Capacitive Keyboards VS Mechanical Keyboards
Keyboards play an integral part in the way we communicate or command the computer to perform our orders.
There are various kinds of keyboards, but the most common conflict arises between choosing a capacitive keyboard and a mechanical keyboard.
There is a lot of similar features and between conventional membrane keyboards and a capacitive keyboard. A capacitive keyboard is much more advanced than the membrane keyboard just like a mechanical keyboard.
With the advancement in technology and the need for a smoother, compact and effortless application, the capacitive keyboard is gaining popularity. It uses the PCAP (Projective Capacitive Touch) technology which is dominating the industrial, medical and automotive applications. But will the capacitive keyboard be efficient enough to replace the fore-running mechanical keypad? Let us see!
A mechanical keyboard has a lifespan of about 30 to 80 million keystrokes. The most common example of a mechanical switch is the Cherry MX which is rated to last 50 million keystrokes. No matter which brand you choose, it will outlast the capacitive keyboard which has an average lifespan of 5 million keystrokes.
One of the advantages that membrane keyboards still have over mechanical keyboards is that membrane keyboards are much more spill resistant than your average mechanical keyboards and this can be pretty advantageous because that is a common desktop hazard unless you buy a specific mechanical keyboard that is spill resistant.
Mechanical keyboards often cost more than capacitive keyboards. But when you take into account that you will not be replacing mechanical keyboard for a really long time, you can count it as a worthy investment.
While capacitive keyboards are better sealed, and they look way better, they are most valued for their aesthetic preference. Once something goes wrong, you will have to replace the whole set which could raise maintenance costs.
Some high-end mechanical keyboards can cost you well over $200. It can be a good investment if you have the cash, but it can be hard to justify spending that much amount just for your keyboard especially when you can invest that money into more valuable components for your PC.
However, now that mechanical keyboards have become mainstream, you can easily get your hands on some pretty good budget mechanical or switch to a capacitive keyboard!
Many high-end mechanical keyboards have N key rollovers. This means that each key press is detected no matter how many other keys are being pressed at the same time. This feature is especially beneficial for gaming. Even the low-end mechanical keyboards tend to offer ten key roll-overs or more which is usually more than enough.
There are two types of capacitive keyboards: one with flat key design and pressure pad, and the other with dome switch design that mimics the tactile features of the mechanical keyboard. Either way, capacitive keyboards have single, soft layers instead of the individual mechanical counterpart.
Capacitive keyboards have symbols printed on the pressure pad. Because of this capacitive keyboards are usually more compact and smaller but lacks the mobility of maneuvering numerous keys at one time
In terms of typing experience, rubber dome and membrane keyboards don’t offer much in the way of feedback.
Mechanical keyboards has the option of a clicky/bumpy switch that you’ll feel when you press down a key. One of the greatest things about the mechanical keyboard is the sheer amount of options when choosing the type of feedback you will get when typing.
Mechanical keyboard come in a large variety of feedback such as linear and tactile and the amount of force needed to press down each key. You can also get switches that not only produce tactile feedback but an audible one as well.
Both capacitive and mechanical keyboards give you the flexibility of customization because of aesthetic, keyboard space or comfort reasons.
Although capacitive keyboard has more room for product design, the flexibility of customization in mechanical keyboard is more open. You can change the key caps to different individual colors for the aesthetic value or accent your keyboard’s backlighting.
You may also want to swap it for key caps that are made of higher quality material such as PBT or metal. Just be sure that the key caps that you buy are compatible with your keyboard.
Fatigue in Typing
Mechanical keyboard users also suffer less fatigue when typing. This is because the automatic switch does not require you to fully press the keys down or bottom out the key for the keystroke to register. This is also the reason why mechanical keyboards are so popular for gaming.
For example, when typing out on tactile switches, you will feel a slight bump at the moment of actuation. Depending on the switch, this can happen well before the key bottoms out. If you train yourself to stop the keystroke after the switch is actuated and not fully pop out, you can drastically reduce fatigue and even possibly gain some typing speed.
Membrane and capacitive keyboard requires you to bottom out the key for the stroke to register. A capacitive keyboard makes typing faster, but it eventually wears you out when you type for long because it requires more pressure to register the stroke.
Most capacitive keyboards are made entirely out of plastic, acrylic or glass which are non-conductive, so they are safer but might feel cheap and fragile.
Almost all mechanical keyboards have a metal backplate where the switches are mount on to which is then cased in either plastic or metal. Because of this, mechanical keyboard weighs more and as a result, are more sturdy than their membrane counterparts.
Mechanical keyboards are much louder than your typical capacitive keyboards. The tapping noise can sometimes be an issue when working in an office or around family members and groups.
To combat this problem, you can always install rings which help reduce the sound of the keys when you bottom them out.
On the other hand, one of the top reasons users prefers the capacitive keyboard is the quietness of the keys while typing. Most capacitive keyboard produces a barely noticeable sound. This feature could be advantageous for gamers and writers but unnerving for others who like to hear the tap of the keyboard sound while typing.
So, with this simple comparison on capacitive keyboard Vs mechanical keyboard, pick your side based on which of these features you most value when you use your keyboard.