A mechanical keyboard is a keyboard built with high quality, typically spring activated, key switches. These key switches vary based on the keyboard’s application or user preference.
While some of the first widely sold keyboards such as IBM’s Model M in the 1980’s utilized mechanical switches, the 1990’s brought on a wave of inexpensive rubber dome keyboards that flooded the keyboard market. Rubber dome keyboards represent over 90% of keyboards in use today and provide an inexpensive but dissatisfying feel and typing experience.
See also Layouts.
I've owned a few models of mechanical keyboard including
Possible Future keyboards
CharaChorder keyboard primarily using Stenography.
Chunky v3 keyboard with duel trackpads for pointing.
Lalboard 3d printed, chorrded keeb inspired by the Data Hand.
Lagrange vertical keyboard held together with a bar.
Dactyl Manuform, a keyboard with curves to fit your hands.
Maximus, a keyboard with a built in trackpad.
Bad Wings, a low profile 36 key with built in track pad.
If you would like a lowfi way to compare keyboard layouts splitkb has printable layout profiles to see how they'd look on your desk. Compare
I have a few notes about Learning a New Layout that might help if you're going on that journey too.
If you want to build a layout without compiling, QMK lets you do this online. Configurator
Split Keyboard Database. List
QMK Keyboards Directory Listing. Github
Rotary Encoder Programming in QMK. Article