Gaming Keyboard Guidebook 2018- How To Choose Your Keyboard
First Read Then Buy
Welcome to our Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide about the best accessories for the gamer of today. Below we explain briefly which product knowledge we have put together for you. We show you the main differences between a normal keyboard and a good gaming keyboard.
The next section deals with a detailed gaming keyboard buying guide. This includes various brands, manufacturers, and models that we have compared. On our subpages, you can then read individual product concepts and find the necessary knowledge to make a suitable choice when buying one.
Gaming Keyboards vs. Normal PC Keyboard
The normal PC keyboard has a classic control panel, including the F-keys. In smaller versions, the number pad is missing or placed as a third function on other keys. Some models offer you media keys to open your browser, e-mail and more. Gaming keyboards offer you specialized keys to save gaming profiles, change backlighting and more.
What are the big differences to a gaming keyboard?
Probably the most popular criterion for a good gaming keyboard is the importance of how fast the information is transferred from the keyboard to the PC. You will see this displayed in milliseconds and the lower the value, the better the keyboard.
However, you need to remember a keyboard could only ever be as fast as its user. In other words, in a certain amount of latitude, it makes no noticeable difference how quick a gaming keyboard responds. However, it should already be better than a conventional PC keyboard.
Rubber Dome or Mechanical
Conventional keyboards work with the so-called “Rubber dome” technology. Under the keys is a kind of rubber mat with one elevation per letter/digit. The user presses the button down and the rubber elevates. This creates a slight pressure on the control panel below, causing the keyboard to transmit the command.
This is a proven technique used for years and gaming keyboards with flat keys using the Rubber dome principle you can pay up to 50 Euros. Professional gamers are looking for mechanical keyboards. The benefit is the increased use.
With only light pressure, commands transmit immediately in your game. Mechanical keyboards are more precise and give a more realistic feel. However, they are louder and more expensive.
How many times have you pressed multiple keys at the same time to hear the keyboard screaming as commands not transmitted correctly to the PC? The anti-ghosting prevents this from happening. Especially in shooter games, the sequence of key commands is so fast.
Gamers like to play in the dark or just forget about the time. Suddenly, they sit in front of the screen without light and the buttons are barely recognizable. An illuminated keyboard helps you to keep an eye on everything. Besides, they look cool. For some, it is important that they stand out from others with small details like illuminated buttons.
Keyboard with display
This really is a special highlight. With a display on the keyboard, certain statistics and data are transmitted. This type of models is rare and the use lies in the games they are designed for.
Macro & multimedia keys
The gaming keyboard also has a number of additional features. The so-called macro keys are about defining certain sequences of key commands. These are called up with just one key. This has some advantages, especially in role-playing games and MMORPGs, which the players appreciate.
The multimedia keys, in turn, are responsible for the music player, browser, etc. Without having to leave the game, the user can switch to a song or adjust the volume. They help you to act faster and unnecessary interruptions avoided.
Why buy a gaming keyboard?
As specialized as a gaming keyboard may be, you can use it for working on documents, as well as for image and video editing. The multimedia keys prove to be useful for the browser and the writing of e-mails. A good gaming keyboard costs more money and makes sense for professional players. They benefit from more precise control and special functions, giving them a slight edge over their competitors. However, as with all hobbies, the benefits and costs you need to balance.
Gaming Keyboard Buying Advice:
Here are 9 things to pay attention to when buying a gaming keyboard.
- Handling & Ergonomics
Here your personal taste comes in to play. Some prefer a gaming keyboard with flat keys while others love it if they need to push it further down. Important is the feeling while playing. The angle between the wrist and the back of the hand to the keyboard must be correct, to withstand hours of stress. An attached hand rest has often proved to be useful and depends on you. It is important that nothing rattles or slips the keyboard when used on the table. The arrangement of the keys very important and gaming keyboards can differ. You have, for example, function keys around the most used areas. If you like playing shooter games, you know about the WASD key and their meaning.
- Reaction time
When a key is pressed, the gaming keyboard has to respond and preferably as fast as possible. This value specified in milliseconds (ms). It should be as low as possible, although the human reaction times multiplied by this. The sum of both times, then gives how fast commands executed.
- Wireless Gaming Keyboard or Cable
This is a purely personal decision. Well, even with wireless gaming keyboards, the reaction time plays a role. Without cables, you gain a little flexibility and takes up less space.
- Rubber Dome vs Mechanics
Why spend 100 Euros and more for a gaming keyboard? We are talking about a mechanical keyboard that works differently from the conventional ones. If you have ever used a mechanical keyboard, you noticed the pleasant feeling while playing and long lifespan the keys offer.
Compared to a 50 Euro rubber dome model the fact is that you will be buying one in no time to replace the broken keys. The classic rubber dome buttons experience a maximum of 5 million attacks before they fail their service. Mechanical keyboard offers, depending on the quality, up to 50 million stops per key. This means 10 times more lifespan.
The use of a mechanical keyboard is noticeably rounder. Users report fewer typos and a better gaming experience. However, there is not only one mechanical keyboard. Their differences become clear when one looks more closely at the switch types used. The Cherry MX switches from Germany are popular among gamers.
Here, especially three make the race. They are the “MX-Brown,” “MX-Blue” and “MX-Black.” With Brown and Blue, the keys can be pressed down slightly before the actual activation takes place. This allows you to react faster. Without prior resistance, the MX-Black switches come off. They are activated only by a weight of 60 grams, which prevents typing errors. In addition, they have the longest life of all MX switches.
You can install different switches in mechanical keyboards. Some manufacturers like Razer are developing their own switches. The variant used determines the price of a gaming keyboard. That is why there are big differences and gaming keyboards can be bought in the 50 Euros price range up to 100 Euros and from 100 Euros.
What are Rubber dome keyboards? These are the standard PC keyboards. It has a rubber mat with the keys placed on them. If you press the button, the increase goes down. So the command is transferred to the board and then to the PC. The biggest difference between Rubberdome and mechanical keyboard is durability.
Today’s gaming is characterized by a tremendously fast pace. Be it shooters, role-playing games (RPGs) or racing simulations. Many keystrokes can be made every second and a conventional keyboard will quickly fail. When four or five commands are executed at once, the keyboard blocks. The so-called “ghosting” happened, in which the inputs were superimposed and could no longer be sent correctly to the PC. Therefore, the term anti-ghosting is essential in a good gaming keyboard.
- Macro buttons
A good gaming keyboard includes macro keys. These can be defined individually with key commands. In this way, keyboard shortcuts can be combined in games to be able to react even more quickly. In RPGs, especially complex MMORPGs, this is important.
- Multimedia keys
These predefined buttons serving multimedia actions. As a user, you can change the volume or switch to the next song without having to leave your game. In everyday life, the browser or the e-mail program starts with a keystroke. A desktop PC can be started with a multimedia key. All this adds to the convenience of typing, browsing, and playing games.
A lighted keyboard not only looks cool, but also offers a real practical benefit. The additional lighting helps to find the keys more easily in a dark environment. The chance of typing errors minimized. You play a game full of enthusiasm and forget the time. Suddenly it is already dark and getting up for the light switch is out of the question. With a lighted keyboard, this is not necessary.
In rare cases, it makes sense to buy a gaming keyboard with a display. Often, individual models are designed for specific games. Here it is important to pay attention to the manufacturer information. They display game stats, videos, server connections, ping times, VoIP, and more.
We hope we helped you with our gaming keyboard buying advice. You now know what features and differences make up the best keyboard types. Nevertheless, a purchase decision should not be hasty. Therefore, we have selected on our other pages various gaming keyboards with different prices and features.
It is clear that you probably need to test more than one gaming keyboard to find the best one for your needs. That is why we have written a series of helpful tips. Find out about well-known manufacturers such as Razer, Logitech, Asus, and others. The market is competitive and some models have unique features that you should know about before buying.
About Our Info Portal
We see ourselves as a brand-independent information portal on gaming keyboards and accessories. We do extensive research before writing our purchase advice. Our recommendations based on thorough comparisons between well-known manufacturers to find the best gaming keyboard for you.
Our goal is that you get a good overview and make the best purchase decision. What we cannot offer now is real gaming keyboard testing of bought products tested under laboratory conditions. We ask you to consider this when reading our test or comparisons.
All the information here is compiled for you to the best of our knowledge and belief.
Frequently asked questions about gaming keyboards
Who invented the keyboard?
The first keyboards designed were specifically for typists. With the first home computers, around 1980, the manufacturers switched to the electronic keyboard. Names the Konrad Zuse or the company IBM played an important role in the invention of the keyboard.
The key assignment was similar to the typewriter. More and more companies then developed and distributed their own keyboards, but always with the same layout. Only the Apple keyboard has been able to hold its own layout, but its differences are marginal.
Nobody can determine a concrete inventor of the keyboard, because the transition from the typewriter was fluent.
How can I clean my keyboard?
You can do this by gently turning it over and shaking it. This will cause some crumbs, hair and other particles fall out that have accumulated over time. A gentle knock can also help. With a brush or cotton swab, you can absorb lint and remove it.
Never place cleaners directly on the keyboard. Place the cleaner on a cloth and gently pull it over the keys. If all this has not yet achieved the desired effect, you can carefully disassemble the keyboard for cleaning.
This procedure is very time consuming and sensitive, which is why you might prefer to have the problem solved by a professional. The “PC Magazine” has written a detailed manual for keyboard cleaning. In case, you want to try it yourself.
Why buy a mechanical keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard does not use a rubber dome. Instead, the commands transmitted with an audible click sound. The mechanical keyboards often described as a gaming keyboard because it best meets the needs of the gamer. The keys have a certain resistance. The lifespan of mechanical keys is higher and owners of such a keyboard comments about the best feeling when typing and playing.