Overview of the profile types available on mechanical keyboards

Overview of the profile types available on mechanical keyboards

Profile is one of the important factors that are always considered when it comes to mechanical keyboards. In a few previous posts, Mozano mentioned the concept and classification of keycap profiles. And in this article, Mozano will share with you a few new and updated images about the current popular keycap profile types in the mechanical key world. Let's see how they are different!

This is the profile arrangement of a traditional typewriter: the character keys are spaced in a ladder pattern, the inclination is the same between rows, the identical keys are all flat with no bends.


DSA: Simple flat keycap profile

This pattern is taken from the traditional Apple keyboard before: the keycaps are quite similar, evenly spaced, and each keycap has a flat cylindrical face.

This is a set of Sculpted spherical doubleshots keycap from a Canon typewriter. Use straight-switch, equivalent to Selectric / Beam Spring / Honeywell… This profile was very popular on vintage typewriters of the 70s-80s.

Sculpted spherical doubleshots from a Canon typewriter; these are a straight-switch approximation of the profile from a Selectric / Beam Spring / Honeywell / etc. Lots of keyboards in the 70s and early 80s used a profile like this, sometimes on switches with straight stems, like this, and other times on switches with tilted stems.

When you use keycaps designed for angled-stem switches, you'll end up with something similar to the example below. This is the predecessor to the SA keycap (“spherical all-rows”). At first when it first appeared, the shape of the SA profile looked quite difficult to use. The keys are clearly large, but the distance between the rows of keys is too small, so it is easy to press the wrong key.

IBM (and Honeywell and several other membrane key manufacturers) created sculpted profiles but still used uniform keycaps thanks to support from a curved plate below the keys.

And now a series of cylindrical sculpted profiles. These are the most common and common profiles today, in pre-assembled keyboards or custom mechanical keyboards.

Profile Cherry doubleshots:

Cylindrical profile on the Alps switch with characters printed in dyesub:

And below is the profile of unknown maker, doubleshot character from a Laser keyboard (the keyboard uses mount MX on SMK switch)


In addition to the basic profiles mentioned above, there are also some more strange profiles with a sudden high F row. Profile from the Apple Extended Keyboard II keyboard using the Alps switch, dyesubs from an Apple Extended Keyboard II.


Profile keycap Taihao with doubleshot printed characters (from Futaba keyboard using MX mount)


Signature Plastics DCS

This is too familiar to you - technology and keyboard enthusiasts - this is an indispensable model in the mechanical keyboard keycap profile map.


Which profile is suitable?

For each person, depending on their own preferences and job characteristics, there will be more and less suitable profiles. After going through a round of popular keyboards currently on the market, seeing reviews and user feedback on major mechanical keyboard forums, here is a summary of keycap profiles and corresponding recommended objects. 

1/ Typewriter: keys with equal height and slope between rows: suitable for users of classic typewriters.

Pros: wide key row spacing, reasonable key spacing, minimizing keystrokes.

Cons: makes the whole keyboard bulky and heavy. This style is actually only used on retro mechanical keyboards that simulate old typewriters. Usage and users are also quite rare. If you have a comfortable, spacious workspace, and have a place to dedicate a corner for the keyboard, and do writing work, don't have to move much, you should use it.

2/ Uniform low profile Spherical: the rows of keys are evenly spaced, slightly tilted, the first four rows of keys from the top down are keys with a slight concave plane. Particularly the bottom row is the keys with a slight convex surface.

This high key structure is often used for low profile switch mechanical keyboards, with good ergonomics because the difference between the last row of keys and the upper keys will help distribute the pressure of the hand better. Those who like to use a low profile keyboard to type, do office work, can find this keycap profile.

3/ Sculpted high profile spherical: this is the most prominent keycap in the profiles. When placing these textured keyboards, they will stand out on the desk. They are often present in custom mechanical keyboards. The height, inclination, and concavity of the keys in each row are different. But in general, the key is very high compared to the background of the case. It is this height that creates an extremely good aesthetic impression. But the downside is that typing a lot will cause hand fatigue. And the price of these keycap types is also higher than other keycap profiles. Everyone who specializes in mechanical keyboarding should have a set like this, more suitable for gaming than for typing or inputting data.

Hope you guys find the keycap profile that's best for you.


Source: geekhack

1 comment



Finally know which profile is right for me.

Finally know which profile is right for me.

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