A long time ago, we used to write everything with a small, nibbed instrument called a pen. I know that may be hard to believe in today’s tech-infested world, but they really did exist. Anyway, the people who would write a lot – writers, lawyers, teachers – would often find that a bog standard pen simply wouldn’t do, and would opt for some top-of-the-range writing implement instead.
Though their quill of choice may cost a few extra sheets, the level of comfort, precision, and accuracy this new pen would afford them made the price tag totally understandable: it was the equivalent of now sitting on a leather sofa, when previously you were perched on a high-chair forged of shattered glass and children’s tears.
In the modern world, we use keyboards instead to notate our thoughts and feelings. And though most people don’t really type enough to warrant purchasing a different keyboard when their laptops and computers come bundled with one, I’m here to tell you that if you do a lot of clacking at the keys, there is better out there for your fingertips. One such gem is the MX Board 6.0, by keyboard giant Cherry (now ZF Electronics).
Cherry have been manufacturing the very best in mechanical keyswitches for some time, and so when they release their own keyboards, they aren’t sparing any expense – which is to be expected.
The German company are renowned for their engineering prowess and careful design, and from the moment you take the MX Board 6.0 out of the packaging it’s clear that they hold these attributes in the highest regard: the aluminium casing is sleek and tidy, the keys stand bold and perfectly finished, and there’s nothing unnecessary in sight. This is a keyboard with presentation and functionality at its core.
Bundled only with a magnetic rubber palmrest and a manual, even set-up is straightforward: just plug and play. The USB 2.0 connection is housed within braided wire (which again reeks of the company’s dedication to design) and the red and blue backlighting of the keys is not just a pretty feature, but allows for late night writing as well as quick, unhindered status checks for the command keys. Everything seems in order immediately, but how does it feel to use?
I’m typing this review with the MX Board 6.0, and I’m genuinely blown away by its speed. The keys themselves have the quintessential volume you’d hope for in a mechanical keyboard, but don’t feel overpowering or annoying like the tap-dancing gerbil troupe some keyboards like to imitate. The keys use Cherry’s MX Red switches, and the gold crosspoint contacts really do give the level of accuracy and precision all of the company’s taglines bleat about.
The cap height is moderate, which is a welcome change from the majority of modern day keyboards that opt for the low-height keys. If you enjoy typing on an Apple keyboard – the flat-as-a-fart kind – then this won’t be to your liking. The raised keys certainly work in favour of pacey typing, though, which is certainly a winner in my books.
Finally, the MX Board 6.0 boasts full N-Key roll-over, which for everyday folk means that every key is responsive at any given time: you could, if you wanted, press all 109 keys simultaneously (with, say, your face) and they’d all register. This is bad news for messy typists, as even the slightest nudge of a neighbouring key will result in unwanted letters, but good news for gamers who need to mash the keys without lag or ghosting. The keyboard does lack dedicated macro keys or textured WASD / arrow keys, however, meaning it’s not tailored with gaming as its priority.
As much as they’re not for everyone, the MX Board 6.0 does come bundled with a snap-on, magnetic palmrest, which is probably the sleekest palmrest on the face of the planet currently. Whether you’d use it or not, it’s more comfortable than a pillow made of angels’ eyelashes, and adds to the MX Board 6.0’s overall fabulousness.
As mentioned, the backlight is anything but a novelty feature, and is fully adjustable to your own preference. The MX Board 6.0 automatically saves your preferences too, which saves rejigging it every time you turn on. You can deactivate both the Windows-keys and the Function settings, which does allow for smoother gaming and customisable typing, and these are also indicated by the keyboard’s backlight.
The board is tidy on your desktop, measuring at a reasonable 46cm across, but still manages to incorporate a full number pad and three multimedia keys (last track, play/pause, next track) without relying on multi-functioning, which is a bonus. Nothing feels too tightly packed together either, allowing for a satisfying experience no matter your primary usage.
The MX Board 6.0 offers a top of the line experience for keen typists and writers the world over, and though not every writer out there may think they need something like this in their life, there are unquestionable benefits.
Though the MX Board 6.0 is all but certainly designed for straight-up typing as opposed to gaming, the decisive nature of the key presses and speed at which it registers input (an alleged millisecond) does breathe some appeal into that market as well. What it lacks in software and ergonomic layout, it makes up for in usability and unparalleled precision. It is what it is, and it does its job perfectly.
The box informs us that we’ll need ‘a quick mind, sensitive fingers and a hungry heart’, and the MX Board 6.0 has undoubtedly been designed and executed with this brilliance as its very foundations. For once, it isn’t the keyboard limiting the user, but the user defining those limits with the board’s unyielding rapidity and response.
The MX Board 6.0 allows us to be professional typists in a way that perhaps hasn’t been possible before, and all for the price of any other good quality mechanical keyboard. Set for release this summer, it may not be the weapon of choice for gamers, but avid writers should look no further: the answer you’ve been looking for is the MX Board 6.0.