Keyboards aren’t as exciting as mobile soft keys, but they sure make their presence known when fingers start pounding down on them. Doesn’t matter if it’s a PC or Mac, a connection over USB means that latency is not going to be an issue — so it’s just a matter of what makes the keyboard tick. The Cherry MX Silent keyboard has plenty to like, and everything being liked is based off of solid quality performance issues.
So start with the keys: each of these Cherry branded keys are of a rubber pad shaped design and so unlike the conventional ones out there. A sturdy housing from the key, a precise spiral spring and a Gold Crosspoint contact all combine to make the key durable (rated at 50,000,000 keystrokes — that’s 50 million!) but, even more importantly, consistent in how it reacts to a finger press (or pound) since the bounce is less than a millisecond in length.
Now part of this construction is based on their muting those audible clicks at the bottom-out and top-out; there’s that consistency in the reaction again. But still, don’t forget these are silent switches — meaning that the expected loud noise reaction isn’t that. Sure there’s the tactile reaction from physically working the keys, but the audible output is far less than what would normally be expected. Not that you’re locked into the release force of the keys “fighting back” against you: the MX Red has a 45 centinewtons release force while the MX Black has a higher release force of 60. So for gamers looking for a more distinct response, the Black Silent could work well. Obviously the silent angle of either keyboard makes it suitable for those looking to avoid listening to loud clicks, especially if hitting those keys hard and often (not a word processing person, one would say, although the positive reaction to key presses benefits anyone).
Now as to the physical – it is solid but not overly heavy for a mechanical and there’s some flex to it. As to the layout of this mechanical keyboard, check that off as being QWERTY so conventional right there. And with normal spacing because it’s a full sized keyboard It’s straightforward in appearance, there’s the expected function-specifics keys and metric pad. And all this without “bells and whistles” like glowing lights and rotating knobs that do nothing but add price without impacting on build quality or user maneuverability. But there’s texture to the laser etched keys and they are removable if you want that.
Since Cherry has been around since the 80’s, you’d think they must know how to make a keyboard functional and sensible for human hands. So they did. And it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t a keyboard made by someone else that is using Cherry keys — this is a total Cherry keyboard product. And one whose $149 retail price is well worth it.