5 Feb 2017
What to look for in a gaming keyboard? Moreover, in the early years of game development, developers limit their game creation on the resource capacity of the computers. When we hear computer resources, what comes first in our minds are how powerful is the computer’s processor or how large the memory’s capacity. But it’s time to change that mindset because a gaming computer set does not end there. What to look for in a gaming keyboard is that there should be a balance from how powerful the processor to how a computer keyboard optimizes our game experience. Keyboards were developed for typing efficiency and not for controlling our avatars in a virtual world. But as the gaming industry rises, a lot of keyboard manufacturers also focused on specializing their product for gaming or simply know as gaming keyboard.
Computer keyboards are essential to us gamers; and we do not need to be a hardcore gamer to buy ourselves some quality keyboard or, to be specific, a gaming keyboard. We just need to learn the important features to look for when purchasing one. There’s no perfect keyboard but we’ll find one that is perfect for us. Here are the best gaming Keyboards in the year 2016:
What to look for in a Gaming Keyboard and What Is A Gaming Keyboard?
We can think of a gaming keyboard as an advanced and customized computer keyboard specially designed for computer gaming. This means an improvement in its ergonomics, keys or buttons, or even colors and lighting. This can do more than typing. It can help high-end gamers improve their gaming experience or help novices gain a competitive edge.
Wired Or Wireless?
As recommended, use wired keyboards for gaming because it transmits data more reliably than wireless keyboards. Wireless keyboards can be prone to some kinds of signal interferences, such as phone signals or even microwave signals. These interferences can be very minor but we need a real time data transmission when playing games. Another good thing about wired keyboards is that they are typically cheaper than wireless ones.
What to Look For in a Gaming Keyboard. Well, let’s take a look at this wireless keyboard by Razer:
It is called Razer Turret and priced 139.55 on Amazon. Yes, it is partnered with a wireless mouse. It is at the top ratings against other wireless keyboards but still out of my price range when buying a gaming keyboard. What to look for in a gaming keyboard? We can see that it looks cheap because we are paying for mouse and keyboard but look at its features. It does not have illumination and no macro keys (these features are discussed below). These are gem features of a gaming keyboard, especially the latter, but Razer Turret does not have those.
If I have to buy non illuminated and no macro keys gaming keyboard, I would definitely go with Turtle Beach Impact 100.
It is wired (which I personally prefer) and only costs 51.85 on Amazon. That settles it, wired gaming keyboards are way cheaper than wireless gaming keyboards. It is not surprising because manufacturers are using more resources to transmit wireless data signal that is as reliable as the wired one.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GAMING KEYBOARD: Mechanical Vs Membrane
It is not surprising if we hear all the time that mechanical keyboards are better for gaming. Mechanical keyboards require less force for each tap because keys are built with its own switch and thus allows for a faster response time (called actuation point) than a membrane keyboard. Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, have a centralized structure below the buttons and this can be very helpful when traversing from one key to the other.
When we type on a mechanical keyboard, the feeling of each key bouncing back is very satisfying. And I think this is what most of the gamers are referring to when they say mechanical keyboards are better for gaming. After all, we want to improve our gaming experience and this satisfaction is priceless for most of us. Yet, membrane keyboards are often made with slimmer key caps which makes it more preferable for typing-based game because it has softer response.
Membrane keyboard’s soft response is attributed to its tactility. When we say tactile, it means that we can feel a bump on our fingertips when a certain key reaches its registering point (when the keyboard actually picks up what we are typing). This is more reliable because we do not need to get used to the keyboard before we can actually use it efficiently.
Although, a mechanical keyboard is linear, which means its tactility is greatly reduced to speed-up its response time. That is very useful for fast paced gaming but we need some time before we can get used to its registering point. But beware of loud clacking sound that mechanical keyboards produce when hitting its keys because we normally use headphones with open microphones. If you find its noise disturbing, better use membrane keyboards because they are silent.
I personally prefer a mechanical keyboard because I like the feel when I’m bouncing its key and the clacking sounds are music to my ears. My favorite is Razer Black Widow Chroma.
It is wired with RGB illumination and has five macro keys. And that is not the best part yet because it only costs 109.99 on Amazon. For a well-rounded gaming keyboard, its price falls just right to the budget. It is also rated as one of the top gaming mechanical keyboards at its price.
But if you prefer membrane gaming keyboard, I would recommend Redragon K501 Asura. It is also wired and illuminated but with eight programmable macro keys.
It is priced 29.99 on Amazon. That’s cheap, but the quality is not. This ergonomic gaming keyboard keeps the balance of our left and right hands by dividing the macro keys equally on both sides. This is great because we play various games that require different hand focus.
This is a feature that is always packaged with when buying a gaming keyboard. Every gaming keyboard is specially designed so that gamers feel comfortable when playing and to avoid wrist pains after a prolonged gaming session. Not all designs are created equal though. There are models that provide comfortable and soft wrist pads, sloped keyboards or split keyboard keys. The point here is to find one that fits the size of our hands or the length of our fingers. If some of us play for a longer period of time, a comfortable wrist pad would be advisable so as not to hurt our hands and wrist to avoid degradation of our performance.
Gaming Keyboard with Wrist Pad
I would definitely go with this feature because I am used with the regular layout of keyboard but I always wanted it to become more comfortable. But for some who always wanted to cut their keyboards in half so that it adjusts to the angle of our hands, split keyboards are better for them.
Split Type Gaming Keyboard
Macro Functions and Extras
Gaming keyboard with Macro Keys
Macro functions are those keys that can be programmed that can launch a character’s ability or skill (that needs a combination of keys to be pressed) in a single key press. Macro functions are strategically designed to be easier to reach and press than other keys; so it can also be used to mimic a certain key that are far from our reach. Take note that this is not an invention of new keys; they are just relocation of certain functions without rearranging the usual arrangement of computer keyboard. This feature is very advantageous because movement delay in launching a skill is dramatically decreased thus providing players a more timed reaction.
I strongly recommend this feature when buying a gaming keyboard. Five macro keys would be ideal, but more is better. We will never know what games would be developed in the future that might need more macro keys.
Gaming Keyboard with USB and Audio Ports
What to look for in a gaming keyboard? Well, it should have extra keys to give gamers easier access on volume control or music. So instead of switching windows just to adjust the volume, we can just press volume up or down button. A gaming mode key is also a nice feature to look for if we are using our keyboards for other important purposes. This can disable our macro functions when turned off or disable windows keys (that minimizes the game) when turned on. Some gaming keyboards provide extra usb port or headset port.
What to look for in a gaming keyboard? In addition, this is the iconic feature that gaming keyboards have. Some gaming keyboards allow gamers to adjust their backlight; from its color to its brightness. Anyone would want to have this very cool feature to their gaming keyboards. This is not just a visual presentation, but can it guide us locate certain keys without directly looking at them.