Howdy, folks - I’m Dave, one of many recent transplants to Nashville, Tennessee. I’m a native of the state, though - and have lived here the majority of my life. I’ve also been immersed in technology, computers, electronics, and related things since I was a kid - but somehow hadn’t discovered good keyboards until about five years ago.
I’d always used generic dome boards, and when the one I had would wear out every few years I’d just go to the generic store and pick up the cheapest one - I never really noticed much of a difference until one day. One day I got the [worst] keyboard I’d ever used in my life - so extra bad that even though I’d just bought it two days prior, I decided to cut my losses and buy something else - and if I was going to do that, I might as well see what this “mechanical keyboard” business was all about.
But first… let me tell you about this [bad] keyboard. Mine was labelled as an Onn Soft-Touch something-or-other, but the very same model was sold as a low end Logitech as well as a few others. It’s a generic full-size, but with a few quirks; the layout is a bit squished, and the function row is made of smaller keys (vertically, if you’re looking down at the keyboard). The keys are also pretty low-profile, and while they do have a little sculpt, the profile is pretty flat. That’s what it looks like.
What it feels and sounds like… well.
Picture wearing some thick silicone gloves that are way too big for your hands. Now imagine aggressively finger-drumming an over-ripe, partially mushed-out melon with those gloves - bits of moist, slightly pungent pulp occasionally leaping their way out of the mass.
That’s pretty much the Onn Soft-Touch experience - well, minus the stinky fruit meat, but you get the idea. I was inspired - and being on the tight budget that I was at the time, I picked up the cheapest mech I could find that I didn’t hate the look of: a “Tomoko” water-resistant mechanical keyboard from Amazon, recommended by some youtuber. (It was actually an EasterntimesTech I-500, and my example shipped with Switch Master blues and absolute trash keycaps. At the time it was around $35, but now you can get them for closer to $26 and they tend to ship with Outemu (“dustproof”) blues and totally acceptable if unattractive keycaps.) It’s surprisingly solid for being so cheap and even has some extra functions. To this day, it is the loudest keyboard I own by a wide margin, despite having a handful of clicky boards from my early years of experimenting
Anyway - moving from the mush-melon to even the cheapest generic mech out there was such a massive improvement that I never looked back. Five years and a small black hole in my wallet later, and I find myself with a new favorite hobby.