There are certain words, phrases and acronyms used by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts that will leave the average person who’s unfamiliar with the subject scratching their head. As with most hobbies, the terminology can be confusing and it continues to evolve as the hobby grows. The purpose of this glossary is to provide a quick, easy way to find definitions for the terms you don’t know and expand your mechanical keyboard vocabulary. Continue reading
I recently bought the new RGB version of the popular Redragon USAS K553 mechanical keyboard for testing and review purposes (look for that in a couple weeks). I connected it to my Windows 10 machine and watched as the LED lights went through a “boot up” pattern. I opened up Firefox and tried typing a URL. Nothing happened. I pressed down the Windows key. Nothing. Uh-oh. Not a single key on the keyboard would input a character once pressed. Was my shiny new mech dead on arrival? Read on to find out. Continue reading
Break out your soldering iron, the MiniVan kit is back on Massdrop. The MiniVan is a 40% fully programmable (all keys) mechanical keyboard with staggered keys. The full kit includes a CNC milled aluminum case and mount plate, PCB, Cherry stabs, cone shaped feet, 46 switches in your brand of choice (Cherry MX, Gateron, Zealios or Matias), MX compatible PBT keycaps (laser etched legends or blank) and a detachable Mini USB cable. Continue reading
There are two primary types of keycap puller tools used in the removal and replacement of keycaps from a mechanical keyboard. The wire type, which is constructed from two thin metal wires attached to some sort of handle. The other is known as a plastic ring; a simple design with a ring shape and two prongs molded into a single plastic piece. Plastic ring pullers are commonly bundled with mechanical keyboards. Which of these keycap removal tools is better at its job? That’s what we’re discussing today. Continue reading
Mechanical or rubber dome? They’re actually a little of both. Topre produces a electrostatic capacitive switch (key actuation is signaled electrically) that many users consider a hybrid between rubber dome and mechanical switches. Others simply aren’t willing to label them as mechanical because they make use of a rubber dome. Let’s discuss a few key facts about Topre switches and you can form your own opinion. Continue reading
Up for review today is one of the best budget mechanical keyboards money can buy. Starting at $40, the Qisan Magicforce 68 is a compact 65% keyboard comparable to boards costing two or three times its asking price. However, the model being examined now is the slightly more premium version, which adds a white backlight and genuine Cherry MX (Brown in this example) switches. The cheaper model uses MX clones.
The premium version, while not quite as budget friendly as the $40 basic model, is still a good value at the current price range of $60-$70; especially if you value genuine Cherry MX switches over the various clones. Is it worth the extra $30 over the non-backlit version with “inferior” switches? Read on to see the results. Continue reading
The buckling spring keyboard was invented by Richard Hunter Harris and later patented in 1977 by IBM. Its name actually derives from how the physical mechanism works when actuating a key, with a spring being put under pressure and “buckling” between the keycap and a pivoting hammer, creating a distinct mechanical auditory feedback.
The buckling spring switch design has undergone several revisions to reach its current form. Initially, it was hard to predict the direction the spring would bend in as it’s attached to the key at only two points of contact. If the spring were to bend in the wrong direction no contact would be made and the circuit wouldn’t complete. Continue reading
Although original ALPS switches are no longer manufactured, the clone ALPS created by Matias stay true to the originals. What makes ALPS so different is their tactile feeling and the distinct “click” sound that they make. This is especially true for the ALPS spring switch.
They were first introduced in 1983 and today Matias offers three versions of ALPS-type switches. They are the quiet click, click, and quiet linear switches. Each has its own benefits and specific uses. Continue reading
Hardcore PC gamers take their keyboard seriously. When milliseconds are the difference between winning and losing a responsive mech can give you that slight edge over your opponent. For years the original RK-9000 was the benchmark for Rosewill mechanical gaming keyboards.
That said, the previous version had it’s flaws; primarily a mini USB port that was prone to failure if presented with too much pressure from external forces. Fixing that problem while implementing a few other small changes was Rosewill’s goal with the updated version, model RK-9000V2. Continue reading
Custom keycaps and aftermarket key sets are a fun and easy way to customize your keyboard. Most mechanical keyboards have keycaps that can be removed with a simple keycap puller tool. But Why would you want to replace your keycaps anyway? Lots of reasons.
Eventually keycaps made of cheaper materials will begin to wear out. This usually involves yellowing, losing their texture and having the legends fade or even completely disappear. Mechanical keyboards are generally very sturdy, but the keycaps will endure heavy abuse over the years. Just because the keycaps have outlived their effectiveness doesn’t mean the keyboard is ruined. Continue reading