I hate to state the obvious, but it needs to be said. Keyboards are important. In fact, I'd argue
they're the most important peripheral of them all, as they allow us
to communicate with our computers. Whether you're working or
gaming, chances are you spend a great deal of time typing on a
keyboard. But if you've ever read a keyboard review and found yourself by
confused by terms like low travel, travel distance, mushy keys,
bottoming out, and so onâ€¦ don't worry, you're not alone. If you're
looking to upgrade your keyboard or to better understand the
jargon, I've got you covered. Read on to learn more.
First, let's start with the basics. Many non-mechanical
keyboards have rubber domes underneath their keycaps. These types
of keyboards are known as membrane keyboards and they're pretty
common. The rubber domes are inexpensive to manufacture, sure, but
they don't offer much tactile feedback (aka feeling the bump). If
you've ever used a bad keyboard, you probably know what it feels
like. The board may feel cramped and the keys mushy and unpleasant.
In other words, there are no satisfying clicking sounds or bounce
back from the keys.
What does travel even
You have to push a key down in order for the computer to
register the keystroke, right? Well, the distance the key needs to
travel in order to fully depress and send a command to the
computer's brain is the travel distance. This distance is measured
in millimeters. When it comes to optimal travel distance, it really
boils down to personal preference. For example, the standard
distance of a full travel keyboard is around 4mm. Longer key travel
is better for most people in terms of accuracy and comfort. Laptop keyboards don't have much travel, as
there's not much real estate to work with.
Membrane keyboards vs.
If you play games often or just like pounding the hell out of
your keys, a mechanical keyboard might be a better option, as they
offer great feedback and are less prone to accidental clicks. That
said, they're expensive and make a ton of noise due to the
click-clacking of the keys. Membrane keyboards are quiet,
inexpensive, and more resistant against grime or liquid. Both types
of keyboards can have either full or low travel distance.
Low travel keyboard
Low travel keyboards have a key distance of around 1.0 to 2.5mm.
That means it takes less pressure or effort to press the key down.
If you've ever seen or used a scissor-switch keyboard, you'll
notice that, on many of them, the keys sit almost flush with the
base. When it comes to shorter or low travel keyboards, sometimes
it's difficult to know when a key is being pressed down or not.
That said, they're usually smaller and more portable as well as
pretty quiet to type on.
Full travel keyboard
The keys on a full travel keyboard will drop down to 3.0mm or
higher before bottoming out (aka when a key reaches its full
depth). If you like to hammer on the the keys, then you should
consider a full travel keyboard. Not only does longer travel help
prevent accidental keystrokes, but it also cushions your fingers
from hard presses. Most mechanical keyboards have a full travel
distance. They're also incredibly modifiable and durable.