The mechanical keyboard craze has never been hotter. But if you’re a newbie, like PCWorld’s Adam Patrick Murray, all the different choices and modifications might seem a bit intimidating. It’s a good thing that Hipyo Tech, a YouTuber keyboard expert, was on hand at the Linux Tech Expo 2023 to give us a crash course. And what he had to share might be surprising.
Reading the reviews and scanning the subreddits might give you the impression that it takes hundreds and hundreds of dollars to make a “good” mechanical keyboard. And it’s true, you can drop a car payment’s worth of dough into a keyboard, and make it amazing. But you can get results almost as good with a budget keyboard and a few frugal upgrades, as Hipyo explains. It’s a lot like building a gaming desktop: you can put in a ton of time and money, or just go with what works with a fraction of that.
For example, if you like the “clicky” feedback of Cherry’s Blue switches, Hipyo recommends Kailh’s popular Box Jade alternative. They’s smoother, cleaner, and even louder, and easy to find on shops like Amazon. If you have a hot-swap keyboard, which doesn’t require any soldering, then you don’t need anything except a switch puller to swap them out.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.