Here it is – the absolute best mechanical keyboards of 2018. Mechanical keyboards have been making a surge in popularity among the tech-literate crowd due to the superior tactile response and feel that a standard keyboard lacks. For those of us that spend at least 8 hours a day behind a keyboard, you’d be wise to make an investment in your typing experience. If you’re not sure what’s going on with this mechanical keyboard thing, check out our starting page or keep reading — we discuss some basics in this article. If you want to see an updated list featuring keyboards for everyday use, look here. We also cover keyboards with switches and in separate pieces.
In this guide and 2018 list, we’ll take a look at why one would want a mechanical keyboard and then we’ll move onto the best mechanical keyboards for every budget and use. Comparison of the best Mechanical Keyboards Here is a quick rating and comparison table of our top keyboards of 2018 (which we’ve actually reviewed), and below we’ll go into more detail about choosing the best mechanical keyboard for your needs. Top Reasons to Buy a Mechanical Keyboard. A better typing experience – think about how many hours every day you spend at a keyboard. If you’re like most office workers, it’s likely more than 10 hours a day if you count your time at home as well! For a relatively small investment, you can significantly upgrade your typing experience and make every day just a little bit better. A reliable investment – If you’re new to mechanical keyboards, you may think they’re too expensive at first.
Spending $80-150 for a mechanical keyboard may seem crazy when you can get a cheap keyboard from Amazon for $12, but this is a case of you get what you pay for. Mechanical keyboards are much more reliable and durable than your cheap keyboards. Unlike many other expensive electronics, mechanical keyboards are notoriously long-lasting and resistant to any breakdown or faults.
Customized experience – Most standard keyboards are largely the same bland typing experience. With mechanical switches, there’s a large variety of options to choose from so you can find the mechanical switch that fits your needs!
Whether you like a loud and clicky keyboard with tactile feedback, smooth and quiet switches, or anything in between, there’s a mechanical keyboard out there that’s perfect for you. Value-adding features – Unlike membrane style keyboards, mechanical keyboards often have additional features that can make office work or gaming more efficient or fun.
Features such as allow for an overall better typing experience. Things to Know about Mechanical Keyboards If you’re a complete newcomer to mechanical keyboards, there are a few basics you’ll want to know.
Switches First, there’s a pretty wide variety of mechanical switches available. The undisputed best mechanical switch manufacturer is Cherry, which makes Cherry MX switches. Cherry switches are manufactured in Germany and they’re widely considered the best when it comes to quality and innovation.
There are many Cherry copycats such as Outemu, Gaote, and Kailh which are manufactured in China and are typically used in cheaper keyboards. All of the keyboards on our list use Cherry MX switches. Form Factors Mechanical keyboards come in several different form factors that you might not be used to. A “ full” keyboard is the standard one you’re already familiar with which includes navigation keys and a numpad on the right side of the keyboard. There’s also “, which don’t have the numpad area.
These keyboards offer ergonomic advantages in that they place the mouse closer to the center of your body, and they save real estate on your desk as well which is important for some people. The other main form factor we’ll take a look at is the super-compact “60% layout”. This layout makes the keyboard even smaller, down to just 60% of the keys of a full keyboard. These keyboards are usually most attractive to power-users that want features such as programmable layers. See the Vortex Poker 3 for an example of a 60% keyboard.
Best Mechanical Keyboards of 2018 Now that we’ve looked and the benefits of owning a mechanical keyboard and some of the basic layouts, lets dive into our list of the best mechanical keyboards from 2018. This list is quite general and I’ve tried to put the best mechanical keyboard for every type of budget and use – everyday gaming or typing. Best Overall Mechanical Keyboard Das Keyboard 4 Professional The latest and greatest keyboard from Das Keyboard, version 4 takes it to the next level. New dedicated media controls, sleep button, and a very satisfying volume-knob, and two USB 3.0 ports give you everything you could possibly want from a mechanical keyboard. Other keyboards just don’t deliver the same satisfying typing experience that comes with this keyboard.
Not to mention the keyboard itself is beautiful and fits in anywhere from the home office to the executive office. The Das Keyboard 4 Pro is available with Cherry MX Brown or Blue switches. If you’re on the fence about what to go with, we’d recommend Browns. Many people find Blues to be too loud!
Das Keyboard’s elite build-quality featuring aluminum construction make this a mechanical keyboard that will last you for years to come. There’s a full breakdown of this keyboard in our hands on. Best Minimalist Mechanical Keyboard CODE 104-Key Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard CODE puts out amazingly attractive mechanical keyboards, and no list would be complete without one. Their commitment to doing things differently, like mechanical Cherry Green and Clear switches, and using a timelessly simple design and font.
Individually backlit keys with 7 levels of brightness add to the overall class of the keyboard as well. There are simply too many delightful features to list! These keyboards are made by the WASD Keyboards company which has a great reputation in the mechanical keyboard community for excellent customer service. Read our full CODE keyboard review for more details. Best Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire The Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire is one of the newest gaming keyboards from Corsair and it utilizes the new Cherry MX Speed switches.
Cherry MX Speed switches are new in 2016, and currently, only Corsair has them. These are the first switches made by Cherry designed specifically for gaming.
Speed switches are linear and light, similar to Reds. The big difference though is the travel distance for a Speed switch to activate is 1.2mm, whereas Reds have a travel distance of 2mm. By shortening the travel distance, you will activate the keys faster and have a quicker response time thus making it our pick for the best gaming mechanical keyboard. If you don’t have the cash to pick up a K70 RGB Rapidfire, take a look at our list of Corsair keyboards. You’ll find a model that suits your needs. The K70 RGB Rapidstrike features some of the best RGB lighting you’ll find on a mechanical keyboard. The switch housing is clear, letting light illuminate out from the switch in all directions.
Included with this keyboard is a detachable wrist rest, textured gaming keycaps, and the ability to completely customize your backlighting with the Corsair CUE software. Read more about the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire mechanical keyboard on Amazon or our hands-on review. Best Budget Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Corsair STRAFE RGB This mechanical keyboard from Corsair is our favorite for 2018, dethroning the Razer BlackWidow line of keyboards. The STRAFE can be found at around $100 for the non-RGB model, but we’d recommend you consider splurging for the RGB backlights.
As you can see in the video below, this keyboard looks amazing and comes with Cherry MX switches, a USB pass-through port, and textured gaming keycaps. Head over to our full for more details.
We also have an covering other gaming keyboards if you’re looking for something else. Best Compact Mechanical Keyboard CM Storm QuickFire TK For those look no further. The QuickFire TK is an interesting hybrid of a tenkeyless and full-size keyboard, allowing more space for your mouse and letting your keyboard align more ergonomically with your body. Instead of dropping the numpad, as a typically tenkeyless mechanical keyboard does, it instead drops the navigation keys and adds their functionality on to the numpad with the combination of a function key. We find this to be the most functional compact mechanical keyboard on the market. Best Programming Mechanical Keyboard Das Keyboard Prime 13 The Das Keyboard Prime 13 is the newest mechanical keyboard from Das Keyboard this year, and it’s really a thing of beauty.
The minimalist style with white LED backlighting certainly gives the Code 104-Key a run for its money, though the Prime 13 is only available with Cherry MX Brown switches. One big difference from the Das Keyboard Pro 4 is that the Prime 13 doesn’t have the media control keys or volume knob in the top-right section. Some people may prefer the Pro 4 for that reason, or they may prefer the streamlined style of the Prime 13. You can check out our if you want more photos and information, but we think this keyboard would make anyone happy – especially programmers! Best 60% Mechanical Keyboard Vortex Poker 3 The Vortex Poker 3 (sometimes referred to as “Pok3r”) is the ultimate 60% keyboard on the market and the of enthusiasts. With only 61 keys, you’ll get more out of this keyboard than a full-sized keyboard through innovative use of hotkeys and programmable layers.
It may look daunting at first, but give it a shot and you’ll feel like your full-sized keyboard is just a waste of space in comparison. It has recently been released for sale through WASD keyboards, re-branded as the “CODE 61 Key”, but it’s the same exact keyboard, so everything in the video applies to the Pok3r as well.
Best Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Mistel Barocco The Mistel Barocco is an innovative split-keyboard that comes in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches. This is the first keyboard from, and the split design makes this the best ergonomic mechanical keyboard on the market.
By splitting the 60% keyboard into two pieces, it allows you to place the keyboard in a much more ergonomic position. You can position your hands in a natural position that don’t force them inwards towards the center of your body. As you can see in the image above, you will need to have a USB cable connecting the two halves and then a 2nd cable that runs to your computer. Being a 60% keyboard, you’ll need to rely on shortcuts and hotkeys similarly to the Vortex Poker 3 above. Here’s our that has more photos and details.
Best Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboard Majestouch Convertible 2 If you’re looking for a Bluetooth, the Majestouch Convertible 2 has everything you could ask for. You can run the via Bluetooth or via wired USB connection. When it’s in Bluetooth mode, it runs off of 2 AA batteries which can last for 6 months of heavy daily use. If you don’t have batteries, you can still run the keyboard wirelessly if you plug the USB cable into a power source. This keyboard uses Cherry MX switches. Being a Bluetooth keyboard, you can use it with a wide variety of devices including smartphones and tablets.
You can save up to 4 device connections on the keyboard and switch between them with a hotkey. Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard Corsair STRAFE MX Silent “Quiet” and “mechanical keyboard” don’t really go together, but if you’re planning on using your keyboard around many other people then check out this STRAFE keyboard. The Corsair STRAFE is the only keyboard to have the new Cherry MX Silent switches, which are made to be quieter than other mechanical switches. While they’re still not silent, they are the best that it gets when it comes to a quiet mechanical keyboard.
That’s it for our top mechanical keyboards for 2018! If you were hoping for something cheaper, check out our. We also have a great list of. Important Criteria for Gaming Mechanical Keyboards Gaming keyboards have different ideal characteristics than a mechanical keyboard you’ll primarily use for work. Here’s a list of the important criteria that helped us pick out the best mechanical keyboards for gaming –. Quality Switches – if you’re a serious gamer, you can’t have your switches fail you in the heat of battle. We prefer linear Cherry MX switches for gaming, such as Red or Speed.
Great Build Quality – gamers are going to put more stress on their keyboards than non-gamers. When it comes time to mash some keys, you want to know your keyboard can withstand the abuse and not start to break down. N-Key Rollover – this features means that no matter how many keys you press at the same time, they will all be successfully sent to the computer and not dropped. This means are ruled out!. Extra Features and Backlighting – Some of these keyboards have great extra features like audio/mic pass-through ports, gaming keycaps, and awesome backlighting effects which are always a nice bonus.
As we mentioned in our main list above, the Corsair K70 Rapidfire is our top gaming keyboard pick. Here’s a list of some of our other favorite mechanical keyboards for gaming. Division Zero X40 is the gaming branch of Das Keyboard, so you can expect high-quality parts and long lasting performance with the.
The X40 uses Division Zero’s own “Alpha-Zulu” line of switches, which have a shorter actuation point compared to regular Cherry MX switches for better reaction time. One cool feature of the X40 is it has an interchangeable aluminum top panel so you can customize your keyboard to match your space. The X40 features adjustable red LED backlighting, which is great for allowing you to see your keys in a dark room without blinding you or straining your eyes. There’s also a bank of 5 Macro keys on the left side of the keyboard which some gamers find to be a must-have. Razer BlackWidow Chroma I’m not a huge fan of the font Razer used on these keys, but otherwise, this is a good looking keyboard., it has individually backlit keys that you can set to any color. The BlackWidow has 5 programmable macro keys which could be a big selling point to gamers. Another key differentiation to consider is Razer puts custom-made mechanical gaming switches into these keyboards.
Unlike Cherry switches, these were designed with only gaming in mind. This keyboard also features a built-in USB hub, as well as audio and microphone ports. One downside to the Razer BlackWidow is it only has 10-key rollover. This shouldn’t be an issue for most gamers, but it’s something to consider. You can read our full, in-depth review of the Razer BlackWidow Chroma to get better insight into all the features. Rosewill Apollo RK-9100 The Rosewill Apollo RK-9100 is available in Blue and Brown switches and with Blue or Red backlit LED’s. The Apollo RK-9100 comes with software to let you customize your macros to your heart’s content.
You also have 5 different profiles to store your macro settings which you can easily switch between with shortcut keys. This keyboard has 2 built-in USB 2.0 ports as well as headphone and microphone pass-throughs. The LED backlights have 5 different settings – off, low, medium, high, and pulsing. This mechanical keyboard is a great option for someone looking for a cheaper full-sized mechanical keyboard for gaming., so you should definitely check it out. Corsair STRAFE RGB This is a newer keyboard from Corsair, and it quickly become one of our favorites.
It comes with a detachable wrist-rest and textured gaming keycaps for both FPS and MOBA games. It has awesome and bright backlighting effects and a USB pass-through port. This keyboard is also one of the coolest looking gaming keyboards you’ll see. It’s sure to impress your friends at your next LAN party.
The STRAFE RGB is one of the coolest keyboards that we’ve reviewed, check it out. CM Storm QuickFire TK Our final recommendation is for gamers looking for a cheaper or more compact mechanical keyboard.
The application du projet is a free media player (free) running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc. Important Note 1 Reminder: difference between plugin and player A plugin is a module that integrates into a browser (,,,,, etc. A player, is an independent software that allows music playback or video. It is vital Mac OS and Linux, to play media files that QuickTime can not read. ) and allows the browser to play audio or video file.
This keyboard merges the numpad, navigation keys, and command keys into one compact block. The USB cord is detachable, and can be routed out from the side of the keyboard which could be a welcome option for small desk spaces. The QuickFire TK has fully LED backlit keys with 5 different brightness levels, but only in one color unlike our other gaming keyboards. Which Switch is Right for Me? If you’re new to mechanical keyboards, you’re probably a bit confused about all of the different “colors” of mechanical switches.
First of all, know that the color of the switch is simply a way to color-code the underlying characteristics of the switch. The stem of the switches will be hidden from view (unless you take the keycap off), so the actual color has no bearing on the aesthetics of the keyboard. The main characteristics that differentiate the switches from the following are as follows. If you’d like more details, you’d be well suited to take a look at our mechanical keyboard switch comparison guide which will go more in-depth. Stiffness – how much force does it take to press the switch down?. Tactile/Linear – a tactile switch will have a “bump” feeling while depressing it, whereas a linear switch is straight/smooth all the way down. With a tactile switch, you can physically feel when the switch has been activated.
Clicky – some switches make a clicky sound while being pressed. Some people love the sound of these switches, whereas others may find them really annoying. If you’re going to be using your keyboard around others, you might want a non-clicky keyboard to not disturb them. Listen to the video below of clicky keys in action.
Here are the three most popular Cherry MX switch types, their characteristics, and who they might be best for. Note that if you’re buying a switch made by a different manufacturer, their Blue switch might differ from the characteristics of a Cherry MX Blue switch. Blue – Blue switches are a light/medium-stiffness switch that are clicky with a tactile bump.
The video above uses Cherry MX Blue switches. Blue switches are very popular, and a good all-around switch. Due to how loud they are, you might not want to use them in an office or a shared living space. Brown – Brown switches are a light, tactile switch. Unlike Blues, they are not clicky, so they are more quiet. Brown switches are the most popular, and a great starting point for newcomers to mechanical switches. Red – Red switches are light and linear and not clicky.
These switches can be used quietly, especially if you get into the habit of pressing them down far enough to activate, but not mashing them all the way down to the point where they bottom-out. Many gamers prefer linear switches because it allows them to double-tap keys faster. Plenty of other switch types exist, but the above 3 will be found in the vast majority of mechanical keyboards. If you’re interested in finding out about the other switch types.
Search Wirecutter For: Search Reviews for the real world Browse Close. Browse Close. If you spend most of your day typing, a mechanical keyboard is a worthwhile upgrade over a cheaper, less comfortable keyboard.
They are more durable, responsive, and customizable than other types of keyboards. The best for you depends a lot on personal preference and what you’re using it for, but after spending months testing 31 top-rated keyboards with a four-person panel, we unanimously agree that the is a great place to start because of its fantastic key feel, build quality, and elegant design. The WASD Code 87-Key is available with all the most popular switch options for general use and typists—, and, plus —and every single one of our panel testers loved how it felt. Though many other mechanical keyboards have very aggressive styles, the Code’s tasteful modern aesthetic and even white backlighting fits with almost any desktop decor. Out of the box the Code works as a standard keyboard for any operating system, and you can also customize the layout to Mac and other modes using switches on the underside of the board.
(Mac users can customize further; more on this below.) We recommend the 87-key version for most people because compact keyboards are. If you like the Code 87-key but need a full-size number pad, get the. If you’re a Mac user who wants the full Mac experience out of the box, the is the pick for you. It’s modeled after the legendary Apple Extended Keyboard from the early ’90s—Matias even revived the original Alps switches—but was updated with modern features and a three-port USB 2.0 hub. It lacks key backlighting, but you get a standard Mac layout, Mac-specific modifier keys and F-key function labels (options which would cost extra on the WASD), a dedicated eject/soft-power button, full support for Mac startup shortcuts, and useful alt-character key labels. Unlike PC keyboards, we prefer the 104-key version with the number pad because the layout feels truer to traditional Mac keyboards.
But Matias also has for $20 less that has most of the same Mac-focused features and layout, though with an arrow- and fn-key layout that makes it more difficult to use these keys by feel. The Code is well worth the cost because you’ll use it every day for years, but if you’re on a tighter budget, get the. It’s available with, or switches, regularly for around $80 or less. The MasterKeys S PBT doesn’t have any backlighting, but otherwise it’s an excellent keyboard that doesn’t feel, sound, or look cheap on your desk.
Its keycaps are made of a thicker, sturdier material than the Code’s ABS keycaps; they feel great to type on, but their infilled legends will wear off more quickly. If you want a full-size budget-friendly keyboard, is your best bet. It’s available with fewer switch types than the MasterKeys S PBT, but does have backlighting and a fun volume-control wheel.
You can use any of our above picks for gaming, but if you want colorful backlighting and macro support, head over to. This is just the tip of the very deep, endlessly customizable iceberg of mechanical keyboards. We discuss boards with nonstandard layouts, kits that require a soldering gun and programming know-how, and other delightfully nerdy pursuits in. I tested 31 mechanical keyboards for this guide, enough to build a fort out of them. Photo: Kimber Streams I (Kimber Streams) have tested, lived with, and reviewed hundreds of computer accessories, and while working on this guide, I’ve spent way too much time and money on my own mechanical keyboard obsession. So far I’ve purchased two mechanical keyboards (one of which I’ll need to build, solder, and program when it arrives), four sets of custom keycaps, two sets of sound-dampening O-rings, and a hardwood wrist wrest. And I have my eye on a third keyboard.
Most people should not do this. Dan Frakes, who wrote the Mac-focused sections of this guide, has used mechanical keyboards since the IBM and Apple models of the early 1980s. He used the Apple Extended Keyboard long after the switch to USB, sometimes cobbling together switches and keycaps from multiple units to get a single working one.
(He still has ADB cables in his office.) He was also the keyboard reviewer at Macworld for nearly a decade, and he’s tested pretty much every major Mac keyboard. Ryan Whitwam, who wrote the boutiques section, has used mechanical keyboards for nearly a decade, and in recent years has developed a full-blown obsession with them. He owns half a dozen different boards, several of which he built to meet his exacting (and some might say unreasonable) standards. He owns several custom keysets and artisan keycaps that are worth more than the keyboards they are installed on.
Nathan Edwards, the lead editor, has used mechanical keyboards for eight years, currently uses a Magicforce 68 with Gateron Brown switches, and owns more keycap sets than keyboards for now. A quick primer on mechanical keyboards. First, what sets mechanical keyboards apart from the other two most common types, membrane and scissor switch? In (most cheap keyboards) a plastic plunger beneath each key smushes a rubber dome beneath each key into a circuit board to register each keypress. These keyboards tend to feel mushy, and keys can wear out faster than mechanical ones. Also use rubber domes atop electronic switches on a single circuit board, but beneath each key is a hinged scissor-like mechanism that allows for a lower-profile keyboard, which is why they are commonly used in laptops. Mechanical keyboards, by contrast, use independent switches for each key.
They’re more comfortable and durable than other switch types, but they tend to be more expensive. They’re best for people who spend most of the day with a keyboard, and want one that’s pleasant to use. Mechanical keyboards are best for people who spend most of the day with a keyboard, and want one that’s more comfortable and durable. There are three main varieties of mechanical switch: linear, tactile, and clicky.
Linear switches feel smooth when you press them down, from top to bottom. Tactile switches have a noticeable bump partway through the keypress, which lets you know that you’ve activated the key. Clicky switches feel similar to tactile ones, but have an added click sound to match the tactile bump. From these three main switch types come many variations, defined primarily by their actuation force (how much effort it takes to activate each key) and to a lesser extent by their actuation point (how far down you have to press to activate each key). From left to right: a linear switch (Cherry MX Red), a tactile switch (Cherry MX Brown), and a clicky switch (Cherry MX Blue).
To see the tactile bump (or lack of one) keep an eye on the contact plate—that’s the metal bit on the far left. Credit: Lethal Squirrel, imgur Several companies make mechanical switches, but the most common are Cherry MX switches.
This is where things get complicated. Since Cherry’s switch patents, a number of clones (such as Gateron, Kailh, and Greetech) have become available. For the most part, these switches mimic Cherry MX switches in feeling and color-naming scheme, though quality can vary. (Cherry has also and quality-control issues in recent years due to high demand.
As a result, some enthusiasts—including some of the authors of this guide—even prefer Gateron’s switches over Cherry’s.). We’ll focus on Cherry switches for this guide, because they’re by far the most prevalent and have a decades-long reputation for reliability. Keyboard companies like Logitech, Razer, and Steelseries, which used to use Cherry switches, have also begun making their own mechanical switches, either independently or in partnership with companies that clone Cherry switches. And there are still other, completely different types of mechanical switches, such as Topre and Alps clones (found in our Mac pick below).
Of most of these switches, and we recommend taking a look if you want to learn more about a specific type. For the most part, we’ll be focusing on Cherry switches for this guide, because they’re by far the most prevalent and have a decades-long reputation for reliability. Cherry MX Browns are the most popular switches for all-around use and gaming, and the second most popular for typing. Photo: Michael Hession Because everyone has different preferences, we can’t recommend one particular switch that’s best for everyone. But according to, the most popular switches for all-around use are Cherry MX Browns, followed by Blues and Clears. For typing, most enthusiasts like Blues best, followed by Browns, then Clears.
For gaming, Browns, followed closely by Reds and Blues. A switch tester can help you decide which switches you like best. Photo: Michael Hession Because these switches feel very different from each other, we recommend buying (or borrowing) a, trying a friend’s keyboard, or going to a store and poking some mechanical keyboards for yourself. We also advise buying your keyboard from a seller with a good return policy, so you can swap it if you don’t like the switches you got. To help you decide, we’ve created this handy chart of the switches available in the mechanical keyboards we recommend.
Name Type Actuation force Stiffness Noise Cherry MX Red Linear 45g light low Cherry MX Black Linear 60g hard low Cherry MX Brown Tactile 45g light average Cherry MX Clear Tactile 65g hard average Cherry MX Blue Clicky 50g medium high Cherry MX Green Clicky 70g hard high Matias Alps Clicky 60g hard high If you still can’t decide, we recommend trying out Cherry MX Browns because of their popularity. (For this reason, and to make sure panel testers focused on differences between keyboards, rather than differences between switch types, we tested keyboards with Brown switches whenever possible.) We do not recommend clicky switches, like Blues, if you work or game in a shared space, because they’re very noisy and will likely annoy your office- or housemates. Top to bottom: the full-size WASD Code 104-Key, the tenkeyless WASD Code 87-Key, and the 60 percent WASD Code 61-Key.
Photo: Michael Hession Size is important. There are three common sizes of mechanical keyboard: full, tenkeyless, and 60 percent.
(As well as a bunch of nonstandard ones that we’ll discuss further in the section below). Full keyboards have all the keys: letters, numbers, modifiers, function keys, arrow keys, and a number pad. Tenkeyless (often abbreviated TKL) keyboards lack a number pad, but have all the other keys. Lastly, 60 percent keyboards—popular in the mechanical keyboard enthusiast community—include only the essential block of letters, numbers, and modifiers, and have no function keys, no arrow keys, and no numpad. Smaller keyboards have. Keyboards without a number pad allow you to place your mouse closer to your body, which on your shoulders, neck, and back. If you need the number pad all the time, you should stick to full keyboards, but most people are best off with a tenkeyless board.
(And stand-alone numpads are a great option if you only need one on occasion.) We only recommend a 60 percent keyboard if you’re very sure you don’t need the arrow or function keys, or are willing to rely on key combinations every time you do. We didn’t consider keyboards that are difficult to find, come in kits, are mostly available via group buys, or have nonstandard layouts, but we do discuss those. Keyboards without a number pad allow you to place your mouse closer to your body, which reduces strain on your shoulders, neck, and back.
(or NKRO) refers to how many inputs a keyboard can handle before it can no longer recognize additional keypresses. Is no longer a common issue, but on old keyboards, if you pressed three or more keys it could cause the board to register phantom keypresses. Almost all mechanical keyboards today—and all of our picks below—support at least six-key rollover and anti-ghosting, so these are no longer defining features. Our pick: WASD Code 87-Key.
If you spend most of your time typing—tapping out articles, documentation, or lines of code—the is a fantastic option. This tenkeyless board is available with all the most popular switch options for general use and typists:,. And it’s available in, too. Our panelists universally loved the Code because of its subtle, elegant design, great feel, and unmatched build quality. (If you want a number pad, to the 104-key version of the Code keyboard.) Panel testing can be a tricky business, because everyone has a different body, workflow, and their own personal preferences. But every single one of our panel testers loved the Code 87.
One went from disliking all mechanical keyboards to asking “Why do I like this one so much?” and declaring that it “feels really nice.” Another (perhaps not-so-very) jokingly attempted to smuggle the Code 87 away under his shirt. And I didn’t want to stop using it long enough to test all the other keyboards for this guide. Every time I used a different board, I felt myself longing to switch back to the Code.
Best Gaming Keyboard For Macbook Pro 2018
In fact, as soon as I sent my review unit back, I bought one. Every single one of our panel testers loved the Code 87. The Code feels so great to type on because of its superb build quality. The keycaps feel smooth but not slippery, and make a solid clacking noise when depressed into the steel backplate. Other keyboards we tested made a higher-pitched sound and the keys felt hollower, which gave our panel members the impression that they were cheaper. The trade-off for the Code’s superior build quality is that it weighs 2 pounds.
Every tester commented on its weight, and at least two joked that it could be used as a weapon in a pinch. (Mechanical keyboards aren’t meant to be portable, so we don’t think this is a dealbreaker.) The Code keyboard feels rock-solid when typing, unlike the, which flexed in the middle during ordinary typing. All of the Code’s keys feel consistent—even the larger modifier keys—and none rattle around when jiggled. This might seem like the bare minimum to expect from a $150 keyboard, but uneven modifier keys and rattly space bars were common across many of the keyboards we tested—the shift and enter keys felt inconsistent depending on where they were pressed, and most keyboards we tested had wiggly, noisy space bars. The Code has a clean, elegant design and even white backlighting. Photo: Michael Hession Though design preferences are entirely personal, I love the Code’s subtle looks, and several panel members mentioned that they liked the understated black slab. The Code has blank keycaps in place of operating system keys, where other manufacturers slap their ugly logos.
The Code has no visible branding on top, no edgy fonts, no strange keycaps, and no extra buttons or knobs. It’s just a plain black board, and I think it’s beautiful.
The, from the same company, is very similar and allows for even more customization—you can choose keycap color, legends, and printing style—but it lacks backlighting. The white backlighting reflects off the white-painted steel backplate, giving the whole keyboard a pleasant glow that shines through each keycap to evenly illuminate every letter. The Code has seven levels of illumination (plus off) that you can toggle one-handed with Fn + F11, and you can disable the backlight entirely with Fn + F12.
The Code lacks multicolor backlighting and per-key backlight customization, but if that’s your jam, check out our. The Code works as a standard QWERTY keyboard for any operating system, and you can plug it in and use it without messing with any software or programming. But it also has six on the underside of the board that you can use to change to Mac mode (which swaps the Command and Option keys) or Dvorak or Colemak mode (different key layouts preferred by some typists). Other switches allow you to change Caps Lock to a Control key, disable the operating system keys, and more. The Code comes with a handy guide to these switches, and if you don’t need them, you can simply ignore them. The Code’s media controls are printed on the front of the nav keys and easy to reach with one hand while holding down the Fn key.
Photo: Michael Hession We also liked the Code’s conveniently placed media controls, located on the and marked with side-lit legends. Even someone with small hands can reach the Fn key and the volume and mute keys with a single hand. Other keyboards we tested require two hands to press the Fn key and access the media keys. The Code also has six rubber pads on its underside that keep the board from sliding around, and two rubber-coated feet if you like to prop up your keyboard (ergonomic experts say that’s, so we don’t advise it). It comes with a detachable, 70-inch Micro-USB to USB cable with a velcro tie.
The box also includes a couple other thoughtful touches, like a keycap puller so you can clean your keyboard, swap out keycaps, or add O-rings, and a PS/2 adapter if you need more than the six-key rollover supported by the USB interface (but you probably don’t, since most people don’t need to press more than six keys at once). Our pick: Flaws but not dealbreakers As mentioned above, the Code doesn’t have a full-size number pad. If you need one, read on. It also lacks RGB (multicolor) backlighting, it can’t record or store macros, and it’s not available with linear switches like the MX Red or MX Black. These features aren’t necessary for most people, but if you want any (or all) of those things, head over to our.
If you want to, you’ll need to download the software. (If you’re on Sierra, follow instead. As soon as you launch the software, your function keys will automatically be remapped to media keys, then you can activate the Fn key in the Simple Modifications tab by adding an item to remap “application” to “fn.”) WASD also sells a and (including Mac, Windows, Linux, and even Amiga), but these don’t allow the backlight to shine through like the WASD’s included keycaps, and they don’t include a function key in place of the Code’s Menu key. (One staffer ordered one of these to replace his Code’s Command key.) The Code 87’s keycaps, like those of most mechanical keyboards, are made of ABS, a plastic that can become shiny over time on frequently used keys. After more than a year of testing, we’ve found that the Code’s keycaps wear less than most ABS keycaps, but if you experience this issue, you can replace the keycaps with PBT ones that are less shine-prone, or check out our, which has PBT keycaps but no backlighting.
One tester mentioned that the Code’s keys feel tall, making it a bit difficult to reach up to the keys. Almost all mechanical keyboards have this problem due to the depth of the switch mechanism, so the best solution is a palm rest. Some gaming keyboards we tested include built-in or detachable palm rests, but none of our typing contenders did. Currently at around $150, the Code 87 is expensive compared with nonmechanical keyboards, but it costs about the same as the other mechanical keyboards we considered for this category. And if you spend all day with a keyboard, it’s totally worth it.
With a number pad: WASD Code 104-Key. If you need a full-size number pad, get the. It’s exactly the same as the tenkeyless version—it looks the same, feels the same, and has all the same thoughtful features—but it includes a number pad and thus weighs a bit more (2.42 pounds).
The Code 104-Key is available in all the same switches, Cherry, and, and it usually costs around $5 more than its 87-key counterpart. One Wirecutter employee purchased the Code 104-Key before this guide was published, and when it arrived he found that the left bracket key didn’t work and the keyboard had one dead LED. He contacted WASD Keyboards support about the LED, and they immediately offered to send him a replacement part or repair the keyboard.
After he discovered the dead bracket key, however, he chose to exchange the board through Amazon (where he purchased) and his replacement worked perfectly. For Mac enthusiasts: Matias Tactile Pro. In addition to having proper Mac modifier keys in the correct locations, the Tactile Pro’s keys show alternate characters you can type using macOS key combinations. Photo: Michael Hession The Tactile Pro has a Mac-standard key layout that replicates that of Apple’s best keyboards, down to the numeric keypad layout, space between pods of F-keys, and a full complement of modifier keys.
(I especially like the location of the Fn key next to the Home key, which makes it easy to use many Fn/F-key combinations with one hand.) F-key overlays include controls for screen brightness, Mission Control (two modes of your choice), media-playback control, volume, mute, and eject. You also get 18 F-keys rather than 12, so if you use a macro program such as, you have more keys to work with than on most keyboards. Matias also says that the Tactile Pro is the only non-Apple-branded keyboard that properly supports all startup keyboard shortcuts (such as T for target disk mode); we haven’t tested every keyboard, but we can confirm that every shortcut we tried worked with the Tactile Pro; that hasn’t been true on some other keyboards we’ve used. Though its white body looks a little plasticky, the Tactile Pro is solid, thanks in part to a metal backplate that makes the keyboard rigid and helps give the keys a firm “bottom” when typing.
The keyboard also has a three-port USB 2.0 hub, with ports on each end and one in the back. If you like the Tactile Pro’s keys and features but prefer a compact keyboard, Matias’s is a very similar keyboard without a numeric keypad or most of the navigation cluster—it’s basically a laptop-keyboard layout with dedicated Page Up and Page Down keys. (It’s smaller than the standard tenkeyless layout, closer in size to 65 percent boards.) Though it’s just as Mac-focused as the standard Tactile Pro, with the same great keys, the Shift, Control, arrow, and fn keys are bunched together on the right, making it more difficult to use these keys by feel.
The Mini has a detachable USB cable, rather than the permanent cable of the full-size Pro. For Mac enthusiasts: Flaws but not dealbreakers Like our top pick, the Tactile Pro currently costs around $130 to $150, which is a lot for a keyboard. But that’s a fairly standard price for a good mechanical keyboard.
Matias’s tactile switches are very good, but they have a very different feel and sound from many other switches. Like Cherry MX Blues, they’re quite loud, so they might annoy your officemates, and they require a bit more force to activate than, say, a Cherry Brown—though you also get more tactile activation feedback. If you prefer Blue or Brown switches, take a look at the Das Keyboard 4 Pro for Mac, in. The Tactile Pro’s Caps Lock indicator light is difficult to see in bright light, and we wish the Tactile Pro had USB 3.0 ports, like the Das Keyboard 4 Pro, instead of USB 2.0. We’d also like to see a black version, instead of just white—white keys show dirt over time, and a white design feels a bit dated.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no backlighting, but none of the Mac-specific models we tested had this feature. If you’re interested in a mechanical keyboard but don’t have $150 to spend, you should try the —a tenkeyless board, available with Cherry, or switches. It doesn’t have backlighting, but it’s a sturdy, minimalist keyboard that feels excellent to type on and costs roughly half as much as the Code. The MasterKeys S PBT’s matte-plastic case and thick PBT keycaps felt hearty and satisfying to type on, and its heavy case stays put on a desk.
Its keycaps are made of a thicker material than the Code’s ABS keycaps; they won’t develop a shine as quickly as most ABS keycaps, but their infilled legends will wear off more quickly. (More on this below.) The MasterKeys S PBT isn’t quite as minimalist and clean-looking as the Code—the Cooler Master logo is stamped on the OS keys, which are tastefully blank on the Code. But the MasterKeys’s design is subtle compared with that of other budget boards, which often have large, glowing logos in the top left or right corner. The ThermalTake even has a gaudy glowing blue logo on its space bar. Like the Code, the MasterKeys S PBT has four rubber pads that keep the keyboard firmly planted, and it also has two rubber-coated flip-down feet.
(Again, you shouldn’t use these to prop up your keyboard because it’s bad for your wrists.) The MasterKeys S PBT is the only budget board we’ve tested with a braided, detachable USB cable. Plus it has cable routing built in the bottom of the case, just like the Code, so you can route the USB cable out the sides or the middle of the keyboard. The MasterKeys doesn’t have DIP switches for changing layouts, but instead allows you to swap between Windows and Mac layouts with (PDF); Fn + Ctrl + W activates Windows layout, while Fn + Ctrl + M swaps to Mac layout.
The MasterKeys S PBT has the same conveniently located, clearly labeled media keys as the Code. It also has a shortcut to disable the Windows key, supports on-the-fly macros, and comes with a pack of red keycaps for WASD (for shooters) and QWERDF (for MOBAs) in case you plan to use this. Budget pick: Flaws but not dealbreakers The MasterKeys S PBT lacks any backlighting whatsoever, but that’s a reasonable trade-off for a well-made mechanical with Cherry switches that costs around $80.
But found that the keycap legends faded over time, a sentiment. We haven’t spent enough time with the S PBT yet to experience the problem ourselves, but laser-etched legends historically suffer from it. Because the keycaps are a standard size, you can easily replace them when they wear down. Like the Code, the MasterKeys S PBT comes with a keycap puller, but it’s a plastic, ring-style puller rather than the Code’s wire puller. Exercise caution with the ring, because it can scratch your keycaps.
Full-size budget: Logitech G610 Orion. If you want a budget mechanical keyboard with a number pad, get the. It’s a full-size keyboard available with or switches, and it has a fun volume control wheel in the upper right.
The G610 costs about the same as the Quick Fire Rapid-i and most of our panel members liked it equally, but it’s available with fewer switch types, requires software to change backlight effects, and has a non-removable USB cable. Our panel members liked the G610’s “percussive key feel,” but thought it felt a bit cheaper than the Cooler Master Quick Fire Rapid-i because of its higher-pitched typing sound. The G610’s space bar and modifier keys rattle more than the Code’s, and its space bar and shift keys in particular have a louder metallic twang than the Quick Fire Rapid-i’s. The Logitech G610 (bottom) has a gaudier design than the Code 104-Key (top). Photo: Michael Hession The G610 Orion had one of the least gaudy designs of the budget keyboards we considered.
It has a blocky futuristic font and a large illuminated “G” in the corner, but doesn’t have any other tacky, visible branding. The G610 Orion is one of Logitech’s only keyboards with Cherry MX switches, which means you can swap out the included keycaps for custom ones if you want. By default, the G610’s white backlight travels in waves across the keyboard. The effect can be distracting, but you can change animation styles with the special Lighting key above the function row, combined with the numbers 0 through 5. You can also customize the backlight for individual keys or assign lighting effects to the whole keyboard using Logitech’s Game Center software. The G810 has dedicated media buttons and a delightful volume roller.You can also assign and record Macros for the F1 through F12 keys using the Game Center software, and choose which keys to disable when Game Mode is toggled using the button above Print Screen. (The legend looks a bit like a joystick on top of a turntable. Perhaps a golf flag?) The G610 also has a set of media buttons in the upper right, but they’re loud, shallow, and snappy.
Everyone loved the scroll wheel at the top to control volume—it might be a bit too fun, though, because I find myself playing with it constantly. Making your mechanical keyboard quieter. There’s no getting around it: mechanical keyboards are loud. A number of factors can impact noise level: switch type, keyboard construction, typing technique, and whether or not you choose to add sound dampeners. After testing a keyboard with Cherry’s MX Silent switches (designed to be quieter than other mechanical switches), we found that most people are better off buying a keyboard with switches they like and adding. It’s cheaper to add O-rings to a keyboard you already like than to buy a $150 keyboard with limited switches that you may not enjoy.
We tested the only keyboard that currently has MX Silent switches, the Corsair Strafe RGB. Though the keyboard is undeniably quieter than other mechanical options—including Cherry MX Red switches, which have the same linear travel and 45g actuation force as the MX Silents—our testing panel found it wasn’t worth the trade-off in feel. Instead of the smooth, crisp tactile response characteristic of mechanical keyboards, the MX Silent keys felt mushy and resistive, like pressing down into a thick cushion. And typing on the keyboard wasn’t completely silent either, but sounded a bit like banging on a damp, hollow log. Our panel testers decided the wasn’t worth $150—they’d rather buy a cheaper, nonmechanical keyboard or deal with a louder mechanical keyboard instead. So, what can you do if you work or game in a shared space, and need to keep your keyboard quiet?
Option one is, of course, to consider a. The next-best solution is to install little rubber O-rings on underside of each keycap to dampen the sound each key makes when you press it down. It’s a fiddly, time-consuming process, but you should only have to do it once. Our panel tested out a couple different types of O-rings on linear Cherry MX Red switches, and found that they successfully dampen the sound of a key bottoming out, but don’t reduce the sharp sound a key makes when it springs back up.
Tactile switches like MX Browns add a little more noise to each keypress, and clicky switches like MX Blues will make a racket no matter what. (For the love of keycaps, don’t get clicky switches if you work in a shared space, unless you really hate everyone around you.) O-rings also slightly reduce key travel (that is, how far down each key can go) and add a slightly mushy feeling to the bottom of each keypress, because you’re pressing each key into a tiny rubber ring rather than hard metal or plastic. But our panel testers unanimously preferred O-Rings on regular switches to MX Silent switches and found them more pleasant to type on.
Our recommended comes with a set of six and six O-rings from WASD keyboards, so we suggest getting the switch tester and trying out those O-rings on a cluster of keys. If you like how they feel and sound, then buy some.
If you don’t want to test them out first, we recommend the Red O-rings. None of our panel testers could tell the difference between Red and Blue in our tests, and the Red O-rings will have the least impact on key travel. (There are lots of different types of O-rings, many of which are cheaper. If you’re interested, you can.) Care and maintenance. When your keyboard first arrives, we recommend testing every key and making sure every LED works. If you get a dead switch or light, contact the seller right away to arrange an exchange or repair. Mechanical keyboards need a little more tender loving care than most keyboards, because dust, skin particles, hair, crumbs, and all kinds of nasty stuff can and will fall into the spaces between the keys during everyday use.
Once a week, you should unplug your keyboard, flip it upside down, and shake that grossness out into the trash, then blow out the rest of the gunk with some compressed air. If your fingers leave an oily residue on the keycaps, give them a quick wipedown with a microfiber cloth. (I personally use, but any will do.) For a deeper clean, you should pull off all your keycaps and follow this by Ripster. If you spill something in your keyboard, a key squeaks, or you suspect a switch is broken, check out the —they’ve got you covered. What about boutique keyboards?
Don’t be discouraged if none of the keyboards we recommend above exactly match your preferences. That doesn’t mean your ideal typing experience doesn’t exist.
200 Dollar Best Gaming Keyboard For Mac 2018
There’s a huge ecosystem of boutique and custom keyboards that offer distinctive layouts, customizable cases, programmability, and premium materials. A mechanical keyboard can be a cherished, personal peripheral, perfectly tailored to its owner’s preferences. Several Wirecutter writers, including myself, have fallen deep into the custom keyboard rabbit hole and found it to be a rewarding hobby, but there are drawbacks. Boutique and custom boards often cost substantially more, are harder to find, and sometimes require you to assemble them yourself. Most people will be happier with our main picks.
Ryan’s hand-assembled 65% keyboard with a combination of two different aftermarket keycap sets:. The boutique keyboard rabbit hole is deep, possibly bottomless. Photo: Ryan Whitwam Many boutique keyboards include partial programmability, meaning you can create custom function layers, which comes in handy when the boards lack all the physical keys of a full-sized one.
Some—like our typing pick, the Code—include DIP switches on the bottom to toggle on different preprogrammed layouts. Boutique boards tend to have better build quality and hardware features than easier-to-find mechanical keyboards.
Almost all boutique boards have removable cables and standard (or very close to standard) key layouts for easier customization (companies like Corsair and Razer often use odd key sizes and cabling). Durable milled aluminum cases are common too. (The Code, which nails all these features, is an exception—it’s as good as many boutiques.) Boutique keyboards can be harder to find—Amazon doesn’t stock all of them, and speciality sites often have limited supply. There’s also the murky world of keyboard group buys, where you pay up front, then wait for it to be manufactured and imported, which can take months.
The group buy site has made this less confusing, but you still have to wait weeks or months and the selection of available products changes on a daily basis. Mechanical keyboards come in many more sizes than just full size and tenkeyless.
A 60 percent keyboard like the eschews the number pad, function row, and arrow keys for a smaller footprint—great if you have limited desk space or like to carry your board around. These boards use function layers to make up for the missing keys. The less common (but increasingly popular) 65 percent keyboards add arrow keys and a few extras to the 60 percent layout. They still save a lot of space, if that’s important to you, but you don’t need to use function layers as much. These boards include the, and, among others.
(Most Wirecutter writers involved with this guide own at least one 65 percent keyboard.) More exotic layouts become possible if you’re comfortable with a soldering iron. The,consists of two hand-shaped halves. Then there are the enthusiast-favorite 40 percent keyboards like the, which have only the alpha keys and modifiers (e.g., enter, shift, space). They make heavy use of function layers to make up for the missing keys, and are highly portable.
There are also custom-built boards in more common styles like 60 percent, 65 percent, tenkeyless, and full. Some of the most popular custom kits in this group include the Red Scarf (various sizes), (65 percent), and (60 percent). With a custom board you get full programmability, meaning each key can be customized to whatever function you like. This is much more advanced than the programmable layers or DIP switches you see on other boutique boards, and something to consider if you value typing efficiency. Assembling your own keyboard also gives you complete choice in what switches you want to use. There are traditional Cherry switches, of course, but perhaps you want to go with something more exotic like the extremely light (a favorite of gamers) or tactile switch (prefered by heavy typists).
The main problem with custom kits is availability. You usually have to wait for Massdrop or another site to run a group buy, pay in advance, and then wait months for them to arrive. With a custom board you get full programmability, meaning each key can be customized to whatever function you like.
Like mainstream keyboards, the vast majority of boutique keyboards use Cherry-style switches. So, you can change out the stock keycaps—usually thin ABS plastic with lasered legends that will fade—for much. “Double-shot” ABS keycaps are thicker and have legends that never wear off, and PBT dye-sublimated caps are made from harder plastic that will last for many years with no signs of wear. You can read more about different keycap materials. Custom sets can be hard to find as they’re often limited edition, but and offer some high-quality sets. Most mechanical keyboards use Cherry or Cherry-clone switches, but some people swear by the much less common Topre switch.
These are “electro-capacitive” switches that use the conductivity change in the spring to register presses. They also have a stiff rubber dome for an extremely tactile experience.
These are only available in a few boards, and you’ll pay handsomely for them. Popular models include the 60 percent, as well as full-size and tenkeyless boards. If this all sounds confusing, there are of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts at sites like,. All these sites are great resources for mechanical keyboards, though you may find yourself off the deep end with the rest of us. There really is a keyboard for everyone, but it might take some work to find it if you’re picky. For most people in the market for a new mechanical keyboard, one of our main picks should be a good fit.
General use and typing We tested the (rebadged as the Code 61-Key). At a glance, it looks like a 60 percent version of the bigger Code keyboards. But it lacks the Code 87 and 104’s fantastic build quality, and its keycaps feel cheap and hollow. It’s a fine keyboard, but ultimately we think that 60 percent keyboards are too small for most typists’ needs, and navigating function layers for missing keys is a complication most people don’t want. The and have a thick border around the keys which isn’t quite a palm rest, but depending on how you rest your hands when typing, its sharp edge can dig into your palms and thumbs.
Our panel testers and I found that propping up the Das boards softens the angle at which the edge meets your hand, mitigating the issue, but that’s not ideal for your wrists. The couldn’t match the Code’s build quality or modern design, and the casing flexed a bit under normal typing pressure. It’s available with Brown, Blue, Red, Black, and Nature White switches, but no Clear switches, which are well-liked for typing. The, made by the same company as the Code, is similar to our top pick and allows for even more customization: You can choose the color of every keycap on the board, customize the font and location (top or side) of the legends. But it lacks backlighting, a feature all the keyboards we tested had. Our panel did not like the switches because it didn’t feel as satisfying to type on as other mechanical keyboards. The panelists concluded they’d rather buy a cheaper, nonmechanical board or deal with a louder mechanical keyboard with sound-dampening O-rings instead.
We’re holding out hope for a great Bluetooth mechanical keyboard, but the Lofree, a typewriter-inspired board that’s, isn’t quite it. In addition to our, we tested a final production model of the Lofree and don’t recommend it. The board is available only with Gateron Blue switches right now, though the company says Browns will be available later this year.
And in service of the typewriter aesthetic, the company made some design choices that make the keyboard harder to use: The Enter and left Shift keys have two switches beneath each key, making them exceptionally difficult to depress, and some of the keys aren’t where you’d find them on a traditional keyboard. At least the Bluetooth connection was reliable in our tests, but we don’t recommend spending $100 on it. For Mac The full-size has the full complement of Mac modifier keys in almost the right order, and two USB 3.0 ports, compared with USB 2.0 on the Tactile Pro.
Its anodized aluminum top shell gives the keyboard a very solid feel, and you can choose either. If you know you want Blue- or Brown-style key switches, this is the Mac keyboard for you—it feels great to type on. We also like that the 4 Pro includes dedicated keys and buttons for screen brightness, media playback control, eject, mute, and sleep that are more convenient to use than F-key overlays, as well as a fantastic volume dial along the right-hand edge of the keyboard. However, the 4 Pro is more expensive than the Matias Tactile Pro, doesn’t have F-key labels for Mac-specific special functions, has an odd (for Mac) numeric keypad layout, and puts its Fn key in a location that can be frustrating for Mac-familiar touch typists. Matias’s is nearly identical to the Tactile Pro for Mac but has a different color scheme (silver body, black keys, white key labels) and uses the company’s Quiet Click key switches. It has the same features, keys, and layout as the Tactile Pro, but it’s much quieter to type on—still a bit louder than most nonmechanical keyboards, but nothing close to the volume of the Tactile Pro’s “Matias Click” switches. (Go to the page and listen to the audio samples of the two switches.) When switching directly between the Tactile Pro and the Quiet Pro, the latter’s keys feel a bit mushier; and though Matias says the two switches require the same activation force, the Quiet Pro keys feel like they require a tiny bit more.
I find the Tactile Pro more enjoyable to type on, but if the click-clack of a traditional mechanical keyboard isn’t an option in your office or home, the Quiet Pro is a good option that gives you all the Mac-specific features and layout of the Tactile Pro. (Matias told us that a new version of the Quiet Pro, due in February 2017, will have a detachable USB cable and slightly modified Quiet Click switches that won’t affect the feel of the keys but will increase reliability.) Matias’s is essentially a Bluetooth-equipped “quiet” version of the Mini Tactile Pro—it has the Quiet Click key switches of the Quiet Pro, along with the black/silver color, but the size and layout of the Mini Tactile Pro. That means the Laptop Pro has the same issue as the Mini Tactile Pro, with the Shift, Control, arrow, and fn keys bunched together, but without the Tactile Pro’s superior keys. On the other hand, the Laptop Pro is much quieter, and it does have Bluetooth. The budget-priced ($65 with Blue Cherry-clone switches, $90 with Brown), isn’t as nice to type on as the Tactile Pro or the Das Keyboard 4 Pro for Mac.
More important, though it’s advertised as a Mac keyboard, the Moda Pro requires you to physically swap keycaps to get an (almost) Mac layout, and it has no Mac-specific features other than an aluminum-and-white color scheme. Budget The (available with Cherry MX Brown, Blue, and Red switches) is a fine keyboard, but our panel members didn’t like its red-only backlight and textured spacebar. They unanimously preferred the Logitech G610’s white backlight, regular space bar, and volume roller. The keys of the feel slippery and thin, and our panel members didn’t like its blue backlight.
All the panel testers were willing to pay at least $15 more for the Logitech over the ThermalTake for its better look and feel. The is available only with Cherry MX Red switches, which are the second-most-popular for gaming, but too light for most typists. Our panel members also didn’t like the Apex M500’s blue backlight. What to look forward to.