Keyboard showdown: Membrane vs Mechanical.

There are many types of keyboards available in the market like Flexible keyboards, Gaming keyboards, Wireless keyboards, Membrane keyboards, Mechanical keyboards, Virtual keyboards, and more.

The casual computer user might think that all keyboards are the same. They may even be forgiven for thinking that – after all, the casual computer user might only write a few emails and perform a few Google searches a day. But for the hardcore gamer, however, keyboard choice is far more crucial. Having the right keyboard is about tactile feel and feedback. It is about elevating your gaming (and general computing) experience to the next level. It is about having a keyboard that feels right in your hands, that enables you to perform at your best. 

So in this Keyboard Showdown, we compared Key differences between the membrane and mechanical keyboards. Deciding which type is right for you depends on several factors. After all, you may have spent countless hours and dollars researching the best computer parts to buy – it pays to think about how you’ll be interacting with your new build too!.

Membrane Keyboard

Membrane Keyboard
Membrane Keyboard

A Membrane keyboard has a membrane where each key lies on the different parts of a three-layered membrane that are pressure sensitive. If you apply pressure by pressing the key in the specific area, it registers as a keystroke.

It has a circuit covered by a layer of rubber and above that, we have buttons or keys which can be seen on the keyboard. When you press any button, it forces the rubber layer below it, which is further attached to the circuit. When the rubber layer presses the circuit, the circuit sends the information to the CPU. Then, CPU shows the output on the screen.

The keys have to be pressed very hard so that the rubber layer can touch the circuit. For example, Magnavox Odyssey2 and Sinclair ZX80 & ZX81 computers.

Mechanical Keyboard
Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical Keyboard

It was introduced in early 2000. A mechanical keyboard uses an individual switch for each key. Once you press the key down far enough and engage the switch on the key, it registers as a keystroke.

It has a mechanism for working. It does not have a layer of a rubber-like membrane keyboard. When you press the key, it has a mechanism on its side. When they both collide with each other, the circuit sends the information to the CPU which further shows the output on the screen.

The keys can be pressed even gently, the mechanism in it will automatically detect. For example, Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT, SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL, and more.

Various mechanical keys can be seen in many keyboards- Cherry MX.
The cherry MX keys are made with different names, colors and all the specifications are different from each other. The basic colors in cherry MX are red, brown, blue. With these colors, one can differentiate between the keyboards and their specifications and how they work.
When you press blue cherry MX, they produce a sound of a mouse when clicked and can listen very easily. Brown cherry MX does not produce any clickable sound. Red cherry MX does have a clickable sound but not like the sound of cherry MX blue. Cherry MX red is made for singular smooth linear motion.

Key differences between the membrane and mechanical keyboards.

Membrane keyboards are the more common of the two. With membrane keyboards, a thin membrane presses on a circuit layer, that registers the key pressed. They are lighter, generally more portable, cheaper, and quieter than their mechanical counterparts.
Key downsides of membrane keyboards include their tendency towards a “mushy” key feel, a shorter lifespan, as well as an increased difficulty to clean. Lastly is the inability to allow “key rollover”. With a membrane keyboard, you can only actually register one keystroke in a single moment. This means you may get moments when the key you press does not register. Whether you are gaming or typing, this can be a significant disadvantage.

Mechanical keyboards are notable for their distinct key feel. Mechanical keyboards provide much more direct feedback to the user. While a membrane keycap presses down on a thin membrane layer, to a conductive circuit underneath, a mechanical keyboard has spring-loaded switches instead. These register the key pressed – often with a distinct click, unique to mechanical keyboards. A unique element is their use of spring-loaded switches – these come in several different feels.

The main trinity of switch types is linear, where the keystroke is smooth; tactile, where a bump in the middle of travel provides feedback; or clicky, which provides crisp aural feedback. A couple of lesser-known switch types are speedy, where the key actuates as quickly as possible, and the silent, where the key switch makes minimal aural feedback. Switches can also be found in the low profile form, makings for a slimmer keyboard and shorter key travel.

Recently there have been some advances in key technology. Razer has created optical switches with very low actuation times using a light beam below the switch stem. SteelSeries response is their OmniPoint switch which can be configured to actuate at different actuation points.

The other key difference between mechanical and membrane keyboards is customization. Mechanical keyboards allow you to change the keycaps – therefore radically altering the look and feel of your keyboard. There is no shortage of keycaps on the internet, meaning the opportunity to customize allows you to set up your keyboard exactly how you want it. If you are interested in the custom keycaps, have a look at the photos from our Mechanical Keyboard Mini-meet we hosted in our showroom.

Membrane KeyboardMechanical Keyboard
It has a rubber layered systemIt has a mechanical mechanism for keypress.
Pressing the key forces the rubber layer to touch the circuit.Pressing the key touches with the mechanism on its side, which is read by the circuit.
The keys have to be pressed very hard to tell the circuit which key is pressed.The key can be pressed gently, and it will work properly.
It is economical.It is expensive.
It does not produce sound while clicking the keys.It does produce a sound on clicking.

So this is all you need to understand between the Membrane Keyboard and the Mechanical Keyboard. Hope you like this article.

Pick keyboard wisely.

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