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Real nice write up!!! I have to admit… I went through a phase where I loved membrane keyboards. When I built my first custom PC, selecting every part (and spending about $700 in 2013), I spent $12 on a Roswell keyboard 😅 I’m not saying I loved THAT keyboard… I was working in fast food, and my limited budget was going towards good “permanent” parts while I skimped out on things I thought I could upgrade to be really nice better, and that included my keyboard. Literally, painful junk 😂 Like most people, I believe, I got used to membrane keyboards when laptops became powerful enough to be your primary or only computer. And I was living in an alternate universe called “Macintosh.” Here’s where the positives were: short travel key presses, low profile caps with broad “faces” that didn’t matter if you pressed off-center, quiet, safer from small spills and easy to clean, essentially great laptop companions. Apple refined their membrane keyboards to the point where it was weird to try anything else… the Apple’s “Magic Keyboard” is still my wife’s favorite, and that is a $100 membrane keyboard! However, the broad scope of membrane keyboard examples leave much to be desired. Many require a firmer press, all require the keycap to be pressed the full way down to bottoming out, two factors which require a more deliberate typing style lest you miss some letters. My fingers tire faster when typing more than briefly. My wife’s Compaq and Toshiba laptop keyboards from college just felt yucky! It was as if they stuck to the membrane a bit when I released pressure; if my $12 membrane board felt like tapping my finders directly on a table, these other membrane boards felt like tapping on chewing gum! The one membrane keyboard I tried that actually had a longer key travel distance was Apple’s acrylic “Pro” keyboard… they attempted to use membranes there to emulate a full-size mechanical keyboard with a full-size 100% key and number pad layout, full-size key caps, full-length keypress travel… but it has the absolute heaviest actuation force that I’ve ever experienced, has mushier and mushier feedback along the way down, and a soft rebound accompanied by a sound that is no thocc and all slapped-mashed-potatoes. Apologies to anyone that loves this unique keyboard, but for me it ranks as the absolute worst! I’ve been enjoying a few forays into Mechanical keyboards. I have a Gateron Yellow ENTR and Halo True ENTR (https://drop.com/talk/62256/keys-to-success), plus a wireless keyboard I’ve been using to explore “silent” tactile switches. Long story short, I agree with the Hoff here, but my favorite part so far has been the springy, bouncy feel that doesn’t necessarily require a bottomed-out press. It just feels nicer with long writing tasks!
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Evshrug"felt like tapping on chewing gum!" I distinctly remember this sensation one when having to use a public computer. First I thought maybe I just forgot how all membranes feel but nope, some of them are just uniquely bad.
sietaiI have a friend who says he loves this Apple Pro keyboard above all others… not an earlier serial port Apple mechanical keyboard, the laffy-taffy-type Acrylic. I told him… if his current one ever breaks, he can just have mine 😂
EvshrugOhhh man, that acrylic Pro keyboard from Apple takes me back. My childhood best friend had the G4 Cube with either the same keyboard or a similar one. I know that computer is objectively not amazing, but man do I have a lot of nostalgia for it. Good call about the key travel and actuation point too!
HoffmanMysterThe Cube was art… I was kind of giddy when Apple released the Cylinder (err, the previous Mac Pro form factor), and sad while working at Apple to see that I had to take receipts and trash out of the top air vents from our demo unit on display almost every day. Computers, Keyboards, work spaces in general… people understand that function is important, but aesthetics are all too easy to overlook, and then they miss out on the welcoming satisfaction of sitting down to work at a “sorted out” and inspirational space. …. which reminds me, I need to clear and organize my desk 😂
EvshrugSo true. And speaking of organizing desks... I need to get on that too. Every time I think I've got it under control, some project forces me to litter my desk with stuff and it takes ages to clean it back up.
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