Optical switches have been increasingly popular in keyboards over the past few years, but are they really better than mechanical keyboard? Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Generally speaking, optical switches offer faster key response times than mechanical switches. This makes them perfect for fast-paced games and busy work environments.
Optical switches are quieter
Optical switches use light instead of a stem to trigger a switch, so they don’t make as much noise as mechanical switches do. In addition to being less noisy, optical switches also tend to be more durable than their mechanical counterparts. However, because optical switches don’t have pins, they can only be used with keyboards that are compatible with the specific brand of switch.
Generally speaking, the best optical switches are those that offer a 100 million keystroke lifespan and have no pins at the bottom. They’re also usually more affordable than Cherry MX-style switches, which means that they can be used on a wider variety of keyboards.
These switches are usually triggered by an infrared beam, which tells the computer when a key has been pressed. They’re also more responsive than mechanicals, which is good for gamers who want a fast response time.
Another thing that optical switches are great for is that they don’t have to be soldered to a PCB like mechanicals do. This can cut down on production costs and eliminate a point of failure. This could mean that some manufacturers may be able to produce optical keyboards at a lower cost.
This can be especially useful for gaming keyboards, where the weight of a keycap and the distance between the key and the bottom of the board can be a big deciding factor in how loud a keyboard is. For instance, a clicky keyboard such as Cherry MX Blue can be quite loud compared to a linear or tactile one, which is why it’s important to choose the right switches for your needs.
Optical switches can be adjusted for actuation sensitivity, which helps to control how hard they register a keystroke when you press them. You can set it to either a high or low sensitivity, so you can get the feel of a heavy or lightweight switch depending on your preferences.
They’re more durable
Optical switches are newer to the keyboard industry than mechanical keyboard, but they’ve come a long way. They offer a number of benefits over their older counterparts, including more durability and improved customization options.
Unlike mechanicals, optical switches don’t have any moving parts. Rather, they use infrared light and photoelectric sensors to register your keystrokes. In addition, they have a faster response time than mechanicals, which can be helpful for fast-paced games.
Most optical switches are rated for a lifespan of 100 million keystrokes, which is far beyond what most mechanical keyboard brands claim. For example, Razer’s Huntsman Elite boasts a 100 million keystroke life span — that’s more than a decade of gaming or typing at full force.
In comparison, the average lifespan of a membrane/rubber dome keyboard is around 5 million keystrokes. This is largely because the contacts inside mechanical switches wear off over time, which leads to less responsiveness.
The best keyboards with optical switches feature a variety of brands and types, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Optical switches are also easier to customize, and most have customizable key caps, making them more appealing for gamers who want to replace the keys on their keyboards.
Aside from these advantages, optical switches are also more affordable than their mechanical counterparts. You can find them for as low as $60, though you’ll pay a little more for premium models.
Optical switches are also quieter than mechanicals, which can be especially beneficial for gamers who have sensitive ears or other conditions that make it difficult to hear the clicky sounds of a keyboard. Plus, many optical keys come with LED lighting to help you stay visible in low-light environments.
Finally, most optical switches are also more durable than their mechanical counterparts, and a few even boast a lifetime warranty. For example, Razer’s Huntsman Series features TITAN II optical switches with linear, ultra-fast actuation and incredible durability.
They’re more customizable
Optical switches offer more customization options than mechanical keyboards do, which is great for gamers who want a more customizable experience. However, there are some downsides to opting for an optical keyboard. For one, optical switches tend to be more expensive than mechanical keys. In addition, they aren’t as standardized, so it’s harder to find keyboards that offer certain features and key types.
Generally, optical switches have a better feel and faster response than mechanical switches do. This is especially true when it comes to gaming, where you need fast and responsive key presses.
You can also customize the color of the switch, which is a nice feature that’s unavailable on most mechanical keysets. This can be a great way to personalize your keyboard without spending a lot of money.
Another great thing about optical switches is that they’re usually much quieter than mechanical ones. This is important for people who like to type in noisy environments, and it can also help keep your fingers warm when you’re typing for extended periods of time.
In addition, you can choose from different switch types, such as linear and clicky, so you can find the right switch for your needs. You can also find gaming-themed keyboards with optical switches, such as the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog.
Lastly, you can customize the RGB lighting on your keyboard. This is a great option for gamers who want to use the keyboard in dark or bright spaces, and it can help you stand out from the crowd.
If you’re looking for a high-quality keyboard that offers a variety of features, an optical switch is the best choice. Optical switches are also much more durable than mechanical keys, so you’ll be able to enjoy your keyboard for longer. Ultimately, though, it’s all about your own preferences. If you’re willing to pay a little more for a keyboard that offers a great level of customization, an optical switch is the way to go.
They’re also quieter than mechanical switches, which is an important consideration for some gamers. Optical switches use a technique called light induction to send keystroke signals. They interrupt a beam of infrared light when you press the key, which then triggers a sensor that initiates the keystroke. This process takes about 5ms, but it can be up to four-times faster than a normal mechanical switch.
Regardless of whether you choose an optical or mechanical keyboard, it’s important to consider your gaming style and personal preference before deciding which switch type is best for you. It’s worth considering whether you prefer a more tactile feel or a quieter experience, as these are the two biggest factors that determine which switch type is right for you.
For many gamers, a more comfortable keyboard is essential when playing at home. Using a more comfortable keyboard can make all the difference when focusing on your gameplay and increasing your overall enjoyment of the game. Whether you prefer a mechanical or an optical switch depends on your preferences, but it’s likely that you’ll find that a more comfortable keyboard with a mechanical switch is a better choice for your needs.
They can also be more customizable than optical switches. In fact, many mechanical switches can have a wide range of key actuation speeds. Some even allow you to customize the actuation rate and key click noise, making them a great option for gamers who want to get the most out of their gaming experience.
Choosing the right switch type can be a difficult decision, but it’s one that will ultimately come down to your specific gaming preferences and how much you want to spend. If you’re willing to shell out a little more, a mechanical keyboard is the best choice for most gamers, but if you’re on a budget and don’t mind sacrificing some key quality features, an optical switch may be a better option for you.