My daily driver is a DAS Professional with Cherry MX Blue switches. It’s the version with volume knob and labeled keys. It keeps up with my banging away on mainframe command lines.
I type a lot (I am a translator) and a good keyboard is vital even though I am not a touch typist. A few years I bought up some Cherry keyboards, which were all I could find. They are fine, they have a positive feel, and so far I have not had problems with keys ceasing to work, which happens after heavy and extended use.
Somebody mentioned Alps. Many moons ago I visited their factory, while I was in Tokyo. They make or made superb keyboards, the best I have seen, but I have not seen them under the Alps name.
I cannot say for sure if membrane keyboards have got better, but the ones I encountered in the past either very very rubbery in feel and had a very short travel, or it was difficult to tell positively if a key had been pressed. But they are much quieter, and I would have thought that they are fine for gaming, where touch is less important.
This is quite apart from the issue of special keyboards for gamers, with extra function keys and other facilties.
But my love of things mechanical does not extend to mice. Optical mice are so much better than the old ones.
I’ve got a Logitech G613 (mechanical and wireless). It’s great, it’s a keyboard, it works, feels like what I expect a keyboard to feel like, and has a few buttons you can set as macros if you want.
However, as others have hinted at, mechanical keyboards are noisy. Working from home in a small space, my wife and I each hear each other clacking away, coworkers hear it over zoom, and using it when a family member is trying to sleep in the next room is a little problematic.
Bottom line: mechanical is great, but is not ideal for typing during zoom conferences, or in close quarters.
I’ve got multiple IBM Model M keyboards. I’ve tried some modern keyboards but I always go back to the Model M. You can (currently) get good Model Ms on ebay cheaper than a new modern quality keyboard. One disadvantage is that you’ll likely need a PS2-USB adapter and you need to get an active* one because the Model M uses more electricity than a normal keyboard.
* - Or something like that. It’s been a while since I bought one.
I use a Filco Majestouch-2, Tenkeyless, MX Blue Click, Keyboard which has a nice loud click and a deep travel, very solid mechanical feel. It has bluetooth and I use it mainly with my Thinkpad. Bluetooth takes care of a lot of the cabling hassle I would have with those legendary IBM AT keyboards and it is a lot smaller. I close the laptop screen, hiding its squidgy flat keys and the Filco sits neatly on top. It is quite loud and visitors remark on it, but it suits me fine. I am not a gamer so I was not looking for any jazzy lighting.
I did a lot of research to find it and it I consider it one of my better purchases.
Same here, I am currently typing this on a 1986 Model M. The typing feel and clicky clack are perfect.
OP, if you want a new Model M, this company in Kentucky made the originals and they are still in business and offer a lot of different models/options: https://www.pckeyboard.com/ They are apparently still made in Kentucky rather than overseas.
Coincidentally Unicomp just updated their manufacturing process that supposedly results in a better product. I’m considering giving them another try: New Model M Is an American-Made Keyboard That Puts a Spring Back in Your Typing - TidBITS
Thanks for all the replies, folks. I think I’m waffling between a Das Keyboard Prime 13 and Unicomp’s New Model M. I was hesitant about Unicomp, but it seems like their newest model has been getting really good reviews in terms of build quality as compared to the originals. I’m hardly a competitive gamer, so I don’t think I’ll be bothered by the inability to press nineteen buttons at once and have them all processed.
It’s probably going to come down to how much I want the basic backlighting and USB passthrough that the DK has.
My first keyboard was an IBM 104 that came with the IBM-XT clone that was my first computer. That beast was nigh indestructible and lasted almost 20 years. I currently use an Azio MKG1 which has a very similar feel but is only about half the weight. It has adjustable in-key lighting, the keys are black and the symbols are translucent, key combinations control the brightness and mode.
I bought this very keyboard just last week. I’ve found EVGA’s “Unleash” software to be janky and unstable. Do you use the software, or do you use the keyboard without it? Without the software, some of the features, like the display and the macro keys, won’t work.
I use AIDA64 which displays the system info I select on the LCD. Have it set to show CPU temp, CPU usage, GPU Temp, GPU Usage, Clock Speed, Frame Rate, RAM usage and VRAM usage,.
I don’t use the macro functions so never noticed if they work or not without the EVGA software which is, indeed, trash.
Thanks. I’ll look into the AIDA64 software. I was using the Logitech ARX software to display CPU usage & temp, GPU data, RAM usage, etc, but it keeps crapping out on me too. Worked fine for like a year, then it didn’t want to work.
Hey, the AIDA64 software was a brilliant suggestion, thanks! It works in much the same way the EVGA software doesn’t. I can load up my LCD display with info like I did on my old G15 keyboard all those years ago. It’s a pity I can’t get it to pull in and display the outside temperature and weather settings like I did on the G15, but I guess you can’t have everything.
This keyboard is looking like a much better deal for $40.
Sweet, I’m glad it worked for you. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s stopping me from using macros but I never used macros on my G15 either; I just want something where I can monitor my system data without a screen overlay. I think we both see the keyboard about the same way: a qualified “good buy” at $40 based on the actual physical keyboard but tempered by issues with the software and getting it to do what it’s supposed out outside of key entry. Unfortunately, options for a keyboard with a display are pretty limited.