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    SteelSeries’ wireless mechanical keyboard can type 2 things with 1 keypress / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 21 June - 17:19

SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless keyboard.

Enlarge / SteelSeries' Apex Pro Mini Wireless keyboard connects via 2.4 GHz dongle or Bluetooth. (credit: SteelSeries)

Adjustable mechanical switches are a simple way to customize the feel of different keys in a keyboard. These switches let you choose their actuation point, or how far you press the key before it registers an input, for sensitivity that you can vary based on the key or the application you're using.

Peripherals-maker SteelSeries today announced new wireless and wired mechanical keyboards with mechanical switches that let you adjust each key's actuation point. The compact SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless and Apex Pro Mini also let you program the keys so that a keypress will register two inputs if you press the key down far enough.

Adjustable mechanical switches

SteelSeries first started selling its adjustable OmniPoint mechanical switches in its SteelSeries Apex Pro keyboard in 2019. The OmniPoint 2.0 switches debuting in the Apex Pro Mini Wireless and Apex Pro Mini 60 percent keyboards released today are even more adjustable.

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    Logitech’s MX Keys Mechanical is a satisfying, wireless introduction to mech keebs / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 24 May - 07:01 · 1 minute

Logitech's MX Keys Mechanical (bottom) and MX Keys Mini (top) keyboards.

Enlarge / Logitech's MX Keys Mechanical (bottom) and MX Keys Mini (top) keyboards. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Specs at a glance: Logitech MX Keys Mechanical
Switches Kailh low-profile tactile, clicky, or linear
Keycaps ABS plastic
Connectivity options Bluetooth Low Energy or 2.4 GHz USB-A dongle
Backlighting White
Size 17.08×5.18×1.03 inches
(433.85×131.55×26.1 mm)
Weight 1.35 lbs (612 g)
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $170

With an office-friendly appearance, tasteful backlighting, multi-PC wireless control, and simple software all backed by a reputable name, the Logitech MX Keys Mechanical ($170 MSRP) wireless keyboard was announced Tuesday, as well as the smaller MX Keys Mini ($150), are solid, serviceable entry points into mechanical keyboards .

If the new keyboards look familiar, it's because they take inspiration in appearance and features from the MX Keys ($120) and MX Keys Mini ($100) membrane wireless, respectively, but with satisfying, low-profile clicky, tactile, or linear mechanical switches. It's the kind of design that leads plenty of people to try a mechanical keyboard for the first time. But when comparing it to other wireless mechanical keyboards, you can find more features, including some that power users will miss, from rivals for less money.

Keeping a low(er) profile

I tend to be wary of low-profile mechanical keyboards. Some subpar options I've tried with shallow, mushy, linear low-profile switches and flat keycaps have scarred me a bit. They're popular among gamers, due to a perceived speed advantage, but you'd have to be quite competitive (I'm not) for that to make a huge difference.

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    The Ars Technica guide to mechanical keyboards / ArsTechnica · Friday, 25 March - 11:30

The Ars Technica guide to mechanical keyboards

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

So you've heard about mechanical keyboards and you want to learn more.

Sure, a standard membrane keyboard will get the job done, but the long-lasting keys and trademark tactile responsiveness of mechanical keyboards offer a premium experience that many people swear by. If you've ever remarked with dismay about a keyboard's "mushiness," a mechanical keyboard might be just the thing you need.

Every key in a mechanical keyboard has its own switch, and registering an input requires pushing a plastic stem inside the switch down, with resistance coming from the switch’s spring. In contrast, membrane keyboards (also known as rubber dome keyboards) use thin layers of plastic underneath the keys. Pressing a key sends a dome-shaped piece through a hole in the membrane, creating a circuit and sending an input to the PC. While membrane keyboards are typically thinner, quieter, more spill-resistant, and cheaper to make, they can feel flat and make it difficult to know if you’ve pressed a key or not. Mechanical switches offer way more physical feedback.

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    System76 Launch review: Linux-friendly keyboard with a USB hub / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 8 March - 16:56

System76 Launch with RGB

Enlarge / System76 Launch mechanical keyboard. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Specs at a glance: System76 Launch
Switches Kailh Box Jade or Kailh Box Royal
Keycaps PBT plastic
Connectivity options USB-A or USB-C cable
Backlighting Per-key RGB
Size 12.17 × 5.35 × 1.3 inches
(309 × 136 × 33 mm)
Weight 2.09 lbs (948 g)
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $285
Other perks Integrated USB hub, keycap/switch puller,  17x extra keycaps

The Launch is System76's first mechanical keyboard, but it could be the last keyboard you need. With hot-swappable mechanical switches, legends that won't fade, a durable build, and a pair of detachable cables, this tenkeyless board can evolve with you.

It's also open source—from its chassis to its PCB and firmware—allowing for deeper tinkering. There are even some extra keycaps for when you want a new look. And in true System76 style, the board favors Linux users.

At $285 , though, the Launch is a big investment, and many won't like how hard it is to press the keys. The clicky mechanical switches are so tactile that they'll tire some fingers out.

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    Razer adds joystick-like control to a small mechanical keyboard / ArsTechnica · Friday, 4 March - 16:03

Razer Huntsman Mini Analog

Enlarge / Razer's Analog Optical mechanical switches. (credit: Razer)

Do you use a keyboard and mouse or a controller when playing PC games?

One of the biggest advantages gamepads have over keyboards is the joystick, which provides pressure-sensitive control in a way that most keyboards can't. Razer's Huntsman Mini Analog , released Thursday, makes the debate a bit more complicated.

The name says it all. Razer's latest keyboard is a small clacker with pressure-sensitive mechanical keys. Proprietary analog optical switches can detect how hard you're pressing a key and adjust input accordingly. This differs from how most keyboards function; typical boards use digital input and read either a 0 or 1 value (not depressed or depressed). All of the keys in the 60 percent keyboard can be programmed to use analog input via Razer's software.

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    Logitech G413 SE mechanical keyboard review: Affordable, but not cheap enough / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 23 February - 12:45

Logitech G413 SE on a glass table.

Enlarge / Logitech G413 SE mechanical keyboard. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Specs at a glance: Logitech G413 SE
Switches Long Hua Brown
Keycaps PBT plastic
Connectivity options USB-A cable
Backlighting White
Size 13.98 × 5 × 1.43 inches
(355 × 127 × 36.3 mm)
Weight 1.43 lbs (650 g)
Warranty 2 years
Price (MSRP) $80

A common complaint about mechanical keyboards is that they're expensive, especially if you prefer an established brand. But Logitech challenges that with its new G413 SE , which is one of the company's least expensive mechanical keyboards. At $80, it barely squeaks into the budget category, and there's also a $70 tenkeyless version .

Logitech comes through with a quality, mildly unusual typing experience. The G413 SE's conservative design will also win over users who feel mechanical keyboards, especially gaming devices, have become too flashy.

Despite a reputation for high prices, $80 mechanical keyboards can still offer a lot these days. But if you're comparing feature sets among budget mechanical keyboards, the G413 SE doesn't seem cheap enough.

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    Keychron Q2 mechanical keyboard review: Enthusiast luxury at a decent price / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 29 January - 12:30 · 1 minute

The Keychron Q2.

Enlarge / The Keychron Q2. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Not everyone appreciates the luxury of a mechanical keyboard. Many are happy with the flat keys that come with their laptop; they don't need to deal with the price premiums, varieties, and complexities of mechanical switches. Among those who do make the leap to mechanical switches, plenty are happy to settle on a keyboard preloaded with a specific switch type. But the Keychron Q2 is for those wiling to go an inch or two further down the rabbit hole.

I say "an inch or two" because the Q2 comes completely assembled (or with just the switches and keycaps missing), letting you pick your level of customization—and it offers options that only a mechanical keyboard enthusiast would consider.

Specs at a glance: Keychron Q2
Cheapest Most expensive As reviewed
Switches None, hot-swappable Gateron G Pro Red, Blue, or Brown, hot-swappable
Keycaps Doubleshot PBT
Connectivity options USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-A adapter
Backlighting RGB
Size (without keycaps) 12.89 x 4.76 x 0.79-1.33 inches
(327.5 x 121 x 20-33.8 mm)
Weight ~3.13 lbs (1,420 g) 3.63 ± 0.02 lbs
(1,645 ± 10 g)
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $149 $179
Other perks Barebones kit; keycap puller; switch puller; screwdriver; hex key; 4x extra gaskets; 2x extra rubber feet; 2x extra hex screws; 2x extra Philips screws Pre-assembled with volume knob; keycap puller; switch puller; screwdriver; hex key; 4x extra gaskets; 2x extra rubber feet; 2x extra hex screws; 2x extra Philips screws

Those options include a gasket-mounted design, sound-dampening foam, and pre-lubricated switches, which should eliminate pinging noises or cheap stabilizer rattling. The Q2 is a surprisingly hefty 65% keyboard built for the long haul, and while the starting price of $150 isn't cheap, it's more digestible than other high-end rivals.

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    New Logitech mechanical keyboards are conservative in looks and price / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 25 January - 18:10

Logitech G413 SE mechanical keyboard

Enlarge / Logitech G413 SE mechanical keyboard.

Logitech introduced two mechanical keyboards to its lineup on Monday. Shipping in February, the boards are part of the company's PC gaming brand, but with their $70 starting price and classic, toned-down look, they're also interesting candidates for someone seeking a productivity keyboard with mechanical switches.

The Logitech G G413 SE and G413 TKL SE are $80 and $70, respectively, offering a reasonable entry point for people who might think mechanical keyboards are too expensive. Logitech, specifically its G gaming brand, isn't afraid to overload its keyboards with RGB lighting, but the backlight on these boards comes in white only. The standard G413 is available with an all-white or all-red backlight.

A subdued appearance continues with a top case made of aluminum-magnesium alloy with a brushed black finish that matches the black PBT keycaps. The plastic should be an upgrade from the non-SE G413's ABS plastic keyboards, as PBT is generally more resistant to degradation over time.

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