Author Topic: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?  (Read 867 times)

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Offline Pavilions

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Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 08:54:34 »
I have started using Logitech Keyboard K740 for a while now, and before that, I used to use KBD75 with 65 Zealous. To be honest I'm not sure if it's only me or there is no benefit to using a Mechanical over Rubber Dome. I like the typing experience that K470 offers even though it is not a mechanical keyboard. I was thinking of building a new keyboard and try new switches such as the (Gateron Linear or Any other linear switch) I have never tried them and I heard good things about them for long hours of typing.

 


Offline jamster

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 09:40:28 »
Mate, it's all personal preference, so if it matters to you then it matters. If it doesn't matter to you, then you save a load of money.

My SO refuses to use my Realforce, and uses a $20 Dell chicklet board instead. And types faster than me.

Offline yui

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 10:12:44 »
for very long my favorite board was an old rubber dome with slider, so much so that i wore it down until the sliders started to bind very badly, now my favorite is an Unicomp M. you do you some like the click of some mechanicals, some like the part way actuation, some the crisper bottom out. and by some definition rubber domes are mechanical anyway, so why bother :) what is good is to have options if you like the silence and soft landing of a rubber dome then all the more power to you.
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Offline Sup

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 10:28:50 »
I had a very comfortable dome keyboard it was used and broken in. I like some dome keyboards as well but its all preference at the end of the day.
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Offline Pylon

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 11:47:28 »
At the end of the day mechanical keyboards offer two main functional advantages over typical rubber domes:
  • >2-key rollover.
  • Actuation before bottom out, so you don't need to bottom out your key to get it to register.

Only gamers really need the first, and most people bottom out their mechanical keyboards anyways, so most people don't take advantage of the second. So yeah - are you really losing that much going to a nice rubber dome?

Offline cest73

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 13:38:51 »
Simple as this:
1. There are dirt cheap rubber dome keyboards that are simply just as great as the renowned Topre ones - problem is how they age and how long it takes for them to age beyond being usable - the most cheap ones simply don't last nearly as long.

2. There are wrongly bought mechanical keyboard that simply are an ill match to the owner's preference - some owners bail out with modding - other, less lucky, start the expensive hobby of walking across burning coal towards the ideal keyboard ;)

3. There are lucky individuals among us.

The most difference is IMHO by the grace the keyboard handles extreme abuse - spills, impacts and any (all) sorts of repairs

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 12 January 2021, 22:01:47 »
Yeah, the mechanical keyboard's real advantage is consistency over time. Rubber domes can be nice, but fade over time.

You can really, really learn the ins-and-outs of an MK and become easily proficient with it.

But I agree that they don't offer much of an advantage over garden-variety rubber dome keyboards for most people, especially non-gamers.

MKs are much easier to customize, thanks to the flourishing aftermarket industry. But, of course, most people don't really have to do that.


I agree that if you don't bottom-out, the MKs can be better for sustained typing. You can train yourself not to bottom-out on medium tactiles like Clears/Ergo Clears and maybe even the RARA-stem switches.

The real truth is that mechanical switches are much, more more important for computer mice than they are for keyboards.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 01:47:24 »
I have started using Logitech Keyboard K740 for a while now, and before that, I used to use KBD75 with 65 Zealous. To be honest I'm not sure if it's only me or there is no benefit to using a Mechanical over Rubber Dome. I like the typing experience that K470 offers even though it is not a mechanical keyboard. I was thinking of building a new keyboard and try new switches such as the (Gateron Linear or Any other linear switch) I have never tried them and I heard good things about them for long hours of typing.

The best keyboards for you are the ones you enjoy using.  If you like a normal rubber dome keyboard, that's the best for you AND you'll save a ton of money. 

That said...some of the advantages of Mechanical keyboards tend to revolve around feel and stability...Reliability is a bit overblown (not that it doesn't exist, just that the importance of it is really not there).  You also have many more options when it comes to mech keyboards to change the feel or how it looks.  Cases, plates, keycaps, switches, mods to switches, even cables.  These options are pretty rare outside of the Mech world....and because of the customization/reliability, this isn't something you'd "invest" in and it dies in a year or two....

Personally, I enjoy using mechanical keyboards..they just feel a lot better when I'm using them..I enjoy the added stability, feel and responsiveness and to me, it is worth it to spend a bit more on a tool I basically use everyday...

Offline jamster

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 03:09:19 »
Simple as this:
1. There are dirt cheap rubber dome keyboards that are simply just as great as the renowned Topre ones - problem is how they age and how long it takes for them to age beyond being usable - the most cheap ones simply don't last nearly as long.

Not sure I've ever encountered this- got any examples?

Offline yui

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 03:31:02 »
Simple as this:
1. There are dirt cheap rubber dome keyboards that are simply just as great as the renowned Topre ones - problem is how they age and how long it takes for them to age beyond being usable - the most cheap ones simply don't last nearly as long.

Not sure I've ever encountered this- got any examples?
BTC dome with slider, although i am only saying that as 2nd hand information as i can't afford a topre, and my BTC got lost in shipping...
vi vi vi - the roman number of the beast (Plan9 fortune)

Offline Pylon

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 08:24:04 »
I've used the old Dell Quietkey (RT7D5JTW) and the newer Lenovo KB1421, and they're pretty solid as far as rubber domes go.

Offline cest73

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 09:12:45 »
Simple as this:
1. There are dirt cheap rubber dome keyboards that are simply just as great as the renowned Topre ones - problem is how they age and how long it takes for them to age beyond being usable - the most cheap ones simply don't last nearly as long.

Not sure I've ever encountered this- got any examples?
I might have been typing on a Topre but not knowing it somewhere but let's just call it "not tested", but i did type on the original buckling spring keyboards here and there ("best feeling there is") and own an "bigfoot" with BIG ass enter on black SCKM ALPS (at least 2nd to "as good as it gets") that has seen little if any usage before i acquired it from a scrap bin few years ago.
The keyboard that served me best ever was an unsuspecting Chicony KB-9810, while it leaves quite much to be desired (spill resistance, looks, per key macros, n-key rollover) it served me like no other and then some - the rubber dome over foil endured the most harsh gaming, design and what not thru many years, and now one of the kids is still using it.

I bought mine for as little as $8 at its hey day, now they come for a premium as vintage items. The feel is well within decent the layout is ISO enter 104 keys and the poor thing just goes on and on> The other one died as a victim to spilled water  :(  and now is kept for spare parts.


Offline Polymer

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 09:29:30 »
Simple as this:
1. There are dirt cheap rubber dome keyboards that are simply just as great as the renowned Topre ones - problem is how they age and how long it takes for them to age beyond being usable - the most cheap ones simply don't last nearly as long.

Not sure I've ever encountered this- got any examples?
I might have been typing on a Topre but not knowing it somewhere but let's just call it "not tested", but i did type on the original buckling spring keyboards here and there ("best feeling there is") and own an "bigfoot" with BIG ass enter on black SCKM ALPS (at least 2nd to "as good as it gets") that has seen little if any usage before i acquired it from a scrap bin few years ago.

I don't understand..so you're making this claim without having used it? 

Offline Kavik

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 09:35:32 »
The main three advantages to me are these:

1. I can get keycaps that don't suck, and I can replace them if they break or get too glossy/slimy.
2. They're a bit easier to clean.
3. If one key stops working, I can just replace the switch instead of the whole keyboard.
4. Of course, the subject feel. I compare this to switching from an SDTV to an HDTV circa 2008. You don't really notice the difference until you try it in earnest, but after you have, it's hard to go back.

These are convenience advantages, not cost savings - quite the opposite. It also keeps some e-waste out of the landfills.
Maybe they're waiting for gasmasks and latex to get sexy again.

The world has become a weird place.

Offline jamster

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 10:13:44 »
Simple as this:
1. There are dirt cheap rubber dome keyboards that are simply just as great as the renowned Topre ones - problem is how they age and how long it takes for them to age beyond being usable - the most cheap ones simply don't last nearly as long.

Not sure I've ever encountered this- got any examples?
BTC dome with slider, although i am only saying that as 2nd hand information as i can't afford a topre, and my BTC got lost in shipping...

I have a BTC (back in its box) on the floor next to me as I type this on my 87U :)

The BTC was decidedly disappointing. The layout with the weird arrow key arrangement was too unnatural, but also the switch mechanism just isn't that smooth. I wanted to like the board because it's so cheap, kinda retro, and who doesn't want bargain Topre, but after trying to stick with it a couple months, it's back in it's box.

I was trying to figure out today if it's worth the hassle of putting up for sale, but suspect that it's not. It'll disappear into my pile of forgotten tech.

Three decades ago I had access to nice Honeywell rubber dome boards which were considered quite premium at the time. I dug one up maybe ten years ago, still new in the box. My memories of an older age had been unreliable me, it was okay (better than cheap chicklet), but really not all that great. Model Ms, and Alps, on the other hand have withstood the test of time.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #15 on: Wed, 13 January 2021, 21:27:24 »
There has been quite a few good rubber dome boards over the years.
The real problem with rubber domes isn't feel or longevity and such, the real problem is that most are simply made to be as absolutely cheap as possible, in most cases you're comparing a Nissan Cube to a BMW M5, it's simply not a fair fight in most regards.


Beyond that, mechs do have some advantages, how important those are is up to you. You could buy and replace a lot of cheap rubber domes for what we spend on some of these keyboards so while that keyboard may last 20 times longer allowing you to justify that cost, the truth is you probably won't use it long enough to recoup that cost. On the other hand if you type a lot it may be worth it for other reasons.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 08:12:30 »
If you are like me and prefer standard, full-sized keyboards, and have access to second-hand gear through yard sales, salvage houses, or thrift stores, it used to be extremely easy to find lots of older keyboards but now many shops now won't even put non-USB keyboards out for sale.

My experience was that many of the rubber dome keyboards from the late-1990s and early-2000s were quite good. When I am working somewhere where I don't want to take one of my "good" keyboards I take an IBM KB8923 which is still excellent in spite of being over 2 decades old. It is always better than whatever a modern office has sitting on its desks.

"Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence — while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship. “Shared psychosis” — which is also called “madness for millions” when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions” — refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia, and propensity for violence — even in previously healthy individuals. The treatment is removal of exposure. Briefly, if one cannot have love, one resorts to respect. And when respect is unavailable, one resorts to fear. Trump is now living through an intolerable loss of respect: rejection by a nation in his election defeat. Violence helps compensate for feelings of powerlessness, inadequacy, and lack of real productivity. He is certainly of an autocratic disposition because his extreme narcissism does not allow for equality with other human beings, as democracy requires."
– Brandy Lee 2020

Offline ergonaut

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 10:51:04 »
Actuation before bottom out, so you don't need to bottom out your key to get it to register.
[...] most people bottom out their mechanical keyboards anyways, so most people don't take advantage of the second.

Yes, you're right of course. However, despite bottoming out a lot on my mech keyboards, I still think there is a difference, because on the rubber dome boards, the bottom out force is the minimum force you need to exert to actuate the key press, whereas on the mech board, you can type much softer (and at least sometimes not bottom out).

Another advantage of mechs is that the typing action doesn't really get worse over time as it does with (cheap) rubber domes.

Offline Polymer

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 14:05:44 »
And it feels more responsive as a result of not needing to wait until bottom out. 

Granted, when you're used to it, it probably doesn't matter.  But when you're used to a higher actuation point, it feels considerably more responsive.  It is also what contributes to why normal boards feel dead when you use them...it is the keyboard itself but it is also this very very slight delay when you're typing that is just big enough to notice but that is hard to quantify....

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 21:20:27 »
My experience was that many of the rubber dome keyboards from the late-1990s and early-2000s were quite good. When I am working somewhere where I don't want to take one of my "good" keyboards I take an IBM KB8923 which is still excellent in spite of being over 2 decades old. It is always better than whatever a modern office has sitting on its desks.
I had one of these, it was really good.
I ended up with it by chance, it's death and inability to replace it (the models that replaced it were garbage) are what led me to mechanicals.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/hand milled Vortex case, custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, sound dampened,  Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs | GMMK TKL | Magicforce 68 | YMDK75 | KBT Race S L.E. | Das Pro (Costar model) | GH60 | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Rubber Dome vs Mechanical? Does it really matter?
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 14 January 2021, 21:25:37 »

I had one of these, it was really good.


And available in both beige and black. The ability to swap and mix keycaps allows for some unique and handsome combinations.


"Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence — while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship. “Shared psychosis” — which is also called “madness for millions” when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions” — refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia, and propensity for violence — even in previously healthy individuals. The treatment is removal of exposure. Briefly, if one cannot have love, one resorts to respect. And when respect is unavailable, one resorts to fear. Trump is now living through an intolerable loss of respect: rejection by a nation in his election defeat. Violence helps compensate for feelings of powerlessness, inadequacy, and lack of real productivity. He is certainly of an autocratic disposition because his extreme narcissism does not allow for equality with other human beings, as democracy requires."
– Brandy Lee 2020