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Looking for a keyboard. The dreaded search is on.


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#1 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 09:43 AM

I just bought a Logitech G710+. Got it, and this thing is a pile of crap in every sense of the word. I won't go into full details about everything that is terrible about this, but I will say the keys feel horrible. If all mechanical keyboards feel like a cheap plastic brick from the 80s (my Commodore 128 had better keys than this), then I don't want mechanical.

My list of Keyboards now in the pool of "hmm" are: (in no particular order)

Corsair Raptor K30 or K40 (unsure, it looks like another logitech g710+ but without the bigger casement)
Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 (seems ok, looks visually ok and thin, but MS?)
Razer DeathStalker Expert (lots of rave reviews and complaints alike, so I dunno)
Perixx PX-1100 (the reports of it being 'rubber surface' makes me think 'no' though)

Unless I can get 'hands on' a mechanical keyboard that doesn't feel like popsnizzle, I will be steering towards the rubberdome/membrane types. Or if someone out there is/were in the same boat I am, and has had experience with different kinds of razers and non-mechanicals and can share your thoughts on how they all felt and sounded... I'm ears.

For reference, for the past 14 years I have used the Apple Pro Keyboard from my Graphite Glassy G4. Its the rubber membrane kind with hard keys (unlit), very soft press/responsive. Sadly, over the last year some keys (like shift, and ctrl) are beyond lubrication and are getting very tough at times rubbing. Also (and only on my PC), at random times the "a" or "d" keys decide to get stuck in key-repeat thus making me careen off the side at times in games. Unsure if its a driver issue with the PC, or the keyboard failing, but it never did that with any of my macs.

Those two problems is why I'm searching for a new replacement :( Other than those, the keyboard is wonderful.

And what is it with these reviews where they always make the ridiculous claim that gamers MUST have a mechanical keyboard or you are not a gamer? WTF?

Says who? Why? What FACTS are there? Since when are all human hands created equal?

As soon as I read something like that, I deem the entire rest of their review subject to a mountain of salt. Now if they said "they prefer" because it "makes THEM" a better gamer... ok. But to blanket statement telling people how their fingers work? They are just myopic idiots who quote hype only to reinforce their own personal preference.

What it boils down too is this:

If YOUR figures work best with a certain kind of key mechanism, then why on earth would you change to something that your fingers find awkward and disturbing? Just because some dip-faced teenager said so? Or some marketing hype on a product spec sheet? Sadly... I did try buying a fandangled glorified mechanical keyboard... and it is the worst thing I've used since typing on a VAX.
/Rant

-Fm [1oM7]
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#2 macdude22

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:00 AM

I have used the following boards.

Razer Blackwidow Ultimate (Mac) (Cherry Blue) - This keyboard was comfortable, had some decent gaming specific features, but blue switches are loud as heck. Additionally some of the build quality seemed subpar for the 130 price. The keys felt like they would eventually deteriorate like cheap keycaps.

Matias Quiet Pro for Mac - This is my daily driver at home. The dampened alps inspired switch design feel amazing, yet lack the distinctive clack of most mechanical switches. Since I don't have to bottom out the board to register a click I'm a quieter typer with quiet click switches then my co-workers with 8 dollar membrane dell boards that they have to smash to get to register. The Matias boards are 100% Macintosh compatible with several mac specific function keys. The keycaps are laser engraved ABS plastic, they are never going to wear out the lettering in your lifetime. Additionally they have the special characters right on the keys. This can be very useful.

Matias Laptop Pro - This is my daily driver at work. It's essentially a 10keyless Bluetooth Quiet Pro. I really like having special characters on the keys here. See above for my feelings on the matias boards. Did I mention I really like matias quiet click keys. Really Really Really.

I have a friend with a Spacesaver M - Feels like an old IBM keyboard (because they are). Has mac specific keys, QC on build seems a little wonky. If you really liked old IBM keyboards this would be a passable replacement. I don't really like the buckling spring switches myself.

I just massdropped a CM Storm Quick Fire Stealth (Cherry Brown) a few days ago but it hasn't arrived yet. I really didn't need another keyboard but I've never used browns and I wanted to see how they compare to the matias quiet click switches.

Unless you require backlighting/other gaming specific features I whole heartedly recommend a Matias board with quiet click switches. These can be had for a good price from OWC.

I can't speak for the logitech but even the most barebones mechanical (like the monoprice boards with cherry blues) will run circles performance-wise and comfort-wise around a membrane board. I can't fathom what Logitech had to do to make such an unacceptable mechanical keyboard. But I don't put it past them to really go the full mile to making a subpar keyboard.

P.S. Edgar Matias said on reddit a while back that there was an OEM planning to release a backlit board in 2014 using quiet click switches. Hopefully that pans out.

P.P.S. There are some random shots of my board on my imugr. http://rakden.imgur.com/all/
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#3 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:42 AM

Interesting. Thanks for the very good write up on your Mathais experiences.

Yeah, I just don't know whats wrong with this G710+. It has the Cherry MX Browns, but my god, it feels like they are all lined with sandpaper? And the whole board sounds like cheap plastic while typing. Almost like I'm going to break it just by rambling off a one-liner to someone in text chat.

When I went to the BestBuy the other day and typed away at various keyboards they had laying around... yes, there are a lot of very crappy membrane keyboards. Like everything from Dell, HP, and Lenovo. They had some other keyboards in the keyboard isle, but nothing 'gamer', or of good quality. Half of them were HUGE with humps and splits down the middle of the keyboard (ergonomic I guess they call that crap?).

Anyhow, the only one that 'felt nice' was a Logitech Solar Powered slim keyboard. Sadly online reviews of that are very subpar for gaming needs. Bad anti-ghosting setup (like it blocks shift-w while space is pressed... wtf?)... and if it loses any charge, the signal becomes sporadic. Not good for gaming. Which is actually why I don't want ANY keyboard that is wireless.

My Things I'm looking for in priority:
1) Feel. My fingers need to like it. Rough press-down is bad. Sticking if I don't push exactly straight down the middle is bad. Surface can be slick or matte, not sure about rubber surface.
2) Sound. I would like a quieter keyboard. I'm used to MacBookPro keyboards (and that Apple Pro Glassy), so I'm used to not really hearing myself type. If a keyboard can be known-modded for quietness, then thats ok. (like o-rings, or audio-mat inside the casement).
3) Allowed keypress. I don't want a keyboard that prevents me from pushing a key because I have three keys already down.
4) Backlight. I really would love to play in the dark without needing a lamp on, or a ESB LED arm.
5) Thickness. If its 2 inches thick or more, its gonna kill my wrist. Even with a wrist pad, which to me have always gotten in the way.
6) Key Distance. I do not have huge hands, so keys that are more spaced make it difficult.

-Fm [1oM7]
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#4 macdude22

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:16 AM

1) Feel. My fingers need to like it. Rough press-down is bad. Sticking if I don't push exactly straight down the middle is bad. Surface can be slick or matte, not sure about rubber surface.
The keycaps Matias uses are top quality, they have a nice grip to them and you can ever so lightly feel the laser eching. I like this. The actual feel of the key actuation is obviously subjective (as you've suggested perhaps some will just never like mechanical boards). However to me the the key press of a matias switch is smoother than on the cherry blues.  There is a little key wobble, which I think may be by design as you can hit the key from different angles and still get a good press. The story goes that the whole reason matias designed their own switches was the demise of the last ALPS factory. They insist that cherry switches don't feel that good. I tend to agree. Cherry has price and marketing behind them but I don't think they are great feeling switches.

http://matias.ca/swi...click/#thestory
http://matias.ca/swi...quiet/#thestory

2) Sound. I would like a quieter keyboard. I'm used to MacBookPro keyboards (and that Apple Pro Glassy), so I'm used to not really hearing myself type. If a keyboard can be known-modded for quietness, then thats ok. (like o-rings, or audio-mat inside the casement).
I can't speak for browns (til my cm storm arrives) but the Matias switches are not any louder than these dell membranes at work. Given that I don't have to bottom out to register a key press I can type faster and quieter than everyone else in my office.

3) Allowed keypress. I don't want a keyboard that prevents me from pushing a key because I have three keys already down.
I can hit 45-50 WPM and I have no issue with the matias boards registering everything I type. I think they have 10-key rollover or some such nonssense. Bottom line, multiple keys are not an issue. Haven't run into any issues running games at home on the Quiet Pro.

4) Backlight. I really would love to play in the dark without needing a lamp on, or a ESB LED arm.
This is one thing I really would like (and hopefully there will be a quiet click board backlit in 2014). I will say the white lettering on black keys is pretty easy to see in low light. Matias sells the switches, I really don't understand why there are not boards being designed with these switches. They are better than most cherry designs in a number of ways. Though I suppose there's a billion better hamburgers but McDonalds is the #1 hamburger...

5) Thickness. If its 2 inches thick or more, its gonna kill my wrist. Even with a wrist pad, which to me have always gotten in the way.
Any mechanical board will be thicker than a membrane, no way around it. The Matias boards are pretty thick, I tend to type with my wrists straight so it hasn't been an issue for me.

6) Key Distance. I do not have huge hands, so keys that are more spaced make it difficult.
I don't know exactly what it is, I can't quite finger it but the layout on the Laptop Pro is superb. Everything seems to fall into place, command, option, arrow keys. I think Matias did their homework on this layout. On my Razer Blackwidow I was constantly hitting the far left macro keys with my pinky, somehow the offset of the keys was messing with my brain. Might just be my dum brain but the whole time I used it I would hit wrong keys quite a bit and have to look at my hands to reorient.

It's too bad you don't have a microcenter close by, I think they stock matias boards you could check one out.
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#5 Tetsuya

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:43 AM

Razer's new "2014" models have forgo using the Cherry switches for another brand; they aren't saying which and are calling at a "Razer" switch, but it IS noticably different.  

I have an older Black Widow Ultimate (from 2012 - blue backlight) and it is noticeably louder and the keys take a bit more force to actuate than my new (2014) Black Widow TE that i'm using on my mac.  So, the new 'Razer' switches are quieter and easier to actuate, and are in all of their Black Widow line as of this year.  

My wife also has a Das Keyboard - the silenced one, i'm unsure exactly which switches it uses, i think Cherry Brows - and it is comfortable and easy to type on and quieter than either of my Black Widows.  

I've used the Ducky keyboards at Microcenter, and they seem very functional as well, but i still decided on a BW TE instead of a Ducky board based on the new switches.

#6 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:54 AM

Man, I think the current full size Apple keyboard is the best I have ever used. My only problem with it is that it isn't backlit, but that is a really minor thing.

I've been through a *lot* of different keyboards back in the days, but I've always come back to whatever Pro-keyboard Apple was serving me. (Evil stare at the iMac G3 keyboard)
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#7 macdude22

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:59 AM

The new razer switches are rebadged kailh switches, a well known cherry clone manufacture. They are reported to have a different actuation point (one that may be slightly more suited for gaming). Its good to hear a first hand report of the difference between the razor switch and the traditional cherry blue.

http://geekhack.org/...9352#msg1249352

However my BW has some quality issues, the keycaps feel very sloppy (this may just be how cherry caps latch onto the switches) and the font they use is abhorrent (the font is subjective but I hated it). My experience is Razer makes ok stuff but you're really paying for marketing, you can probably get a better keyboard for the same amount of money.

I've never used a DAS keyboard (heard good things) but I know a guy who swears by his Ducky Shine II.

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 09 May 2014 - 11:54 AM, said:

Man, I think the current full size Apple keyboard is the best I have ever used. My only problem with it is that it isn't backlit, but that is a really minor thing.

I've been through a *lot* of different keyboards back in the days, but I've always come back to whatever Pro-keyboard Apple was serving me. (Evil stare at the iMac G3 keyboard)

All things considered the old Apple Pro keyboards, the ones that came with G4/G5s were very nice feeling membrane boards. Much nicer keypress than their flat macbook style keyboards they have now (but boy don't they look nice).
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#8 Tetsuya

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:13 PM

Dunno, i guess im the guy who has never had a quality issue with Razer, and that includes the fact that we use their mice in our business for our gaming PCs - we've got 40 Taipan's deployed at most events.  

My 2012 BWU is still in great shape and it gets a LOT of use.  It was my only keyboard for the better part of a year when i was still dual-booting on a Mac Pro.

#9 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:14 PM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 09 May 2014 - 11:54 AM, said:

Man, I think the current full size Apple keyboard is the best I have ever used. My only problem with it is that it isn't backlit, but that is a really minor thing.

Odd how that is? I've used this Apple Pro (glassy graphite) one for 14 years. Only recent developments have made want to replace :( Was simply outstanding.

View PostTetsuya, on 09 May 2014 - 11:43 AM, said:

Razer's new "2014" models have forgo using the Cherry switches for another brand; they aren't saying which and are calling at a "Razer" switch, but it IS noticably different.

Hmm, 2014's huh. I'll be sure to make mental note of that when trying to wrestle a demo at MicroCenter for those.

View Postmacdude22, on 09 May 2014 - 11:16 AM, said:


The audio clips on this page are spot on for the Chery MX Brown 'sound' on this logitech g710+. The sound even carries with it a sense of 'cheap plastic'. Sadly you cant feel the gritty sandpaper like actuation with the sound, but its there. Its starting to really cause my fingers to spasm the more I try to use it.

You say MicroCenter has the Matias? I do have a MicroCenter 30 minutes away, and will put these on the list to try and demo out when I visit up there.

Quote

3) Allowed keypress. I don't want a keyboard that prevents me from pushing a key because I have three keys already down.
I can hit 45-50 WPM and I have no issue with the matias boards registering everything I type. I think they have 10-key rollover or some such nonssense. Bottom line, multiple keys are not an issue. Haven't run into any issues running games at home on the Quiet Pro.

Nice to know. I worry about those things, as running into a weird limiter is murder while in a game.

Quote

5) Thickness. If its 2 inches thick or more, its gonna kill my wrist. Even with a wrist pad, which to me have always gotten in the way.
Any mechanical board will be thicker than a membrane, no way around it. The Matias boards are pretty thick, I tend to type with my wrists straight so it hasn't been an issue for me.

Yeah, when I type out words and sentences, I lift my wrists. However when I'mg gaming, I tend to 'limp wrist' the left hand and let my fingers do the work. A thinner keyboard (or one with a wrist pad thats not counterproductive) tends to help that stance as I'm not trying to reach so far to hit numbers or other keys. I mean, end all be all, I can "build" a special insert on my desk which drops the keyboard down into a hole, so its basically leveling the keys better... but If I can avoid doing that, it would be a bonus ;)

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#10 Tetsuya

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:17 PM

I'm not sure if the new Razer keyboards are labeled "2014" or not.  I just know that they changed the switches and their website reflects that - stores may still have stock of the older keyboards.

A good way to check will be to check the box and see if they say "Razer" Switches instead of Cherry.  All the new boxes have the new ad copy on them instead of the old.

#11 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:19 PM

Oh, I do have a Razer DeathAdder mouse, which has been very nice until the left button developed this tactile second 'click' snag. I had to open up the whole thing and found that the little pressure bump from the top flap (where your finger pushes) developed a groove in it where it touches the switch inside. The grove would slip side to side during pushing, and caused this second click feeling. Drove me nuts, but I managed to fix it with a little filler of JBWeld and axel grease ;) Its smooth clicking again.

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#12 Tetsuya

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:23 PM

Hmm... i wonder if the Battlefield BWU has been updated to the new switches?  I really like that amber backlight... might sell my old one on Craigslist and get it, if it is.

#13 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:24 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 09 May 2014 - 12:23 PM, said:

Hmm... i wonder if the Battlefield BWU has been updated to the new switches?  I really like that amber backlight... might sell my old one on Craigslist and get it, if it is.

And if one doesnt like BF branding, thats why they made Krylon PlasticBond Spray Paints ;)

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#14 macdude22

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:54 PM

View PostFrigidman™, on 09 May 2014 - 12:14 PM, said:

You say MicroCenter has the Matias? I do have a MicroCenter 30 minutes away, and will put these on the list to try and demo out when I visit up there.

A microcenter 30 minutes away. And that's when I drove across the country and murdered him officer. :devil:

I couldn't say for sure since in bumfiowa the closest MicroCenter is a days drive away but a search on microcenters website shows some Matias boards.

http://www.microcent...x?Ntt=matias&N=

I don't see the quiet pro listed but the Laptop Pro is just a wireless 10keyless Quiet Pro. However the Tactile Pro with the standard switches should have a similar feel, if only being louder. If you go I'd be interested to know what you think of the Tactile Pro. I've been toying with ordering one just to see what the regular Matias switches sound/feel like. I loved my Apple Extended Keyboard to death. Literally to death. Couldn't part with it though, it's still in the basement. Like Norman's nana.
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#15 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:22 PM

Ole Bessie...

You can tell where my thumb sits =p

Attached File  oldfaithful-sorta.jpg   90.15K   15 downloads

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#16 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 05:28 PM

This may sound really obvious, but if the macbook pro keyboard is what you use daily and you like it, why not just get the full sized apple keyboard, which has the same keys and feel as the MBP keyboard?

Personally I would never get anything that's not mechanical. I need my tactile feedback now. I understand that mechanical isn't for everyone though.

My daily use KB is the Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid with cherry blues.
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#17 Matt Diamond

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 07:02 PM

> I've used this Apple Pro (glassy graphite) one for 14 years.

So get another one, why not?
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#18 Hansi

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 07:13 PM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 09 May 2014 - 11:54 AM, said:

Man, I think the current full size Apple keyboard is the best I have ever used. My only problem with it is that it isn't backlit, but that is a really minor thing.

+1 I love that thing, it's so easy to write quickly on. Love it.

#19 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 07:29 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 09 May 2014 - 07:02 PM, said:

So get another one, why not?

I'm not sure if the odd 'stuck A or D repeating' is just a common issue with it aka ghosting or whatever they call it. Also, it would be nice to find a backlit keyboard (like how my MBP keyboard is).

View PostSneaky Snake, on 09 May 2014 - 05:28 PM, said:

This may sound really obvious, but if the macbook pro keyboard is what you use daily and you like it, why not just get the full sized apple keyboard, which has the same keys and feel as the MBP keyboard?

I don't do wireless keyboards. Or mice. Any input device that is wireless I have loathed. This MBP Keyboard I can only find in that little wireless variant with the stupid Fn key in the wrong place. And they are not backlit either. Unless I'm not finding the right thing you are referring too? Got some links to point me towards em?

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#20 Frigidman™

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 07:37 PM

Oh, and the one main problem with using a mac keyboard on a windows game rig, is the stupid command key maps to the windows start button, and is not possible to disable or map to Alt (or map alt to windows key, vice versa). It gets annoying missing out on an available key, but maybe after all these years I learned around it. Maybe I should get the next gen apple keyboard and just live with the broken windows/command key still?

PS I guess I should have mentioned that... but I figure a keyboard is a keyboard, who cares what kind of OS I'm using it for ;)

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