Keyboard enthusiast site Go Mechanical Keyboard recently conducted a reader survey to determine what their readers preferred in a mechanical keyboard, and the results (from 950 responses) provided some interesting data.
The data (which the site has made available in its raw format here) includes results from favorite key switch to preferred form-factor, as well as brand and model preferences. The site created an impressive infographic to display the results, which is partially reproduced here. I'd recommend a visit to Go Mechanical Keyboard to see the full version, as well as links to prior year's surveys.
Getting to a few of the results, we'll start with the all-important mechanical key switches:
Cherry MX Blue was the winner for favorite typing experience, with MX Brown switches actually winning both gaming and all-purpose categories. Of course, key switches are a very personal choice and these results are limited to the readers of one particular site, though that does not invalidate the results. The position of the MX Brown surprised me, as my impression had been it was less popular than a few of the other options out there. (I'm curious to see what our readers think!)
Next we'll look at the preferred form-factor (which is accompanied by a couple of other data points):
Tenkeyless (TKL) slightly edges out the next highest result, which was the "60%" form-factor. Admittedly, I had not heard of this size prior to reading these results, and here's what I found from a quick search (I retrieved the following from the Deskthority Wiki):
"60% keyboards omit the numeric keypad of a full-size keyboard, and the navigation cluster of a tenkeyless keyboard. The function key row is also removed; the escape key is consequently moved into the number row."
I'll skip ahead to the favorite overall keyboard results, which in no way could cause any disagreement or disparagement on the internet, right?
The Vortex Poker 3 was the winner, a 60% keyboard (there's that form-factor again!) offered with a variety of MX switches. These keyboards run from about $129 – $139, depending on version. A model with Cherry MX Blue switches and white backlighting is listed on Amazon for $139.99, and versions with other key switches are also listed. The CM QuickFire Rapid, a tenkeyless design that sells for under $80 was second, followed by the Corsair K70, a standard 104-key design that sells for $129.
There was quite a bit more info on the full version of the infographic, and the source article (and site) is definately worth checking out if you're interested in mechanical keyboards. I'm curious to know what our readers prefer, too, so I'll be checking the comments!