Oh yeah. This is totally legit. You have no idea how good it feels to be typing this post. I think I may have finally completed an epic side-quest for the perfect keyboard.
It has been some time since I was studying Computer Science at University. Many of my classes where held in this cool old laboratory, ‘The Madsen Building’. The lab was originally constructed as the National Standards Laboratory for the CSIRO. It was also an important facility during World War II, when a radiophysics division took up residence and pumped out radar improvements.
There was also a rumour that the building had a secret escape tunnel. The tunnel entrance was allegedly somewhere on the lower basement floors, and supposedly lead underground to a nearby college. Finding that entrance was a final year obsession; that sucker is still hiding from me someplace…
I spent a fair chunk of my time in the computer labs on the lower ground floor. Most of them were refurbished, decked out with the beige towers of the early 2000’s and ‘modern’ flat screen cathode ray tubes.
But a couple of the rooms still rolled with these kickin’ old terminal style computers. At busy times, all the flashy new computers would be taken up first, and the old terminals last. I was a bit of an exception, because I always headed straight for one of the rooms with the older computers. Why? The world’s BEST keyboard lurked in that room. It had a silky smooth action and it felt like you were typing on a cloud.
I have spent the last few years trying to recreate that typing experience. I knew it had to be a mechanical keyboard of some kind, so I got myself an IBM Model M keyboard. It wasn’t the same - it needed way more force to get the little springs inside the switches to buckle. Plus it clacked and clattered and wasn’t like typing on a cloud at all.
More recently I put in a bit of effort researching modern mechanical keyboard switches. It seemed that the premium switches used by manufacturers in their keyboards all came from the Cherry Corporation. Cherry’s MX series of mechanical switches are inside Das keyboards, Logitech, Corsair, WASD Keyboards and many others I’m sure.
These Cherry MX switches also come in a variety of flavours or ‘colours’, each with a different actuation force and ‘feel’. Actually this YouTube video does a neat job of showing how they each work and sound.
Naturally from the video you have no real idea how the key ‘feels’. So you can pick yourself up a little tester kit so that you can try out each of the switch styles. But I was impatient, and from what I could see. Brown? Yeah. MX Cherry BROWN, they looked like the business. So I decided to take a punt.
I’m not a fan of the whole horrible rainbow back-lighting you find on many ‘gaming’ keyboards. Plus I use a Mac, so my options were pretty limited to WASD keyboards. They are kinda cool actually - super customisable and no rainbow lighting. They’re not cheap, but I do spend lots of time at a keyboard typing sweet nothings into a compiler so I may as well make it good.
It arrived the other day, jet black and chunky. The appearance completely belies the gentle typing cloud lurking underneath. I also picked up the foam wrist pad, and while it doesn’t lock into the keyboard itself, it is pretty grippy and seems to mostly stay in place. But the keyboard itself? It has a build quality that feels like I will be typing on it for years to come. I love it.
My MX Cherry Brown mechanical keyboard from WASD gets 4.5 starts out of 5.