XIM Community

piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards  (Read 423 times)

Offline piiwii

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 2086
    • View Profile
piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« on: 08:42 AM - 12/26/18 »
As you may know, there are three main types of keyboards (if we ignore the odd hybrid or exotic outlier) - in order of what most gamers consider best: mechanical, scissor (otherwise known as "laptop" style keyboards), and membrane.

Since mechanical is the best, why would I even bother with scissor? I juggle between both scissor and mechanical, because scissors are extremely quiet and sometimes I want to hide the fact that I'm using M&KB. I play in about a dozen different squads and I don't have the desire to defend myself over and over and over again, it's just too exhausting. And donít delude yourself into thinking cherry reds or silent reds are actually silent. They might not be heard in a chaotic game like COD but in a quiet game like Siege you still stand out like crazy. Anyway I don't really want to make this the focal point of this thread so let's not spend a second more on the "why", because that's a different discussion for a different day. You may have your own reasons for wanting scissors, and that's all we need to know.

The biggest surprise for me was learning: scissors are near extinction. They "feel" pervasive because Apple and MS Surface scissor keyboards are everywhere (more on this in a moment), but until you start searching around you realise that if you ignore the two major players, it's a dwindling pool. This is why I decided to write this post because hopefully I can save someone a ton of time and money in the future.

So what choices do we have?

In terms of the gaming brands, there's literally only one I know of: the Cougar Vantar, but there two huge caveats - it's wired and more importantly, only the main gaming cluster of keys have n-key rollover. If you have a unique mapping, or use more than the regular gaming cluster of keys, you might have issues. The latter was an instant deal breaker for me.

In terms of the big brands, we have Apple and MS Surface - but wait, they don't have dongles. There might be third party dongles that we can use to bridge it to XIM, but for $150-$200AUD + the price of a dongle, I wasn't willing to spend too much effort testing this. The Satechi range also fall into this same bucket. I confirmed via email that they do support third party dongles so you might have a better chance of getting these to work but again, for the price I wasn't willing to experiment. Also because I use mine in the living room, these keyboards are more likely to be dropped and scratched, so I kind of don't want the chamfered bezels and polished bits and bobs that these Apple / MS keyboards have, cause they're bound to look scruffy after not very long. I wanted a tough plastic shell.

What about the regular run of the mill office brands like Dell etc? Ok this is where it gets tricky. Most companies don't really see scissor keys as a selling point nowadays, so you need to search long and hard because a lot of the time, it's not noted anywhere in their marketing. You need to dig deep through reviews and around the internet to identify them. I finally found one after looking long and hard, the Dell KM714. But then again...there are more caveats. Firstly, you'll find many of the non-gaming keyboards have really weirdly placed left Alt buttons, due to the Function key. Great. If you use Alt, then it can be near impossible to get used to. So as a general rule of thumb, if you aren't buying a gaming keyboard pay super close attention to the position of the Alt key because it's not always the same. Next? N-key rollover. These are office keyboards, so they're not going to be as interested in this sort of thing. The KM714 didn't have it, so I found some buttons didn't register when I was moving around. No go. I was extremely lucky that the shop would even accept the return. I found another Dell keyboard that had scissor keys (KM717) but it's even more expensive and given it's the same brand and possibly even the same circuit board, I wasn't interested in exploring this any further.

Finally after searching all over the web I found this old Logitech technology called Perfect Stroke, it was their spin on scissor tech, but that was from about 10 years ago. I didn't find any trace of this in their recent keyboards. But I kept digging and found it was being used in a few of their current line up! As I said earlier, scissor keys are just not a marketing point these days so it's not always advertised. So here are the four:

The K800. This is about a decade old so stock is harder to come by. For this reason alone I gave it a pass, because I'm sick of getting great tech that is impossible to replace and I end up bent over a barrel a few years later buying them for crazy mark ups.

The K380. This has unadvertised Perfect Stroke tech, but this is just like the Apple and MS Surface keyboards - no dongle, so it can't be used with XIM. The same applies to almost all of Logitech's K-range of keyboards. A few more of them have Perfect Stroke, but no dongle support (which I confirmed through Logitech themselves).

The Craft. Also an unadvertised Perfect Stroke. I have a good feeling this will work with XIM, but given the $300AUD price tag, it was just too high for me to consider.

Finally comes the K780. The only one with advertised Perfect Stroke. This has a dongle. It's wireless. It even has a numpad, which I find useful for living room use (I need the extra length to bridge the gap between my thighs, the tenkeyless ones are too short for that). I've been using it for a few months now and it's fantastic. The only downside is the directional keys are miniature, but beggars can't be choosy.

So there you go. After many, many, many hours of researching, I found literally only TWO good candidates, and potentially a third but with a ridiculously high price tag. I wasn't exaggerating when I said they're a dying breed. I guess because visually they look so similar to membrane, consumers struggle to justify the added cost. The good news is the few that exist are Logitech - I'm a huge fan of their products. Thank your lucky stars the only options don't come from someone like Razer. There are probably a few more wired options out there but I figured I'm already wired with my mechanical so I want wireless for my scissor. And yeah you could probably find some cheap Chinese brands out there but I've had way too many bad experiences with this rubbish that I refuse to spend another cent testing them.

I hope someone can find this of use one day.

UPDATE: I believe the Logitech K600 might be compatible with XIM too since it supports the Logitech Unifying Receiver dongle, although I really can't find any documentation about whether it's membrane or Perfect Stroke. I'm almost positive it's PS though because visually it looks identical to the K780, but on the other hand why would they put this more expensive tech into something designed for casual living room use (the K600 is a couch surfer, whereas the K780 is designed for proper office typing)? So if you decide to buy a K600 you should see if you can get it from somewhere that will accept returns if it's just a crappy membrane. Regardless, as you can see all your roads lead to Logitech at this point.
« Last Edit: 04:34 AM - 03/05/19 by piiwii »
Setup: XIM Apex, Titan Two, K780 keyboard, G Pro Wireless mouse, SteelSeries 4HD mousepad, DXRacer armrest, LucidSound LS30 headphones, Netduma router, Ubiquiti UniFi AP LR wireless access point

My RAINBOW SIX SIEGE Titan Two Mega Script: https://youtu.be/x-9NtxyySVM

What is a ballistic curve? Click here to learn more: https://bit.ly/2qzUAjg

Comprehensive guide on scissor style keyboards: https://goo.gl/UtkZyX

Find me on the ConsoleTuner (Titan Two) forums: pablosscripts

Offline Santigold

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 1893
    • View Profile
Re: piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« Reply #1 on: 10:35 AM - 12/26/18 »
Very helpful post indeed, def. great job!

I used scissor kbs back when mechanical gaming keyboards werent a thing, so quite a while ago. Most of them had flat keycaps, which ended up being annoying. So i eventually switched back to rubberdome.

The K780 has concave key caps, that is another big advantage imo. It uses 2.4 ghz wifi dongle, which is a big advantage over bluetooth in terms of latency, but it could still have some delay due to being wireless. What about Nkro on the K780?

I wanted a quieter keyboard than the Cherry MX Board 6.0 with cherry red switches and found the Sharkoon Purewriter with Kailh Red switches. It is more quiet than cherry switches, has low format keys/switches which i prefer over full size keys.

I am really happy with it, it is comparable to cherry mx red, but has multiple advantages over cherry red. Finally we have alternatives and even better ones at that than cherry switches.

In terms of scissor keys, another annoying thing i remember was that they were not travelling erfectly if you hit the keys on the edge sometimes, they could get stuck or have some annoying resistane if you wanted to fully press the key through. Dont know if they still have those disadvantages.

But overall the Sharkoon Purewriter RGB is very close to perfect gamer keyboard for me personally. It has perfect feel, keys dont get stuck etc. and most important- it is a real low format keyboard with low format switches, not just shorter keycaps, so the activation point is very short, also it is more quiet than 99% of all keyboards out there, i think even more quiet than cherry mx silent switches.

Also it doesnt feel floaty/wobbly like for example using rubber rings on cherry switches, you dont need that anymore to make it more quiet.

I think Kailh has a winner on their hands with that low format Switch, which is quiet too. I dont miss cherry red switches one bit, wouldnt go back after Kailh low format Red.

Ps: in terms of justifying urself for using xim over and over- totally understand that, it is wasted energy and time, unneeded arguments- its def. better to avoid it if u can, saves you time and effort to repeat urself 560 times.
« Last Edit: 10:48 AM - 12/26/18 by Santigold »

Offline piiwii

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 2086
    • View Profile
Re: piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« Reply #2 on: 11:01 AM - 12/26/18 »
Yup the K780 definitely has n-key rollover. I was terrified when testing it because I had already returned the previous 2 (Dell and MS Surface) to the shops and didn't want to go back a third time and get all those dirty looks!

As for your previous experiences with scissor, remember that Logitech uses their special take on it, called Perfect Stroke. It's really responsive and I've been extremely happy with it so far. Here's more info on it:

https://blog.logitech.com/2009/12/15/different-strokes-for-different-folks/

« Last Edit: 11:20 AM - 12/26/18 by piiwii »
Setup: XIM Apex, Titan Two, K780 keyboard, G Pro Wireless mouse, SteelSeries 4HD mousepad, DXRacer armrest, LucidSound LS30 headphones, Netduma router, Ubiquiti UniFi AP LR wireless access point

My RAINBOW SIX SIEGE Titan Two Mega Script: https://youtu.be/x-9NtxyySVM

What is a ballistic curve? Click here to learn more: https://bit.ly/2qzUAjg

Comprehensive guide on scissor style keyboards: https://goo.gl/UtkZyX

Find me on the ConsoleTuner (Titan Two) forums: pablosscripts

Offline G502Killer

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 869
  • FPS Games are 10% Aim and 90% Positioning
    • View Profile
Re: piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« Reply #3 on: 05:35 PM - 12/26/18 »
Very interesting post, but if quiet is what you're after why don't you try reds with o-rings?

I use a popular corsair gaming keyboard and bought the thickest O-Rings that would fit on the keys I could find on amazon, put em on all the keys, and the thing is almost silent.

I also use A40s with the "Home" noise gate, and nobody has ever commented on hearing my keyboard in all my years.
Competitive Call of Duty | G502 on QcK XXL | DM me to talk about Comp Xim Settings

Offline piiwii

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 2086
    • View Profile
Re: piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« Reply #4 on: 09:14 PM - 12/26/18 »
Very interesting post, but if quiet is what you're after why don't you try reds with o-rings?

I use a popular corsair gaming keyboard and bought the thickest O-Rings that would fit on the keys I could find on amazon, put em on all the keys, and the thing is almost silent.

I also use A40s with the "Home" noise gate, and nobody has ever commented on hearing my keyboard in all my years.

I play Rainbow Six Siege, it's a no respawn game defined by stealth - there's no music, there's long periods of silence with only sporadic gun fire, and people turn their headsets up really loud to gain even the slightest audio advantage...trust me when I say reds with o-rings are still very noticeable in this particular game! In something like COD or BF it is easy to hide because they're so chaotic, but in Siege, even the slightest pin drop will be heard by team mates. Sound is so central to that game. For example there is one common meta tactic in Siege called the "Bandit trick", in which the person trying to perform it needs to listen out for a very subtle sound on the other side of the wall. You'll often hear team mates ask for everyone to stop talking when this happens so they can focus. I've heard friends with reds + o-rings on the other end during this, it's still extremely noticeable in a game like Siege. There's just no hiding a mechanical.
« Last Edit: 09:21 PM - 12/26/18 by piiwii »
Setup: XIM Apex, Titan Two, K780 keyboard, G Pro Wireless mouse, SteelSeries 4HD mousepad, DXRacer armrest, LucidSound LS30 headphones, Netduma router, Ubiquiti UniFi AP LR wireless access point

My RAINBOW SIX SIEGE Titan Two Mega Script: https://youtu.be/x-9NtxyySVM

What is a ballistic curve? Click here to learn more: https://bit.ly/2qzUAjg

Comprehensive guide on scissor style keyboards: https://goo.gl/UtkZyX

Find me on the ConsoleTuner (Titan Two) forums: pablosscripts

Offline antithesis

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 7439
    • View Profile
    • Mod Squad
Re: piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« Reply #5 on: 03:11 PM - 12/27/18 »
Push to talk?
Official Australian distributor for XIM Apex, Titan One & Titan Two at Mod Squad

Offline piiwii

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 2086
    • View Profile
Re: piiwii's guide to scissor keyboards
« Reply #6 on: 10:45 PM - 12/27/18 »
Push to talk?

What do you mean? Sorry I've never used this feature before so unfortunately I'm a little clueless about it! I was planning on using it but couldn't get used to wired headsets unfortunately. I went straight back to wireless after just one night!
Setup: XIM Apex, Titan Two, K780 keyboard, G Pro Wireless mouse, SteelSeries 4HD mousepad, DXRacer armrest, LucidSound LS30 headphones, Netduma router, Ubiquiti UniFi AP LR wireless access point

My RAINBOW SIX SIEGE Titan Two Mega Script: https://youtu.be/x-9NtxyySVM

What is a ballistic curve? Click here to learn more: https://bit.ly/2qzUAjg

Comprehensive guide on scissor style keyboards: https://goo.gl/UtkZyX

Find me on the ConsoleTuner (Titan Two) forums: pablosscripts