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How We Test Mechanical Keyboards

Introduction

Testing mechanical keyboards is unlike testing so many of the other products we review. Typically, we perform extensive benchmark testing, churning out a small mountain (sometimes a large mountain) of objective data that we scrutinize and analyze in depth. With keyboards, though, there is unfortunately only so much in the way of objective testing that one can perform.

Even so, any objective tests you can run on a keyboard are really not about the keyboard - they're about the switches. There are scads of mechanical keyboards on the market (and more coming constantly), but there are only so many brands and types of switches. And unlike, for example, graphics cards, switch makers are not consistently producing updated switch technology. In the tech world, in fact, switch technology is comparatively static.

Further, from keyboard to keyboard, there is little a given manufacturer can do to affect a switch's performance. The switches come in batches from switch makers, and keyboard OEMs mount them onto PCBs and do not have the ability to alter them.

Therefore, there is little objective testing--at least in the way we're accustomed to reviewing products--to be done on mechanical keyboards. That's not to say we can't evaluate them; it just means that how we do it is a different beast.

We have, though, developed a procedure for testing mechanical keyboard switches, which you can read about in detail here.


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