While the type of keyboard used at work for writing a handful of emails or typing a homework at school or college usually plays a minor role, choosing the right keys is essential for gamers. And not only in eSport: Even hobby players often attach great importance to a good keyboard. Only which one is right for you?
While there are also gaming headsets and mice in different modes and models, the market offers a wide selection of keyboards for gamers. Of course, one’s own taste is the decisive factor in the end and can deviate completely from test winners and co. Nevertheless, we want to give you some hints and tips on how to find the best keyboard for you and what features it should have in any case. Then you are ready for the next fight and will win against your friends in the next match.
Mechanical or Rubber
The first question is which type of keyboard you want to choose. We are not yet talking about the manufacturer, the specifications or even the colour, but about the choice between a mechanical keyboard and one normal keyboard with rubber mat. Gamers prefer the mechanical variant, so keyboards called “gaming” are often of a mechanical nature.
But what does that mean for the players? Well, there’s a so-called switch under each button. A small spring is built into it, which can have different strengths. If it is particularly strong, you will also need more force to press the button. You can also hear that, so mechanical keyboards with a switch are often more popular. The frequent clicking sound they produce and the most common resistance, so that you don’t accidentally get to another key, help you to gamble very precisely.
One Switch for Each Genre
Depending on the game, you could theoretically change the keyboard, because those who really value acoustic feedback can adapt the keyboard to the game. A shooter, be it from an ego perspective or in third person mode, should best be played with a keyboard whose switch is relatively difficult to trigger. This prevents accidental pressing of wrong keys when fingers slide over the keyboard in the heat of battle. If it is necessary to press many keys in a short time, light switches are certainly more suitable, as the amount of force required is significantly lower in the long run and the fingers can jump from one key to the next more quickly.
In Germany, keyboards from the manufacturer Cherry are the absolute hit. You have different key profiles. The Cherry models differ in the force you have to apply to press the corresponding switch. They are divided into different colours, each with a different setting. Cherry, for example, has the Brown Switches, which offer little resistance and are especially suitable for people who write a lot on the PC. Black Switches on the other hand, there is neither acoustic nor noticeable feedback. Especially popular with gamers are the Red Switches. They are linear, which means that they function without noticeable resistance. These three versions are particularly common in Germany, although there is a much wider choice. Silent switches, which are quieter according to their name, are particularly popular.
Logitech also follows suit and launches its own switches to compete with the Cherry mechanisms. Logitech has created Romer-G Switches that may have a reduced key stroke. With additionally improved RGB lighting design, they are ideally suited for gaming. Compared to the switches from Cherry, only the key surfaces light up and let nothing down through. In addition, Logitech’s models can withstand well over 70 million keystrokes, while Cherry’s models only guarantee 50 million keystrokes.
|Switch||Type||Acoustic Feedback||trigger pressure||trigger altitude||stroke stroke||Lifetime|
|Cherry MX Red||Linear||45 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Brown||Tactile||55 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Blue||Tactile||60 g||2.2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Clear||Tactile||65 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Black||Linear||60 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX White||Tactile||80 g||2.2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Nature White||Linear||55 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Speed Silver||Linear||45 g||1.2 mm||3 mm||50 million|
|Cherry MX Green||Tactile||80 g||2.2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|EpicGear Purple||Tactile||50 g||1.5 mm||4 mm||70 million|
|EpicGear Orange||Tactile||50 g||1.5 mm||4 mm||70 million|
|EpicGear Grey||Linear||50 g||1.5 mm||4 mm||70 million|
|Kailh Blue||Tactile||50 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Kailh Brown||Tactile||45 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Kailh Red||Linear||50 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Kailh Black||Linear||60 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
|Kailh Gold||Tactile||60 g||1.4 mm||3.5 mm||70 million|
|Kailh Thick Gold||Tactile||50 g||1.1 mm||3.5 mm||70 million|
|Kailh Silver||Linear||40 g||1.1 mm||3.5 mm||70 million|
|Kailh Copper||Tactile||40 g||1.1 mm||3.5 mm||70 million|
|Razer Green||Tactile||50 g||1.9 mm||4 mm||80 million|
|Razer Orange||Tactile||45 g||1.9 mm||4 mm||80 million|
|Razer Yellow||Linear||45 g||1.2 mm||3.5 mm||80 million|
|Logitech Romer-G (Omron)||Tactile||45 g||1.5 mm||3.5 mm||70 million|
|SteelSeries QS1||Linear||45 g||1.5 mm||3 mm||60 million|
|Topre||Tactile||30 g, 35 g, 45 g, 55 g||2 mm||4 mm||50 million|
As a counterpart there are Rubberdome keys that are not mechanical but have a plastic bell. They often have a scissor mechanism, which enables particularly flat key structures and is therefore often used for laptop keyboards. Plastic bells can often be found on particularly inexpensive keyboards. They are rather less suitable for gambling, since they only perceive the keystroke very inaccurately and always have to be pushed through completely, which delays the input considerably.
It just looks really cool – the colorful RBG lighting of many gaming keyboards. But is that really all, just beautiful optics? The bright colours not only help to find the individual keys better on dark gambling nights. They also have a very specific arrangement of colors that help with orientation. They are often created in a standard order, but can also be adjusted manually to suit your own needs.
- Mark WASD – so you don’t type next to it anymore
- light the special abilities of your character – so you know exactly where to find the fireball in the dark
- Set highlights according to your own wishes
- Removable and changeable buttons
Has it ever happened to you that while cleaning the keyboard, and yes we know there are hundreds of cookie crumbs in it, one of the keys came loose? This can often happen, especially with mechanical keyboards. But there’s nothing to worry about! The removable parts are ideal for cleaning and also offer the possibility to design the keyboard according to your own wishes. The space key should rather be colored red and WASD- do you like WASD better than arrows? Absolutely no problem, everything can be exchanged.
Macro Keys for Individual Key Combinations
In addition to the conventional keyboards that we have known for many years, there are some additional settings. This includes for example the macro keys. This allows you to save certain combinations and recall them quickly at the touch of a button. Keyword: Convenience! It is especially useful for games that often require the same sequence of keystrokes. For example, in MMORPGs, where different spells are quickly strung together.
There are also keyboards that have a separate multimedia control at the top corners. An integrated roller can be used to adjust the volume, connect USB devices or headphones, or skip music without having to leave the game screen.
Those who pay attention to a particularly high durability of their keyboard should also deal with the cable. By the way, wireless never transmits inputs as fast as a wired keyboard, so we advise against it, especially for frequent gamblers. A braided cable, also often called a sleeved cable, protects against cable breakage.
In particular, keyboards that have just come onto the market in recent years sometimes have holders for the smartphone or other devices such as tablets. So it is always in sight and messages or the time are always in sight.
For optimal comfort, some keyboards have a palm rest at the bottom. However, it also takes up a lot of space and immediately destroys the slim appearance of a keyboard. But it’s always practical: especially on longer gambling nights, the wrists quickly become noticeable. If you have already found your favourite keyboard, but it does not have such an edition, you can also buy it individually . Made of silicone or similar soft materials, for example.
The Ghosting Problem
Another point you should keep in mind when buying is the so-called ghosting. This is a phenomenon that is particularly noticeable in cheaper keyboards with rubber domes. When gambling it is often necessary to use several keys at the same time. With some models it happens that instead of the selected keys, a nearby one is triggered, although it was not struck at all. Or that the selected key combination does not work correctly. This is due to the way it was interconnected during manufacture.
Ghosting is a nuisance that can be handled with keyboards that are mechanical in nature and have “anti-ghosting” in the features. But take a close look at the explanations in the manual, because there are a few keyboards that only provide the usual areas with anti-ghosting. So for gamers, that would be WASD. If you also need other key combinations frequently, you should keep an eye on them.
The Key-Rollover is a good match for the topic, indicating how many keys you can press at the same time without the system falling into ghosting or causing other problems.
A bit opposite to ghosting is the N-Key-Roll Over, which is also called Full N-Key-Roll Over. At first, this actually only means that all keys that are pressed at the same time give a feedback at the same time. The N in the name is a variable that applies to all keys. If, due to the keyboard, it is not possible for all keys to register at the same time, the number is replaced by the variable.
This means, for example, that 12-key roll-over keyboards can register exactly 12 keys simultaneously. If you press one more, there are two possibilities:
- The first key is overwritten
- The 13th button will not respond
Let’s just think about a live example: You play a shooter like Battlefield, CoD or a current Battle Royale-title. Running, jumping and shooting or reloading are essential actions, which in the best case even take place simultaneously. At least if you want to be faster than your opponent. If you only have a 2-key roll over keyboard, it’s gonna be hard. Because either you stop, jump and shoot or you continue to run and jump – all three actions at the same time cannot be executed with it.
Double-Shot Molding – The Double Injection Moulding Process
Nowadays, keyboards are much more durable and have stable keys that don’t fall apart even during long LAN parties. In order to keep the keycaps especially stable, a double-shot molding is used during production. As the name suggests, this happens in two (double) steps.
This casting process has several advantages:
- The label is clearly visible and the keys have a smooth edge
- The keycaps can be manufactured in any color – perfect for custom keyboards
- The inscription cannot be palpated, does not wear out and does not irritate by elevations during gambling
Where there are advantages, there are usually also some negative sides. This includes, for example, the cost factor. Because for each letter and each key an own form to produce costs time and above all money. It is much cheaper to cast a series of buttons and simply add the legend later in a user-defined way. But then we again have the noticeable surveys, which, depending on the manufacturing process, can wear off.
Even the type of font cannot be selected completely freely with the Double Shot method, since sharp edges are hardly possible here. The ABS plastic, which is often used, also turns yellow quickly.
ABS or PBT?
The two terms above are abbreviations for materials that can be used to make keys for a keyboard. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is just as much a plastic as polybutylene terephthalate, but they have different properties.
- Act cheap
- mostly thinner
- has more texture
- Act more expensive
- Smearing not
- Generally somewhat thicker
Each manufacturer decides for himself which material to use. They both can be used in double-shot mode and appear in the high-priced category of keyboards.
You probably know it too: You just want to quickly plug the new device into the PC, do a little something and then want to go directly somewhere. It’s just stupid that often eternal installations and updates stand in the way. Also keyboards sometimes have to be installed and set up before using them for the first time. This is sometimes faster and sometimes less fixed – depending on the model. But there are also some keyboards that simply work via Plug & Play. Put it on and let’s go!
Some devices also offer company software that can be installed as an option. This can be used to configure all devices that come from the company, as is the case with Corsair, for example. Not absolutely necessary for standard use, but if you want to get the full potential out of your keyboard, these extras are always a good idea.
How Do I Find the Best Gaming Keyboard?
Just as one can argue about the taste of food, it is also difficult to say uniformly what is really the “best”. From a technical point of view we can of course work out the advantages for you, but what moves in at your home is a completely different story. After all, your own experience, recommendations, gut instinct and, classically, your looks are all included.
Nevertheless, at least a rough categorisation can be determined. If you gamble a lot on your PC, a mechanical keyboard is a good idea. The click of the individual buttons and the fast response time play an important role here, which is why you should attach importance to the type of switches. Make sure you have a cable connection between your PC and keyboard – only it can give you the fastest possible transfer.
If you want to take it easy, write a lot with your computer and only use the keyboard for occasional gaming, it doesn’t necessarily have to be mechanical equipment with red switches. Here you can also be guided by other factors.
But in the end it still says: The best thing is what you like and feel good.
The Gaming All-Rounder in Bright Colors: Roccat Vulcan 100
If you are looking for a particularly colourful specimen, we can recommend the new ROCCAT Vulcan 100. This mechanical treasure can light up in up to 16.8 million colours. But also technically it has actually everything what the heart desires. With NKRO and Anti-Ghosting it is especially suitable for gambling. Press ten keys simultaneously? No problem at all. Due to the lack of a palm rest, the Vulcano 100 is particularly sleek and space-saving. Nevertheless an absolute eye-catcher by the nearly innumerable colors.
With Palm Rest and Plug & Play: Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile
If you have a little more space, you can take a closer look at this Corsair keyboard. The K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile is also mechanical in nature and has a flat Cherry MX switch. Generous bale trays are attached to the lower part, which become a comfortable companion especially in longer game sessions.
It becomes clear at first glance that the visual appearance makes a lot of difference. The surface is made of brushed aluminium, which not only looks noble, but also benefits the longevity. Corsair’s RGB lighting, on the other hand, can’t keep up with millions of colours, but seems as colourful as a rainbow. You can easily turn this effect off or off. Thanks to Plug & Play you can start right away.
In the End, You Decide
The choice of gaming keyboards is huge. Many suppliers have a whole range of models to choose from, which are hard to distinguish for a layman at first glance. Of course, it is important that you like the device in question.
In our article we have given you some hints on how to select keyboards. Ultimately, it’s up to you what you value most. It doesn’t always have to be the most expensive model, but we don’t recommend the very cheap models with rubber mats, because you should enjoy gambling for a long time, which we think mechanical keyboards can do for you much better.