There are a few articles on this website about mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards, LED keyboards, gaming keyboards and so and so. But, a new term in the keyboard that drew my attention was the hybrid keyboard. I wondered whether it is a combination of two keyboards or something like a mix of analogue and digital keyboards ( just like a hybrid computer!) or maybe some next-level technology in the keyboard.
Well, I researched a bit and guess what? I found that a hybrid keyboard is a type of membrane keyboard that lets you have the feeling of a mechanical keyboard. In most cases, it uses the same rubber dome mechanism for registering the keystroke, but the appearance of the keycaps and the slightly clicky sound on the keypresses resembles a mechanical switch. Sometimes mechanical keyboards use cushion technology inside the switches to reduce the clicky noises is also a form of hybrid keyboard.
Working principle of Hybrid keyboard
As you know what a hybrid keyboard actually is, let’s discuss how a hybrid keyboard actually works.
Well, in most cases a hybrid keyboard is itself a membrane keyboard, which uses the same working principle of rubber/silicon dome cushions to press against the circuit board to register a keystroke. You can read more about the working principle of membrane keys by clicking here.
Instead of using a mechanical switch, they use a plunger between the keycap and the rubber dome to provide extra height to the keycaps, resembling the profile of a mechanical keyboard
But, most of them fail to provide the clicky sound produced by a mechanical keyboard. After all, it is not possible without the use of a mechanical switch, right? They use to provide their own kind of feeling, but with the looks of a mechanical keyboard.
And of course, with the absence of the switches, the output of a hybrid keyboard can never be compared with the mechanical keyboard.
How to identify a hybrid keyboard
Well, there are different forms of hybrid keyboards available in the market. If you go for some cheap options from any unknown brand, you will end up buying a low-quality membrane keyboard by paying an extra buck than a genuine membrane keyboard. If you are really excited about the RGB feature, you should check out this list of the best LED keyboards.
As I mentioned earlier, you can avail of various options in the form of a hybrid keyboard. Some genuine mechanical keyboards use some technology inside the keycaps to reduce that old-school clicky noise of the mechanical keyboard.
Some hybrid keyboards even have switches under the most used keys during the games, that is arrows and W, A, S, and D keys to make it more gaming friendly.
So, the easiest way to identify the quality of a hybrid keyboard is the noise of the keystroke itself. Next, you can check it by removing the keycaps. As you know the mechanical keycaps are removable and you can identify the quality from the colour code of the mechanical switches. Read more about the mechanical switch colours in this article.
The mechanical keycaps wobble a bit due to the remove and replacement feature. That is another factor of the resemblance of membrane keys to mechanical ones. If that wobble is too unnatural, chances are the hybrid keyboard has no mechanical keys there.
You can also test it by applying key pressure, but that’s a more skilful approach by professionals.
Is a Hybrid keyboard good for gaming?
The answer depends a lot on the quality of the machine. If you have bought something at a cheaper cost, then chances are there you have a pure membrane keyboard on your desk.
It is not like you cannot play games on membrane keyboards. Of course, you can. But the features like anti-ghosting, better longevity, faster response, and more precise feedback are what make the mechanical switches preferable from the gaming point of view.
If you are getting a mechanical keyboard with some tweaks to maintain a low-key profile and reduce noise, that will be a great deal for your gaming set-up.
Even if you are going for the hybrid keyboard with the mechanical switches at specific keys used heavily during gaming, is not a bad deal at all. But, you should have your own research about the product specifications and reviews before buying these kinds of options.
Some recommendations on hybrid keyboard
Sometimes the price of a hybrid keyboard tends to be high in comparison to a regular mechanical or membrane keyboard because it offers you a 2-in-1 feature. It offers you the feedback of a mechanical switch with the softness of a membrane keyboard.
Or in other words, you are paying for getting the value of two different keyboards in one device. So, if you have made up your mind to buy a hybrid keyboard for your usage here are some recommendations to look at.
SteelSeries Store Apex 5
- Cherry MX blue switches
- Aircraft-grade aluminium alloy frame
- Dynamic per-key RGB illumination
- Large magnetic wrist rest
Redragon Dyaus K509
- Mechanical keyboard Feeling with short key travel and less resistance
- Ergonomic and Waterproof Design
- Backlit and Anti-Ghosting feature
- PC Gaming Keyboard
- Thin and quiet keycaps
- Fully programmable keys
- Customizable Chroma RGB Lighting
- Ergonomic, Magnetic Wrist Rest
- 2-year warranty
- supports 16.8 million colours
- individually backlit keys
- 19 anti-ghosting keys
- Wrist Support
- Scratch Resistant engraved Keys characters.
- 7 colour RGB Backlight
- Compatible with Windows and Mac gaming PCs
- Spill and dust resistant
- 7 Colors and 9 Lighting Effects
- 12 Media Shortcuts
- 19 key anti-ghosting
Is a Hybrid Keyboard Worth Buying
Well, the answer depends a lot on your personal preferences. If you are an avid mechanical keyboard user but want to get rid of the noise of the mechanical switches or you are an occasional gamer, who doesn’t want to spend a lot on a mechanical keyboard, but want to have a cool RGB effect or suspended key feeling on the keyboard, I would suggest better to go for a genuine membrane keyboard like HP K500F or Logitech G213 which are a way better option for all your day-to-day tasks including gaming on PC.
So, that’s all in this article. Hope you find something new to learn and enjoy reading. You can ask your queries regarding this topic in the comment box below. Or you can give your suggestion on any other improvement regarding the article. For more useful and informative content regarding the keyboard keep checking this page once in a while. Till then happy clicking and typing.
Roy is a seasoned technical blog writer with a passion for unravelling the complexities of cutting-edge technology. With a background in Electronics Engineering, he has a keen interest in writing about the intricacies of keyboard and mouse in a simple way.