Leopold mechanical keyboard impressions
I finally made the jump to a mechanical keyboard last week. Since then I've been getting a feel for it in gaming and for work/typing purposes, so, below are my impressions for those curious if they should pick one up themselves.
Before that, though, the inevitable questions 'What the hell is a mechanical keyboard?' and 'Why would I ever want one?' must be answered. Simply put, the "dome" construction underneath the keys provides a much more pleasant, responsive, and less straining typing experience versus the stuff you'll find in your average cheapie keyboard. This is great for those who type a lot, and also for gamers. If you want to know more, I recommend this guide. Naturally, to get the better gear, you've got to fork up more dough: most run $100-150.
While considering the Corsair K60, I saw this video review of the Leopold Tenkeyless Linear Touch Mechanical Keyboard and decided to go for it, which has turned out to be a wise decision.
It must be kept in mind mechanical keyboards can utilize one of a variety of 'switch' types, each offering a different feel and experience geared toward various needs. The Leopold utilizes Cherry switches, which, given my needs, are ideal as they offer a solid balance for both typing and gaming (each of which I do a lot of).
The increased 'softness' and responsiveness is immediately noticeable. It's hard to truly illustrate how much better it is through description alone, but try to imagine a more smooth, cushioned feel each time you press down.
The keyboard is especially pleasant for gaming (mainly in Battlefield 3, in my case). Note the keys don't actually have to be pressed fully down to register versus a regular keyboard, which helps it serve as more an extension of yourself during gameplay. With so little thought and effort going into your movements and actions, your performance should be more 'natural' than ever, and you'll have more energy to dedicate to the actual in-game goal. This is not to say you'll automatically double your score or something, but it definitely helps, particularly in tight situations.
Especially the first few days, I found myself making a lot of typographical errors due to the increased sensitivity of the keys and also the slightly different size of the keyboard and placement of keys versus my old Logitech EX 100. I still make these now and then a week later, but it's significantly less and seems to be lessening all the time. So, not an issue.
Testing the old keyboard now for the first time since receiving the Leopold, it feels very clunky and 'hard'; switching back to the Leopold, it feels vastly 'lighter', with only about the minimal amount of effort required to enter key presses.
Besides the price, the one potential downside is the Cherry switches here are somewhat loud, landing somewhere in between a muted standard keyboard and a typewriter. As such, if you're in it mainly for gaming, you may want to go with Black switches instead, which are more or less silent, but not ideal for typing.
I think of using a mechanical keyboard for gaming as I do guitar players: a truly talented player will be able to do well with just about anything he's given, but better quality gear certainly doesn't hurt. So, it's not an essential purchase, but if you're an enthusiast or perhaps a programmer who types a lot daily, it comes strongly recommended and will prove well worth the money.
The Leopold runs for $89 + shipping (very expensive outside USA), so that may be another reason to consider it over the competition (note we at Neoseeker have no affiliation with the company whatsoever; I'm simply recommending a good deal). UK/Euro folks should check out The Keyboard Company, who have a solid reputation.
Hopefully this helps you if you're considering a mechanical keyboard, or if you've never been introduced.
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