The best (and most balanced) mechanical keyboard for gaming, programming, and typing: The Corsair Vengeance K70 with Cherry MX Red Switches
I do a lot of programming, gaming, and typing, and recently grew tired of my Logitech Wave K350 Cordless Keyboard. I had considered getting a mechanical keyboard but didn’t realize just how much of a difference it would make in my comfort and performance. The Corsair Vengeance K70 turned out to fit the bill perfectly. I picked it up on Amazon for a cool $125. After 2 weeks of use, I feel that I couldn’t have spent the money any better.
The finish and feel of the keyboard is wonderful. It has strong workmanship, no flex, and feels nice against the hands. It also looks great, with a full set of red LEDs with a customizable arrangement. More importantly, the typing feel is incredibly snappy. If you’re transitioning from a rubber dome keyboard, you will make more typos as you adjust to the change in pressure required to trigger a keystroke, but I found a significant improvement after a meager 2 days of use.
A note on the choice of switches: I tried mechanical keyboards with black, blue, brown, and red switches, and found the reds to be an excellent balance of typing feel and noise pollution. Even the fairly quiet red switches are substantially louder than a good rubber dome keyboard like the Logitech K350 (I would guess about 3 times), but it’s not loud enough to really be a nuisance unless you’re in very close proximity to light sleepers or other people working. There is the choice of purchasing a set of o-rings that would reduce the noise. I believe that the reds aren’t the best choice for typing or gaming performance, but I found that they struck the best balance among the choices and are the best choice for non-specialized users.
The keyboard also features regular playback buttons: stop, back, forward, play-pause, mute, and a realllllly slick metal volume wheel. Incidentally, you should also consider the K95 version with programmable buttons. I opted against getting the K95 primarily because of my existing space and hand positioning. I have also developed some potentially bad habits regarding where I rest my hands while thinking, which would no doubt be a nightmare if I constantly brushed them against programmable keys. However, I might have been able to work around that problem and enjoyed the benefits of some text macros that would speed up my programming, as well as some hotkeys to launch a lot of frequently-used applications (like calculator, Wolfram Alpha, and so on – all possible on my old Logitech Wave’s top-side buttons).
I can’t reiterate my recommendation to purchase a mechanical keyboard as soon as possible if you’re a hardcore computer user. My typing speed has increased somewhere between 10 and 20 percent (from 100 to 110-120 WPM), and the amount of effort to produce a keystroke has also gone down, increasing my comfort at the keys substantially. The gaming experience hasn’t been particularly special, though my Logitech K350 would ghost quite a bit, which would get annoying in key-intensive games like Battlefield 4 (where I’d simultaneously be reloading, moving forward, strafing, and spotting). This has FULL-KEY rollover, so that hasn’t happened again. Overall, the comfort and speed I’ve gained from using this keyboard means that even directly, the cost of this keyboard will pay for itself.