What does membrane keyboard mean?

When we use the phrase membrane keyboard, we are talking about an ordinary keyboard peripheral that meets the same needs as other keyboards. In other words, the functions it performs are exactly the same as those of a mechanical keyboard. Rather, the term membrane refers to the system of switches it contains.

What is a membrane keyboard?

The membrane keyboard has flexible rubber switches. A series of flexible membranes are responsible for making contact with the electric field and thereby sending the corresponding signal.

The differences between a membrane keyboard and a mechanical keyboard are striking. For example, it is easier to manufacture because all keys share the silicone surface (membrane). The mechanism of the switches is much simpler than that found on mechanical keyboards.

How does a membrane keyboard work?

Before analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of membrane keyboards, it is necessary to uncover how exactly they work. In the previous section, we mentioned some of the features that define the method of action of the membranes in these peripherals. However, let’s dig deeper.

The components of such peripherals differ greatly from their mechanical siblings. In a membrane keyboard, we encounter a layer of silicone that runs the length and width of the keyboard case. It is flexible, so it regains its position after pressing. In addition, metal contacts that will come into contact with the plate are integrated into the membrane.

As soon as the user presses a button, the membrane descends until the metal part comes into contact with the PCB. This triggers the sending of the corresponding electrical signal, which allows the PC to recognize the character to be entered. In essence, the principle of operation is the same as on other keyboards. The main difference lies in the construction of the key.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Membrane Keyboard

Now that we’ve cleared up some important unknowns, like what exactly a membrane keyboard is and how its keys work, it’s time to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of a membrane keyboard.

Advantages of Membrane Keyboard

The type of peripheral we cover in this guide has some advantages. Here’s a list of the most notable:

  • Price. This is undoubtedly one of the main benefits of choosing a keyboard with these features. Because they are cheaper, they are perfect for casual users who use the computer from time to time.
  • Silent. Another strong point is that they do not emit too much noise. This may not be a big deal if you plan to use the keyboard without anyone around. However, in a place where many people are writing at the same time, such as an office, silence is appreciated.
  • Thinner. The membrane keyboard’s low key profile is impossible to achieve on a mechanical keyboard. This allows for faster transitions between keys and reduces the need to lift your fingers.
  • They are lighter. Membrane keyboards are easy to move from one place to another because they are lightweight. They are perfect for carrying in a backpack as long as their size allows.

Disadvantages of Membrane Keyboard

It’s time to focus on the disadvantages of membrane keyboards.

  • They are less sensitive. Frankly, one of the most common problems with these keyboards is the lack of sensitivity. Therefore, they are not highly recommended for long hours of gaming or typing.
  • They do not give feedback to the user. The lack of full travel on the keys means the user doesn’t feel the feedback as easily. The only way to know if a key was pressed correctly is to look at the results on the screen.
  • They produce phantom vibrations. Ghosting occurs when a user presses a key but does not send the corresponding electrical signal. On high-end keyboards, this problem is not very common, although it is common on cheaper models.
  • Less durable. Mechanical keyboard switches are more durable than membrane switches.