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Understanding the characteristics of a mechanical switch

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So you are trying to figure out which mechanical switch is the right one for you, right? First, you will need to understand the three major types of small mechanical gaming keyboard switches available on the market before you can choose. Doing research will reveal to you that there are three types, that is, tactile, clicky, and linear switches. The first two types of switches offer the user tactile feedback to tell you that the keystroke you intended to make has been registered. You will feel a bump mid-travel of the key. The linear variety of switch does not provide any tactile feedback and is quieter.

Once you are conversant with the three types of switches, you will need to understand the general characteristics of switches beside keystroke feel. Basically, there are five characteristics that you should know and I have discussed them below.

Operation force

The operating force like you may have guessed already is the amount of force you need to apply on a key in order for a keystroke to be registered. The unit used to measure this force is centinewton, often abbreviated as cN. Another measurement unit that can be used is gram-force. Linear switches generally require the least operating force to register keystrokes. These switches are therefore better for gamers because they reduce the chances of missing a keystroke. The keystroke is registered the minute you press a key. Many gamers prefer this type of switch because of this quality.

Activation point and total travel distance

Activation point refers to the point where a keypress is registered by a keyboard whenever you press a key. When you press a key on your keyboard, the key gets pushed down until it hits the body of the keyboard and cannot move down any further. The point where the key registers a keystroke on your keyboard is located between the lowest point of the key and the highest point, which is when you haven’t pressed the key. In other words, it is the distance the key has to travel before a keystroke is registered. This distance is measured in millimeters and the other names used to refer to it are operation position and actuation point.

Total travel distance is the distance the keycap can to travel before it comes into contact with the upper housing of the switch. This distance is measured in millimeters and it is the distance the keycap travels until it bottoms out.

Tactile position and reset point

Tactile position refers to the position where you register the tactile feedback when you press a key. This position only exists in clicky and tactile switches. Because inear switches do not have tactile feedback, they do not have tactile position. Reset point refers to the deactivation point of the key when you release it.

These characteristics will change your gaming experience a lot and you should choose them carefully. You should choose what works for you and avoid what does not work. Ensure that the best razer gaming keyboard you select is installed with the right switch.

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