Per-Key Quality Testing

In order to test the quality and consistency of a keyboard, we are using a texture analyser that is programmed to measure and display the actuation force of the standard keyboard keys. By measuring the actuation force of every key, the quality and consistency of the keyboard can be quantified. It can also reveal design issues, such as the larger keys being far softer to press than the main keys of the keyboard. The actuation force is measured in Centinewton (cN). Some companies use another figure, gram-force (gf). The conversion formula is 1 cN = 1.02 gf (i.e. they are about the same). A high quality keyboard should be as consistent as possible, with an average actuation force as near to the manufacturer's specs as possible and a disparity of less than ±10%. Greater differences are likely to be perceptible by users. It is worth noting that there is typically variance among keyboards, although most keyboard companies will try and maintain consistency - as with other reviews, we're testing our sample only.

The machine we use for our testing is accurate enough to provide readings with a resolution of 0.1 cN. For wider keys (e.g. Enter, Space Bar, etc.), the measurement is taking place at the center of the key, right above the switch. Note that large keys generally have a lower actuation force even if the actuation point is at the dead center of the key. This is natural, as the size and weight of the keycap reduces the required actuation force. For this reason, we do display the force required to actuate every key but we only use the results of the typical sized keys for our consistency calculations. Still, very low figures on medium sized keys, such as the Shift and Enter keys reveal design issues and can easily be perceptible by the user.

Meanwhile, regular readers who are familiar with our keyboard reviews will want to note that a few keys have been removed from our testing pattern, due to the different layout of the keyboard.

Omron’s B3K switches are clearly much different than Cherry’s MX switches and their clones. They are tactile but the bump is so subtle that it is almost impossible to notice it. Most users would actually compare the Romer-G to the Cherry MX Red switch, not to the Brown one.

The average actuation force is at 48.6 cN, slightly higher than the 45 cN rating of the switch, but the disparity over the main keys is only ± 5.75%. This indicates that Omron’s switches are of very good quality, with little inconsistencies between their products that cannot be perceived by human touch. It is worthwhile to mention that the operating force of the larger keys is similar to that of the main keys, even that of the huge Space Bar.

Logitech Gaming Software & ARX Control Application Final Words and Conclusion
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  • Death666Angel - Thursday, October 06, 2016 - link

    So they fixed the horrible key caps? Couldn't type on the G910 Orion, even after a week or use. Had to send it back. Reply
  • MyNuts - Thursday, October 06, 2016 - link

    Its 2016 cant we make a keyboard right ? Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Thursday, October 06, 2016 - link

    Great keyboard. I didn't have a problem with the Orion Spark keys, so I'm not sure why they'd change the key design for the spectrum. I don't have the spectrum and I bought the spark for $60 USD on black friday. Best keyboard purchase ever. The per game and dynamic key lighting is fantastic. Major downside IMO is the lack of a USB passthrough, since the cheaper offerings sometimes offer it. No lateral key wobble that I've experienced on the Spark Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Here I thought I got mine for a pretty decent price. Nice catch for $60. Reply
  • garrek99 - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Could someone shed light on whether this keyboard's keys are as tightly packed as the G710 models?
    One of the biggest issues I have with the G710+ is that the keys are too densely fitted.
    I just measured the distance between the left and right Shift keys and it is 11 and 1/16 inches long. Would really appreciate a measurement. Thanks.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Any chance you could get one of the original model M keyboards in for review? U icomp still makes them. I'd be interested in how it stacks up with modern mechanical keyboards. Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, October 08, 2016 - link

    Unicomp. Available at www.pckeyboard.com or www dot pckeyboard dot com Reply
  • Zim - Sunday, October 09, 2016 - link

    Is it just me or is this site going to the dogs? This is the second uninteresting keyboard review I've read here in recent weeks. I guess this is a gamer's review site now, huh? I'll pass. Reply
  • Silma - Monday, October 10, 2016 - link

    180 $ is way too expensive for a plastic non-cherry mx keyboard.

    Regarding macro buttons, I know of no gamers using them, and I'm really wondering if I simply do not know enough gamers, or if it's the ultimate non used feature.
    In many games, it is forbidden to use macros keys, and in even more games on professional encounters.
    Reply
  • SeanJ76 - Monday, October 10, 2016 - link

    I won't switch from rubber dome to mechanical for just too many reasons, my G15 is still lovely and will try to keep it alive as long as I can. Reply

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