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Mechanical Keyboards: BlackWidow, Osmium, G710+

Results: Noise Level

Noise pollution is a big problem these days, it can a major drain on your concentration, and ultimately your productivity throughout the day. One of the bigger drawbacks of mechanical keyboards is, of course, the noise. Many boards will produce 50dB or more - about the same volume as a quite conversation. While the harsh clickity-clack of a typewriter might be largely a thing of the past, the resurgence of mechanical keyboards hasn’t been a welcome development for those that crave peace and quiet. Then again, if you’re anything like us, you may just appreciate the aesthetic and nostalgic qualities of a mechanical keyboard's cacophony.

Nevertheless, given that noise is one of the biggest negatives of mechanical boards, we decided to take some readings. Noise levels are tested by positioning a microphone six inches from the keyboard. We then type through the first several paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum. Our recordings are analyzed using the free and open source Audacity sound editor application.

Each of these boards uses a different switch type, and therefore sounds a bit different. However, the Logitech G710+ also sports sound-dampening O-rings on the keys. While this test shows that the keyboard is a far cry from the company's claim of “whisper-quiet”, it’s still measurably better than the other two boards. 

The Razer BlackWidow, using the Cherry MX blue “clicky” keys is, as you might expect, the loudest of the three. The volume is a bit obnoxious and comes in at about the same as a normal conversation in a crowded restaurant. If you really need auditory feedback, then maybe this a plus, but for most people, this would be unnecessarily loud.