How to find the best mechanical keyboard for you?
Having the realms of mechanical keyboards or better known as the gaming keyboard left unexplored for the past 19 years of my life, I am definitely not well-equipped with gaming knowledge. To think about taking on an internship at a startup that was all about gaming and mechanical keyboards was enough to make me feel discombobulated. However, I am thankful that I took the plunge and took on this internship. In this article, I will be sharing my 3 key learning points from the first week of my internship at Wraek.
1. Understanding the built of a mechanical keyboard
Since I am taking on the role of the Business Strategy and Development Executive, it is pertinent for me to understand the structure of the mechanical keyboard — something that was all Greek to me, and also learn how to apply these knowledge to Wraek. I am grateful to have my team leader, Pin Zhang, who is also concurrently the COO of Wraek, to show me the way. He explained the basics of the structure and we were tasked to find out more about the built of the different keyboards in the market. After doing my due diligence, I have a much better understanding of the different parts of the keyboard and I would now share 3 key factors to choose the right keyboard for yourself.
1. Key Switches
The key switches will make a difference to the feel and touch of the keys which directly affects the user experience. As such, I would say that this is the most important factor when choosing a keyboard. There are 3 main types of key switches available in the market: Clicky, Tactile, Linear.
Clicky — This produces the most audible sound out of the 3, choose this if you prefer your keys to produce a clicky sound when depressed. It also has a slight bump before actuation.
Tactile — Comparable feeling to the clicky key switches but much quieter. It produces a slight bump when depressed. This is also a more popular choice among typist because it requires lesser force and allows you to double click in a shorter duration.
Linear — This feels the smoothest among the 3 because it does not produce a loud sound or a slight bump when depressed and most gamers prefer this switch.
2. Size of Keyboard
There are 3 main types of keyboard sizes: Full size (104 keys), Tenkeyless (87 keys), 60% (68 keys) to choose from.
Full size — This is the only keyboard among the 3 that includes the number pad on the keyboard. This would be ideal if you frequently type numbers in your daily routine.
Tenkeyless — This keyboard is similar to the full size keyboard except without the number pad at the side. This is suitable for gamers because it is smaller compared to the full size keyboard and can still provide a good overall gaming experience.
60% — This is the most compact keyboard out of the 3. Due to its small build, it helps to save space on your desk. This would be ideal if you are looking for something more portable.
3. Material of Keycaps
There are 3 main types of keycaps: POM, PBT and ABS.
POM keycaps — This is known as the premium keycap among the 3 because of its high durability but this is also the most costly keycap. The POM keycaps feels extremely smooth and “wax-like”.
ABS keycaps — This is the most commonly used keycap material for keyboards. It is less durable and it is also known as the Ugly Wear-Shine as the outer covering wears off after heavy usage, revealing a shiny surface underneath.
PBT keycaps — This has a matte surface and is thicker than ABS keycaps. This is also one of the more durable keycaps.
It is striking to note how mechanical keyboards can be altered to suit individual needs and choosing a keyboard for yourself is like choosing a name for your child — careful and meticulous. Through this, I also managed to pick out a mechanical keyboard that suits my personal needs — Akko 3087 keyboard, which is a tenkeyless keyboard that comes with Akko pink switches (Linear) and PBT keycaps. This is something I would never been able to do before this!
2. Understanding the power of Power BI and Tableau
Pin Zhang taught us how to use Power BI (which sadly isn’t available on Macbook) and Tableau to analyse data we have collected thus far. I came up with a few interesting insights with Tableau.
In this comparison, I saw the influence of heavy marketing and the brand awareness on the pricing of the keyboard. Despite not being the top 5 gaming keyboard company, Das is still able to command a premium pricing for their keyboard because of good marketing for their cloud service on their keyboard. For household names like Razer and Logitech, it is not surprising to see how they are able to price their keyboard above market average.
I also drew a comparison between the average pricing of the keyboard and the material of the keyboard frame. I saw the influence of the type of material of the keyboard frame on the pricing of the keyboard and I derived that by using aluminium keyboard frame, a company can command a much higher price compared to using plastic or steel. The difference was a glaring $140*. This helped me to understand some of the factors that play a more remarkable role on the pricing of the keyboard which allows me to understand the extent users appreciate the presence of different functions on the keyboard.
Through these analysis, I understood the power of data and the importance of knowing how to extract information from the data. This also explains the keen desire for companies to be the “mother of data”.
*: These analysis are derived from the data that I have consolidated myself and the list is non-exhaustive so the information is not the most reliable and accurate.
3. Deriving the best pricing strategy for Wraek
After drawing meaningful conclusions from the data, I also applied these invaluable insights to Wraek by giving some recommendations on how to price our keyboard and some functions we should include on the keyboard to appeal to our target group.
The first week of internship was an eye-opener and I am looking forward to the next 4 weeks of this winter internship.
At Wraek, we are building the most revolutionary keyboard and we hope that you will also be part of our journey. If you are an avid gamer, do approach me! We warmly welcoming any gaming enthusiast to come down to try out our patent-pending keyboard!
I hope you learnt something from this piece of writeup, have a good week ahead :)
- Woo Ling Ling, Wraek Strategy Associate
Wraek is a gaming hardware and software start-up that strives to build a strong gamer community. Wraek is currently focusing on designing an innovative gaming keyboard with additional features to make the gaming experience more immersive.
“Release the gamer within.”
This one sentence sums the ultimate goal of Wraek: Revolutionizing gaming experiences.
To learn more about us, visit: www.wraek.com
or follow our Instagram @wraekgaming