Clicky keyboards are coming back

Although, they don’t look like this anymore. What you see there is the original IBM PC keyboard, which lacked arrow keys, a Ctrl key on the right, and other important features that were added later. What it did have in spades, though, was toughness. IBM’s keyboards were famous for being tough — you could use them to hammer in nails and they would still work, use them as frisbees and they would still work. They were also ridiculously expensive at the time.

As the decades passed, keyboards got cheaper and in some ways better. Slowly, almost inexorably, the distance between a key when pressed and when not pressed (known as “travel”) went down, and today’s keyboards are almost flat. This makes them better for laptops but it does take some getting used to. They’re also usually wireless if designed for PCs and are a lot more waterproof than the old IBM ones… one of the few true improvements.

And, of course, they’re cheap.

But the funny thing is you can’t keep a good keyboard down. There’s a whole new generation discovering mechanical, wired keyboards with long travel and a distinct “click” sound when pressed. It’s gamers who are most happy with these new keyboards, because they respond faster and are more durable in late-night tournaments. The batteries don’t die unexpectedly, and they can even be tricked out with LED backlighting for late-night role-playing (take that in any way you like.)

Older folks may not understand the allure of this sort of gaming, but everyone should be happy to see high-quality keyboard become available no matter how it’s happened. For my part, I really like a keyboard with a solid feel and a real “click” to it. I’ve missed that. My personal favorite keyboard was actually the one that shipped with 1990-1995 Macintoshes, but the IBM keyboard is the runner-up. I mean folks, look at me. I type thousands of words a day and there are times when the tips of my fingers are really sore from dealing with a very flat keyboard without a lot of travel. With gaming keyboards, there’s enough travel that you can actually press the key just halfway and still register a typed letter, meaning it never “bottoms out” and puts stress on your fingers.

So, even if you’re not a gamer, think about looking at gaming keyboards at Solid Signal. They’re really very reasonably priced, super-durable and we have several models to choose from!

Shop now for mechanical keyboards from Solid Signal!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.