Today I’m going to talk about gaming keyboards. Keyboards are often a more overlooked part of the gaming setup, but are still very important.
There can be many features to look at in a gaming keyboard. The most important is mechanical keys vs membrane, which I will explain shortly. Other features are if it has macro keys, software, illumination, and portability.
Membrane vs Mechanical keys
The biggest factor in choosing a keyboard is if you want mechanical or membrane keys. Membrane is your stock cheap keyboard that everyone has used. They have a rubber dome that pushes up and when you push the key down all the way it makes the connection and sends the keystroke to your computer. Mechanical, are an actual switch that when pushed to a certain point will send the keystroke. Mechanical feel more precise, and have a much longer lifespan than membrane. Also, there are several different kinds of mechanical switches that have important differences and are important to keep in mind when you are choosing a mechanical keyboard. The advantages to membrane keyboards is that they are cheaper, and technically are slightly more water resistant. The second being much less important, but if you are messy could come in handy.
The different kinds of mechanical switches
There are several kinds of mechanical switches. The main differences between them are if it is “clicky” or a “silent” switch, required pressure to push down, and if it is tactile or linear. “Clicky” makes an audible click sound when it is pressed down enough (when it makes the connection), where silent is quiet. Note that all keys will make sound when you press them down all the way and they bottom out, but this is a different sound. Silent keys wont make a click sound from inside the switch. The required pressure to push the key down should be self explanatory. A higher weight rated key (45 v 55 grams) will require a harder press. Lastly is tactile v linear. Tactile have a hump inside as you press the key down (as a way of feedback to know where to stop pressing), while linear are a smooth press all the way down with no feedback as to when you can stop pressing. Linear are regarded as the fastest for gaming, but realistically they will all work very well.
Cherry MX Blue- This is the most common switch. It is clicky, 50g switch, and tactile bump.
Cherry MX Brown- Silent, 45g switch, tactile bump.
Cherry MX Red-Silent, 50g switch, linear.
Cherry MX Green- Audible click, 80g switch, tactile bump.
Cherry MX White- Silent, 55g spring, tactile bump.
Cherry MX Black- Silent, 60g, linear.
Another aspect of gaming keyboards are macro keys. These are keys that you can record a macro for, so that when you press the key it will run a key macro. This can be used for many things. For example, if you are tired of having to type your long login, you could make a key macro that will type your login when you press it. Then, when you are at the login screen just press your macro key and it types your recording of your login. Not every keyboard comes with these so it is worth deciding if you want them or not when purchasing a keyboard.
Another optional but pleasant factor in choosing a keyboard is its illumination. This is more of a premium for if you are looking to spend more money, but in creating the ultimate battle station, can’t be overlooked. Not every keyboards illumination is made equally. Some cheap keyboards have no illumination or 1 color. I find even basic illumination is important, because it helps while playing at night or low light. More expensive keyboards can have custom RGB lighting per key, and with the software can have different settings, like the keys changing color on press and other things.
Some Keyboard Recomendations
Below I will give some keyboard recommendations. Most of my recommendations are Corsair because they make some of the best gaming keyboards. If you have other branded mice or headphones and want a matching keyboard the other brands generally have the same things. If you are’nt trying to brand match, I recommend Corsair.
For someone on a relatively low budget, I recommend the Corsair Gaming K55. It uses membrane keys (which cuts the price down) and has macro keys and RGB illumination.
For those on a higher budget, I recommend the Corsair K70 LUX. It is mechanical, has macro keys, and is RGB illuminated. It comes with different versions for what switches you want.
Cherry MX Brown- Corsair K70 LUX Browns on Amazon
Cherry MX Red- Corsair K70 LUX Reds on Amazon
For those only looking for the fastest gaming performance, I advise the Corsair K70 Rapidfire. It is extremely similar to the aboves. They key factor is that it uses cherry MX Speed switches. So in other words, Red’s with a higher actuation point. Which means less time from when you start pressing the key to when it sends.
For a wireless gaming keyboard, I recommend the Razer turret. Yes, its Razer and just trash talked Razer, but its still a good company and shouldn’t let you down.
Thanks for reading! I hope this helped in choosing your gaming keyboard. If you have any questions, comments, or opinions you want to debate, feel free to leave a comment below!