Help Choosing a Mechanical Keyboard

After Jeff Atwood blogged about building a real coders keyboard, my interest was piqued as to whether I’d see any notable difference in my typing between mechanical keyboards and my Microsoft Comfort Curve 5000. I’ve always liked curved, ergonomic keyboards and vaguely remembered mechanical keyboards from my college days in the late 80s. I’d also started getting pretty ticked off about the impact of my wireless router on the performance of my wireless keyboard and mouse and was looking at going back to wired to solve it.

Sadly, the CODE keyboard (the one Jeff worked on) is out of stock as are (it seems) all of WASD keyboards so I’ve set out to look for an alternative that offers comparable features within a similar or less price range. Key things for me:

  • This is a work keyboard not meant for gaming
  • I know they’re louder. I’ve been testing a Corsair K70 with Cherry MX Red swicthes and I’m ok with the noise since I work from home.
  • I’ve settled on Cherry MX Brown switches since I want the tactile feel but just a tad quieter.

The Corsair I’ve been using is really nice and I’ll keep it for my gaming rig but I’m a little picky about looks and would prefer to have nice clean white LEDs instead of the red ones on this KB. If it came with white or blue LEDs I would seriously consider using it for work as well.

With that said I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

I’ve heard lots of great things about the Das Keyboard but what’s holding me back is the lack of LEDs and the glossy enclosure which looks like it would be a fingerprint/smudge magnet. The Ducky seems to match almost everything the CODE keyboard has but I just don’t know who Ducky International is and don’t want to invest $150 into someone I don’t know.

And alternatively, I could just wait until the next batch of CODE keyboards come out but that could be awhile. Honestly, that’s the keyboard I want but don’t want to wait a couple of months to get one.

Would love your feedback on what you’re using and on the choices I’ve narrowed it down to.

** UPDATE: After talking to my Sage (i.e.: my wife) she said that if I really wanted the CODE keyboard then I shouldn’t settle and just wait. So that’s what I’m doing. I’ll use the Corsair for now till then.

Rey Bango


  1. If you can live without LEDs, Filco one of the best choices for a mechanical keyboard.

    The cherry mx blue Das Keyboard have a particular “twang” sound on button release, and feel somewhat off by comparison. Filco with identical switches lacks that. They have brown switches as well.

    My personal preference is the ninja tenkeyless.

    • Hey Ivan, yeah I’ve heard great stuff about the Filco KBs but I really want the LEDs. Also the lack of multimedia keys is a deal-breaker for me as well.

  2. I look forward to a followup post.

    I’m a big fan of my Microsoft ergo keyboard as well – I have 3 of them ;)

    I’d be interested to see what you think after a month or two of switching.

    I’ve seen a lot of comments on Atwood’s post about people requesting a ergo keyboard with mechanical switches. That’s what I’m holding out for I think :)

    • Hey Jim! I can tell you that so far, I don’t want to go back to my MS curve keyboard. The feel is way better on this Corsair. I tried to go back briefly but the mushy keys really were bleh compared to the mechanical ones.

  3. I wanted a Ducky keyboard for a long time but they are hard to find and sell out quickly. I’m not crazy about the logo they put on the space bar on the Shine 2 and absolutely hate the snake on the Shine 3 though.

    I have a Das keyboard model S pro with brown switches for work. You are spot on with that one. It’s very professional looking and the noise level is tolerable. As for the smudging, if I look at it closely I do see some smudges but it’s not something you’ll sit at your desk and notice right away.

    I’ll probably try the CODE keyboard when they become available but not for work. Having the LEDs is only useful to me at home since I’m coding in the dark a lot more often there.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I’m gonna wait for the CODE to see how it feels and continue to use the Corsair in the interim.

  4. Hi Ray,

    Why go for an ordinary keyboard when you could have this sucker;

    To quote from the Etsy site:”This hand-crafted Vicar keyboard features a red mahogany stained wooden frame hand polished to perfection, silver/brass Victorian era style corner accents, typewriter keys, jewel lamp LED lenses. The Vicar is elegant alternative to our all metal framed keyboards, hand stained and varnished it will bring class into any home or office and is modest enough to fit in with any decor.”

    Just get yourself some brass goggles and you’d be all set.

    just joking of course.


  5. Hi ray,

    I tried matrical keyboard (with keys vertically aligned like and I can’t have any other now.
    Here, the fact that the enter and backspace keys are on the middle is also very great (needs a bit of adaptation though). I hope other manufacturers would start to make keyboard like that. After all, we don’t need staggered columns like a typewriter does…

    • Thanks. That’s a unique layout and one I would certainly prefer to try out first before making an investment into.

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