Are you a chiclet or clacky type?
It’s a reasonable question… well, it is if you’re sitting discussing optimal keyboard manufacture types right?
We tested out the Cherry MX BOARD 3.0 S keyboard for a reason – and that reason was the resurgence of the technology conference season in the post-pandemic (the term is used with caution, there is much still do as of late 2021) era.
With a desire to travel light, it made a lot of sense to pack a now-slightly-aging Microsoft Surface to take on the road. The ‘chiclet’ style keyboard on the Surface is good, but could it withstand full-on reporting on the road? Would it be worth getting hold of a meaty piece of kit and using something with much more ‘clacky’ feel?
After all, they do say… once you clack, you’ll never go back.
Speaking personally, I didn’t want to use something with so much beef underfoot (okay, under-finger) but the below-detailed unit was a pleasant enough surprise and a much softer touch than expected.
Clicky-clacky, not clacky-clacky
The Cherry MX BOARD 3.0 S keyboard isn’t so much clacky in the way that most ‘mechanical’ keyboards are, but it’s an obviously considerable step above chiclet-style, so perhaps it’s more clicky-clacky i.e. a definite key depression, but without the full ‘crunching cornflakes’ feel of an old school 1970s green screen Commodore Pet type experience.
This unit was made by Cherry Americas, although the company does have an HQ in Germany.
At the time of writing, the MX BOARD 3.0 costs around $100 from most sites, so somewhere in the region of £70.
The unit sports a strangely compelling multi-coloured rainbow lighting effect that moves and changes during use – it is programmable and adjustable if you have the time and inclination to adjust the lighting settings on your keyboard that is.
This unit’s adjustable backlighting can be set as static, or set to display RGB illumination in over 16 million colours.
According to the manufacturer, the CHERRY MX Gold Crosspoint precision switches include full ‘n-key rollover’ (see below), anti-ghosting and a WIN key lock, allowing for error-free working. The CHERRY MX Hyperglide key switches help to optimise responsiveness and provide continuous, wobble-free precision typing.
As explained here, some high-end keyboards have n-key rollover (NKRO), which means that each key is scanned completely independently by the keyboard hardware, so that each keypress is correctly detected regardless of how many other keys are being pressed or held down at the time.
For the spec junkies, the keyboard has screw-in metal legs with integrated round rubber feet. The wider unit itself is built with a completely screwless design and includes a removable cable with a secure plug connection. The completely abrasion-resistant keycaps are double-shot in plastic or front-lasered, depending on the model.
An optional palm rest is also available.
Cherry employs approximately 400 people in production facilities and subsidiaries in Germany, France, Great Britain, China (Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan) and the USA, so local shipping options are available in much of the world.
Did we take the Cherry MX BOARD 3.0 S keyboard on the road and favour it over the standard Microsoft Surface keyboard? Yes, maybe and no.
It was good to have a weightier keyboard for hotel room working, it was better for some of the heavy-duty editing needed, but it wasn’t so much better than a Surface’s own keyboard to warrant bringing everywhere. This is a unit for high-end heavy-duty stationary users and surely for gamers too with its very attractive lighting functionality.