When it comes to gaming, having the right keyboard can make a big difference in your performance. When picking a keyboard, you initially have 2 options, mechanical, or membrane, but what sets them apart, and which is the better choice for gaming?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into mechanical keyboards and membrane keyboards, exploring the key differences between them and why mechanical keyboards are often – if not almost always – considered the superior choice for gaming.
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard uses individual mechanical switches for each key, rather than a rubber dome that underlies the keys in a membrane keyboard. That’s the tl;dr.
Each mechanical switch is responsible for registering a key press, providing tactile feedback, and registering the key release. This results in a more satisfying and responsive typing experience, as well as a longer lifespan for the keyboard itself.
Advantages of Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming
- Durability and Longevity
One of the biggest advantages of mechanical keyboards for gaming is their durability and longevity. Mechanical switches are rated for tens of millions of keystrokes, which is much more than what you’d get with a membrane keyboard. This makes mechanical keyboards ideal for gamers who spend hours at a time playing games, as they are less likely to suffer from wear and tear compared to membrane keyboards.
They’re also superior if you’re using a keyboard for work or anything that requires long periods of usage and lots of keystrokes.
- Improved Responsiveness and Accuracy
Mechanical keyboards offer improved responsiveness and accuracy compared to membrane keyboards. This is due to the individual mechanical switches which provide a tactile feedback that makes it easier to know when a key press has been registered. This helps reduce mistypes and missed keystrokes, improving your overall gaming experience. A lot of people also claim the tactile feedback from mechanical switches can improve typing speed.
- Customization Options
Another advantage of mechanical keyboards for gaming is the customization options they offer. Many mechanical keyboards come with interchangeable keycaps, allowing you to personalize the look of your keyboard and even improve the feel of certain keys for specific games.
Additionally, many mechanical keyboards offer various switch types, allowing you to choose the switch that best suits your needs, whether it’s a clicky tactile switch for faster actuation or a quieter linear switch for smoother key presses. In most mechanical keyboards, you can even swap out certain switches if you wanted lighter/stiffer keystrokes on certain keys.
What is a Membrane Keyboard?
A membrane keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses a rubber dome to register key presses. When you press a key, the rubber dome depresses and makes contact with the circuit board beneath, registering the key press.
Membrane keyboards are often cheaper than mechanical keyboards and are often seen as a more budget-friendly option. Due to their construction, once the rubber dome starts to break down, the keyboard becomes useless and requires replacement.
Disadvantages of Membrane Keyboards for Gaming
- Less Responsive and Accurate
One of the biggest disadvantages of membrane keyboards for gaming is that they are less responsive and accurate compared to mechanical keyboards. This is because the rubber dome that registers the key press can be slow to return to its original position, which can result in missed keystrokes and mistypes.
Additionally, the lack of tactile feedback (on most rubber domes) makes it difficult to know when a key press has been registered, further hindering your gaming performance. However, some companies sell “mechanical-like” rubber dome keyboards that simulate tactile feedback.
- Reduced Durability
Membrane keyboards also tend to be less durable compared to mechanical keyboards. The rubber dome can wear out over time, leading to a reduction in the responsiveness and accuracy of the keyboard. This can be especially problematic for gamers who spend hours at a time playing games, as the constant use of the keyboard can cause the rubber dome to degrade rapidly.
- Limited Customization Options
Another disadvantage of membrane keyboards for gaming is that they often have limited customization options. While some membrane keyboards may offer RGB backlighting, the lack of interchangeable keycaps and limited switch options make it difficult to personalize the keyboard to your specific wants/needs.
In conclusion, while membrane keyboards may be a more budget-friendly option, they tend to fall short in terms of durability, responsiveness, accuracy, and customization options compared to their mechanical counterparts. For gamers who want a more satisfying and responsive gaming experience, a mechanical keyboard is undeniably the way to go.
With their improved durability, accuracy, and customization options, mechanical keyboards provide a premium gaming experience that is worth the investment.