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physical keyboard

A keyboard for an electronic device that uses keys that can be physically depressed. Most all computer keyboards are physical, while all "built-in" tablet keyboards are touchscreen. Smartphones may also have physical keyboards, such as the venerable BlackBerry models. Contrast with virtual keyboard. See mechanical keyboard.



mechanical keyboard

A physical keyboard that uses an individual spring and switch for each key. Today, only premium keyboards are built with key switches; however, they were also used in the past, such as in the Model M keyboard from IBM, which used buckling spring switches. Mechanical keyboards are very much appreciated by fast typists because they have a springiness and feel that is not the same as the low-cost membrane keyboard accompanying most computers.

Types of Mechanical Switches
CHERRY key switches are commonly used today, while Alps and other types were used in the past. Buckling spring key switches cause the spring to buckle outwards rather than compress downwards, providing a unique tactile feedback. See premium keyboard and membrane keyboard.




Das Keyboard Uses CHERRY Switches
Das Keyboards use CHERRY MX Blue or Brown mechanical key switches like these. The Blue switches have a "clicky" sound when the key is sufficiently depressed, while the Brown have a soft tactile bump. (Image courtesy of Das Keyboard, www.daskeyboard.com)






Buckling Spring Keyboard
Unicomp's keyboards use buckling spring key switches, popularized on IBM PC keyboards. Although the keys have a clicky sound, they also have a unique tactile feel that made IBM keyboards stand out.






Avant Stellar Keyboard
One of the finest keyboards ever made and lamentably discontinued, Avant Stellars were entirely programmable. They used Alps mechanical key switches.






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Before/After Your Search Term
BeforeAfter
PHS-WLLphysical layer
PHSAphysical layer switch
phubberphysical link
phubbingphysical lock
PHYphysical memory
physicalphysical topology
physical accessPhysical Unit
physical addressphysical vs. logical
physical drivephysically impaired
physical formatphysics

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