Mechanical Keyboards: BlackWidow, Osmium, G710+

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slicedtoad

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umm, why does it say that lower actuation force is better on the graph? Right above the graph it says
Keys that are too easy to press can be easy to accidentally trigger, while keys that are too stiff can be particularly exhausting after long typing sessions.
Using that as a scoring metric is somewhat absurd.
 

slicedtoad

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On another note, razer. I really wish I could endorse their products. They have neat designs and features and sell at a decent price point. But I've had 5 razer products and only one of them is still in use, the rest are broken or returned for not working correctly.

I had the non-ultimate black widow and it worked excellently for a year and a half and then just crapped out randomly (sent out a random key sequence whenever plugged in). There was no physical damage and I treat my peripherals very well.

Every time I had a problem with a razer product I kept thinking, "this must just be an outlier and not representative of Razer", but I can't really say that anymore. Mostly I use logitech now. And for keyboards (since logitech just started mechanicals) I use daskeyboard.
 

Vorador2

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Personally i prefer old school. Using an Unicomp keyboard, a clone of the classic IBM Model M. It is really loud, but built like a tank.
 

adamovera

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Carpal tunnel. The harder you have to press and the more you type, the faster this can get you. I'd have to imagine that the lower actuation point on the Blue switches would make them the worst for that - though Razer makes gaming peripherals, not keyboards for typists, so their choice does make sense if you're going for a "trigger" effect. In any event, I seriously doubt any of these top-end keyboards have a too low actuation force issue. They should all be quite solid feeling, and unless you have incredibly heavy hands, that's typically not an issue in this class of product. The preference is probably more between switch types and the different ways they go about providing tactile feedback than any leanings toward a certain amount of force needed to depress a key.
 
There's nothing that stops mechanical keyboards from being in a grid layout - it's less common, but possible.

Also, conventional/cheap boards still use individual switches (one per key). It's the type of those switches that make it mechanical (spring-loaded contacts instead of a conductive dome on PCB traces), and rollover etc. is all because of how it's wired to a microcontroller.
 

Western Infidel

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Had my fair share of TOTR Logitech and Razer Keyboards and to be honest, all of them have either failed prematurely, had the symbols "rub off" the keys through use (unacceptable for kb's in that price range) or just fit into the "look nice, but cheap tat with crap feel" category. In fact i have been pretty underwhelmed, disappointed, cheated by everything until i bought a Corsair Vengeance K90. That K90 was expensive when i bought it but i soon realised that it was money well spent. It is simply awesome, it was so good i bought a second one for my partner and recommended that my friends also buy one, some of whom have and are equally ecstatic. I will admit to owning the Logitech DiNovo Edge - thats used in the lounge with the media center and whilst not very rugged and not mechanical is better than any of the wireless keyboards ive had for media center use, although the software is prone to freezing sometimes. Im still very happy with my Razer Deathadder Mouse (without the Cloud Driver nonsense).

My advice would be to check out the corsair K90 or the newer K95 before you throw money at the others.
 

ubercake

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I like the feel of the browns and blues. They feel mechanical. The blacks and reds to me feel like non-mechanical keys.

Keyboards aren't pretty, but the 710+ is just plain ugly. Who thought pairing orange with black and gray would be a good idea? Also, it only has white lighting.

Anyhow, I was able to pick up a 710+ for $99 new on sale. While it's ugly, it's a great keyboard from a practicality/usability standpoint. I like how you can change the lighting level of the wasd cluster independent of the rest of the keys. The tactile and audible feedback of the browns has got to be my favorite of the bunch. I'm constantly using the roller-style volume control too. I wouldn't pay $150 for it though.
 

Hayden Jones

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I find it sad that Corsair was not included and the CM storm peripherals considering the fact that those keyboards seem to be more customizable based on macros/switches and these "high end" keyboards are synonymous with overpriced and over marketed.
 

madogre

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I have owned both the Gigabyte and Logitech keyboards from this review, and I must say the G710+ hands down is the better keyboard for me. The only problem I have had out of the G710 is some of the led's went out after I got it(twice RMA'd the first one for the same thing) I also had the LED's go out in the Gigabyte keyboard as well, but the Macro keys where in such a bad place I just could never get comfortable using them, so I returned it and got the G710+, I would like for them to make a G720+ with a LCD screen like the old G15 I would buy one in a flash!
 
Nice article and I actually like the clickety-clack like my old Compaq keyboard from the 90's that still works. Gone through a plethora of other keyboards since then that get stuck keys or keys that do not register at all.
 

WithoutWeakness

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The amount of force does make a difference for many users. If you ever get a chance to try out keyboard with non-"common" switches (MX Black, Red, Brown, and Blue being the common switches) you will certainly notice a difference. MX Greens are a clicky/tactile switch that are basically stiffer Blues and have noticeably stronger switches which some people prefer. I use a CODE keyboard from WASD with MX Clears and I very much prefer the stiffer springs and heavier actuation point over the lighter-but-similar MX Brown switches. The switch types are so different and individual preference is so varied that companies like Cooler Master are offering their mechanical keyboard models with multiple switch types because they know one switch isn't inherently "better" than another. It's absolutely a personal preference and shouldn't be taken into account when objectively comparing different keyboards.
 

vmem

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from a gaming keyboard perspective, the lower the actuation force, the easier it is to 'quickly tap a key', and the easier it is to 'double tap', or 'key mash' for repeated attacks, combos, etc. from a purely gaming perspective, the lower the actuation force, the better a mechanical keyboard is (as long as every hit registers, which is clearly true here). if you can't mash a key fast enough to take advantage of this, have no fear, it's perfectly normal. but don't try to become a pro gamer :p
 

internetlad

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I totally agree on the "lower actuation force is better" benchmark, that's bullshit. I use MX blacks at home and a Unicomp M (Buckling Springs) at work. I defy you to show me an experienced typist that would choose to move from an M to cherry reds or a dome board given the option and with sufficient experience on the M.
 

rwpritchett

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I agree with other posts. Mechanical keyboard preference is such a subjective topic. Some people prefer the audible feedback of a clicky keyboard over a quiet one. Some like heavier keys vs. light.

What I would like to have seen in this article is a challenge to the keys themselves. Rub some of the keys with an abrasive to simulate a couple years' worth of use and see how they stand up. Some backlit mechanical keyboards are plagued by the letters rubbing off and having the light shine right through the keys.
 

Durandul

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As a keyboard snob, I am inclined to say that my Ducky 9008G2 with plate mounted Cherry MX Greens is far superior. Great article though!
 
G

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The Gigabyte Aivia Osmium macro keys cannot be easily hit from the WASD key position. Deal killer IMO.
 

qlum

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I must add that my brother's black widow only lasted for about a year so what looks good on paper does not have to be good in practice. In addition to that it did not always work in bios so I would say watch out with these things.

Razer has a reputation of some of their products failing fast.
 

vmem

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I think it depends on usage and how one uses a keyboard. I don't treat my electronics like a newborn baby, but I take care of them. and I can tell you that between gaming, writing articles, and replying to work emails/spreadsheets etc etc. I am on my computer and pounding away at my black widow ultimate close to 10 hr per day (that's on average). after 1.5 years of use, aside from some dirt etc build up that I've had to clean once in a while, I've seen ZERO degradation to the quality o the keys, and only some minimal damage to the surface of the keys, where they become a bit 'shiny' after being touched/tapped so many times.

your brother either have a defective product, or he pounds the keys a lot harder than I do. Additionally, I cannot attest for the ability of the keyboard to withstand traveling on the road, since I simply leave mine at home.
 

qlum

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Knowing my brother he did not mistreat it, it is however the problem with razer that the build quality is inconsistent so one may last for ages where the other dies really soon.

I must also say that his keyboard did not die on the keys but rather on the elextronics around it, the keycaps generally don't die and the switches below it are chery ones like on any other mechanical keyboard or rather the vast majority of them. so its what goes after that where it fails and razer tends to fail there quite often.

Another thing to take in mind is where usually this would have been covered by warranty razer lets the warranty go only through the store where the product has been bought and in his case it was a webshop that went bankrupt leaving him with no replacement. Most other manufacturers have a more direct lane of rma.

 

shikamaru31789

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If I was to get one of those I think I'd get the Logitech. I've owned quite a few Logitech peripherals over the years and I've never had any problems with any of them, the Logitech keyboard has the 2nd best aesthetics of the 3 (imo), it's the quietest (noise is my most important factor when it comes to mechanical keyboards) and actuation force is right in the middle, not so soft that you cause accidental key presses and not so hard that your fingers tire over a long gaming session. Logitech wins for me.
 

RedJaron

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I've got money ready for any manufacturer that wants to make an ergonomic, mechanical, backlit keyboard without getting weird ( like the Kinesis and TECK. ) Don't need any LCD screens or macros. Take a Comfort Curve 2000 layout, use MX Red switches, and I'll give you $100.
 
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