The gaming keyboards that you use are one of the most important factors that decide the quality of your gaming. They are specifically engineered to deliver a high-end performance along with impeccable gaming experience. They can help you either make it or break it. Either you play on a keyboard that’s ideal for you or just any old plain keyboard, the difference is felt that clearly. There are several factors that need to be considered when selecting a keyboard for gaming which we’ll soon uncover. Also, there’s nothing to be threatened of the keyboards that come with a massive collection of buttons, catchy colors or extra whistles. These features provided by a gaming keyboard may seem weird to use at first, but they are not all that typical to use. Even if you are not that much into gaming, you can utilize the most out of your keyboard easily.
Let us see what features you must look for when buying a gaming keyboard
Wired keyboards – These are the most commonly used keyboards and need to be plugged into a computer’s USB port. No special software is required and no lag is experienced. Only, the range of use gets limited.
Wired keyboards are best for gaming, as wireless keyboards have issues when they are around other wireless devices (cordless phones, routers). Battery life is also a problem in wireless keyboards in case you plan to play for long hours. And no matter what, there’s always a time lag.
Mechanical key switches – A key switch describes the technology that is used under each of the keys in the keyboard. It determines durability, physical & audible feedback, and the ease of use. There are three types of key switches, out of which mechanical switches are the most preferred ones for gaming. These are spring-loaded, last the longest, are easy to repair and customize, and are also the most sensitive to touch. These also give a loud clacking noise and offer far stronger feedback as compared to other types of switches. These are the perfect partner for a pro gamer as they can easily match up with the fast action speed of a gamer. Though, games like MMORPGs, real-time strategy games, and dungeon crawlers can be played on other keyboards too, the users will experience a significant improvement while playing with these.
Silicone Dome switches are not preferred much, because they need to be pressed all the way down, thus reducing a gamer’s speed and fun. Scissor switches, though faster than the silicone ones, are not very sensitive to touch and are also not easily repairable.
Ergonomic keyboards – They make it a hell lot comfortable for you to play for long hours by letting you place your hands in a neutral position. These would generally keep your wrists straight, and won’t build up stress in your shoulder joints.
Macro functions – This feature will let you perform a series of actions with just one click of a customizable key. These can be used for purposes other than gaming as well, but are mostly used by gamers only. These may often require some software to be installed.
Digital Displays – Some high-end keyboards come with touch-screens and LCD trackpads which let you customize the appearance as well as the function of the keys.
Toggle key – Switching on this toggle key would lock the windows button. This would ensure that if you hit the Windows button accidentally, your game won’t be disturbed.
Other than these, there are several other features offered by different keyboards. Backlight, multimedia keys and other extra keys are very common. Usability of these features may range from simple to complex and some of them may require additional software to be installed.
However, if you’re looking of a good keyboard, there are two features that you must look for- mechanical switches and wired connection. The best gaming keyboard for you will be decided by a number of other factors other than the above-mentioned features, such as portability and price.
We will now take a quick dive into some specific gaming keyboards that are rated and liked more than many others in the market.
The BlackWidow Chroma tops our list because it has got as much style as substance. It combines a gorgeous design with a bunch of high-in-demand software options. Its features include responsive typing, 5 macro keys, razor green switches, dedicated gaming mode, full RGB keyboard and short wrist support that seems to be sufficient. It runs on the Razer Synapse 2.0 software, using which the macros can be programmed, keys can be reassigned and the gaming mode can be activated. Each key can be assigned a color of personal choice, which makes it easy to distinguish WASD and arrow keys during the game. Another USP of the BlackWidow Chroma is its on-the-fly macro reading. Overall, it is a great keyboard, and can be recommended for games of almost all genres.
The Corsair Gaming K70 RGB is a sleek keyboard with minimalist design. With no superfluous keys, it offers a unique experience for gamers preferring role-playing, first person shooters, action games, real-time strategy and MMO(massively multiplayer online) games. It offers a choice of three different switches – Cherry MX Red for people preferring a light touch; Cherry MX Blue for resistance & noise; and Cherry MX Brown for people who fall in the middle. It has also got a comfortable wrist rest, full RB illumination, and the ability to program the color of every key, thus you can match it easily with your other gaming accessories. It could have been made better by adding macro keys and on-the-fly recording feature.
The DeathStalker Ultimate goes by its name and is one of the most ultimate keyboards in the market. It has some wonderful features like chiclet keys, mounted wrist rest, 10-key rollover, scissor switches, and full backlight. It comes equipped with Razer’s popular Synapse 2.0 program, using which the users can store all their macros, programmed keys, and profiles into such accounts which can access the information easily on any system. Its USP is its touch-screen UI, called the Switchblade UI, which acts like a second screen. This switchblade plays a variety of roles, like that of a number pad, music controller, web browser, custom key layout and much more. It comes equipped with the mobile versions of several popular websites including Gmail, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.The Switchblade plays the dual role of a track-pad and contains pre-programmed tracks for several games.
The downside of this keyboard is the crashing of its touch-screen due to errors in Synapse software. At times, it is also reported to cause the system to crash upon booting. Also, the scissor switches do not justify the price, it could have been even better, had there been mechanical switches. It is very expensive, and thus, recommended only for hardcore gamers.
Of course, these three keyboards are just the beginning into the list of the best gaming keyboards. There are many other keyboards that offer some other unique features, non-existent in any of these. You may try out reading the reviews of some other popular gaming keyboards like Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800, Turtle Beach Impact 100 and CM Storm QuickFire Rapid. Also, now that you know what features to assess, you can make the smart decision of buying your next gaming keyboard all on your own.