18) --- However, the other thing that was a Long long way from my original board as far as swiftness of typing is concerned , Don't get me wrong, the Strafe deffo Does have that Mechanical Key Satisfaction, nice travel and sprung return, ... however the look and feel of this new era of 'Gaming' boards that embrace the MX key seems to have taken it on ,across the board, to Layout the physical nature and of almost all boards in this category with Keys that stand Fully Proud of the Board itself to the point you can see Air underneath the keys, so a lot of travel of the down stroke, which leaves the upstroke the same, whereas on boards that have the keys flush to each other , or flush to the outer architecture of the board, on these designs the travel on key return can be less - i realise this may sound a tad , well, irish, (that'd be my grandfather!) but if the keys have rounded edges and smoothed tops, as a typist you can slide from key to key effortlessly.
    However if the keyes all thand proud and individual, then i personally find my fingers catch keys and also press keys by mistake.

    I wanted a gaming keyboard with mechanical keys, especially for the additional 'Macro' keys available on some such keyboards.

    So, i packed away the Corsair Strafe, hoping i could trade it in return for a months mortgage , perhaps , or some such similar deal .. ok, or pile in shed until grandchildren age

    Next! - Was the Logitech G105 . On this board we are looking at a more traditional creature compared to the exoskeletal nature of the Strafe, also the keys are the traditional sprung variety , however this also comes with a Blue lighting setup which surrounds and quite annoyingly, radiates from within the keys too , this board was a much more civilian £46, and also features 6 x 3 Customisable Keys , Basically 6 keys, that can be set to be grouped under a further 3 head keys, thuis giving a potential of 18 preset gaming macros available from these keys.

    The macro i almost instantly started enjoying the benefits of, -- At this stage it seems pertinent that i let on my distinct gaming advantage over all you mere Humans and Multi-Dexters , I am a Right Arm Amputee, Yup, one of those few people who is Genuinely GUTTED (listening Razer!?) that you have ceased production of the - mechanically switched , here's to engineering! - Razer Naga Left Handed 12 button mouse ... I Literally could NOT game like all you guys without one . ....

    Ok, back to the Logitech G105 , dark blue lighting, flakey build quality, no MX Switching . It had to go... but i knew not what i was searching for , ... I just wanted something with the same smooth keytops as my long lost logitech cheapo board, those keys were so skiddy i typed like a demon, it had a truly decent sized shoulder on the 'Caps Lock' key to cut out those annoying and inadvertent key presses that result in entire paragraphs in Caps! ...

    But searching online it seems was quite futile, so my first tip here is that if you are searching in earnest for a tactile object such as a keyboard; Do it in the Real World! ...
    And so i did, and almost immediately i found, in the sales,a top o tha Range Logitech K800 , Which has a smooth bed of keys ergonomic to the finger touch, powered by a low energy battery that charges by USB, so i tend to keep mine charged, it also has a perfectly balanced pin-stripe of white light that surrounds all keys , and fades away after you stop typing but restores on 'near contact' , it has a wrist rest . it is, for me, in essence the Perfect Cherry MX switched Keyboard.

    So, what is the point of this tale of three keyboards?

    The bottomline is, Choose a keyboard you care about in the flesh, especially Cherry Keys/keyboards, as even buying a natty little 'key tester' doesn't guarantee you will end up with the same satisfaction on the board you buy. Also, some things you didnt think you cared to much about become deal breakers! .. All in All though, Cheery MX Keys, Tested to 5 million key presses , they are built to last even the most enthusiastic thumb slappin' typist or WASD Hammerin' Gamer ...many...many .. many .Years!

    thankyou . (i will find images asap)
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