Almost everywhere I read about them one of the selling points is the click sound. I hate that. I don't want my keyboard or mouse to make noise. Longevity has never been an issue either. Being a gamer and programmer, I've never worn out a membrane keyboard and I've had them for years. That said, I do agree membrane keyboards feel cheap. I just can't bring myself to spend $100 or more on something that is pure feeling.
The general impression I get is that they feel better, you type faster, and overall make the world a better place to live but I already do 80-90 WPM. Will one of these boost me well over 100? Are there any other features that make them "worth it?"
a keyboard, along with your mouse are you primary input devices. you want these devices to be as comfortable, easy and accurate to use as possible.
in your living room would you buy plastic furniture or a la-z-boy sofa? technically both solve the problem of sitting down but one obviously feels better and comes with more options. the one is quite a bit more expensive but most people make the purchase for that "pure feeling" upgrade. while not 100% the same, you get the idea.
you can get mechanical keyswitches:
-with or without tactile feedback.
-with or without auditory feedback.
-with or without key letoff
-in various resistances
-in low profile laptop swissor switch style
this means that you can get a keyboard which fits your exact purposes and preferences instead of using a generic keyboard.
in general the reason why you type faster and more accurately is because of high letoff and the smooth mechanical action. stiffer keys eliminate most accidental keypresses. tactile feedback and auditory feedback let your brain know you pressed the key correctly so that you can move on to the next key and after time also influences typing speed.
since most keycaps are removable on mechanical keyboards this means that you can clean them and in the case of non-sticker lettering throw them in the dishwasher. you can also clean inside the keyboard easier eliminating the common buildup of dead skin and other such gunk which accumulates.
by logevity they do not mean this keyboard will last you for a few years. they mean that this keyboard could last you for 10,20,30 years perhaps longer. i used to own a circa 1985 model m keyboard which worked fine despite its age. the keyswitches are also replaceable in case there ever was an issue. no rubber dome keyboard can say this. it could very well be the last keyboard you ever need to buy as long as you buy something reputable.
there is a reason why people who buy mechanical keyboards typically stay with mechanical keyboards from then on and why there is a cult following for many popular keyboard models.
now, what is the best of all mechanical keyboards?
without a single doubt the ibm model m. it is the best typing experience. period.
the only issue is that the key matrix has not been updated and it still offers only 2kro. you can buy new ones from unicomp for under $100 and they are very similar to the originals. however, since they are not modernized many other keyboards can also be recommended.
look at the things you buy in life. do you always buy the cheapest solution or do you buy what actually works best for you? a keyboard is the same way.
yes, a mechanical keyboard can help typing speed, accuracy and has a great feel. if you consider that some rubber dome keyboards can cost $60-80 then why is $100 such an obstacle considering the real benefits you can get?
of course this is just something to think about.
i'm not trying to lure to the dark side or anything.