There’s a distinct difference between someone who games casually and someone who’s serious about their gameplay. You can always tell who’s serious about their computer gaming by their setup which includes the gaming chair, the gaming mice & the Keyboard they use for gaming. A person’s hardware not only sets apart the casuals and the hardcore players but can also give people an upper hand advantage in some situations. For example, a gaming mouse has a quicker response time, reacts smoother on clicks and works at a better resolution. Sure, any kind of Walmart cheaply bought mouse will work but you don’t want it to just work, you want the best.
Gaming Keyboards 2018
Then there’s the sound, will you hear your opponent coming or will you be snuck up on because you’re using integrated outdated sound cards? One of the most important aspects of your gameplay though is the keyboard. Gaming keyboards are a crucial staple to determining who is serious about their gameplay and who just plays for fun on their off time. A gaming keyboard can actually make quite a noticeable difference after using one. You’ll notice that your typing speed and accuracy might even improve after getting one. So, what’s so bad about using a cheap keyboard? The noise is one issue because cheap keyboards are extremely noisy.
CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
Quiet & Satisfying LED Backlit Keys
Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard
Dedicated Media Controls
CORSAIR K70 LUX RGB RAPIDFIRE
Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Razer Ornata Expert – Revolutionary
Mecha-Membrane Gaming Keyboard
Razer Cynosa Chroma – Multi-color RGB Gaming keyboard
Individually Backlit Keys
If you’ve ever been in an office or work environment with people who frequently use cheap keyboards, then you can probably hear them typing away and it’s enough to drive a sane person mad. Also, you constantly have to throw those cheap keyboards away, which can be budget consuming after some time of doing so. Don’t you want to have one keyboard that’ll last you for years that you won’t have to replace? Your gameplay will improve, your typing will improve and you won’t have to manually download drivers online to make them work on whatever operating system you’re using, which can, unfortunately, be the case with some of those cheap keyboards
What’s the Difference Between a Normal Keyboard and a Gaming Keyboard?
This is one of the more common questions asked when people are looking at gaming keyboards. They notice that they’re more expensive and ask, “well, what’s the difference?” It’s kind of like asking the difference between a luxury sports vehicle and an every day cheap vehicle. They both get you from Point A to Point B, what’s the difference?
What Are the Benefits of Using a Gaming Keyboard?
Another common question people like to ask about gaming keyboards is, are they worth the price and are they really worth the benefit? Should I really justify spending a lot of money on a keyboard? The short and long answer is both a resounding “yes”. This is for numerous reasons.
The response time as mentioned in the differences section. Our eyes may not notice the difference, but your gameplay performance will. When we press a key, we see it pop up in real time and we don’t realize there’s actually a delay between the key being pressed and showing up on the screen.
You won’t have to clean them as often. This might be a weird benefit to some but for those who like to sit at the computer and eat while they game or regularly eat near their keyboard will often find crumbs and debris building up in the keyboard. A decent gaming keyboard though has smaller gaps and less of a space from the receptor and the key being pressed, so you won’t have to worry about this too much.
Your overall typing abilities such as your speed and your accuracy will improve over time. This is due to a couple of reasons. First of all, the keys are far more responsive, they’re easier to reach and they’re a lot smoother on a gaming keyboard. You’ll be able to hit keys quicker and more efficiently, which will improve your typing speed. Second, the response time of the keys hit being sent to the computer will be lower and you’ll be able to see them come up sooner. Someone who’s used to typing 80 words per minute could easily see an improvement up to 90 words per minute by switching to a gaming keyboard.
Having access to extra buttons and hotkeys that can be used in popular games that allow them is a huge advantage whether you realize it or not. Imagine being able to do a command in a popular game you play that you usually have to use your mouse for but instead, you can use your keyboard. This is a huge time saver in the long run and far more efficient for game-play. You can program hotkeys to do just about anything you want them to do on a gaming keyboard that you can’t normally do on a regular keyboard.
What to Look for When Buying a Gaming Keyboard
The Price – The pricing point is a huge aspect for a lot of people because some of these keyboards aren’t cheap at all. There are, however, a lot of great gaming keyboards out there on a budget for less than low $XXX. The brand and manufacturer label can also impact the price but some brands are better than others for various hardware and technical reasons. When looking at a gaming keyboard, try to shoot for something under $XXX unless the keyboard is spectacular.
Choosing Membrane Versus Mechanical – There are two different gaming keyboards that you’ll come across. There are membrane keyboards versus mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards are basically like typewriters. There’s a mechanical button underneath every single key and when you press it, it makes a click or a recognizable sound. Membrane keyboards, however, are a bit more expensive and seen as a bit more modern in the industry. They have plastic soft membranes under the keys you press that run electrical currents to the computer to recognize keys pressed.
Special Effects – One thing that a lot of people like to have on their gaming keyboards is illumination effects such as lighting that they can control. A lot of gaming keyboards have this now and it’s usually in the form of a backlight, which sits underneath all of the keys. Usually, there’s software included that will allow you to rotate or change the color based on your own personal preferences.
The Brand – While this isn’t as important but some people love sticking to certain brands because they’re good at making gaming keyboards and they’re well-trusted brands. If you see something from Logitech, Steel Series, Corsair and a few other name brands, they’re going to be reliable keyboards. They’re also usually some of the highest reviewed keyboards on the market too because a lot of quality goes into the production of their keyboards. There are some off-brand keyboards that are great as well but generally, a lot of hardcore gamers like to stick to certain brands.
Overall, if you’re trying to choose the “right” keyboard, you’re going to have to go through a lot of gaming keyboards because it’s a lot easier to find a decent keyboard than it is other hardware such as a mouse or a graphics card. There’s a wide selection of gaming keyboards out there nowadays that serve the same general purpose and they’re overall pretty cheap.
#1 – CORSAIR K55 RGB
CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard - Quiet & Satisfying LED Backlit Keys - Media Controls - Wrist Rest Included – Onboard Macro Recording. One of the great things we liked about the Corsair K55 keyboard is how quiet it was. When you press down on the keys, you can barely hear it which is so nice for the people around you and yourself if the sound drives you crazy. The board has convenient media controls built into the keyboard so you can control your volume with the click of a button on the keyboard. You can choose from dozens of different lighting preset effects as well.
#2 – Logitech G213
Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard with Dedicated Media Controls, 16.8 Million Lighting Colors Backlit Keys, Spill-Resistant and Durable Design Logitech is usually pretty good about making products that last for a long time as long as you don’t buy their cheapest products available like the $9 headsets. This keyboard allows for a unique color combination of up to 16 million different color schemes, so have fun going through all of those. The keyboard itself is advertised as up to four times faster than the standard keyboard.
#3 – CORSAIR K70 LUX RGB RAPIDFIRE
CORSAIR K70 LUX RGB RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - USB Passthrough & Media Controls - Fastest & Linear - Cherry MX Speed - RGB LED Backlit One of the main things you’ll notice about Corsair is that their products generally tend to be on the larger side of the scale when it comes to things like gaming mice and gaming keyboards. This is a rapid response keyboard that comes with a wrist pad for added comfort. The keyboard boasts that it has a 1.2mm actuation which is quite impressive. The macro sets are nice and you can detach the wrist pad if you’d like as well.
#4 – Razer Ornata Expert
Razer Ornata Expert – Revolutionary Mecha-Membrane Gaming Keyboard with Mid-Height Keycaps - Wrist Rest - Ergonomic Design. This sleek all-black Razer Ornata Expert is one of the best responding membrane gaming keyboards that we’ve ever got to test out. The keys sit slightly higher than we’re used to but it’s something different and the keys were designed this way because Razer claims it gives you a lower response time in competitive gaming environments. You can run up to ten commands at once with this keyboard, so we just had to try this one out.
#5 – Razer Cynosa Chroma
Razer Cynosa Chroma – Multi-color RGB Gaming keyboard – Individually Backlit Keys – Spill-Resistant Durable Design. One thing that Razer has always prided themselves on is the ability to provide products with unique customization and the Cynosa Chroma is great for allowing you to customize the lighting and backlit keys. Also, for those who like to rage and hit the desk when they lose in a game, the keyboard is very durable as well, so you won’t have to worry about cracking/breaking the keyboard.
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about gaming keyboards
SHOULD I GET A GAMING KEYBOARD WITH A WRIST PAD ATTACHED?
This is all your own personal preference but if you do get one with a wrist pad attached to it, make sure it’s also detachable because you’ll never know if you want to detach it for comfort or productivity and when you’ll want to attach it again.
Are gaming keyboards water spill resistant?
Some of them are to a certain extent but that also doesn’t mean you should try pouring water into the keyboards either because generally keyboards aren’t made to withstand water damage or liquids being poured down into the keys. This will vary by keyboard but generally yes, they can withstand (some) water spill.
Do I have to have a Windows OS for gaming keyboards to work or can they work on Macs as well?
Most of them do work universally on both Windows and on Mac. Always read the manufacturer’s specifications on whether or not they do but generally, as long as it has a USB plug, it’ll adapt and play into any kind of operating system. Again, check when buying the product to make sure it’ll work with your individual operating system.
Do keyboards with LED lights consume a lot of power?
No. They don’t consume enough power for you to need to upgrade your PSU (Power Supply Unit) anyways. Leaving a light on in your house uses far more power and electricity than the power used by the LED lighting on illumination gaming keyboards.
What should I do if a gaming keyboard stops working or arrives dead?
Contact the manufacturer right away. Every single keyboard we review is highly backed by companies with amazing customer support and warranties to take care of situations like that if they should ever happen.
Picking a gaming keyboard isn’t all that scary and while sure, they might be a bit higher priced than the keyboards you’re used to seeing, they’re worth it in the long run. You won’t have to worry about replacing it in a month and you’ll notice some gameplay improvement changes almost instantly, along with some personal typing changes. We highly recommend trying out a gaming keyboard if you’ve never had one before and if you’re on the fence, try one of the cheaper gaming keyboards to see if you like their style or not. It takes a little bit of getting used to after you’ve used a non-gaming keyboard for so long.
Take everything into consideration from your playstyle to your budget and what you’re looking to get out of a gaming keyboard. Make sure you’re choosing something that’s the best fit for you and not what the latest tech website told you to buy just because it’s new or in demand right now. We only recommend brands and gaming keyboards that are built to last and offer optimal performance. Take your time, look through everything and you won’t regret your purchase of your first gaming keyboard.