Most keyboards that either come with a computer for free these days or are purchased for next to nothing at the local computer mart use inexpensive "rubber dome" or "membrane" contacts under the keys that have a mushy feel, lack tactile feedback, and must be fully depressed in order to be detected. The result can be an uncomfortable and tiring typing experience. Mechanical keyboards on the other hand utilize an individual mechanical switch underneath each key that provides consistent actuation. Such switches are usually only used for industrial applications due to their price. The benefit of these mechanical switches is comfort, increased typing speeds, and lifetime. Mechanical switches are rated for millions of key presses. In its lifetime a high quality mechanical switch based keyboard will provide a reliable and pleasurable typing experience for a long time to come, outliving several cheaper keyboards.
Coming in November 2013...
Our Leopold keyboards are currently available with four varieties of Cherry MX switches, all of which are mechanically compatible in size and shape, but differ in their internal workings; as such they are suited for different applications. Cherry MX switches are made by Cherry Corp (Germany) and detailed technical specifications can be found on their website here.
Commonly, Cherry MX key switches are known by the color of their plastic keystem which can be seen when the keycap is removed. Aside from color, these switches differ in three important ways.
1. Change in force required over the keystroke
Each kind of switch defines itself with a resistance or force which varies over the duration/travel of a keystroke. As you will see in the Travel vs. Force diagrams for each Cherry switch (below), each switch reacts differently as you press and release. Note the unit of force in these diagrams is cN or centi-Newtons, 10 cN is equivalent, for practical purposes, to 10.2grams on planet earth; so approximately 10 grams for the sake of discussion.
2. Maximum force required to actuate the switch
Keyswitches react with an increase in force in order to provide tactility, prevent errant keypresses, or facilitate rapid actuation. With Cherry MX switches, resistance is lowest at the top of the keystroke and highest at the bottom. This maximum resistance/force is important to consider, since a higher resistance means more work for you!
Some switches provide an audible click, while others try to be as quiet as they can. Volume-wise: Tactile Click > Tactile Touch > Linear Touch > Linear Force. Details follow the diagrams below.
"Brown" switches, found in all Tactile Touch keyboards are non-clicky switches that are essentially defined by their tactile "bump," or rapidly increasing point or resistance, which occurs between 1 and 2mm into the keystroke. The subtle physical sensation Tactile Touch switches provide indicate to your finger that the key has been actuated*, so that you can move your finger onto its next destination; this tactility along with the low resistance/force these switches provide make them well suited for fast touch typists in quieter environments. (Force requirement: 45 to 60cN)
"Blue" switches, found in all Tactile Click keyboards, are a CLICKY switch, which like the Brown switch, have a tactile "bump," or rapidly increasing point or resistance at 1-2mm, but with the addition of an audible clicking mechanism which tells the world they have arrived! The Tactile Click switches differ from the Tactile Touch primarily in that they create an audible click. Like their "Brown" brothers, "Blue" Tactile Click switches have a tactile bump to indicate to your finger that the key has been actuated*, and the strong clicky feel and sound leaves no doubt, so your finger can move onto its next destination. The low resistance/force of these switches make them well suited for fast touch typists, particularly those who are nostalgic for the sound of typewriters and terminal keyboards. (Force requirement: 45 to 60cN)
"Black" switches, found in all Linear Force keyboards, are unique in that their resistance increases at a constant rate over the keystroke. This linear characteristic provides a smooth uninhibited keystroke that affords the user with more control and quicker key reset, hence they are well suited for fast paced gaming where repetitive keypresses are the norm. The addition of higher resistance makes Linear Force switches resistant to errant keypresses. (Force requirement: 60 to 80cN)
"Red" switches, found in all Linear Touch keyboards, are a unique combination of linearly increasing resistance, like the Black switch, but with lighter resistance, similar to that of the Brown switch. This lighter linear characteristic not only provides a smooth uninhibited keystroke, but also lighter resistance for a more versatile typing experience, hence they are a well suited switch for someone who switches between gaming and typing. As with all linear switches, there is no physical tactility to indicate the point of actuation, so if the switch is not pressed far enough, actuation may not occur, as actuation cannot be assured from feel alone. (Force requirement: 30 to 60cN)
* It's important to note that with mechanical switches, it is not necessary to press the switch completely down to actuate the key, they generally actuate halfway into the keystroke; which is a key benefit over your standard rubber membrane keyboard, as this provides a more consistent and comfortable typing experience.
Other factors to consider:
"Blue" switches have an audible click that occurs right before the point of actuation; this aural registration is a pleasure for some typists, but is *not* recommended for quieter settings. On the other hand, "Brown", "Black", and "Red" switches are designed to be quiet; though Black switches tend to be the quietest of the bunch since their higher resistance helps to slow your finger down before you fully depress the key, which would normally result in a clack/clapping sound as the switch bottoms out and the keycap comes in contact with the switch housing.
Also, keep in mind that all of these switches have springs inside, so some small vibrations are normal. Additionally, the plastic keycaps and metal backplates of keyboards have their own tune and natural resonance as they are played:)
We offer demonstration units for up to 6 weeks at a time to interested businesses, organizations, schools, and government offices. A completed request form is required.
Please send the completed request form and proof of affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org
Demos are *not* available to individual consumers. Reviewers, journalists, and bloggers should contact email@example.com
Our target markets are the USA and Canada but we do ship to other countries that do not currently have distributors for the products we offer.
Countries we ship to:
N. America: Canada, Mexico
Asia: Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Japan, China
Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
Middle East: United Arab Emirates
Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile
Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
If your country is not listed above or you receive a shipping cost of $0.00 during checkout then we do not ship to your country. Inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for future inclusion of your country in our lists.
We will not falsify the value of international shipments so PLEASE do not ask!
Please note that currently our Terms of Warranty Service do not apply for customers outside of the USA and Canada. Shipping internationally is done as a courtesy only and no warranty is available outside of the US and Canada. All products are tested before they are shipped and any issues related to DOA (Dead On Arrival) products will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Currently our shopping cart is limited in its ability to calculate shipping costs, but below are tables showing the basic rates. Be aware that the weights stated in our product descriptions do not include boxes or packing. If you're ordering more than 3 keyboards, please e-mail us for shipping pricing. All other pricing will be calculated BY WEIGHT during checkout.
N. America Shipping Weight/Cost Matrix (prices in USD)
|Weight (kg)||Canada (USPS)||Canada (FedEx Air) **||Mexico (FedEx Air) **|
** FedEx service to Canada and Mexico is by air, so brokerage fees are included in the listed shipping price. Canadian customers will get much timelier delivery and dependable service with FedEx service, so it is highly recommended; this is the "Express" option during checkout.
International Shipping Weight/Cost Matrix for EMS (prices in USD)
|Weight (kg)||Asia||Europe/Mid. East||Latin America||Oceania|
Shipping costs above do not include your country's import duties and taxes. Please contact your local customs office for these costs. Canadian customers might check here for a rough estimate.
Note: Typical delivery times for FedEx International are 3-7 business days, 4 to 8 days for EMS and 6-10 days for USPS Priority. However, for EMS and USPS Priority, these are minimum transit times, since your country's customs may add an indeterminate number of days for clearance. FedEx uses their own customs clearance brokers, and usually is not delayed.
Accompanying all shipments are shipping invoices that are also available by e-mail upon request.
No we do not, but the following companies might have what you're looking for:
> Verkkokauppa (Finland) http://www.verkkokauppa.com/
> The Keyboard Company (UK) http://www.keyboardco.com/
Our site is setup to use the PayPal shopping cart which accepts PayPal and credit cards. It is not required that you have a PayPal account to check out, simply choose the "Don't have a PayPal account?" link on the checkout screen.
If the above options do not suit you, we can accept credit cards by phone; as well as money orders, checks, and cash, by mail. If you prefer one of these options, please email the following info to email@example.com:
1. Your order
2. Full Name
3. Shipping address
4. Phone number
5. Billing address (if paying with credit card)
6. Best time to contact you by phone (if paying with credit card)
We'll send you a confirmation of your order. If you're paying by credit card we'll give you a call for your credit card information as soon as your order is ready to ship. PLEASE do not send your credit card number/info by email!
A second email confirmation will be sent once your payment is received.
Larger keys on mechanical keyboards; i.e. Spacebar, Backspace, Shift, etc. use stiff hinge-like wires to stabilize the left and right sides of a key so that the entire length of the keycap moves downward regardless of where you press on it. These hinges are called Stabilizers. And just like door hinges, these stabilizers need a little bit of grease now and then. For this reason, we offer a specially formulated grease with a convenient curved-tip dispenser we call EK MechLube!
Before you do anything...unplug your keyboard from your computer IMMEDIATELY!
Now take a deep breath;) If a switch is sticky or not functioning due to a spill then it is possible to restore the original function of the switch by cleaning its internals using procedures outlined below. However, if whatever you spilled caused a catastrophic electrical short; i.e. smoke, sparks, burning smell, and/or fire to rise from your keyboard then you may want to consult with our support before you continue. Otherwise, you're likely safe to proceed with the following instructions.
If only one or a few switches are affected, then first remove the keycap of the offending switch/es. Press the keystem down and drip 2 or 3 drops of distilled water into the switch housing while actuating the switch several times. It's possible to rinse and dislodge most contaminants this way. Some water will fall through the back of the switch into the keyboard, but most can be removed by turning the keyboard upside down and draining the switch into a soft towel. This process should be repeated 3 or 4 times. You should then allow the keyboard to dry for at least one day in a warm and dry location.
For more than a few sticky keys it's more efficient to open the case of your keyboard and remove the entire switch board and soak it in a distilled water bath for about 30 minutes (up to one hour) while intermittently actuating all switches. This should loosen and flush out most water soluble contamination with minimal stripping of the factory grease present inside the switches. Two or more days in a warm dry location, preferably with sunlight, should be allowed for all water to evaporate. Special precautions: Do not heat the water and do not use a hair dryer on any attached keycaps; permanent damage can occur.
** These instructions are for Cherry MX based keyboards, Topre keyboards can present significantly more complications. Please email us for a consultation.
For US shipments in the 48 contiguous states, we offer FedEx Ground and 2day service at checkout.
For Hawaii and Alaska and other US, we offer USPS Priority service only at checkout.
For international shipping, please see our FAQ here.
Very small or low cost items, such as individual keycaps may be shipped with First class mail.
All shipments are fully insured. Please contact us before placing your order if you have any shipping questions or requests for alternate shipping methods.
1. Order Confirmation
Once your order is received and accepted a confirmation e-mail which includes an order summary and shipping information will be sent to the e-mail the order was placed with. If you do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours, please check your e-mail spam/junk folder before contacting our support team.
2. Order Tracking
Typically orders are processed in 1-2 business days. Once your order ships a shipment tracking e-mail will be sent as well.
NOTE: Order Changes
Address corrections can be made for all orders up until shipping without charge or issue, please e-mail our support staff and reference your EK order number. However, address changes for in-transit packages requires a $10.50 fee for domestic shipments and are not available for international shipments.
All other order changes or issues should be addressed to our support staff, please include your EK order number if at all possible (this is different from PayPal Transaction ID and will be notified to you in the confirmation e-mail).
With the exception of the Happy Hacking Keyboards, which have their own Mac drivers, all of our keyboards will work on a Mac natively. Please note that most of our boards use a common ANSI PC layout which does not have keys that a normal Mac keyboard would have. When used on a Mac, keyboard keys on a PC layout keyboard will automatically be mapped as shown in the following table:
|PC Key||Mac Key|
As an alternative, free utilities exist to remap keys in OSX, such as KeyRemap4MacBook
The return policy for many products is stated at the bottom of the product page. For most keyboards we do not accept returns for a refund; due to sanitary reasons we can/will not resell a used keyboard so please make your purchase with consideration for this policy. THIS IS NOT A TEST-DRIVE SERVICE. All other products that have no stated return policy on their respective product page can be returned for a full refund if unopened and unused; opened or used products will only be refunded the price minus a 15% restocking fee.
Key "chattering" or "contact bouncing" is a natural occurrence in mechanical switches that can cause one switch press to be detected as multiple presses. Under normal switch operation the digital electronics in a keyboard will filter out a small amount of natural chatter/bounce, however, in the case that an individual switch is damaged or defective, the amount of chatter/bounce can become too large to be filtered. The result is a repetition of key input seen on your computer screen for only one intended key press. This is a problem that affects only the broken switch and is a problem that is covered by your EliteKeyboards warranty.
How to test for chattering:
Severe chattering is actually very rare, but it can be very frustrating if you think the problem is you when it is actually the keyswitch.
1. Start by opening up a text editor like Notepad in MS Windows.
2. Repeatedly press and depress the suspect key and alternate each keypress with a space. It is a good idea to vary the force with which you hit the key in question while performing this test; as chattering can sometimes show up more frequently with hard key presses, but not with light; and visa-verse.
A good switch will have output like this on your screen:
d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d
A chattering switch will output:
d d d d dd d d d dd d d d d ddd d d d d d dd ddd d d
3. Repeat step #2 for several lines and also test a few keys you do not suspect as a control case in order to eliminate your brain and fingers from the equation.
How to fix chattering:
Please, under no circumstances should compressed air be blown into a mechanical switch!! This bad advice is repeated across internet forums, and it is a recipe for disaster. Please do not do this!
If you find you are experiencing a problem with one or more switches, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EliteKeyboards provides a limited warranty to customers that covers free repair or product exchange under the following conditions:
1. Limited Warranty Coverage: This limited warranty covers only the product hardware purchased from EliteKeyboards. This warranty shall not cover damages resultant of loss of data or software or equipment that EliteKeyboards warranted hardware is attached to. Warranty service will be provided only for customers with a valid dated 'Proof of Purchase' document that is shipped with the product.
2. Outside of Warranty Coverage: This warranty shall not cover damages caused by inappropriate use, acts of nature, or failure due to connecting the warranted hardware to inappropriate devices. EliteKeyboards reserves the right to assess all warranty claims and to refuse warranty coverage.
3. Period of Limited Warranty: From 1 year of product release by the shipping courier, all products are warranted, for the cost of parts and labor up to, but not exceeding the original purchase price.
4. Void of Warranty: Modifying the product, removing the serial number or any warranty decal will void the product warranty. Use outside of a home or office environment will void the warranty. Reselling the product without authorization of warranty transfer explicitly supplied by EliteKeyboards
5. Returns and Exchanges: For Leopold products returns for EXCHANGE ONLY will be accepted for DOA products for a period of 30 days from date of purchase. Free shipping will be provided for DOA products only if the problem is verified by EliteKeyboards. After the DOA period, returns may be made for repair, wherein, one-way shipping will be provided by EliteKeyboards if the problem is verified. For PFU Happy Hacking and Topre Realforce keyboards returns for REPAIR ONLY will be accepted and, while under warranty, free round-trip shipping will be provided if the problem is verified by EliteKeyboards; otherwise shipping must be covered by the customer. No returns will be accepted without prior e-mail approval and RMA number. EliteKeyboards will not be responsible for shipping or other costs the customer may incur that are NOT explicitly covered. Any loss or damage to the product during shipment is the responsibility of the shipper.
6. Liability: This limited warranty is a promise of repair or exchange due to defective products. EliteKeyboards will not be responsible for any costs exceeding the original purchase price incurred by the customer due to any use or misuse of the product or due to any latent failures in the product.
7. Release of Responsibility: The limited warranty and terms stated here are provided to EliteKeyboards customers by EliteKeyboards only. Leopold Korea, Fujitsu PFU, and Topre are not liable for products sold through EliteKeyboards.
8. Region of Validity: This warranty is valid only in the USA and Canada. Any legal claims must be processed under laws of the United States of America. EliteKeyboards is not responsible for compliance with Canadian law in the case that purchased items do not comply with local laws. EliteKeyboards products that are shipped outside of the USA and Canada are not covered by this warranty.