I use a keyboard all day, every day, and when I’m sitting at a desk, my keyboard of choice is always a mechanical keyboard. There’s just nothing better than that tactile when you press down for each keystroke.
A big part of the mechanical keyboard experience for many is the sound, but for me, that’s not necessarily the case. I value the feel of the keys above all else, and sometimes, the sound just gets in the way of my concentration. Step in Cherry, maker of most mechanical keyboard switches on the market today. Last year, the company debuted new silent mechanical switches, but are they actually worth using over a traditional option? Let’s take a closer look.
How Do Silent Switches Work?
There are two traditional types of mechanical keyboard switches. You’ve got the typical option which has a sort of muted click. It’s very tactile, but not super loud. On the other hand, there are clicky switches, which are just that — very, very clicky. For gaming, there’s no better experience, but these can get annoying in day-to-day use.
As we explained in another article, most switches work by pressing a physical switch. Generally, this will produce a noise of some sort, whether that’s a muted click, or a louder click and clack. Silent switches, however, work a bit differently, as Cherry points out in a press release:
The MX Silent-switches have a uniquely shaped rubber pad compared to conventional switches. The integrated 2-component stem reduces audible clicks at the bottom-out and top-out to a minimum.
So essentially, these are the same switches, but with very effective sound dampeners. Do they really work? Absolutely. The reduction in sound compared to Cherry MX Red switches is excellent, and the comparison to a clicky switch is like comparing the arctic, with the heart of a volcano.
Does It Really Feel The Same?
Best of all, the silent switches don’t affect the quality of the typing experience. Key travel is nearly identical, if not a little extra on silent switches, and I’m just as fast on a keyboard equipped with these switches.
The biggest question, though, might be where you’d actually use these switches. In my home office, it doesn’t really matter what keyboard I use, but in a public working environment, this is really the only option for a mechanical experience without having angry co-workers. So, if you’re a gamer at home and office worker by day, silent switches might be perfect for you.
Where Can I Try It?
Cherry will supply silent switches to any keyboard maker, but so far Corsair is the only notable option to pick it up with the STRAFE gaming keyboard. With this option, you’ll get everything you expect on a gaming keyboard, and at a pretty reasonable price tag of just $99 over on Amazon.
Personally, I’ve been using silent switches on Cherry’s own MX Silent Board. This is as bare bones as a keyboard comes, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t absolutely love it. Sadly, though, this model is quite a bit harder to get your hands on, especially if you’re living in the US.
Learn more about mechanical keyboards