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Built-in keyboards do not always provide the comfort or productivity we want. So, it’s a great idea to look for alternative options. Learn about many types of keyboards and the difference between membrane vs mechanical!
The keyboard is a necessary peripheral of computer hardware. While built-in or attaching a standard keyboard to our computer can let us do the job, looking for useful keyboard options can provide comfort, maximize productivity, and enhance our typing experience.
Nowadays, we have many types of keyboards on the market. While some keyboards are specifically designed for gaming, others are known for ergonomics and are excellent for designing. In addition, based on the connectivity, we have a multitude of keyboards, including wireless keyboards, wired keyboards, Wi-Fi standard keyboards, Bluetooth, and USB keyboards. However, two of the most hyped keyboard types are membrane vs mechanical keyboards.
That said, whether you are a professional designer or an avid gamer, you can find the perfect keyboard. Below, we will differentiate between membrane vs mechanical and useful keyboard options that suit your work style. So, let’s get started!
Membrane vs Mechanical Keyboards
One of the most detectable differences between the membrane and mechanical keyboard is how they feel. For instance, membrane keyboard buttons have rubber underneath that offer a unique “mushy” feel when you press a key. In contrast, mechanical keyboard buttons have spring-loaded switches underneath that actuate smoothly and respond with an audible “click” sound.
Membrane keyboards come armed with three layers; top membrane, keyholes, and lower membrane. Upon pressing a key, the signal passes through these layers and reaches a conductive circuit for registering the keystroke. These budget-efficient keyboards have rubber layers that register less feedback than expensive, spring-loaded mechanical keyboards.
Benefits of Membrane Keyboards
It is worth noting that membrane keyboards don’t focus on stylish features like media controls or RGB lights. Hence they often get overlooked by users. However, it doesn’t mean that these keyboards cannot have all the fancy features of mechanical keyboards.
Moreover, membrane keyboards are commonly designed for users with a limited budget and still want to meet their typing needs through a more ergonomic option. In addition, the keys of a membrane keyboard are cheap and have lower manufacturing costs, bringing down the overall cost of the keyboard.
Furthermore, membranes are also useful keyboard options due to their versatility, lightweight, and portability. On the contrary, even though mechanical keyboards involve metal parts and quality materials, they can be hard to use in various conditions.
In addition to cost efficiency and versatility, membrane keyboards don’t make much noise like their counterparts. That’s one of the most notable reasons they are more suitable for office setups.
The second types of keyboard are mechanical keyboard. Every key on these keyboards has individual switches and requires less pressure to register a keystroke. Since every key has a unique control, these switches replace the rubber layers with the mechanism under each key. Upon a keystroke, the machine registers the key before sending it to the CPU to produce the desired outcome.
That’s why mechanical keyboards are considered more accurate than membrane keyboards. In addition, by relying on the actuation, users can put less pressure on a key to register a keystroke. This feature makes them a useful keyboard option for gamers and typists who want a more sensitive response.
Benefits of Mechanical Keyboards
Mechanical keyboards come armed with three basic switches – linear, tactile, and clicky. Each switch has different features and allows users to choose between them according to their preferences. For example, a linear switch does nothing when it hits the actuation point. Similarly, tactile switches produce tactile feedback, whereas clicky switches produce an audible click sound.
Moreover, clicky and tactile switches on mechanical keyboards are an excellent feature for avid gamers and eSports competitors as they want a more sensitive response without putting much pressure on the keys. It also means that these switches allow users to squeeze in more actions per minute. Other key features of mechanical keyboards include anti-ghosting, n-key rollover, macro keys, etc.
Membrane vs Mechanical: Which is Better?
The choice between membrane vs mechanical depends on what you want from your keyboard. If you want a gaming keyboard or spend a lot of time typing, you should use a mechanical keyboard. In addition, if you can afford its cost and tolerate a bit of noise it creates, you will enjoy the feedback on your mechanical keyboard.
On the other hand, if you need a keyboard only for typing purposes, a membrane keyboard with some ergonomics is among the useful keyboard options. These keyboards also have a low cost and offer a noiseless typing experience. However, membrane keyboards lack fancy features like a key rollover and RGB lights.
If neither of these keyboards is suitable for you, check out some other types of keyboards below:
7 Different Types of Keyboards
1. Flexible Keyboard
These keyboards are among the most useful keyboard options for people on the move most of the time. Flexible keyboards offer all the features of any other keyboard. These keyboards are made of silicon and designed for maximum portability. In addition, their material is dust and water-resistant, so they don’t need constant cleaning. Moreover, you can roll these keyboards and take them anywhere you want.
Moreover, flexible keyboards also have an eye-catching design and stand out for their appearance. With the increased use of small, portable devices, it is no surprise that these compact keyboards are perfect for devices like tablets.
- Maximum portability
- Water and dust-resistant material
- Compact design
2. Gaming Keyboard
If you are an avid gamer and spend most of your time playing games, invest in a keyboard designed for gaming purposes. Gaming keyboards can genuinely take your experience to the next level. They are useful keyboard options that focus on providing an enhanced gaming experience.
In addition to an additional key block, gaming keyboards are also famous for their fancy features, including extravagant formats, highlighted WASD keys, RGB lights, more resistant keys, and excellent ergonomics.
Moreover, most gaming keyboards come armed with a built-in joystick which helps users control various axes’ movement smoothly, efficiently, and simultaneously. Furthermore, gaming-specific keyboards have excellent ergonomics for comfort, especially during prolonged game hours.
- Keys Rollover
- Macro Functions
- RGB Lights
- Backlight Keys
- Detailed Programming
- In-built Joystick
3. Ergonomic Keyboards
Some types of keyboards are more popular among avid gamers and professionals due to their ergonomics. These ergonomic keyboards are not standard keyboard options, as they are specifically designed for increased comfort and minimizing stress and pain.
Most of the standard keyboards are poorly designed, that not only decreases your productivity levels but can cause serious problems like repetitive strain, hand pain, and more. However, having an ergonomic keyboard that fits your needs can help you enhance your experience while enjoying a relaxed and more comfortable typing position.
Ergonomic keyboards are specially designed for prolonged working hours so a user can prevent cramps and muscle problems due to a bad posture. In addition, most ergonomic keyboards have two sides where users can rest their hands, whereas the middle is higher so users can achieve a comfortable and natural posture.
It is worth mentioning that ergonomic keyboards help maximize productivity without causing any stress on your fingers, wrists, or shoulders.
- Compact size
- Easy to position
- Designed to reduce pressure on wrists, fingers, and shoulders.
- Maximum productivity
4. Multimedia Keyboard
These types of keyboards are similar to standard options, except that they come with a series of additional keys. Those extra buttons offer different functions and allow users to perform desired multimedia functions directly from the keyboard. It includes volume, play, stop, resume, mute, rewind, etc.
As the name says, multimedia keyboards are useful keyboard options, especially for users like video editors. In addition, these keyboards also simplify repetitive tasks like playing music, movies, etc. The material of multimedia keyboards can correspond to those of mechanical or membrane keyboards, depending on the model.
- Special Keys
- Slim Profile
- Easy Portability
5. One-Handed Keyboard
Looking at recent gaming trends, one thing is sure one-handed keyboards are one of the most useful keyboard options for serious gamers. Grabbing the standard QWERTY keyboard and eliminating every key except the ones you need for gaming across particular genres, these keyboards are compact and designed explicitly for those clutch moments.
In addition, while one-handed keyboards are entirely unusable for other purposes, they are ideal for those who do nothing except gaming. Like any other gaming keyboard, one-handed keyboards also offer a range of options when it comes to key switch type.
Cheapest keyboards come with membrane keyboards, whereas mecha-membrane one-handed keyboards offer the feel of mechanical switches. In addition, the main advantage of these keyboards is the cost.
If you have a high-quality switch technology keyboard, it will be expensive and full of keys. However, gaming keyboards that deal with only having the keys used essentially for gaming are less expensive. The only drawback of these keyboards is that you cannot use them for general tasks like productivity or writing.
- Improved Ergonomics
- Compact Size
- Enhanced Gaming Experience
6. Wireless Keyboard
Wireless keyboards are another useful keyboard option. Users can connect it to the terminal via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi rather than a connectivity wire. There is a multitude of wireless keyboards on the market, all offering tons of features. We recommend carefully analyzing the options and features so you can get the one that suits your preferences.
Moreover, wireless keyboards offer excellent portability and help users to extend the functionality of portable devices like tablets, smartphones, etc.
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Easy Portability
7. Laser Virtual Keyboard
These types of keyboards are incredible inventions. Imagine operating any flat surface as a keyboard for your writing. A virtual laser keyboard is an excellent option for devices like smartphones or tablets without a keyboard. These keyboards appear on screens of computers and smartphones, and users can use them either by a touch screen or a mouse. Nowadays, virtual keyboards for Android and iPhone are a massive hit as they are conveniently available in virtual stores. In addition, they are also among the useful keyboard options and an excellent alternative for systems that don’t come with a physical keyboard.
Virtual keyboards are a product of IBM and use laser technology to display a virtual keyboard on the surface. When you hit a key on these keyboards, the camera or an optical sensor captures the finger movement and then translates it to produce desired actions.
- Portability, accuracy, and flexibility.
- No maintenance is required.
- Reduced strain on wrists.
How to Choose a Keyboard?
In addition to membrane vs mechanical keyboards, there are many different keyboards on the market. So, finding a suitable option that meets your specific needs can be challenging. Here are a few guidelines that you may want to consider before buying:
Different types of keyboards have different connectivity slots. So, it is essential to see what type of port your system has before buying a keyboard. Old computers come with a PS2 connectivity port which you can use to connect a keyboard and mouse. However, the latest models have multiple USB ports, which allow you to connect a USB keyboard or mouse.
Moreover, nowadays, computer models feature wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to use wireless keyboards. However, USB keyboards are one of the most popular and widely used options.
Unlike standard keyboards, you can find a multitude of keyboards with excellent ergonomics. These keyboards are specifically designed for users who spend most of their time typing or playing games. Ergonomic keyboards reduce muscle and finger strain while allowing users to maintain a natural posture. An ergonomic keyboard is ideal for you if you are an avid gamer or a professional and use keyboards for prolonged hours.
Standard vs Gaming Keyboard
Do you want a keyboard just for typing, or do you need a specialized gaming keyboard? A standard keyboard is an excellent option for writers or office workers, whereas a gaming keyboard enhances the online gaming experience. Moreover, while you can use a standard keyboard to play different games, it lacks essential gaming features and detailed programming. In contrast, a gaming keyboard has plenty of fancy options, including the quickest key response, RGB lights, backlit keys, and more.
That’s all about different types of keyboards. Whether you spend your day typing behind a desk or want to enhance your gaming experience with something more ergonomic, there is a multitude of useful keyboard options just for your specific needs.
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