Membrane keyboards are not the only option for typers or gamers, and to debate whether a membrane keyboard is suited for this job, we have to mention both in this article. It feels like everybody’s got a mechanical keyboard nowadays. But why? When choosing a keyboard, we have always had two options; one is a membrane keyboard which is the quieter one, and the other is a mechanical keyboard; the noisy, clunky one. Both send your keystrokes as inputs for the computer to process, but they do so in different ways.
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A membrane keyboard has exactly that of a membrane. Each key lies over a different part of a three-layer two membrane that is pressure-sensitive. If you apply pressure by pressing a key in a specific area, it registers as a keystroke.
A mechanical keyboard meanwhile uses an individual switch for each key. Once you press down far enough and engage the switch on a key, it registers as a keystroke.
Well, let me tell you one part is the kind of feel you are going for. Mechanical keyboards give you clear feedback from pressing the switch to the key springing back almost like using a typewriter. Contrast this with a membrane keyboard which is softer to engage and not as noisy.
The biggest difference for typists or gamers however is how multiple keystrokes are handled. In activities that demand very high action typing each keystroke is life or death. Mechanical keyboards shine here because each key is engaged and registered individually. When you press keys nearly simultaneously, they are still registered in the correct order.
Membrane keyboards have had a lot of problems with simultaneous key input or rollover as it is called as they are built with many pressure pads on one membrane. If you press many keys at once or try to type very fast some keystrokes wouldn’t be registered.
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The other big distinction is wear and tear. So your most commonly used keys like the spacebar will need a lot more pressure to register than something like the tilde. As well once a key dies, it can be a very involved task to replace especially if the membrane is affected. Meanwhile, in a mechanical keyboard, keys are built to last more than ten times as long as in a membrane; the space key works exactly the same on the first day you use it as on the hundred. When a key goes, just take it out and pop in a new one, and you are good to go.
Mechanical keyboards have been favored by typing enthusiasts throughout history. Look no further than the grandfather of modern keyboards, a typewriter; each key was independent of the other. Throughout the late 1800s and mid-1900s, typewriters were the way to go. If you are old enough you can still hear that loud clicking sound as clear as day.
It wasn’t until the 90s that membrane keyboards started gaining popularity; they were quieter, lighter and more streamlined. These keyboards were perfect for the new laptop generation of computers and even pcs were more marketable with less clunky accessories. Newer membrane keyboards have improved a lot with longer lifespans and far more impressive rollover. But mechanical keyboards are still the go-to for demanding keyboard use such as gaming or typing.
Personally, as loud as the noise on a mechanical keyboard can be, nothing is more annoying than missing keys on a membrane keyboard because you didn’t press hard enough. All of a sudden missing spaces, missing caps, and typing; it is unbearable. That is it for keyboards, and hopefully, this article will help you figure out if a membrane keyboard is suited for typing.