Got fingers, play PC games? Your desktop keyboard is the primary weapon in your PC’s gaming arsenal.
If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably take your gaming keyboard selection very seriously. Then you must choose the best keyboard for you.
When your keyboard works as a game controller, it is more than just a typing tool. If you’re interested in PC gaming, it’s worth knowing what makes a keyboard great, what sets it apart, and what’s on the market today. Fortunately, we’ve put together the following article to help you find the right keyboard for you.
Most good gaming keyboards today use mechanical switches that couple each key to its own spring loaded switch. They offer superior audio and tactile feedback. Most of these switches use so-called “MX” mechanisms from a company called Cherry and feature colors, each with a slightly different design and tailored to give a certain feel and sound when writing.
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The change you want depends on the types of games you play and what else you do with your computer. Cherry MX Black switches have the highest actuation power, making them ideal for games where you don’t have to worry about accidentally pressing a button twice. However, this can give them a stiff feel that doesn’t suit well for games that require a more nimble response. For these types of titles, you may prefer Cherry MX Red switches with hair activators. If both are too extreme for you, there is a compromise candidate for Cherry MX Brown switches – they have the same actuation strength as the red variant, but add a tactile punch for easier typing. If you need a keyboard that can switch between hardcore gaming and traditional work tasks, this is the right choice.
However, Cherry is not the only switch manufacturer. Decent Cherry MX knockoffs from manufacturers like Kaihua populate some cheap mechanical keyboards. Some conventional keyboard manufacturers have developed their own mechanical switches as an alternative to Cherry. Logitech Romer G switches are now available on many gaming keyboards. The company claims to have a longer lifespan and a shorter travel distance than Cherry switches. Razer has also made a name for itself with its green, orange, and yellow buttons. Additionally, Three Green Snake Company now has an optical key switch that uses a beam of light to detect a keystroke instead of a standard metal contact point.
At the lower end of the gaming keyboard market, you can still find cards that use “rubber dome” switches that use little bubbles in a silicone membrane. The material is the spring behind the switch. The result is slack and requires full pressure each time you press the button, reducing the speed at which commands can be entered. A slight deviation from this is the scissor switch, which also uses a silicone membrane to return, but has a slimmer profile and adds an “X” -shaped stabilizer mechanism under each key. Scissor switches are most commonly used on laptops, but some flat gaming keyboards use them.
Features that wouldn’t matter on a normal keyboard take on new meaning if they’re suitable for gaming. For example, backlighting is not just a way to light buttons in a dark room. For gamers, new features in the old backlight include adjustable colors and multiple lighting zones with separate backlight zones for the arrow and WASD keys, highlighting the most commonly used control keys. Some gaming keyboards even have a one-key backlight that allows you to individually adjust the color of each key to your liking.
Another customizable feature is the interchangeable key. Since the mechanical switches are physically separated from the keyboard cover, some models allow you to remove the keys and replace them with others that have contoured shapes, textures for better touch control, or different colored plastic. Some keyboards only offer interchangeable WASD keys, while others may contain arrow keys or numbers that you can replace.
An esports gaming keyboard can offer more than exceptionally well-designed keys and functions, such as customizing macro commands and dedicated key combinations. Some even offer entirely new features, like in-game stats tracking, keyboard text communication, or built-in touchscreens. Other possible improvements include lines with dedicated multimedia keys and profile keys. Some gaming keyboards also have a USB connection that allows you to connect other USB devices to the keyboard itself, freeing up one or two additional ports on your PC.
When it comes to USB, you may prefer wireless keyboards. Most gaming keyboards are wired for a reason. Wired keyboards are eye-catching because you don’t have to worry about the potential input latency associated with wireless signal transmission. With a traditional wireless keyboard, there may be delays between pressing a key and registering your computer as a key.
When playing games, especially multiplayer games, it is important to minimize this delay. This is the reason why many competitive players and esports dogs swear by the cables. Still, many of the major gaming keyboards feature well-known wireless designs with low latency. However, wireless gaming keyboards are still the exception rather than the norm.
If you want to fully equip a gaming system, you should also check out the best gaming mouse motospeed gaming mouse, monitors and headsets. Some of these models can work in sync with the keyboard in terms of lighting and controls. Sometimes the same software can control RGB effects or macros on a keyboard and mouse from the same manufacturer, so you don’t need to manage and understand two or more utilities.