Per-Key Quality Testing

In order to test the quality and consistency of a keyboard, we are using a texture analyser that is programmed to measure and display the actuation force of the standard keyboard keys. By measuring the actuation force of every key, the quality and consistency of the keyboard can be quantified. It can also reveal design issues, such as the larger keys being far softer to press than the main keys of the keyboard. The actuation force is measured in Centinewton (cN). Some companies use another figure, gram-force (gf). The conversion formula is 1 cN = 1.02 gf (i.e. they are about the same). A high-quality keyboard should be as consistent as possible, with an average actuation force as near to the manufacturer's specs as possible and a disparity of less than ±10%. Greater differences are likely to be perceptible by users. It is worth noting that there is typically variance among keyboards, although most keyboard companies will try and maintain consistency - as with other reviews, we're testing our sample only.

The machine we use for our testing is accurate enough to provide readings with a resolution of 0.1 cN. For wider keys (e.g. Enter, Space Bar, etc.), the measurement is taking place at the center of the key, right above the switch. Note that large keys generally have a lower actuation force even if the actuation point is at the dead center of the key. This is natural, as the size and weight of the keycap reduce the required actuation force. For this reason, we do display the force required to actuate every key but we only use the results of the typically sized keys for our consistency calculations. Still, very low figures on medium sized keys, such as the Shift and Enter keys reveal design issues and can easily be perceptible by the user.

The consistency of the G.Skill KM570 MX was right where we expected it to be for a keyboard with genuine Cherry MX switches. Our test results were excellent, with a disparity of just ± 2.99% across the main keys. The average actuation force is 46.1 cN. While the Cherry MX Brown switch specifications state that the force at the actuation point should be 45 cN, it is natural for our equipment to be reading a slightly higher figure due to the tactile nature of the switch, as the operating force is considerably higher than the force at the actuation point.

Hands-on Testing

I always try to use every keyboard that we review as my personal keyboard for at least a week. My typical weekly usage includes a lot of typing (about 100-150 pages), a few hours of gaming and some casual usage, such as internet browsing and messaging. I personally prefer Cherry MX Brown or similar (tactile) switches for such tasks and thus, in theory, the G.Skill KM570 MX should be a perfect match for my requirements. And that it was. Despite its thickness and lack of a wrist rest, the KM570 MX was almost perfect for long typing sessions. Its contoured design is very comfortable and the tactile feedback of the switches was excellent, all with minimal strain on muscles and tendons. What the KM570 MX is missing is a wrist rest, which I find to be a necessity for very long work sessions, and anyone with similar needs will have to resort to an aftermarket solution.

For gaming, I found the KM570 MX to be efficient enough as a typical keyboard and for casual gaming sessions. For MMOs and games that require complex commands however, the KM570 MX is less than ideal. It does support basic hardware macro programming, yet even then the user will have to overwrite the default function of a standard key. In order to get the standard key function back, the macros need to be deleted, meaning that they would have to be programmed again and again if the user needs the KM570 MX to function as a standard keyboard outside of gaming. The lack of a wrist rest on a keyboard this tall also is a problem for gamers, as most gamers have to rest their wrists down during long gaming sessions.  

The Keyboard Final Words & Conclusion
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  • Ssoyd - Sunday, August 6, 2017 - link

    You're getting pretty hard up for things to review when you choose an over priced keyboard.
  • Ssoyd - Sunday, August 6, 2017 - link

    I can type just as well on a $10 keyboard.
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    I do type faster on my mech keyboard compared to the standard type. Not that much faster but it is easier.
  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    People are silly and will invent any number of reasons why they think they're gaining benefits that offset the added cost. Companies would be foolish not to take advantage of those people. That applies to basically any product sold including computer interface devices.
  • Dug - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    Wish list:
    Low profile keys (~6mm vs. 11.5), mx brown or equivalent, macros, backlight, no numberpad.

    So tired of these ergonomically incorrect mechanical keyboards that make a ton of noise. I watch people type on these and cringe. Good wrist rest is needed that extends to end of desk so arms don't drop.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    If you want quiet you're going to have to go for an oring mod; especially since you want low profile which means less room for key travel before bottoming out. I got one with reds because they're one of the "silent" switches; the clack of them bottoming out was, while not as awful as blue switches I tried in retail, several times louder than any membrane keyboard I'd ever typed on. Modding it quieted it to within the normal range for the latter. Not silent, but no longer anti-socially loud.
  • karanzale - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    thanks for sharing this amazing post , you have shared very helpful article.
  • Kakti - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    I've had the RGB MX-Brown version for a few month now and love it. It's literally my first mechanical keyboard since the old IBMs (been using some higher end Microsoft board for last 5+). While the method of setting up macro's isn't the best, it's super easy once you learn how to do it. And it's stored on the keyboard so you can plug it into any computer and it'll have the macros saved. The RGB software was also a little rough around the edges for the first 10 minutes, but once I figured out you could "drag and drop" a color across a region of keys and then pick out the individual ones later, it was also no problem.

    Overall I'm very happy with mine, the colors are super vibrant but by far the most important aspect is that there's no lightbleed. Whether between keys or light coming out the bottom, G.Skill made this keyboard perfect for gaming in a dark room. The only complaint I have, which Anand mentioned, was that some keys have their main icon/letter on the top (primarily just the F keys). The light isn't as strong for the top icon compared to the bottom, so the F keys are a little harder to see than they should be for a keyboard of this quality. Other than that, it's built like a tank, braided cables, no lightbleed, etc. I strongly recommend it if you're in the market for an RGB 10-key board.
  • zogus - Friday, August 18, 2017 - link

    Cherry MX switch keyboards are more or less predictable nowadays. I'd like to see more reviews of mechanical keyboards using other technologies.
  • aptoide apk - Saturday, August 19, 2017 - link
    Great Post! All 5 predictions circle around”Data”. From data created to data collected and data analyzed to derive meaningful insights is truly transforming the world around us!

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