When it comes to computer usage, two input devices are necessary for proper usage – the mouse and the keyboard. If you’re using a laptop, the mouse maybe isn’t that necessary since you’re probably using a trackpad, but the keyboard remains. To me, the keyboard can make or break your experience with a computer, which is why some of us go through multiple ones before we find that perfect keyboard. I’m one of those people and my most recent quest for the perfect keyboard brings me to Plugable’s latest, full sized mechanical keyboard featuring red linear switches and a frameless design for an optimized footprint.
I’ve used a bunch of keyboards in my lifetime. I’ve used everything from OEM keyboards to full on, gaming specific keyboards. While we can pretty much all agree that OEM keyboards aren’t the greatest, they aren’t the worst things in the world if you can’t afford one of those high end gaming keyboards. There is another option though and that’s a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards can range in price from very inexpensive to “holy crap” range. The Plugable Mechanical Keyboard is at the middle of spectrum at around $75.
Let’s start this off by stating that the Plugable Mechanical Keyboard is not really marketed towards gamers, though it’s perfectly capable as a gaming keyboard. There are no drivers that need to be installed and the keyboard is strictly a plug-and-play affair. That means there’s no fancy software that allows for recording of macros or gaming specific features, but you can adjust certain features with a simple combination of key presses.
Next up is that the Plugable Mechanical Keyboard isn’t as fancy as some of the other mechanical keyboards I’ve seen in that it only displays one light color, and that’s white. Others I’ve seen can be configured to display a whole rainbow of colors, but not this one. With the Plugable Mechanical Keyboard, you’re stuck with white and you better really love white because that’s all you get. I don’t mind it as it keeps things simple and white makes the backlit keys very easy to read. Plus the white makes the black keys really standout so that’s not a terrible thing either.
The Plugable Mechanical Keyboard also feels a bit heavier than a regular keyboard and feel really solid when in use. The bottom also features rubber feet and a set that can be flipped out for an angled typing position.
Of course the reason you get a mechanical keyboard isn’t for its fancy lighting or ability to record macros. You get a mechanical keyboard because of the feel of the keys when you’re typing. This version of the Plugable Mechanical Keyboard features Red linear Cherry MX style switches which provide a smooth, linear feel to them. On normal keyboards, you need to depress the keys all the way down in order for the key press to be registered. Not so with mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards register the key press about halfway through. Also mechanical keyboards are a bit loader than regular keyboards and often feature a distinct clicky sound.
The Plugable Mechanical Keyboard is no different. There’s a satisfying clicky sound when using it and the keys feel really nice, like typing on an old school analog typewriter. Note though that depending on where you use the keyboard, your neighbors might not like the louder than normal clicky sounds. Even though these are red switches, they can still be pretty loud so keep that in mind.
- Full-size 104-key layout. Features a frameless design with a minimal desktop footprint
- Red linear Cherry MX style switches by Gaote / Outemu
- Switches are rated for 50 million actuations (key-presses) and require 60±15 grams of force with 4.0±0.2mm of keystroke travel
- Full N-Key rollover (NKRO) and anti-ghosting for multiple key presses to register simultaneously
- Each key is individually backlit with a white LED. Features full on/off control along with dimmable brightness and a “breathing” mode. No special software required
- Keycaps are “double-shot” with transparent ABS for the legends and black ABS for the keycap itself. Keycap puller tool included
- Keycaps feature an ergonomic sculpted OEM profile to provide a gentle sloped arc preventing hand fatigue
- Features flip out feet (with rubber pads to prevent slipping) to raise the angle of the keyboard when typing
- Integrated 6ft / 1.8m rear center mounted USB cable with gold plated connector
- Compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux/Unix and all other modern USB hosts
- Built in F1-F12 keyboard function shortcuts for multimedia/volume controls along with shortcuts to launch the calculator, email, and web browser apps (functions may vary depending on OS)
While probably not for everyone, mechanical keyboards do offer a different experience from regular keyboards. You can really tell the difference when using them, especially when it comes to the feel of each key and the sound they make. I will say that in terms of typing feel, I do like mechanical keyboards so much more than regular keyboards. There’s just something about the way they sound and the heaviness to the keys that make them feel so much better.
Also while the Plugable Mechanical Keyboard might not be intended for gamers, you can totally use this as a gaming keyboard. I don’t really see much difference here between this keyboard and one marketed solely for gaming other than the lack of dedicated drivers. It still has some features that can be used for a better gaming experience.
With that said, if you want a better typing experience, you might want to give a mechanical keyboard a go. The Plugable Mechanical Keyboard might not be the cheapest one out there or have dedicated gaming features, but it’s a solid performing keyboard that to me at least, feels great for what I use it for.