What is a membrane keyboard? Why is there so much debate over whether membrane keyboards are better or mechanical keyboards are better? What are the differences between them? This blog will introduce what a membrane keyboard is and highlight the distinctions between membrane and mechanical keyboards.
In general, the keyboards that come with our laptops are membrane keyboards, they are quiet, sturdy, and incredibly slim when using, making them highly convenient for portability.
A membrane keyboard's design is straightforward—it consists of multiple film layers, including a membrane switch layer and a reflector. Keys sit on the membrane switch layer, and upon pressing, they make contact between the layers, forming an electrical circuit that sends the relevant input signal. This simplicity accounts for its lightweight and portability.
Mechanical keyboards are comprised of many intricate structures.
1.Mechanical Switches: The core of a mechanical keyboard consists of numerous independent mechanical switches, each key having a corresponding switch. Common types of mechanical switches include red switches, blue switches, brown switches, each with different tactile feels, actuation forces, and noise levels.
2.Metal Spring: Typically located beneath the mechanical switch, a metal spring provides the keystroke's rebound force and actuation point.
3.Keycaps: Keys on a mechanical keyboard are usually covered with replaceable plastic keycaps, featuring characters or symbols.
4.PCB (Printed Circuit Board): Mechanical switches connect to the circuit board, transmitting input signals through the board when keys are pressed.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mechanical Keyboards and Membrane Keyboards
Advantages of Mechanical Keyboards：
1.Tactile Feedback: Provides a more distinct tactile feel and feedback, offering clearer keypress sensations that some individuals prefer.
2.Durability: Mechanical keyboards usually have a longer lifespan due to their design with switches capable of enduring more keypresses, making them more durable for prolonged use.
3.Customizability: The replaceable keycaps and switches, along with special functions and adjustment options offered by some mechanical keyboards, allow users to customize according to their preferences.
Disadvantages of Mechanical Keyboards：
1.Price: Generally, mechanical keyboards tend to be more expensive compared to membrane keyboards.
2.Noise: Some mechanical keyboards produce louder keypress sounds due to the physical nature of their switches, which might be a disturbance for some individuals.
3.Bulkiness: Due to their complex structure, mechanical keyboards are typically heavier and less suitable for scenarios requiring lightweight portability.
Advantages of Membrane Keyboards：
1.Thin and Portable: Suitable for lightweight portability and integration into portable devices like laptops, tablets, etc.
2.Low Noise: Compared to mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards typically produce quieter keypress sounds, suitable for environments where silence is necessary.
3.Cost-effectiveness: Generally more budget-friendly than mechanical keyboards, making them suitable for users with limited budgets. Disadvantages
Disadvantages of Membrane Keyboards：
1.Tactile Feedback: Compared to mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards have weaker tactile sensations and feedback, lacking the satisfying feel for some users.
2.Durability: The lifespan of membrane keyboards might be shorter compared to mechanical keyboards due to the use of membrane switches.
Each keyboard type caters to specific scenarios and user groups. Gamers and professionals requiring prolonged typing might lean towards mechanical keyboards due to their superior feedback and durability. Conversely, for everyday office use or users needing lightweight portability, membrane keyboards might be more suitable. When choosing a keyboard type, it's best to consider your usage scenarios, personal preferences, and budget.