What to Look for When Buying a Gaming Keyboard

At Gizmodo, we independently choose and write about stuff we love and suppose you will like too. We have affiliate and promoting partnerships, which suggests we could gather a share of gross sales or different compensation from the hyperlinks on this web page. BTW – costs are correct and objects in inventory on the time of posting.

So, you’ve lastly put collectively your first gaming PC and are actually seeking to seize some peripherals. Or perhaps your present keyboard is on its final legs, and your WASD keys simply aren’t as responsive as they as soon as have been. In any case, grabbing a gaming keyboard would possibly appear to be a straightforward factor to do, however there are some things you want to concentrate on earlier than shopping for one. Do you realize the distinction between a pink and blue swap?

Here’s what you want to learn about choosing up a gaming keyboard, together with a number of recommendations of what you must get.

What to think about when shopping for a gaming keyboard

Mechanical vs. membrane vs. optical

Image: Darren Orf/Gizmodo

Mechanical is the usual keyboard type, with sturdy switches beneath every keycap. You’re in all probability typing on one proper now. Membrane keyboards have, as their identify suggests, a rubber membrane beneath their keycaps. Using considered one of these feels extra spongey and is significantly quieter in comparison with a mechanical keyboard.

While you will get a membrane keyboard for gaming, you’re higher off with a mechanical one, as they’re extra sturdy and conscious of your keystroke.

Over the previous few years, a brand new kind of keyboard has been making its mark in the case of gaming. While a mechanical swap includes bodily contact with its actuation level, an optical swap registers keystrokes by way of an infrared sign. Overall, an optical swap is way quicker than a mechanical one.

Different sizes

What to Look for When Buying a Gaming Keyboard
A tenkeyless keyboard (Image: Gizmodo Australia)

Full-Size: Your normal keyboard design, with all of the keys that you may ever need, like F4, Page Down and Caps Lock.

Tenkeyless: Technically 17-keyless, a tenkeyless keyboard is lacking the complete quantity pad part that’s often discovered on the righthand facet of the board. Depending on the sorts of video games you play (and if/how you utilize your keyboard when not gaming), you may not want these further keys, so you’ll be able to handle with out them.

75%: Similar to the tenkeyless mannequin, a 75% keyboard is lacking the quantity pad. Unlike the tenkeyless mannequin, the entire keys on this keyboard have been smushed collectively so there’s no damaging house between them. These are good for portability and if desk house is a matter, however you additionally enhance your probability of unintentionally hitting the improper key along with your meaty fingers as a result of all the pieces is so shut collectively.

Switch colors

What to Look for When Buying a Gaming Keyboard
Image: Sam Rutehrford/Gizmodo

AKA how clicky-clacky would you like your mechanical gaming keyboard to sound? The kind of swap determines how a lot drive you’ll want to use for it to register, its tactility and the way noisy it’ll be.

Here are a number of the most typical swap sorts that you simply’ll encounter:

  • Cherry MX Black: This sturdy swap makes use of a linear swap system, which makes it perfect for gaming. It has a excessive actuation drive, making it possibility if you wish to reduce down unintended key presses.
  • Cherry MX Blue: This tactile and clicky swap is best suited to typing, not gaming.
  • Cherry MX Brown: You’ll discover these tactile switches on keyboards which can be designed for each gaming and typing. A middle-ground possibility if you happen to want a keyboard you should utilize for work and for pleasure.
  • Cherry MX Clear: Another middle-ground possibility, the MX Clear swap requires much less drive for a keystroke to register than the MX Brown swap.
  • Cherry MX Red: Similar to the MX Black swap, this swap kind is linear and greatest used for gaming. The MX Red is way lighter and requires much less drive to function.

You can try Mechanical Keyboards’ FAQ for a extra detailed description of those swap sorts, together with how a lot drive you want to apply.

Switch choice varies from individual to individual. Some individuals have a heavier hand so that they don’t thoughts switches that require a bit extra drive to register, whereas some want a sure degree of response to their button presses. When unsure, go together with what feels essentially the most comfy for you.

Some manufacturers have their very own swap colors, which makes making an attempt to choose the appropriate one a bit harder, so double-check their tactility, clickiness and whether or not it’s a linear swap or not.

What gaming keyboards can we advocate?

Corsair K100 RGB

Corsair K100 RGB keyboard
Image: Corsair

The Corsair K100 RGB is a hybrid optical-mechanical keyboard, with an actuation distance of solely 1mm that guarantees hyper-fast inputs. In different phrases, it’s extraordinarily responsive, making it a worthwhile funding if you happen to play plenty of video games the place hair-trigger accuracy is crucial.

In our overview of the Corsair K100 RGB, we have been impressed by its sturdy design and the pinpoint sensitivity of its key switches. Considering its excessive worth level, that high quality is unquestionably anticipated however the excellent news is that you simply’ll be getting what you paid for.

If RGB lighting is an enormous promoting level for you, the K100 comes with per-key lighting throughout 44 configurable zones, so you’ll be able to set some mesmerising scenes and patterns whereas gaming. Its iCue management wheel additionally means that you can cycle by way of a collection of pre-programmed capabilities too, though its use is principally non-gaming.

Where to purchase the Corsair K100 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard

Amazon Australia ($339) | JB Hi-Fi ($399)

HyperX Alloy Origins Core

hyperx alloy origins core tenkeyless keyboard
Image: HyperX

If it isn’t obvious from a number of the costs of those really useful keyboards, this may be an costly peripheral. If you’re seeking to seize your self a mechanical gaming keyboard whereas on a price range, HyperX’s Alloy Origins Core is a sturdy, comfy and dependable possibility. In Gizmodo’s overview of the HyperX Alloy Origins Core, we have been impressed with this tenkeyless keyboard’s no-frills perspective, “It doesn’t want bells and whistles to impress you as a result of its grasp of the basics is so robust.”

It comes with the entire fundamentals you’d count on from a mechanical gaming keyboard – a spectrum of RGB lights, totally different swap sorts, adjustable orientations – and does precisely what it says on the tin. For the value you’re paying, you’ll be fairly proud of the outcomes. The similar could be stated for the full-size Alloy Origins model too.

Where to purchase the HyperX Alloy Origins Core mechanical gaming keyboard (Red Switches)

Amazon Australia ($99) | Dick Smith ($169) | Mwave ($169)

Logitech G915 Lightspeed

Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless
Image: Logitech

The Logitech G915 Lightspeed offers you the most effective of each wi-fi and wired gaming keyboards. Not solely can it join through Bluetooth and Logitech’s Lightspeed, which is a low-latency 2.4GHz connection, nevertheless it’ll additionally allow you to use it whereas plugged in to cost.

The mechanical G915 additionally comes with three onboard switchable profiles, together with 5 programmable G-keys, so you’ll be able to tailor it to the totally different sorts of video games you’ll be enjoying. It’s fairly skinny with low-profile keys, so that you gained’t must bend your wrists as a lot to achieve these larger up keys. This wi-fi keyboard is out there with clicky, tactile and linear keys, though you’ll most definitely need the latter two for gaming. There’s additionally a tenkeyless version available.

Where to purchase the Logitech G915 Lightspeed wi-fi gaming keyboard (Linear)

Amazon Australia ($295) | Bing Lee ($289) | eBay ($329)

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

razer blackwidow v3 pro keyboard
Image: Razer

When it involves wi-fi gaming keyboards, some persons are often postpone by them attributable to a possible lag by way of the Bluetooth sign. The BlackWidow V3 Pro places these worries to relaxation, because it makes use of Razer’s signature low-latency HyperSpeed Wireless tech to maintain the accuracy between keystroke and motion nearly as good as a wired keyboard. It additionally has Adaptive Frequency Tuning, so that you gained’t have to fret about sign interferences robbing you of management at an important second. You may use it whereas charging through USB-C.

Its yellow switches have a reasonably low actuation level of 1.2mm with sound dampeners and no tactile suggestions, making it a clean expertise. Its RGB lighting can also be programmed to dynamically react with over 150 video games and it additionally comes with an opulent leatherette wrist relaxation, which is all the time a pleasant, ergonomic bonus to have.

Where to purchase the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro wi-fi gaming keyboard (Yellow Switches)

Amazon Australia ($246.86) | eBay ($305.91) | Mwave ($279)

Steelseries Apex Pro

steelseries apex pro keyboard
Image: Steelseries

If enter velocity is the identify of your sport, this mechanical keyboard gained’t disappoint. The Steelseries Apex Pro makes use of OmniPoint adjustable mechanical switches, which suggests you’ll be able to change the actuation depth for each single key, from .04mm to three.6mm. Along with its aluminium alloy body, this gaming keyboard is likely one of the sturdiest and most responsive choices round.

The Apex Pro additionally comes with a magnetic wrist relaxation and USB passthrough characteristic, so you’ll be able to plug gadgets and flash drives straight into your keyboard. One of its extra distinctive options is that it features a small OLED show display above the quantity pad, which may show information from each video games and apps.

Where to purchase the Steelseries Apex Pro mechanical gaming keyboard

Amazon Australia ($269) | Bing Lee ($299) | eBay ($359)

Leave a Comment