Mechanical VS Membrane: The Best Keyboards for Gamers
Having a sturdy and comfortable keyboard that feels good under your fingers is essential, whether you’re an avid gamer, an enthusiastic programmer, or just someone who types on a computer a lot.
The choice between these two of the best keyboards has been hotly contested for many years, but it’s not as straightforward as you might think. When deciding between mechanical keyboards vs membrane keyboards, there are numerous factors to take into account, such as cost, durability, size, and more.
The differences between mechanical and membrane keyboards, their advantages and disadvantages, the best keyboard for gamers and the factors you should take into account before buying will all be covered in this article.
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
You’re not the only one who hasn’t heard of mechanical keyboards. The enjoyment of a mechanical keyboard is not limited to keyboard enthusiasts; it is a growing interest.
The traditional type of keyboard, mechanical keyboards has been used for many years. They are mechanical because tactile and auditory feedback is produced by mechanical switches, which may be made of metal or rubber domes submerged in a sealed chamber.
The role of switches in Mechanical Keyboards
The key switches on mechanical keyboards are spring-activated, which is what gives these keyboards their mechanical nature. The only notable distinction between membrane and mechanical keyboards is this one. The type of switch used in the board greatly affects factors like typing experience, feel, comfort, performance, etc.
Linear, tactile, and clicky switches are the three main categories of switches.
- Gamers favour linear (red and black) switches because they are the quietest and most responsive of all the switches.
- As implied by the name, tactile (brown switches) have a tactile bump that may be felt when a key is pressed.
- As the name implies, clicky (blue) switches are loud and make a clicking sound when activated.
Pros of Mechanical Keyboards
The advantages of mechanical keyboards are listed below.
They are made to withstand between 30 and 70 million keystrokes and are extremely durable. Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, will stop working after 5 million presses.
- N Key Rollover
A user can register N keys at once thanks to independent switches for each key. The crucial aspect is that the feedback is not at all compromised.
Since the keycaps are easily removable, mechanical keyboards can be completely customised. The keycaps can be changed to display your favourite emoji, avatar, etc.
- Amazing Feedback
For serious gamers and expert programmers, a mechanical keyboard’s tactile feedback and responsiveness are very helpful.
Cons of Mechanical Keyboards
Even though they are wonderful inventions, nothing is ever completely perfect. Here are a few of the disadvantages.
- Comparatively Noisy
Comparatively speaking to the other two types, boards with clicky switches are noisier.
- Not Portable
They weigh significantly more than membrane keyboards. Therefore, portability should be taken into account.
Although they are expensive, the value they offer in terms of quality, durability, and user experience justifies the cost.
What are Membrane Keyboards?
About 90% of desktop and laptop users utilise a membrane keyboard as their input device, despite the fact that they were developed much later than the first commercially available mechanical board.
Their incredible versatility is largely due to their affordability.
They lack switches, unlike mechanical keyboards, and instead have a flexible three-layered construction with a single integrated circuit. A membrane makes up the first and third layers, and a conductive trace is present in the middle layer. The signal is carried by the trace, which also provides feedback.
Types of Membrane Designs
There are primarily two types of membrane keyboard layouts. Let’s talk about each separately.
- Flat Membrane Keyboards
These flat, basic keyboards are typically found on appliances like microwaves and printers. Additionally, each key has a pressure pad, but it doesn’t offer tactile feedback. They are not used as computer keyboards because there is no feedback.
- Dome Switch Membrane Keyboards
This type of keyboard uses a dome with printed letters on the first layer, as the name would imply. The letters on modern keyboards are laser-carved, which keeps them from quickly fading away.
Your laptop’s standard keyboard is a dome switch.
Pros of Membrane Keyboards
If choosing between a mechanical and a membrane keyboard, take into account these advantages of the latter:
- Relatively Quiet
Keypresses on membrane keyboards are noticeably quieter than those on mechanical ones.
Most membrane keyboards are lightweight. As a result, they offer the portability feature that mechanical lacks. These portable keyboards can be used for remote work while travelling.
Their affordability is the main factor in their popularity, as was already mentioned. However, there is a quality compromise.
Cons of Membrane Keyboards
A membrane keyboard has a number of drawbacks, such as:
This category of peripherals has a noticeably shorter lifespan, as was already mentioned. Additionally, it has a lifetime capacity of about 5 million key registrations.
- No Key Rollover
Because their boards lack independent switches under each key, mechanical keyboards cannot register multiple key presses at once.
- Less Precision
This accessory has less precision than mechanical keyboards because of a unified circuit beneath the layers and relatively more actuation pressure.
- Hard to clean and customize
The rubber dome keycaps cannot be removed, which makes cleaning more difficult. In addition, keycaps cannot be changed or customized.
Mechanical vs membrane keyboard: which one is better?
The answer to this query is wholly arbitrary. Depending on who you ask, the keyboards themselves are both ergonomically constructed, equally efficient, and capable of typing at a similar speed.
Key rollover, a feature that distinguishes mechanical keyboards from membrane keyboards, is one of their main advantages. Since mechanical keys are individually activated, the user is able to register numerous keypresses simultaneously. There is a chance for “missed” key presses because a membrane keyboard can only register one keypress at a time (which can be catastrophic for gamers).
Because of this, mechanical keyboards are quickly gaining popularity among gamers due to its flexibility, customizability, tactile feedback, and capacity to register several keypresses simultaneously.
However, membrane keyboards are far lighter than mechanical keyboards, can be produced in portable sizes, and are typically cheaper. A membrane keyboard is perhaps the best option if you frequently travel or enjoy playing games on the fly.
There’s no denying that a good keyboard can make or break your success and enjoyment of gaming. For some keyboard enthusiasts, having such strong preferences for one type of keyboard over another may seem absurd. Having the best tools for your gaming style is crucial to your success, especially in more competitive settings where every millisecond counts.