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Technology Today - April 2017 - CES Cherry MX-Silent Keyboard

By Robert Sanborn

I have been pounding on one kind of keyboard or another for now over fifty years. Yes that dates me and yes, I did start very early in life. And over that time, I have had the opportunity to sample literally hundreds of different kinds of keyboards from the truly mundane that you find attached to most desktop computers purchased in a store to some pretty exotic models for specialty industries like medical, clean rooms, and the like. For a really messy environment, you can’t beat Seal Shield as they are truly sealed keyboards that can be stuffed in the dishwasher to clean or simply hose them down.

In the early 80s, when you wanted a keyboard for your desktop computer that was well built, you looked at either IBM or Northgate for something that gave you a very reliable, sturdy, and solid keyboard that you could use for years. Today’s keyboards are mostly the throw away kind that barely outlive the computer that they came with and unfortunately, most people just go out, spend another $15 to $25 and not think about it and live with the poor performance thinking that it is normal. I really hated to see that Northgate bite the dust and so started the journey looking for something with better feedback, touch, reliability, and could feel confident that what I typed actually appeared on the screen.

At CES in 2015, I found the Holy Grail. It was the Cherry MX Keyboard and I love it and have been using it steadily for the past two years. See the review here.  It is solid, reliable, the keys are backlit in a very pleasing red, and the only quibble that I might have is that it is a noisy keyboard. And I never really noticed it that much because during all that time, the computer sitting on my test desk was running and I called it the “Wind Tunnel” for the reason that it was quite noisy in itself. When I shut it down, the office gets very pleasingly quiet to the point of hearing the birds and rustling wind of what looks to be a rather black and blue sky but that is something else. So, back to CES this past January and another visit with the folks at Cherry have come out with the silent version of that fabulous MX Keyboard and I had to try it.

Zmodo Logo

Cherry MX-Silent

The first thing that I notice is that it looks and feels (not the keys) quite unlike my current MX Keyboard. It is a beige plastic shell much like any other standard keyboard and is much lighter than mine. There is no attached wrist rest and physically, the new MX Silent is quite a bit larger. The color is a bit odd in that my eyes say beige while the box says grey.

The keys themselves have a very different feel to them. It is not what I would call a rough surface but when you are resting your fingers on the keys (like a touch typist would), you easily feel the surface of each key and I would almost say that the labels on each key feels like it is a laid on piece of fabric. At least that is what it feels like to me and I do feel like that the typing on the keyboard is easier as well. I also feel like the spacing of the keys is very good for my use and it certainly gives me the feel of a solid and reliable keyboard. So, besides the look and feel, you need to go to the Cherry website to see what really sets this keyboard apart from those costing much less.


Cherry Silent

What it is, is a patented noise reduction technology using Gold Crosspoint contact technology. They use an integrated 2-component stem which minimizes noise at bottom-out and top-out of the key stroke. What amazes me is how they estimate that you will need 50 million keystrokes before a failure. I have it connected to my computer through the USB but they also include the PS/2 adapter as well. The warranty is 2 years. For an interesting data sheet, look here.

Having said all this, I also find that the keyboard is quite a bit less than I was prepared to pay for it. Staples has this Cherry MX3000USB keyboard as the Cherry G80-3000 USB Wired keyboard for $91.49 in black. A very nice price for such a solid and reliable keyboard. Definitely a keeper on this desk.

More from CES 2017 later.

Robert Sanborn

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