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Updating Equipment: Mechanical Keyboards

I'd come up with a better title for this post, but really this is just a post to get comfortable with a new mechanical keyboard that features key switches I'm not used to. Therefore, we'll leave it as a simple title![1]

My everyday keyboards at work and at home are both Rosewill Apollos with Cherry MX Brown switches. I've beaten them up pretty well 'cause I enjoy them so much. My office one was (slightly) featured in an Instagram post from @awsdevelopers:

However, after taking a weeklong break to recover from sickness, I found it strangely hard to type when I returned to a keyboard. That is, the tactile bump that the switches are known for required ever so slightly too much force for me to type with. This brings you to today, where I'm researching linear switches, like the Cherry MX Red or the Kailh Burgundy.

Kailh Pro Burgundy switches, image courtesy of Mehkee.com. These are an option I may move to, not to be confused with the Cherry MX Brown switches I'm using now.

Instead of a bump, these switches are known for being smooth-travelling from the resting position all the way down to the depressed position, requiring comparatively less force per press. My knowledge beyond that into the world of mechanical keyboards is limited at best, so this week has proven to be a learning experience. On that note, and thanks to the incredible generosity of a newly-met coworker, I'll be trying out some linear switches on this compact MagicForce keyboard for the next few days, and will make a decision regarding my next keyboard based on the experience:

MagicForce 68-key. Already missing the Home and End keys over on the right, there.

I may yet take the opportunity to go to an 80% keyboard - meaning a keyboard without the tenkey on the right side. Having used one for all the time I've ever been at a computer, and recently finding it much more familiar to just use the numbers above the alpha keys, it makes more sense to get that extra little mouse pad space on the desk.

The ultimate goal is to have a keyboard with Cherry MX Red (or similar) switches for ease of typing, with a white keyboard case, red modifier keys and all-white alphanumeric keys. White backlighting is preferred but optional since I'm usually not looking at my keyboard, but instead pecking around on it. The most recent keyboard in the search history that fits the bill is the Ducky One 2 White Case TKL Double Shot PBT here:

Ducky One 2 White Case TKL Double Shot PBT

This story is to be continued! Before bookmarking our progress though, I'll make mention that @ballpointcarrot has been helpful, as he always is with nerdy knowledge dissemination, in navigating the myriad of options available in the world of mechanical keyboards.

This post has a follow-up post talking about the keyboard I settled on.

  1. It is entirely possible that I was motivated in part to make this post specifically to break the habit of having "machine learning" or "ML" in every blog post title. But hey, when you enjoy something, that kind of thing tends to happen! ↩︎