Tag Archives: Mechanical Keyboard

Why You Should Get a Mechanical Keyboard

I’ve now written three reviews of mechanical keyboards. There was my first (and the one I’m typing on right now), a CM Storm QuickFire Rapid, a Rosewill 9000V2, and, most recently, a Vortex Race 3. Each keyboard was different. One without a number pad, one with a number pad, and one that pushed all the keys into a compact package. Each one had a different switch type, a different sound and feel. But all of them had one thing in common: I loved them all. Typing on any one of these keyboards is wonderful. Sure, my Rosewill 9000v2 was a bit too large for my desk at work, that’s why I replaced it with the compact Vortex Race 3. My CM Storm is way too loud for the office, even when I don’t bottom out the keys, so it stays here at home, with me. The Race 3 has its flaws, but it’s still my favorite keyboard. Regardless, they’re all great for their own reasons, in their own ways.

Mechanical keyboards cost a bit more than standard keyboards, and they’re often wired, instead of wireless. Still, they’re the best keyboards you can get your hands on. For only a slightly higher price (you can find half decent mechanical keyboards for under $50), you can get a keyboard you’re going to love, and one that’s going to last you a long time. Let me tell you how.

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Vortex Race 3 Mechanical Keyboard Review

I love a good keyboard. I’m a software developer, and, if you’re reading this, you’ve surely figured it out by now, I’m a writer as well. I spend a lot of time typing. I own two different mechanical keyboards, and have a third one at work, each one completely different, and each one worth the admittedly higher price of a mechanical keyboard, by far. If you’re a professional, you use the best equipment. You won’t see a professional race car driver daily driving a 1999 Honda Odysey minivan. You won’t find a DJ spinning tracks with a Zune and some cheap included earbuds. A calligrapher isn’t going to be caught dead with a cheap plastic Bic. A world renown sushi cheff won’t waste their time with plastic butter knives. If you spend any time on a keyboard, you shouldn’t let yourself get caught dead with some lousy membrane or chicklet style keyboard. You’ve got to grace your fingers with a sweet, comfortable, repetitive stress injury-dodging, clicky, glorious mechanical keyboard. This is how the gods wanted you to type. I type this from my latest keyboard purchase (not counting the sweet translucent DSA keycaps I just bought for a future build) is the Vortex Race 3 mechanical keyboard. It’s a 75% keyboard, which means it doesn’t have a number pad, and condenses the Home, Page Up, Page Down, End, and arrow keys into the standard alphanumeric keys, modifiers, and F keys that you’ve become accustom to. It’s a great way to get the standard keyboard experience in a more compact package, leaving you more space on your desk and requiring you to move your hand less to reach your mouse or trackpad. You can get it in a variety of switches, all Cherry MX. Vortex has the Blues, Reds, Browns, Silvers, Blacks, and even Clears (the one I got) available for this keyboard. If none of that made sense to you, check out Lifehacker’s writeup of some of the most popular key switches from Cherry. Basically put, each key switch has a different sound and feel. and this keyboard has some of the most popular options.

The Vortex Race 3 is my favorite keyboard, yet it’s not without an extremely long list of flaws. It’s a conflicted board, to be sure, but why that is, you’ll have to read below.

 

Pros Cons
Gorgeous keyboard with old-school charm No macOS firmware updater, but macOS support and keys
Amazing typing feel Strange size for Escape and Delete keys, making customization tricky
Solid construction Key caps tight on the switches, hard to swap out key caps
Fantastic key caps Hard to find documentation and instructions

Read MUCH more about this intriguing keyboard below!

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Razer Released a Mechanical Keyboard Case for the 12.9″ iPad Pro, and It’s Actually Good

razerHeroI’m a bit of a keyboard snob. I worked tirelessly for a few months on an Apple keyboard before going crazy and getting a mechanical keyboard for the office. I went with Cherry MX Browns at work, which are housed in a Rosewill 9000v2 keyboard that I called “typing bliss” in a review. I’m currently typing on a CM Storm QuickFire with Cherry MX Blue key switches; it too is typing bliss. Sure, I had a coworker ask if I could type more quietly at work, (I added dampeners to each key to make it much quieter), and sure, I had a friend once ask me to stop typing because he couldn’t hear my TV (I turned the TV up), but these wonderful mechanical keyboards are worth the fact that they’re expensive, bulky, and loud, because typing on them just feels so good. When you type, literally, tens of thousands of letters each day, you begin to think about the keys that make words and code on the screen, and going back to non-mechanical keyboards is just sad. Unfortunately, at home, when writing for this blog, I don’t get to use one of my amazing mechanical keyboards too often, because I enjoy writing on my iPad from my couch. I could hook up my keyboard to my iPad through USB, but I’d definitely have to put it down on my coffee table and sit awkwardly on my couch, and in that scenario, it would be a much better idea to just write at my desk… in the same room. (Hey, this is New York, a living room is also an office, kitchen, bed room, and bathroom. Oh… it’s not a bathroom? Whoops.)

firstRazer heard the cry of the dozens of people just like me, people who do work on their iPads and prefer mechanical keyboards because they’re hundreds of times better for writing. They released the Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case for the 12.9″ iPad Pro. It’s a keyboard case that includes their own, in-house designed low profile mechanical keys. The end result is a mechanical keyboard with the key travel of a standard laptop keyboard, but the satisfying click and springy feeling of a mechanical keyboard. Though it’s smaller and slimmer than any other mechanical keyboard, it still carries some issues. Reviewers have had their hands on it for long enough to post their own reviews, and while it comes with a long list of unique problems, it’s still, apparently, an amazing keyboard case for the iPad Pro. Best of all, it still costs less than Apple’s offering. But, unless it costs an arm and a leg, that’s not too hard, is it?
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Rosewill 9000V2 Review

71wuaNfoFqL._SL1500_I like my job. I mean, I hate waking up early in the mornings, and Mondays are the worst thing ever, but I do like my job. Lately, I’ve been looking forward to writing software at work. Not just creating software, but actually writing it, with my fingers, on my keyboard, the physical act of typing. At work, I get to grace my fingers with the wonders of my new mechanical keyboard, a Rosewill RK-9000V2 with Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches. It’s typing bliss, much like my CM Rapidfire, but with different (thankfully quieter) switches, a number pad, and a lack of focus, straddling the line between a perfect typist’s keyboard and a perfect gamer’s keyboard. In that way, it’s great for both but perfect for neither, but it performs beautifully for each use case.

I’ve been typing on the Rosewill keyboard for a little over a week now, which is more than enough time for me to decide how I feel about it. You can choose different switches for it, so I was able to, for the first time, experience the less clicky, but much quieter, Cherry MX Brown keyswitches, which I’ll discuss here as well. Between the switches and the sturdy base of this keyboard, I’m in love, but there are definitely areas for improvement.

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I’ve Got the Cherry MX Blues

Cherry makes the best mechanical keyboard switches. Mechanical keyboards work a bit differently than your run of the mill keyboards. They don’t use scissor switches like laptop keyboards or all Apple keyboards. There isn’t a rubbery membrane either. Instead, each key is an individual, mechanical switch. Pressing these switches down makes for a unique typing experience. It’s strangely satisfying to type on one of these keyboards, like the CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid, which I own and I’m typing this post from. I have an Apple USB keyboard at work, and after using my own wonderful keyboard every night and weekend, I’ve come to hate my work keyboard. Apple made a good looking keyboard, but it’s a beautiful hunk of aluminum junk compared to a mechanical keyboard. I want to bring my CM Storm keyboard to work, but I’m pretty sure my coworkers would kill me, because the Cherry MX Blue switches are loud. Fortunately, I can get a keyboard with different switches. The Cherry MX Brown switches have a satisfying bump, but they’re not as nice as the Blues. They lack the click, but that  makes them a bit quieter, and therefore better for keeping my coworkers happy.

Seriously, I had a friend over who told me to stop typing because it was too loud to hear the TV. Check out the video above, which is just a sound clip of me doing some normal typing on my keyboard. I love the way the keyboard feels, but it’s definitely too loud for work. So, I’ve got those Cherry MX Blues (sorry for the pun), and now I’ve got to set funds aside for a mechanical keyboard that has Cherry MX Brown switches. That, or I could bring my keyboard into work and just set up a jar that says “If you want me to make less noise, give me money for a quieter mechanical keyboard.” I’d probably enough to pay the rent for my overpriced apartment in a week.