Several keyboard manufacturers produce advanced keyboards with optical switches. Many began to question whether it wasn’t just a trick because of this.
To determine the type of key we required, we decided to test it ourselves. For example, is an optical switch quicker than a real mechanical switch when gaming?
Optical switches work well for gaming in general. However, this approach works well in most situations. The optical switches are 30 milliseconds quicker than conventional mechanical keyboard switches, which makes them more suitable for gaming.
We’ll talk about numerous tests. This choice demonstrated that the knowledge was only partially original to us. In addition, we’ll focus on the modifications that apply to each group.
Which Is Better: Mechanical Or Optical?
When contrasting optical and mechanical switches, the switch’s overall speed is the main factor to be considered when choosing the winner. But you want your changeover to be as enjoyable, comfortable, and long-lasting as possible when making your choice.
Optical switches are quicker than mechanical switches, as was already established. Because of this, it is ideal for games requiring an additional millisecond edge.
Mechanical switches function better and are more aesthetically pleasing to use, although being a little slower. There are also relaxing noises. There are a ton more alternatives. And changing it is simple.
As a result, if you want an advantage in the game. A better switch would be an optical one. What if, though, you prefer a more engaging typing experience? The way is in tantra.
Overall Feel: Winner = Mechanical
The Mechanic comes out on top in terms of the key’s total impact. I certainly think so.
Compared to optical switches, mechanical switches feel more substantial and long-lasting. Just a little modest. The optical keys, however, appear false and blank. It isn’t easy to convey.
Additionally, the optics’ noise output needs to be higher. However, there are a lot of alternatives to consider when selecting a mechanical or optical switch. But in general, pressing mechanical switches is more enjoyable.
Of course, whatever I say in this part is just subjective. But with words and sentiments, this is frequently the case. Others might favor optics. I have a little retro bias for mechanical switches.
In terms of emotions, I always take a win-win approach.
Speed: Winner = Optical
In this section, I tested each key in the real world to determine its speed. I experimented with several single swatches, including Gateron Optical Black, Cherry MX Speed Silver, Optical Purple, and Cherry MX Red.
I used Answerable Tester on each key. It will compute how long the computer will take to react before saving the modifications. My reaction rate should remain constant, according to the hypothesis. The key type will alter, though.
Typically, the switch should be the source of the response time variation. Unfortunately, this research was not peer-reviewed. But in principle, it functions.
The outcomes surprised everyone. Contrary to expectations, the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches are quicker than the MX Red switches. The reaction time for these switches is the same. Even if Cherry complains that the two mechanical switches are moving too quickly, their proximity is irrelevant.
This is when things start to get interesting. Gatron optical switches now operate more slowly than mechanical switches. The light control switch needs to be quick since; otherwise, it is meaningless. So, I marked a tiny margin for error and declared a tie.
Price: Winner = Mechanical
Because many ultra-cheap clones contain switches, mechanical switches are more cost-effective than optical switches. If you seek in the appropriate locations, mechanical switches may be found for extremely reasonable costs.
A highly quick optical switch is also desirable. Unfortunately, the optical keyboards are a little more expensive, costing mid-range and high prices. Thus, the cost can be a little more.
Using mechanical keys, you may get considerably less expensive keys that function just as quickly. Budget choices might or might not sound preferable.
For this reason, mechanical switches triumph in the price division. However, if you choose better quality ones, mechanical switches are rather pricey.
Durability: Winner = Optical
An optical switch may often withstand 100 million keystrokes. A switch that is powered by light is more robust than a switch that is powered by electricity.
Notably, certain mechanical switches can withstand 100 million keystrokes. Some keys are very resilient because of this. For instance, Cherry MX switches may be adjusted to the same degree of durability because they are rated for 100 million keystrokes.
Mechanical keys made in imitation often last half as long. 50 million keystrokes in total. Optics are more resilient in this situation than mechanical ones. Because of this, optical switches excel in terms of longevity.
Noise Level: Winner = Mechanical
According to my knowledge of optical switches. The sound produced by noisy optical switch designs is extremely loud and hollow. There are a lot of sounds generated by each key press.
On the other hand, mechanical switches feature quiet switches that are a wonderful choice for gaming and typing in silence.
Rubber dampers are used on the switch body of silent switches. The volume is decreased by pressing the button. Playing the game at night while everyone is asleep is ideal.
Because you may adjust the switch’s level to a greater extent with mechanical switches, they manage noise better.
Variation: Mechanical = Winner
The most popular switches are mechanical switches since they have been around for a long time. Mechanical keys come in hundreds of varieties. But there might be dozens of optics.
Additionally, mechanical switches provide additional specialized possibilities, such as low profile, quiet, high speed, and more, when utilized with optical devices. Basic concepts like linear, click, and haptic will be covered, but most other keys will undoubtedly be missed.
Easier to Find: Winner = Mechanical
Because it is much simpler to find traditional mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, typical optical switches are uncommon on keyboards.
In almost all large department stores, the keyboards are mechanical. Razer was one of the first significant makers of optical switches for mechanical keyboards, even if these can include one or two. The Razer Huntsman is the only keyboard with an optical switch option and is, therefore, not unique.
There are few optical keyboards available. Unsurprisingly, installation calls require a second PCB. As a result, they cannot be used with standard discrete mechanical keyboards. Instead, you’ll need a keyboard for optical switches to set things up.
Easier To Mod: Winner = Mechanical
Owing to the community’s generous contributions and volunteers’ efforts. Thus, it is quite simple to replace the mechanical switch. In addition, online materials can readily teach you how to install switch foil or lubricate mechanical switches.
Conversely, optical switches offer practically no instruction. Even better, you can alter it to make the experience better. However, locating a tutorial demonstrating how to perform it will be challenging.
Because mechanical switches were so simple to edit, the community began developing materials to show how to modify optical switches.
How do Optical and Mechanical Switches Work?
We have now compared the best keys in each category. Next, let’s examine the operations of mechanical switches and optical switches.
Optical switches integrate mechanical and lighting elements. Light strikes the sensor when the key is pushed at a certain location, recording the keystrokes.
A mechanical switch on an electric mat has to be touched directly to turn it on. Despite being contactless, everything is optical. (i.e., due to the non-contact design, they don’t touch each other). Due to decreased wear, optical switches last longer.
A light-activated switch is a bit quicker to operate than an electric pad.
It might be challenging to decide between a mechanical and an optical keyboard. Between the two, there are numerous different considerations. There have been mechanical switches for a very long time. As a result, if you’re seeking to purchase your first mechanical keyboard, it is a safe choice.
However, suppose you’re serious about obtaining a certain second-game edge. In that case, a better option could be an optical switch in video games like Fortnite, where you must quickly construct barriers to win battles that provides you a little advantage.
Speed increases using optical switches might not be very noticeable in other games.
The choice is a genuine delight for me. Every day of the work week, I see the Mechanic. But it’s comforting to know that I can always test the optics if I ever return to serious gaming.
Let me know what you believe.