Cherry may be the biggest manufacturer of mechanical keyboard switches, but they’ve never produced particularly great keyboards. From traditional consumer-oriented boards like the G80-3000 series to retail point-of-sale boards like the 8000 series, Cherry boards tend to be flimsy and cheaply constructed. Cherry’s latest consumer board, the MX Board 6.0, ups the ante with a full aluminum top housing, but also comes packaged with a solid serving of marketing hype.
- Full-size with 4 extra keys (108 total)
- MX Red switches
- Aluminum top case with sanded finish and grease-resistant coating
- Red LED backlighting with adjustable brightness
- Dual LED backlighting on status keys — blue when activated
- Rubber palm rest with magnetic connector
- Braided cloth USB cable
- Plate-mounted switches
- MSRP $219
- Cherry RK “RealKey” technology with 1.0ms response time
- USB 3.0
At a MSRP of $219, the MX Board 6.0 is a competent if expensive keyboard. (As a point of comparison, two other full-size aluminum top case keyboards, the Ducky Legend and Deck Hassium Pro, sell for $150 and $180, respectively.)
However, beware of the last two “features” listed above. Cherry advertises RealKey as “fully analog signal processing”, and boasts that it has a 1.0ms response time, versus a ~20ms response time of your average keyboard.
There are at least four problems here.
- First, “fully analog” suggests that the keyboard can sense how far a switch is depressed, which would actually be a useful innovation. But that’s not the case. Turns out “analog” just refers to the key scanning method and has nothing to do with sensing switch position. In fact, it looks like Cherry didn’t even invent a new technology–they just licensed one from Microsoft.
- Second, a 1.0ms response time is too fast to matter. A Cherry switch requires a debounce period of greater than 1.0 ms, so even if you could press a key at 1000 Hz, the MX Board 6.0 wouldn’t actually sense all the presses. Further, 1.0ms is likely beyond the scope of human reflexes, at least for applications like gaming.
- Third, USB 3.0 is an outright gimmick–none of the data being sent by a keyboard requires the speeds of USB 3.0. It might matter if they’d included a USB hub in the keyboard, but they didn’t.
- Fourth, I’m not aware of any mechanical keyboards that actually poll as slowly as they claim, so they’re comparing their product to a straw man, anyway.
So, take the MX Board 6.0 for what it is–a pricy, half-aluminum Cherry MX Red keyboard with basic backlighting, NKRO, and a palm rest. But beware of the hype. Though, from Cherry, hype is nothing new.
Image source: TechPowerUp.com