Is Your Mechanical Keyboard A Lie!
So in front of me are keyboards with MX Brown switches, and this is an idea that really popped into our head because we’ve gone through many keyboards since our visit to Computex. That trip really opened our eyes about the variety of keyboards, and apparently the variety of MX Cherry switches, not just from Reds to Browns to Blues, but also differences between the same model of switch. The Brown switches on all these keyboards feel completely different, and this is something that me and the guys want to talk about and see if this is something that other people experienced too. So let’s analyze.
So today we are going to be testing three keyboards. The first is the Ducky One 2 Mini, which is one of the latest additions to my collection. It’s my first 60% keyboard, and I absolutely love that thing. Next we have the Cooler Master MK730 TKL version and the HyperX Alloy FPS full-sized boards, all with MX Brown switches. So I really want to get the guys opinion about these switches as well, both in terms of how they feel and the actual tactility of that point in the middle. The MX Browns have a slight tactile point, they’re not exactly like Blue, which has a hard tactile point and you know exactly when that actuation happens. Here the tactile point is much softer in comparison to the Blues, but it’s so strange typing on one versus the other and having that tactile point be completely different since it almost feels like it’s a completely different switch.
So let’s begin with the Ducky. It has very smooth actuation, beautiful spring feedback the tactile point is soft and lovely, but also not as pronounced as what I’ve gotten accustomed to when it comes to Brown switches.
The Cooler Master keyboard, this is kind of what I’ve come to accept as the Brown switch. An almost hard tactile point, but much softer versus the MX Blue.
Finally, there’s the HyperX Alloy which is something in the middle. It has a tactile point, you can obviously feel it once you slowly actuate the point when you press the key down, but it’s definitely softer than the Cooler Master, but it’s not as soft and smooth as the Ducky.
And that is another characteristic that is totally different between the three keyboards. The actual smoothness of the travel of the switch and that could be maybe related to the key caps but unlikely. It that could be related to the spring, which is most likely what’s happening because on the Cooler Master keyboards you can almost hear the spring bending, and it’s not really pleasant. The Ducky is super smooth and the HyperX is smoother than the Cooler Master.
So I need to get the guys in here and hear their opinion. Which one felt the best to you?
Eber: Honestly, this is not the first time that I’ve tried these keyboards, but having switched between the three of them constantly, I can comfortably say that I’m leaning towards the Ducky. The switches feel a lot smoother, lighter and quieter, which is something that I’m appreciating a lot more these days, just because you know I like those characteristics more than something that hits a metallic surface and gives you that metallic sound that can be unpleasant.
Mike: First of all, I love the Ducky for typing because of its compactness and the fact that whenever you press the key, the actuation is clean and it’s not muddy in any way. You can actually feel that actuation point. On the other hand, I wouldn’t use either these other two keyboards for typing, not only because the space bar is absolutely terrible. It doesn’t sound good, but also because there there’s some resistance in there in their actuation. It almost feels like there’s something grinding inside the keyboard past that tactile point.
Which One is Best?
So between the three, which one gives you the most tactile points?
Mike: So I actually liked the Ducky the most because I think it’s the purest implementation of MX Brown, of the way I think Brown switches should feel. Like I said before, it’s a clean tactile point, and throughout the whole range it’s very, very smooth. Whereas the other keyboards, they don’t feel quite like Browns. We actually talked to Ducky during Computex, and they were saying that in a lot of cases they’re actually binning their switches and rejecting quite a few from the Cherry factory. Whereas I’m not 100% sure on HyperX and Cooler Master, but it’s something to take into account. So maybe according to Ducky, this is the way that Browns are supposed to feel. Whereas in Cooler Master and HyperX’s cases, maybe they have a different thought of how Brown switches should feel on their implementation.
Eber: I would say the Cooler Master takes the first place in terms of giving you that tactile point, because as you’re hitting the key the tactical points are very sharp compared to the HyperX, which is a little less sharp, and then the Ducky is very soft.
So as a consumer, how would you feel getting a keyboard and then spending so much money on it, but also not really receiving the best quality switch possible?
Mike: I might, I might have to sort of like shoot you down a little bit on that one because I don’t know if one is of lesser quality. A consumer who’s most of the time not going to have a Ducky in front of them and, and a HyperX, and a Cooler Master. What they would usually do is they would maybe try one of these at the store or maybe buy it online and you would feel the key feedback and you would think that this is the best implementation of Brown that you could possibly get. And all the other Brown switches are the same because you’ve all heard those typing tests online from keyboard testers. But there’s a lot more going on here than just typing on a keyboard tester. Would I feel cheated or anything else? I don’t think so, because I feel like all of these keyboards have qualities that I would want. On the other hand, because I’m more of a typist rather than a hardcore FPS Gamer, I think what I would want is the Ducky, but I would be very, very happy with potentially either of these other keyboards if I didn’t know the other one existed.
And so now that you’ve heard the sound test, could you pick out any minute differences in the spring actuation in the tactile point? Obviously you can’t hear the tactile point and obviously the PBT key caps versus ABS versus, steel frame versus plastic frame, all contribute to different sort of acoustic properties regarding how the keys bottom out and that whole sound test. But if you’ve ever experienced multiple keyboards with the same switch, have you encountered that type of variability that is so bizarre. And another thing I would like to mention is the quality of the stabilizers for the longer keys, like the space bar, the backspace, the enter keys, all of these exhibit totally different behavior and how not only how they sound but how they feel when they bottom out and travel down. So that is another important point that ties into the whole feeling of the keyboard.
Like Mike said, and I’m Ducky all the way since that thing feels premium. So all these keyboards are around the $100 mark, which is pretty good, but again the variability is kind of shocking. Now there aren’t really any conclusions because we don’t have a very big sample size. It would be great to have five of each keyboard to test out to see how they feel and also particular categories of switches. However, it’s also important to mention that we’ve tested multiple speed switches, which all have slightly different variations in how they feel as well, and the same thing with red switches. But I want to emphasize that depending on how many sound keyboard tests you hear on YouTube, even from our own reviews. If you have a chance to go to a store try them out and see how they feel exactly, and if you like them then that’s the switch for you. You just have to face the fact that it’s probably going to be different versus another keyboard that has the exact same model of the switch. It is very interesting to have such variability between the three keyboards. It’s such a small sample size, but I mean just treat it as a public service announcement.