First things first. All of the keyboards tested are excellent, which reflects on the generally high-end nature of this niche. We didn't encounter any build quality-oriented issues among the test candidates, and they not only met, but routinely exceeded our expectations. This shows, on one hand, the investment made in developing these keyboards and the attention to detail. On the other hand, it showcases the consistent quality of Cherry's switches, regardless of their color and the devices into which they are integrated.
Which keyboard is the best?
The answer isn’t easy. All of them are great and none of them are best. We deliberately tested keyboards with three types of switches and came to the conclusion that each version is best suited to certain applications.
However, we must emphasize that there is no single genre for which any one of these keyboards would be completely unsuitable. All of these devices teeter between "very good" and "excellent," and accordingly all of our complaints are extremely picky. In addition, one must allow for a user's subjective preferences, especially on a device as personal as a keyboard. Just as hands and fingers are different from one enthusiast to another, the reaction of users to these keyboards could range from good to euphoric.
The fact, in our view, is that all of these switches are significantly superior to the usual rubber domes. This applies to the product's life cycle and the experience you have using it. You will find keyboards even pricier than these, but that's a consequence of built-in special functions and gimmicks, not better quality or suitability.
Do you need PS/2 or is USB good enough?
Theoretically, you should go for PS/2 if it's available. But you really have to be a turbo-typer to notice a difference. And still you would only perceive it in very few exceptional situations. If your PC doesn't have a PS/2 port, it's unlikely that you'll miss out on anything here. Go ahead and use it though, if that'll put your mind at ease. Certain differences can be measured, but not felt.
Why no clear winner?
Quite simply because there are no losers. Each keyboard has its own specific advantages and appeals to its own target audience. And whether illuminated or not, heavy or light, all have tiny advantages and disadvantages.
Whether the user is a tactile light-typer or a heavy-handed key-pounder, we're sure that there's something for everyone represented here. All the keyboards tested performed at almost the same level, regardless of price: a rare enough result for a roundup. If you're playing with the idea of typing and gaming mechanically in the future, you can pick up any one of these models with a clear conscience. You certainly won't regret it.
- Keyboards 101
- Keys: Cherry MX Black And MX Red
- Keys: Cherry MB Brown And MX Clear
- Keys: Cherry MX Blue And Others
- PS/2 Or USB?
- Anti-Ghosting Demystified
- Test System And The Five Candidates
- SteelSeries 6Gv2: Speeds And Feeds
- SteelSeries 6Gv2: Test
- Ione X-Armor U9BL: Speeds And Feeds
- Ione X-Armor U9BL: Test
- Ione X-Armor U27 Wireless: Speeds And Feeds
- Ione X-Armor U27 Wireless: Test
- Zowie Celeritas: Speeds And Feeds
- Zowie Celeritas: Test
- Razer BlackWidow Ultimate: Speeds And Feeds
- Razer BlackWidow Ultimate: Test
- Summary And Recommendation