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Mechanical keyboards are a lot different from simple membrane keyboards, in a number of ways.
In membrane keyboards, you basically have keys to press down a membrane to make its contact with a bottom layer. Although this mechanism is implemented in most keyboards today, it does have a lot of disadvantages.
The biggest among them is the no tactile feedback. Tactile feedback is very necessary because it prevents your fingers from completely pressing keys each time you type something.
Without this feedback, you'll probably bottom-out keys with every passing keystroke, which can cause many health issues like over-exertion, finger fatigue, and even carpal tunnel syndrome.
Here come the mechanical keyboards.
Best Mechanical Keyboards 2020 Review Guide
In mechanical keyboards, there's literally one physical switch beneath every key. The switch can be of many types and we'll discuss them in the lower paragraphs.
Depending on that type, tactile feel and response time will vary. Some things, however, will remain the same, such as the durability.
The mechanical keyboard switches can last as much as 50 million keystrokes. Membrane keys, on the other hand, can only last 5-10 million keystrokes.
Apart from this, many people find the clicking sound of mechanical keyboards to be very relaxing, but this one is a pretty subjective matter.
Common Key Switches Types
Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX red belongs to the linear type of switches. Linear switches are one of the most simple switches and don't give you any tactile or audible feedback. They just go straight up and down.
What makes them ideal for many gamers is their very low actuation force.
Due to this, a gamer can do double or triple-tap, pretty easily. Also due to lack of any feedback, they keep their surroundings pretty quiet. These switches are known as gaming switches and are well-known for ultra-rapid responsiveness.
Cherry MX Blue
These are the click-based switches and provide a lot of tactile and audible feedback with each keystroke. Actuation force of these switches is a bit greater than what it is in other types of switches and you feel the tactile bump whenever you hit the actuation point.
Due to these feedbacks, keyboards with Cherry MX blue switches are also favored by typists and writers. That being said, some gamers avoid them because of the greater force required to hit them.
It's because it becomes harder to double-tap on these types of keyboards.
These switches are also known as typing switches.
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX brown is kind of a crossover between linear and tactile switches. It's because they provide you with the tactile and audible feedback (although not as noticeable as in MX Blue switches) whenever you press a key.
But their actuation force is less than that of Cherry MX Blue switches. Gamers, who prefer accuracy over speed, usually prefer these switches.
Some Other Types of Cherry Switches
Although above 3 are the most common types of mechanical switches found in the gaming keyboards. There are some other types too, like MX clear, MX Black, and MX Green etc.
But since they're not as used as the above-mentioned switches, we won't discuss them further.
Now let's go straight to this roundup about best mechanical keyboards for 2020.
Redragon K552 KUMARA: Check Price On Amazon
Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard 2020
Redragon is probably the best among the brands that make affordable accessories for the new gamers. A while ago, we reviewed their MMO mouse and liked it for the most part.
This time around, it's their K552 mechanical gaming keyboard. From its looks, there's nothing fancy about it. Its base is made from the aluminum and then covered in tough plastic.
On top of its base, there are custom switches (that work like MX Blue, although we aren't much assured about their quality) and the keys. These keys have more than usual space between themselves, and it helps a lot while typing.
The entire keyboard is splash-resistant and it uses gold-plated USB connector. All in all, we are pretty satisfied with its build quality. It's a pretty tough keyboard with an apparently non-fancy design.
Specs wise, it has 87 keys, so no NUMPAD - but it also makes this keyboard a bit compact. What's more interesting about these keys is that they're double-shot injection molded keys.
Double-shot molding is a process in which a plastic is molded onto a preformed metal/plastic insert. This process is used for making the key-caps durable.
It was slowly disappearing from the market a few years ago, but now, thanks to the resurgence of PC gaming since the 2000s, this process has gained popularity again and many manufacturers are using it.
Apart from this, other good features found in this keyboard are anti-ghosting and higher polling rate. While many people know that higher polling rate means better response time from the keyboard, many still don't know about anti-ghosting.
Ghosting is a phenomenon that occurs when a keyboard is unable to pass signal(s) because of too many keys being pressed at that same time.
Anti-ghosting means that this keyboard won't lose the signals no matter how many keys you may press at the same time.
In addition to the standard keys, it has 12 extra multimedia keys.
These keys are set across the function keys and can be activated by holding the FN key. It has backlighting too, and although you can't change its color from being red, intensity can be changed to 10 different levels.
Although there's a software CD comes with this keyboard, you can install drivers from the web, too.
On performance front, everything went too smooth. There wasn't any input lag, and neither did I press any unintended key. After all this, I am seriously surprised about this keyboard, that it has a lot of things doing good, yet it costs less than 35 bucks.
I know it sounds too good to be true, but that is how it is. The best affordable mechanical gaming keyboard.
Corsair Strafe: Check Price On Amazon
Best Midrange Mechanical Keyboard 2020
Corsair has an impressive lineup of high-end gaming keyboards, such as K95 RGB, that has enabled them to make a good, loyal fan base.
Today, however, we're looking at Corsair strafe, a cheap alternative to its expensive siblings. In this keyboard, Corsair has maintained some of the core aspects of its expensive keyboards but did compensation in some other areas due to a low price.
Let's see what we found about it.
Although not made of aluminum like others, corsair strafe has a very attractive and glossy design. Main building material here is plastic, of course, but a very tough one.
The front side of this keyboard has textured black plastic while all the keys are red-colored and smooth - except the space bar which has a rhombus-like pattern all over it.
As you can expect from any mechanical keyboard, all 104 keys of corsair strafe have mechanical switches and support advanced features such as anti-ghosting and full-key rollover, so that none of your keystrokes go unregistered.
This keyboard has cherry MX red switches, which means that while these keys won't give you any tactile feedback, they require very little actuation force. That's why these switches come very handy if you need to do a double-tap or triple-tap combo in a game.
Since we're talking about the keys, it's worth mentioning that each of its keys can have a different backlit, but the only available is the color red - 104 shades of Red, eh?
In order to do all the customization, you'll need Corsair's Utility Engine software. Using this software, you can create any new pattern (or choose from 6 presets) and macros. Every key on corsair strafe is programmable.
One cool feature found in this keyboard is the USB pass-through. Using this feature, you can connect your gaming mouse (or any other gaming peripheral) to this keyboard.
Overall, Corsair strafe is a perfect option for those who can't afford the high-end Corsair K95. The only major shortcomings I have found in this keyboard are the lack of any wrist rest and red-only backlighting.
Logitech G610 Orion Red: Check Price On Amazon
This keyboard is different than the other ones in this list in the sense that it doesn't use Cherry MX switches. Instead, it uses Logitech's own Romer-G switches.
But that's not the only highlight in list keyboard. Here's what we found about it.
Design wise, it looks very simple. So simple that you ask yourself that is it really a gaming keyboard?
One thing I didn't like about it is the lack of any wrist rest.
It's one of the first keyboards from Logitech in which they used their own Romer-G switches. They don't make any audible feedback but provide a bit of tactile feel. You can think of them as Cherry MX Brown equivalent.
According to Logitech, these switches actuate faster than the standard mechanical switches and have a longer duration - for up to 70 million key-presses, Also, they require very little force from your side.
Up next are the media keys. Using those media keys, you can pause, play, forward and rewind, as well as control the volume. There's one special button for the game mode. This key disables all the screen minimizing keys during the gameplay.
Other than this, there's a separate button to turn on/off the lighting.
Like all Logitech products, this keyboard comes with the Logitech gaming software. With the help of this keyboard, you can make a gaming profile for yourself, remap keys, and customize backlighting.
One downside of this keyboard is the lack of macro keys by default. But there's a nice little hack. Since function keys have limited work for any game, you can use them to store your macros.
Performance wise too, this keyboard is very good. I found it good with every genre of games, like MMO, FPS, and RTS etc. Also, Romer-G switches work better than most of the mechanical switches around.
HyperX Alloy Elite: Check Price On Amazon
Best Mechanical Keyboard 2020 For Typing
The reason I like Alloy Elite by HyperX is its simple-yet-elegant design.
It has medium-sized rectangular keys that cover most of the front area.
There's very little space left on this board which suggests that HyperX did a good job in space management. It results in Alloy Elite being a full-sized keyboard despite being compact in size
There's a bar above the function keys which contains dedicated media keys (volume adjuster, pause, play, and skip buttons), brightness adjustment keys, and lighting-pattern modification keys.
There's a special Game Mod Key which disables the Windows Key while any game is running. For better ergonomics, there's a removable wrist-rest attached at the bottom side.
Unlike in Razer or Logitech boards where they're using their own proprietary switches for some time, this one uses the Cherry MX switches, which are available in 3 versions: MX cherry RED keys, MX cherry Brown keys, Cherry MX Blue Keys.
As mentioned above, each of this type is different and have its respective pros and cons.
My favorite are Cherry MX Blue switches because they make typing so much easier than what it actually is.
In fact, this is the best mechanical keyboard for typing in our experience. Moreover, it must be mentioned that while Switches made by Logitech and Razer are very good, nothing beats Cherry MX when it comes to mechanical switches.
When it comes to features though, there isn't much to write about frankly. There's no companion software that comes with this keyboard, which means you can't have things like gaming profiles, macros, or button re-mapping here.
Still, you can have different lighting patterns but red backlighting won't necessarily match with your gaming rig.
All in all, this keyboard is a good attempt form HyperX. Sure, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of its other competitors, but I think its simplicity is what makes it ideal for office-based usage.
That being said, if gaming is your one and only activity, there are better choices in this roundup.
Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2: Check Price On Amazon
Best Mechanical Keyboard 2020 Overall
For many people, the Razer brand is synonymous with PC gaming accessories. You can't just complete any list related of gaming accessories without mentioning Razer.
They make gaming headsets, mice, controllers, and now they've even started to produce gaming smartphones.
From that massive line-up, we have BlackWidow Chroma V2 mechanical keyboard here.
Thanks to its metallic deck, it's heavier than the most of other boards. But that metallic deck also makes it more sturdy, which is a good thing. Below each of its key-cap, there's RGB lighting and Razer's yellow switches.
According to Razer, these switches are linear and quiet, and I've found them somewhere between Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX silver in terms of attributes.
This switches are super-quick and have very little actuation distance which makes them unsuitable for typists, but great for fast-paced gaming.
But contrary to what Razer said, these switches aren't quiet by any means and also don't give you much tactile feedback.
The left-most column on this board consists of five macro keys. They can be used to store macros, but being too close to the regular keys can give you a bit of accidental-pressing.
On top of that, these keys don't have any different texture than the other keys which only adds to the problem.
On its right side, there's a USB port along with a 3.5 mm jack, so that you can connect your mouse and gaming headset respectively to this board. This is a good feature, I think, that can be handy in case you have a limited amount of ports on your PC.
Another good feature I found is this keyboard is the wrist-rest. Yes, there are many keyboards that come with wrist-rests nowadays, but this one is different. This wrist-rest has faux-leather covering and is very soft, arguably making it the best one out of the lot.
Like all other Razer mice and keyboards, this one comes with Razer Synapse software which lets you update the firmware, change color settings, and assign macros for MMOs/MOBAs.
One big advantage of this software is the chroma-compatible apps/games, such as Overwatch and Fortnite etc.
In those games/apps, you can integrate Chroma's lighting with the in-game actions and color arrangements.
There aren't too many games compatible with this feature, but the ones that do are a lot more exciting with this feature enabled. RGB lighting is very bright by default but can be adjusted by the function-key press.
All in all, I am pretty impressed with this keyboard. There are a lot of goodies but my only issue is the price since it costs more than 150 bucks at the time of this review.
"Thanks to its great design, excellent RGB lighting, and speedy proprietary switches, the Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 is one of the best mechanical gaming keyboards on the market"