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Five Mechanical-Switch Keyboards: Only The Best For Your Hands

Keys: Cherry MX Blue And Others

For Word Processors and Aficionados

Cherry MX Blue Switch

Switches:Tactile with a pronounced clicking pointSwitchover:Barely detectableDistance to actuation point2 mm from starting position4 mm HubClicking point:DetectableOperating force:50 g, typical for spring resistanceapproximately 60 g top value to overcome the switching pointSpec sheet:LinkSuitability and ApplicationThe Cherry MX Blues are very tactile switches, with a precise switching point that generates an audible, detectable click when the keys are struck. These switches are ideal for top-level word processors; they do have a slight disadvantage for the uninitiated seeking to produce multiple strikes on the same key. A relatively high noise level is another disadvantage. But once you get used to these keys, you'll never want to use any others. Rubber and plastic solutions simply can't compete. This is fatigue-free typing at the highest level; gaming is also possible, though the relatively small offset and hard, strong transitions can be somewhat problematic. But practice makes perfect.

This is the Ione X-Armor U9BL with illuminated Cherry MX Blue keys. It’s legendarily fast, but unfortunately also legendarily loud and expensive. Nevertheless, this is the first choice for writers and semi-professional gamers. This device is not (yet) available in some markets, despite a promising model run.

Other Mechanical Switches

Of course the world is not made of Cherry switches, so we want to mention some others for the sake of completeness. However, since these models are not currently popular or commercially available in many developed countries, we will not go into the same degree of detail.

Bent Spring

Topre (tactile-capable)

White Alps (Tactile and Click)

Black Alps (tactile-only)

 (Source: Cherry, Animation: "Lethal Squirrel" on geekhack.org)

  • "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."

    That's a bit ignorant, since you didn't test them. Try a Topre Realforce and tell me it's a gimmick.
    Reply
  • skaz
    Great write up! I have a tenkeyless Leopold cherry brown and love it.
    Reply
  • leather_daddy
    Where is the Filco Majestouch in the product list?
    Reply
  • steve11
    Poorly done overview. A lot of keyboard missing in action.
    Reply
  • stiehl
    Hmm looking at those keyboard's layouts make me wince. I don't think I could stand a huge enter key, a nonexistent "\", Y and Z being switched, and a funky shift key. I'm happy with my blank das keyboard, thank you very much.
    Reply
  • michaelahess
    I actually went away from mechanical keyboards about 7 years ago. I really prefer a solid rubber dome keyboard. I currently use a Logitech MX5500 for gaming and a Logitech Wave for typing. Never had any issues with either for their purposes. I do miss the tactile feel, but honestly the 5500 is a MUCH better gaming board, plus the noise doesn't drive me crazy.

    For all of you with exotic keyboards, you must be extra special picky ;) I type 110 wpm without error and have no trouble with the wave or 5500.
    Reply
  • Stardude82
    My Model M is too cool for this review.
    Reply
  • fakie
    wheres the das keyboard model s ultimate?
    Reply
  • mortsmi7
    I kind of wished they had compared them to some mainstream keyboards like the cheapy walmart logitech, dell keyboard, or ibm. Sure they work great, but compared to what. I'm not a fan of loud and clicky ibm, but thats as far as my interest in key-presses goes.

    I bought my G110 for the extra macro keys that I never use. In fact I use the onboard volume control more often.

    Reply
  • Where is the Model M? Is it too cool for this review?
    And it's "buckling spring", not "bent spring"
    Reply