Mechanical Keyboard Final Thoughts
Keyboards are interesting peripherals. There are thousands of different styles and types and dozens of different manufacturers. What types you like or dislike really boils down to personal preference. In a market where keyboards can be had for a few dollars, mechanical keyboards have really become a niche product. If you remember back to the early days of personal computing, you’ll probably have a good idea of what to expect from a mechanical keyboard. Don’t think they haven’t come a long way, however.
With gamers and typists realizing the benefits of mechanical keyboards, there are dozens available from all sorts of manufacturers. That, of course, breeds competition, which is good for mechanical keyboards, because every manufacturer wants to add that little bit of extra functionality that sets their keyboard apart. Even the mechanical switches are still being improved. Cherry MX Red switches came on the scene in 2008 and are now arguably the most preferred by Gamers due to the actuation/reset point, low actuation force, and low tactile feedback. New mechanical keyboards also commonly include LED backlighting, macro functionality, onboard memory, and a host of other features. All this innovation means that you can find all the features that you love and get the benefits of a mechanical keyboard as well.
The fact still remains, however, that mechanical keyboards are expensive and they don’t suit everyone’s taster. If you don’t spend a lot of time using a keyboard, you may not notice that a membrane keyboard causes hand fatigue. If you don’t game a lot, you may not be concerned about the the actuation and reset points and the fractions of a second that can be saved when double- or multi-tapping a single key. For those reasons, mechanical keyboards still only fill the needs of a niche market and aren’t something that everyone will be interested in.
I, for one, both type a lot and game a lot. That makes a mechanical keyboard very advantageous on multiple levels. I like the tactile feedback, but I also like low actuation force, easy double-tapping, backlighting, and macros. That’s makes a mechanical keyboard perfect for me, but you’ll have to make up your own mind.
CM Storm MECH Keyboard Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions of the same product. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
In terms of performance, the CM Storm MECH Mechanical Keyboard did everything it was supposed to. I couldn’t fully test the 64 key rollover capability, but I pressed as many keys as I could and they all registered. If I ever do have to use 64 simultaneous key presses, I’ll definitely update and let you know. As far as gaming goes, I can crouch, sprint, run diagonally, reload, and jump at the same time, so I think I’m good. The mechanical switches are great, in my opinion. I’m a big fan of the brown switches for both typing and gaming. Some gamers like the red switches better for gaming, but I like the tactile feedback on the brown switches.
I also like the look of the CM Storm MECH keyboard, for the most part. I like the contrast between the silver and black. I also like the customizable plate, although I think it would be nice if CM Storm offered some designs, as I’m not sure if I will actually get around to customizing it myself. I like the wrist-rest, although some might find the hard-plastic uncomfortable. What I don’t like is how the carry handle affects the appearance. I think it looks out of place, like a piece that was added as an afterthought and doesn’t quite fit in. It would be nice if it were removable, especially since I probably won’t use it.
As with all CM Storm devices that I have tested, the CM Storm MECH Keyboard is very solidly constructed. The Cherry MX Brown switches are rated for 50 million strokes, which is light years ahead of membrane keyboards. The customizable aluminum plate is certainly solid. The rest of the CM Storm Mech is made of durable and solid plastic, which feels like it could certainly take some abuse if necessary. Even the carry handle, although I might not find it useful, is solid and rugged. With the detachable USB cable, I think I could probably use the CM Storm MECH as a pretty formidable weapon against a would be intruder. It has definitely proven to be a formidable weapon for me in BF4.
Which brings me to the functionality of the CM Storm MECH. It is a great gaming keyboard and provides functionality for everything a gamer needs in a keyboard. The Cherry MX switches give you long lifespan, tactile feedback, and surprising durability. You also get up to 64 key rollover and apparently no ghosting. The LED backlighting lets you type or game in the dark, with five different brightness settings no less. The three different modes let you light up only the keys you need, or everything if you want. The carry handle also adds functionality if you want to take the keyboard with you to use on different computers. Paired with the 128kb of onboard memory that can store up to 5 different profiles, this could be very useful. I guess I can potentially see the use as a typing keyboard at work and a gaming keyboard at home. Finally, the USB 3.0 hub and Audio I/O bring the functionality full circle. It let me plug the CM Storm Pulse right in to the back of the keyboard, LED USB cable and all!
The CM Storm MECH Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has a MSRP of $159.99. That puts it near the top end of mechanical gaming keyboards, but right in the mid-range of mechanical gaming keyboards with LED backlighting. $159.99 for a keyboard, in my opinion, makes the CM Storm MECH, or any backlit mechanical gaming keyboard for that matter, a luxury item. It’s not something most people will splurge on unless they are really going to make use of it. For heavy typists and, of course, heavy gamers, a mechanical keyboard is a must. For the amount of features it presents, from the onboard memory, separate profiles with auto-switch functionality, USB 3.0 hub, backlighting, and more, the CM Storm MECH Keyboard has a good price. I’m not going to lie and say I wouldn’t like it to be less expensive, but it is priced competitively and certainly worth it.
+ Low Actuation Force
+ Tactile Feedback
+ 64 Key Rollover
+ Customizable plate
+ 3 LED Modes and 5 Brightness Levels
+ Carry Handle (Could be pro for some)
+ USB 3.0 Hub
+ Detachable Cord
– Huge and Heavy
– Carry Handle (I personally don’t like it)
– No plate designs available to buy
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: Which switches do you prefer in a mechanical keyboard?