Gaming Keyboard: All facts for the right decision

A good team players at Player Unknown Battleground impress with their reliability, precision and flexibility in every situation and the same applies to the best gaming keyboards, regardless of whether they have to prove themselves in League of Legends, WoW or World of Tanks. Which keyboard best supports your gaming depends on other criteria: We’ll show you what mechanical switches, RGB, macro or display are all about in the gaming keyboard test so that you can make a good decision. After all, solid preparation is half the battle.

Gaming Keyboard: What You Should Know

Numerous manufacturers now provide a wide range of good gaming keyboards for every taste: from the martial edges of a Roccat board to the color elegance of a Razer Chroma to the simple charm of the Logitech keyboard lighting. The design of a gaming keyboard is not just an aesthetic issue. The keyboard layout can be decisive for the game: Is a number pad necessary or annoying; the macro keys are easily accessible; does the illuminated keyboard show additional game information? And exotic ones, such as laser keyboards and keyboards with touchpad, can be interesting solutions in one case or another. The decision about these questions will depend on what your needs are. So make your own picture in the gaming keyboards comparison!

Despite the large variety of models and numerous features that you can choose between, the purchase criteria are manageable. Players and equipment should form a compact unit and a keyboard for gaming has the same properties that a good gamer has. The characteristics of a good gaming keyboard are:

  1. Reliability: Gaming keyboards are built to be robust and every keystroke is reliably recognized thanks to key rollover and anti-ghosting
  2. Precision: Mechanical buttons and optimized drivers ensure an exact pressure point and short reaction times
  3. Flexibility: Gaming keyboards are individually programmable and can be adapted to every player and every game

 

Why are the best gaming keyboards mostly mechanical keyboards?

If the buttons click audibly in the live stream on Twitch at League of Legends or Fortnite, this not only means the peak of tension in the battle arena, it is also a sign of good equipment. What may be annoying to one person is a guarantee of reliability and good response for the other: the distinctive clatter of a mechanical keyboard.

What are the advantages of mechanical gaming keyboards?

When is a gamer successful at Counter Strike? Right: if it can combine speed and precision and the accessories have to do that too. With mechanical gaming keyboards, this is achieved by an independent mechanism processing the keystroke for each individual key and passing it on as an electrical signal: The keystroke pushes a small slide 6 millimeters down, which closes the contact and a spring pushes the key up again. The proven concept guarantees a lifespan of at least 50 million hits, for which even a hardcore gamer needs more than 10 years.

There are now a large number of manufacturers who implement the principle of mechanical keyboards. However, the technology of the industry leader continues to set the tone and its range gives the best overview of the different technologies and application scenarios:

  • MX Red Switches are particularly popular with gamers. The linear buttons respond to a trigger pressure of 450 mN (Milli-Newtons) and are therefore well suited for the quick actions of first-person shooters and point & click games.
  • Professional gamers occasionally use the MX Black from Cherry. The switches react linearly, are particularly precise and unintentional triggering is almost impossible, as they only respond to a force of 600 mN, a feature that not everyone wants to get used to.
  • 10-finger writers often rely on MX Blue, which is triggered via a precise switching point (non-linear keys) at 600 mN, the tactile feedback ensures reliable inputs at average speeds.
  • MX Brown is the all-round button among mechanical switches. The non-linear key is very precise, reacts at 550 mN and is comparatively quiet, an ideal compromise between gaming and writing.

They can convince in the mechanical keyboard test and due to their popularity, development continues and brings new solutions, such as the MX Speed ​​Silver (fast and precise) or the MX Silent Switch (quiet and precise).

But not only cherry switches can be found on the market. For example, Logitech relies on the specially developed Romer-G switches from Omron, which, according to their own statements, have a response time that is up to 25 percent faster. When it comes to longevity, Logitech speaks of over 70 million keystrokes. In addition to the Cherry switches, Razer also uses switches from its own production, although the selection with Razer Green, Yellow and Orange switches is comparatively small.

Many manufacturers of cheaper mechanical keyboards rely on the Kailh switches which cost less to purchase. As counterparts to the market-leading Cherry switches, there are also variants Kailh Blue, Black, Brown and Red to choose from. In addition, newer switches are always being added.

The distinction between linear and non-linear keys isn’t just a feature for tech geeks, the difference affects the feel of the keys. In the case of buttons with a linear switching characteristic, the relationship between the effort required and the switching travel is even. With a non-linear characteristic, there is a noticeable resistance in the middle of the key stroke and an additional click when the contact is closed. Writers but also some gamers rely on this tactile feedback, through which you can feel the successful keystroke.

What are the advantages of gaming keyboards with rubber dome switches?

Gaming keyboards with rubber dome switches work on a semi-mechanical principle. Between the buttons and the switch, which closes the electrical contact, there is a rubber mat with small bulges. It protects the electrical switch from wear and tear and ensures that the button pops up again after it has been pressed. This technique is much simpler and an inexpensive alternative to manufacture. The rubber mat wears out faster, which means that an average lifespan of 5 million keystrokes can be expected.

The scissor switch is a further development of the rubber dome technology. The electrical contact is implemented by means of a scissor mechanism and allows a very flat keyboard and a longer service life: 10 to 20 million keystrokes. Scissor switches are primarily found in notebooks, but some gaming keyboards also use this technology.

Keyboards with rubber mats, both with and without a scissor mechanism, are quieter, cheaper and easy to recognize in a direct comparison: They react a little more spongy than mechanical keyboards and almost never achieve their longevity.

Keyboards comparison: Rubber dome vs mechanics

For a long time, mechanical keyboards were only the first choice for gamers. In the meantime, however, they are also being used more and more in everyday office life. The reliability, longevity, speed and the versatility of variants can also convince in professional use and the higher costs are often justified by the long service life.

Rubber dome keyboards are cheap to buy, weigh fewer grams and are sufficiently precise for average PC use. The keyboard with its flat design is ideal for notebooks and due to the lower level of noise it is the first choice in noise-sensitive environments.

Mechanical keyboards Rubberdome keyboards
Keystroke precision Low overall height (notebooks)
Fast response times Quieter in operation
Good
cost-to-life ratio
Low acquisition costs
Key-Roll and Anti-Gohsting as standard

 

The best gaming keyboards: Which features do I have to look out?

Gaming keyboards are no longer just simple keyboards with illuminated keys for quick keystrokes. The challenging game worlds also require extremely precise control concepts. Flexibility, variety and a large range of functions make them attractive in the gaming keyboard test, especially compared to conventional controllers.

Illuminated keyboards for gamers

Those who follow a lets play stream are often impressed by the ambience of the player’s desktop: the RGB keyboard with red, blue or green color accents provides the appropriate background lighting. Luminous keyboards with only one color light up the dark desk and important keys, for example WASD. Keyboards with LEDs and the necessary control software can produce any color and provide exciting effects: Built-in microphones and equalizers let the PC keyboard pulsate with light in the rhythm of the audio environment.

Gaming keyboards with illuminated keys are not only nice-to-have, they can also bring a decisive advantage in the game. If the intense red or disgusting green of the key lighting provides information about the avatar’s life points or the degree of poisoning, then this can be the necessary clue to prevent the game from ending quickly.

Gaming keyboards with display

Complex game scenarios provide a lot of information in a short time, regardless of whether it is about what is happening in the battle arena or the status of the overheated modules in Eve-Online. Each additional information channel can decide about the outcome of a battle or deliver important news from real life. Depending on the model and the software supplied, keyboards with a display can provide information about:

  • VoIP information on TeamSpeak
  • CPU and RAM usage
  • RSS news feeds, etc.

Gaming keyboards without keypad

The number block on the right-hand side of PC keyboards is a necessary feature for office users. For gamers, however, the keypad is usually of no real use and is often a hindrance: it takes up space on the gaming table and ensures unnecessarily long distances from the mouse to the keyboard. Since time and space are crucial criteria for gamers, more and more manufacturers are bringing keyboards with mechanical keys without number pad onto the market. In addition, the shortened keyboards are among the ergonomic alternatives: If there is not enough space, they can enable a more gentle sitting position for the player.

What are the benefits of programmable keyboards for gamers?

A new game keyboard always means time for players to familiarize themselves with and adapt. The effort has the benefit of gaining decisive seconds in a battle or in a race. Programmable gaming keyboards offer the advantage of being able to easily take familiar key combinations for inventory, character or game properties and special macros from one game to the next without having to rely on the peculiarities of the game programmer. And left-handers can easily compensate for a disadvantage if they can simply reprogram the WASD movement buttons to PLÖÄ.

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USB keyboard or PS / 2 keyboard: Which one is better for gamers?

The PS / 2 has been the standard for the qualitative connection of peripheral devices for decades. The interfaces enable a high data density with fast transmission and processing times in the computer. Keyboards for the PC with numerous features and multimedia control, such as display or RGB control, therefore still rely on the traditional connection. However, since not enough current can flow through PS / 2, a USB cable has to be used for keyboard lighting, for example.

The development of the USB interface has meanwhile almost made up for the disadvantage compared to the PS / 2 variant: higher data rates and improved USB controllers. Therefore, even demanding gaming keyboards are now equipped with the universal standard. USB keyboards only have a noticeable disadvantage if the gaming PC has to control other complex USB devices at the same time.

What are gaming keyboards with macro keys for?

Macro keyboards offer the option of adapting keyboards, mice or headsets to your needs. And despite the flexibility of programmable keyboards, they still have their place as master keys:

  1. Tactically well placed on the keyboard so that no long distances are necessary
  2. Prevent confusion when standard keys have multiple assignments
  3. Offer more programming options

A longer key combination can easily be assigned to a macro key with the recording function: Should the situation require it, the message “Healer is GOING to DIE” is transmitted faster with a macro key than in the conventional way.

The use of macros is controversial among gamers: For some, they are a common way of making control easier, while others see them as a form of unauthorized cheating. Even if you belong to the group that sees no difference between gaming keyboards with macros and conventional controllers, you can rely on one thing: Most tensions can be avoided if the topic is discussed and clarified at the beginning.

What is a split keyboard and what are the benefits?

Long gaming sessions are not only fun, they can also be physically demanding. The correct sitting position and the ergonomically fitting keyboard guarantees the necessary looseness on the gaming weekend so that you can start the week again without tension. Split keyboards can be the solution in addition to the ergonomic keyboards with wave design. They can be optimally adjusted and ensure the best position when playing.

Keyboards with a hinge on the upper side can be unfolded and thus offer a relaxed hand position without having to tense the shoulder unnaturally. In the second form of split keyboards, the two halves are completely separated from each other and are only connected by a cable.

What do I have to look out for in a wireless gaming keyboard?

Avoid the cable salad on the gaming desktop, wireless keyboards are particularly suitable. Keyboards with radio or Bluetooth ensure data exchange with the gaming PC. With Bluetooth solutions, however, some caution is advised, as this standard is particularly energy-hungry and does not always provide enough bandwidth for the sum of information. If this is less of a problem with mice, wireless gaming keyboards need a sufficient amount of both.

Wireless keyboards with their own radio connection are the better choice in the wireless keyboard test. They are usually powered by two AA batteries that can last up to a year. And they also deliver better performance when it comes to data transmission: With signal rates of 1 millisecond, they are in no way inferior to wired keyboards.

 

Which additional features should I look out for in the gaming keyboard test?

The acquisition of a new keyboard for gaming is definitely an investment in gaming fun that should last for a while. In addition to the core features, there are some additional aspects in the gaming keyboard test that need to be considered so that your money is well spent.

Does my gaming keyboard need sleeved connection cables?

Gamer keyboards face special challenges in terms of durability. Not only professional e-athletes on tour, also gamers at LAN parties and players with a corresponding temperament should therefore pay attention to so-called sleeved connection cables when searching for a gaming keyboard. These have an additional wrapping that protects against cable damage caused by high tensile and kinking loads.

Many gaming keyboards in the top and middle field have connecting cables with the additional wrapping. With some keyboards, the cables are removable and can be retrofitted if necessary.

When does a gaming keyboard with an additional USB hub make sense?

USB connections are always in demand, there can’t be enough of them. Hubs expand the connection of every notebook and save you from having to crawl under your desk to look for USB ports on your gaming PC. Gaming keyboards with USB hubs expand the keyboard into a multi-media device. But not only smartphones and cams can be connected well with it, mice and headsets can also be easily connected via the keyboard.

It should be noted that the hub also provides the correct USB standard, in some cases USB 1.1 connections are still used here. If you plan to connect some power-hungry devices, you should also shortlist keyboards with their own power supply.

Does gaming keyboards with smartphone holders make sense?

More and more game manufacturers are providing their games with additional apps: The smartphone programs can read player information, provide additional mini-games from the gaming world or even take over the control of individual features. Some keyboards for gaming therefore come with a smartphone or tablet holder. This allows the mobile devices to be easily and clearly integrated into the player’s desktop.

But even without an additional app, a smartphone holder on the game keyboard can be useful: It allows you not to lose contact with real life even during intensive gaming phases.

Which gaming keyboards have a quiet stroke?

Gaming keyboards have a reputation for being loud and in the case of mechanical keyboards mostly rightly so. However, if you are willing to accept compromises in terms of performance and / or price, you will find good solutions in the gaming keyboard test.

Rubber dome keyboards generally allow a very quiet keystroke. For this reason, some manufacturers also offer gaming keyboards that use this technology. For some time now, Cherry keyboards have also been on the market that also bring the popular MX-Red as MX-Silent-Red switches, which are currently the quietest mechanical switches.

What are the advantages of a gaming keyboard with a palm rest?

Long sessions at a keyboard can put a lot of strain on the wrist and tendons: finger movements with angled hand are not natural forms of movement for us. To make matters worse, many users tilt the keyboard. If the stress continues over a long period of time, inflammation and tension develop.

Palm rests on the keyboard are the optimal solution in this situation: They enable a straight line between forearm and hand and relieve the movement system. Since gamers sit in front of the keyboard for a particularly long time, ergonomic keyboards are often a good solution: ergonomic keyboards from Logitech or Razer, for example, prevent long-term damage just as well as subsequently added palm rests.

What are the benefits of a gaming keyboard and mouse set?

If you are putting together a new gaming PC in the entry-level or mid-range field, it can make sense to look at a set in the gaming keyboard test. Mouse-keyboard combinations are usually well coordinated: design and color system are uniform and the function keys complement each other. Another advantage is that only editor software is required to program the mouse and keyboard. And finally, gaming sets are usually cheaper in the wireless keyboard test.

 

Gaming keyboard review: What does the market have to offer?

For gamers, input devices are the interface into the gaming world, they are your extended arm. The question of the best gaming keyboard is accordingly important and it doesn’t always have to be the best mechanical keyboard. In the gaming keyboard test, ultimately only the success or the fun you have with it counts. Whether a mechanical keyboard is cheap is not always easy to answer and if it meets your requirements for a long time and optimally, a high-priced solution can also pay off.

The you’ll find largest selection in the entry field until about € 50. Speedlink gaming keyboards show that in this area also favorable mechanical keyboards are possible, although quite a few trade-offs must be taken into account in terms of features such as RGB or volume. For example, dbpower gaming keyboards offer keyboards with lighting that cannot be programmed . In addition to SpeedLink keyboards, Trust keyboards and Cherry keyboards are always good solutions in the budget field. Brand manufacturers also provide interesting solutions, for example with the Corsair gaming keyboards and of course Logitech gaming keyboards. A good price-performance ratio can be found in entry-level sets, such as the Logitech keyboard mouse combinationsand the Trust Gaming Keyboard Set. Keyboards from Razer and gaming keyboards from Roccat can only be found in the next price range.

The mid-range up to around € 120 offers the most interesting solutions : many functions at affordable prices. Logitech mechanical keyboards, Razer gaming keyboards and Roccat keyboards are among the most extensive packages in the gaming keyboard comparison. The gaming keyboards from Razer and the mechanical keyboards from Roccat are particularly popular among gaming professionals. The MSI keyboards toofrom the hardware all-rounder offer exciting details such as the MX speed switches from Cherry. In this field you will also find interesting offers if you value a healthy hand position. The Microsoft keyboards, actually designed for the office area, are suitable for gaming and the ergonomic keyboards from Logitech have good properties.

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Gaming is trendy! This is particularly evident in the tightly packed top field from € 120 . Roccat keyboards with mechanical keys and mechanical keyboards from Razer and Corsair lead the field alongside mechanical keyboards from Logitech: RGB lighting, programmable keyboard and fast data rates are standard here. In the Logitech keyboard in wireless design you will also find a wireless solution that can be played on. Large hardware brands can be found in this field, for example with the Asus gaming keyboard.

Finally, a word about aesthetics. For many gamers, their keyboards must also be recognizable as gamer keyboards and enthusiastic World of Warcraft gamers can appreciate the value of a WoW keyboard. While Logitech keyboards tend to have a neutral design, other manufacturers are not so cautious. The appearance of a Predator keyboard from Acer or the MadCatz V.7 Cyborg keyboard leave no questions unanswered; Even some Razer keyboards and Roccat gaming keyboards can be seen to have their martial purpose at first glance.

 

Tips for using gaming keyboards

Gaming keyboards are an investment in gaming fun. We have put together tips for you to ensure that it pays off in the long term and to get you started easily.

Keyboard profiles for a quick start

With the software of a programmable keyboard, different profiles can usually be created and saved. The profiles can be exported and also imported by the program. This is particularly exciting for beginners who obtain the relevant profile files from friends or via a forum of their choice. This shortens the learning curve for a new gaming keyboard considerably and the time can be used for the first mission.

Why should I disable the Windows key?

Anyone who has accidentally pressed the Windows key in a battle in League of Legends in the heat of the moment knows one thing for sure: The decisive seconds can cost the team the victory. So that your future in the clan is not endangered, you should deactivate the Windows key.

Most keyboard manufacturers allow this with the included driver software. If this is not the case, it can be time-consuming because Microsoft has packed the function deep in the registry. In this case, Microsoft support also offers a simple software tool for download.

How can I properly clean my gaming keyboard?

Special keyboard cleaning sets bring everything that is necessary. But the cleaning accessories for PC and screens are also particularly suitable here. A soft cloth and a gentle cleaning agent are recommended for weekly cleaning. Conventional household cleaners are often very aggressive and can damage the gloss of a keyboard. Cleaning foam for displays cleans and protects the game keyboard. The spaces between the keys should also be cleaned at regular intervals. A compressed air spray does this job to the full satisfaction.

Mechanical keyboards also have the advantage that the key heads are removable. These can then be easily cleaned of dirt, and the circuit board underneath is also more accessible.

What do I do if Windows 10 does not recognize the keyboard?

Windows 10 is now a stable operating system with a tidy overview of settings. However, it can happen that individual devices are not recognized after an update. The tried and tested device manager in the control panel still helps here: Search for HID keyboard under input devices, right-click to open properties and update the driver on the corresponding tab.

 

Which gamer keyboard is suitable for which application scenario?

A good gaming keyboard is your interface to the game, it ultimately makes the difference between success and failure. What requirements should your optimal gamer keyboard have?

Which gaming keyboard is suitable for shooters?

First Person Shooter (FPS) demand a quick hand and precision like no other game genre, which has to be supported by the gaming PC keyboard. The precise keystroke, for example with rapid fire, is usually only available from a gaming keyboard with mechanical keys; Cherry gaming keyboards with the MX Red Switches ensure the good and medium-hard pressure point. In addition, the keyboard must allow the simultaneous pressing of keys (key rollover) and prevent unwanted key entries (ghosting).

A good FPS keyboard has the macro keys in the right place. Even if their use is only allowed for chat functions in some games, the keyboard software should allow fast and uncomplicated programming as is the case with gaming keyboards from Logitech or Razer.

Which gaming keyboard is suitable for beginners?

Beginners in the world of PC games pay particular attention to uncomplicated operation and solid workmanship, as can already be found in many inexpensive gaming keyboards. Elaborate color systems or complex programming are not necessary for a quick start.

An important requirement is that the new PC gaming keyboard allows you to press at least two keys at the same time. Rubberdome gaming keyboards nowadays often have a 6-key rollover in the area of ​​the WASD keys and are therefore a good compromise for beginners. However, if you have planned your gamer life for a longer period of time, the high effort involved in familiarizing yourself with the handling of mechanical gaming keyboards with numerous functions can be worthwhile.

What should you watch out for with gaming keyboards for PS4?

What used to be categorically rejected has now become standard: console games with a mouse and keyboard instead of controllers. The demand for PS2 keyboards was still manageable. But now that many point & click games are available on the PS4 and shooters have always been easier to control with conventional input devices, the attitude of console players has fundamentally changed.

Game keyboards are not always automatically recognized by the PS4. External and Bluetooth keyboards can be easily integrated in the device settings. For the functionality of a mechanical keyboard for gaming, however, the use of a mouse keyboard converter is recommended, which makes every input device PS4-compatible.

Are there gaming keyboards for left-handers?

Left-handed keyboards are rarely found, only a few manufacturers offer special left-hand editions. The main reason for this is that the standard keyboard layout already has arrow keys on the right side, meaning that the dominant left hand is free for the mouse. Using WASD as movement keys was originally a workaround for right-handers. Only after the advantage has been established that the keys in the WASD environment are very easily accessible for additional functions, left-handers have fallen behind again.

The disadvantage can now be easily compensated for with flexible programming and key assignment, and so the popular WASD combination often becomes a PLÖÄ key sequence.

The trend towards the programmable keyboard is not just a blessing for left-handers. Even gamers who want to design their own keyboards as much as possible will find exciting solutions today. With exchangeable key caps, any digital programming can also be retrofitted in analog form on the keyboard.

Which gaming keyboards are recommended for the Mac?

The gaming PC is a Windows PC, this is a long-established practice of the game-forge. Only after streaming services such as Steam have freed PC gamers from the constraint of a special platform will games also become more and more popular on Apple computers. The good news is that any keyboard is recognized by the Apple operating system; The bad news is that special Mac keyboards for gaming with the specific keyboard layout are hard to find. A simple change of the special keys in the system settings of the MacOS brings the solution. This means that the keyboard shortcuts that have been practiced are available on every PC keyboard for gaming.

When using a gaming keyboard for the Mac, you should pay attention to the software with which you control the additional functions and this is not always OSX compatible. Most manufacturers have already ported their software to MacOSX, such as lgs for Logitech gaming keyboards or Synapse for Razer keyboards.

 

Gaming Keyboards Glossary

  • Double Shot Keycaps are keycaps on which the letters and numbers are not printed. The lettering is created by using two different colored filling materials. Double shot keycaps last longer.
  • FPS. FPS stands for Frames Per Second and First Person Shooter. Many a forum discussion about why a graphics card quality criterion is discussed in the keyboard thread could have been spared.
  • Ghosting means that a key that is not pressed is mistakenly recognized as a stop. Rubber dome keyboards in particular are prone to this and should have an anti-ghosting function when used in gaming.
  • Key rollover or N-Key-Roll describes the function in which two or more keys are recognized at the same time. 2-key roll: 2 keys are recognized at the same time; 6-key rollover or 104-key rollover: 6 or 104 keys. The area of ​​the WASD movement keys in particular should support this function.
  • RGB is an abbreviation for RED GREEN BLUE. This describes a color space in which 16.7 million colors are theoretically possible in LED lighting by mixing the three basic colors.
  • Tactile feedback is the noticeable pressure when the contact is closed on non-linear keys. The additional sensory impression is important in order to develop a feeling for whether the keystroke was successful. Ten-finger typists and some gamers swear by keyboards with tactile feedback.
  • TKL is an acronym for TenKeyLess. Keyboards without a number block (10 digit keys) are also known as TKL keyboards. Often, however, this term is not mentioned at all and people tend to rely on additions such as “Compact” to a gaming keyboard without a numeric keypad.

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