If you thought mechanical, electrical, and optical were the end of all keyboard types, then you are slightly undermining the vastly diverse and exciting world of keyboards.
In this article, I will introduce you to yet another innovative keyboard type: Analog keyboards.
But What Are Analog Keyboards?
Analog are keyboards that have the same underlying mechanism as mechanical or optical keyboards to detect key presses. However, their most vital feature is their support for analog input. Unlike traditional keyboards that register keystrokes as a binary signal, analog keyboards measure the amount of force applied for a key press, allowing for more precise input.
This analog input capability of analog keyboards makes them highly powerful and versatile, with lots of applications in fields such as gaming, music production, and digital art where input sensitivity is useful for dynamic control.
Are Analog Keyboards Good for Gaming?
Yes! analog keyboards are excellent for games that support analog input, such as racing and flight simulation games. Ever pressed the key harder to make your character or race car in the game faster? Well, if you had an analog keyboard, it would have accelerated the car.
It should be noted that not all games have support for analog inputs. So, to take full advantage of your analog keyboard, you should take keen care of its compatibility.
Let’s take the example I mentioned at the start. In a car racing game, analog input can provide smoother acceleration and steering control, resulting in a more realistic driving experience.
Moreover, analog keyboards are mostly accompanied by designated software that allows users to customize key sensitivity and assign different functions to specific input levels.
This level of customization can be highly advantageous in gaming, where players can tailor the keyboard to their preferences and optimize it for their gaming style.
What are the best analog keyboards?
The market for analog keyboards is relatively new and smaller than that for conventional mechanical keyboards, but it is surely not homogeneous.
There are diverse options from distinct manufacturers, each with its pros and cons.
After thorough market research, I'd highly recommend two of the finest quality, affordable, and aesthetically exciting analog keyboards available.
Razer Huntsman Mini 60% Gaming Keyboard
This keyboard employs a perfect blend of optical and analog technology for both rapid responsiveness and customized control.
It provides adjustable actuation via Razer Synapse (a software tool to provide customization support) on every key, ranging from 1.5mm to 3.6mm.
Razer Huntsman Mini 60%
They say good things usually come in small packages, and that surely fits the “Razer Huntsman Mini 60%”.
The robust aluminum build is of top-notch quality and makes this keyboard extensively durable and able to withstand intense, continuous usage.
The keyboard comes equipped with double-shot PBT keycaps that can resist degradation and maintain a shiny look.
It's available in a sleek classic black color and mercury white. Both options come equipped with fully RGB-backlit support.
Huntsman is available in sleek classic black and a mercury white variant as well. Both options come equipped with fully RGB-backlit support.
The keyboard is highly portable due to its minimalistic size, but the inability to connect it wirelessly is an unfortunate setback.
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Gaming Keyboard
The Razer Huntsman V2 is regarded by many as the best analog keyboard for competitive gaming.
You might find the price tag a bit too expensive at first glance, but high features, excellent build quality, and lots of customization options are some of the many highlights that make this artifact one of the best.
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Keyboard
Most of the features of the Huntsman V2 Analog Keyboard are similar to those of the Mini 60%, except for the fact that the Huntsman is a full-sized gaming keyboard. Besides, it has a higher polling rate of about 8000 hertz and lower latency.
The sleek aluminum build top, PBT double-shot keycaps, and translucent RGB light strip through the center of the RGB backlit interface make this keyboard exclusive in its design.
The keyboard also comes with an attached magnetic ergonomic wrist rest made with plush leather to maximize comfort for extensive usage.
are analog keyboards worth it?
Analog keyboards are all the rage in the gaming world, promising unparalleled accuracy and responsiveness. But are they really worth it?
Well, If you're a hardcore gamer who demands pinpoint precision in every keystroke, then an analog keyboard is definitely worth considering. With their ultra-sensitive sensors and customizable actuation points, these keyboards can give you a serious competitive edge.
However, if you're just a casual user who doesn't really care about gaming performance, then investing in an expensive analog keyboard may not be your best bet.
Advantages of Analog Keyboards
The support for analog input in analog keyboards provides several advantages over traditional digital keyboards. Here are some of the key benefits:
1. Precise Input
Analog keyboards allow for more precise and controlled input by measuring the force and depth applied on each key press.
This can be particularly useful in gaming, where subtle variations in input can result in more accurate and responsive control.
2. Improved Gaming Experience
Analog keyboards are well-suited for gaming, especially in genres that benefit from analog input, such as racing, flight simulation, and platformers.
The ability to register different levels of key press intensity enables smoother and more immersive gameplay.
3. Enhanced Productivity
In tasks that require fine-grained control or parameter adjustment, such as video editing or graphic design, analog keyboards can provide a more intuitive and efficient workflow.
4. Expressive Input
Analog keyboards offer greater expressiveness and dynamism in applications like music production or live performance.
The varying force applied to keys can be mapped to parameters like pitch bend, modulation, or velocity, allowing musicians to achieve more nuanced and natural-sounding performances.
Analog Keyboard vs Mechanical Keyboard
Mechanical keyboards are the most popular choice among the masses when selecting a gaming keyboard, and analog keyboards are an excellent choice for all those gamers who like control and precision.
The major difference between the two is the way they detect and register a key press.
1. Input Mechanism
Analog keyboards utilize analog sensors, such as hall-effect or optical sensors, to measure the force and depth of each keypress.
This enables them to offer variable input levels, providing a more precise and nuanced typing or gaming experience.
The input is binary, meaning it's either on or off, without the ability to detect varying levels of force.
Analog keyboards require the software to have support for analog input to maximize their benefit.
On the other hand, mechanical keyboards are universally compatible with every available software and game
3. Availability and Customization
Analog keyboards are relatively niche compared to mechanical keyboards. This means there may be a limited selection of models and brands available.
Additionally, customization options, such as programmable macros and key mapping, may vary depending on the specific model.
Mechanical keyboards have a well-established market with a wide variety of brands, models, switch types, and customization options.
They offer extensive choices in terms of keyboard layouts, switch options, keycap materials, and programmability.
Difference between Analog Keyboards and Clicky Keyboards
There are quite a few differences between analog and clicky keyboards. Some of the most important ones include differences in feedback, typing experience, and noise level.
Clicky keyboards are designed to provide the user with both tactile and auditory real-time feedback with each key.
Analog keyboards are focused on providing support for variable input control.
2. Noise Level
Analog keyboards typically don't produce noise beyond the natural sound of the key hitting the baseplate.
On the other hand, clicky keyboards are known for satisfying audible click noises with each key press.
Are Analog Keyboards good for typing?
No, If you are a highly competitive gamer, I would recommend you go for an analog keyboard. But if your main focus is typing, then using analog switches keyboard is no good as compared to a simple traditional mechanical keyboard.
Typing requires precision and consistent keystrokes. And that's something you might not find on analog keyboards. As I said, their input varies with the force, which will make them a little odd for typists.
Analog keyboards are innovatively designed keyboards that support analog input, and this makes them an excellent choice for gamers playing games that require a high degree of control and precision.
Analog keyboards come with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages and have formidable differences as compared to both mechanical and clicky keyboards.
If you are an avid gamer and control is what matters to you, now is the right time to upgrade to an analog keyboard!
For more guides like this, keep a check on TheTechSetup!