Gaming Keyboards Review

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Why Should I Use a Gaming Keyboard?

While your skills may be unbeatable, your hardware might not be. You can play PC games with just about any keyboard, but a good gaming keyboard will facilitate greater economy of movement and provide you with powerful macro tools while ensuring that every keystroke registers and grants satisfying tactile feedback. Possibly the greatest strength of a gaming keyboard is the ability to customize. The best gaming keyboards let you map dozens of macro keys so you can simplify complicated key combinations down to one keystroke, and customizable backlighting options give you control over the look and functionality of backlights.

The best gaming keyboards we looked at are the Corsair Vengeance K95, SteelSeries Apex and Roccat Ryos MK Pro. If you want to learn how to make the most of your gaming keyboard, check out our articles about gaming keyboards.

Gaming Keyboards: What to Look For

As with most PC hardware, gaming keyboards run a full gamut of specs and features. With so many options, you need to know what your preferences are. Some gamers enjoy backlighting and being able to change the backlighting color on their keyboards, while others would rather have more robust macro commands. Many gamers like mechanical keyboards, but some do not. We included a wide variety of keyboards in our review so there should be something for every gamer. We rated each product based on universal benefit, regardless of the type of game you're playing. We broke the reviews down into the following categories.

Features

The special features are what make gaming keyboards stand out from normal keyboards, and from each other. Perhaps the most prominent feature for gamers is key rollover. This is the number of keys that can register simultaneously. If a gaming keyboard touts 10KRO (10-key rollover), that means you can press 10 keys at the same time and every single one will show up in a text document. Many gaming keyboards are limited to 6KRO, but the best gaming keyboards feature NKRO, which means all keys can register at the same time.

You should also look for dedicated media keys, as you don't want to fumble with any function commands to control your music in the middle of a game. Most high-end gaming keyboards come with some form of backlighting. Where the best gaming keyboards differentiate themselves is in the ability to control that backlighting. Some keyboards allow you to change the backlight color generally, while others give you control over every individual LED.

Customization

One of the benefits gaming keyboards offer is the ability to customize. Most gaming keyboards offer at least a few dedicated macro keys that you can assign multi-command functions to. The best gaming keyboards include macro keys, as well as the ability to save and switch between profiles. This means you can set up macros for different games, save the profiles, and have access to different macros on the same keys for different games. Many gaming keyboards also come with software that allows you to create those profiles and change keyboard settings within a graphical user interface.

Design

Perhaps the most important part of a gaming keyboard's design is what kind of switches lie underneath the keys. Mechanical switches are more durable, accurate and responsive than membrane switches, which are cheaper to manufacture. Most PC gamers prefer mechanical keyboards because they have stronger tactile feedback. The most common mechanical switches are Cherry MX switches. They range in color from black and brown to red and green – each color representing different attributes. For example, the blue switches require a hard press and give loud, unmistakable feedback while red switches require little actuation force and are quiet. We generally rated mechanical keyboards higher than their membrane counterparts.

Other things to consider include a keyboard's dimensions and weight, especially if you have unlimited real estate surrounding your monitor. We also checked to see if the keyboards included a braided cable or not. A braided cable lengthens the life of a keyboard and reduces cable clutter underneath the desk. A good gaming keyboard also comes with a built-in USB hub so you can plug a headset directly into it.

Support

With any PC hardware, you should always pay attention to how long the warranty lasts. The best gaming keyboards should last you for at least half a decade, so if they wear out before that, make sure the warranty is still valid. You should also be able to reach customer support quickly and easily. These keyboards aren't always simple plug-and-play, as their customization software can get quite complex.

As you strive to improve your skills, don't let your hardware limit you. A gaming keyboard is a powerful tool that can help you reach a new level of gameplay. Everyone plays a little differently, and it's important you find a keyboard that suits your needs. Whether you like a mechanical keyboard with its strong feedback or a membrane keyboard with its fancy lighting, make sure you get a keyboard that can keep up with you.

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Electronics » Computers » Gaming Keyboards
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Corsair Vengeance K95 SteelSeries Apex Roccat Ryos MK Pro Logitech G710+ Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Razer DeathStalker Ultimate Logitech G19s MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Logitech G510s Corsair Vengeance K70
Corsair Vengeance K95 SteelSeries Apex Roccat Ryos MK Pro Logitech G710+ Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Razer DeathStalker Ultimate Logitech G19s MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Logitech G510s Corsair Vengeance K70
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Lowest Price
Visit Corsair Vengeance K95
$146.98
Visit SteelSeries Apex
$89.99
Visit Roccat Ryos MK Pro
$159.99
Visit Logitech G710+
$149.99
Visit Razer BlackWidow Ultimate
$104.99
Visit Razer DeathStalker Ultimate
$199.99
Visit Logitech G19s
$161.56
Visit MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7
$270.94
Visit Logitech G510s
$93.99
Visit Corsair Vengeance K70
$155.49
Ratings
9.83
9.45
9.38
9.07
9.00
9.00
8.88
8.58
7.95
7.57
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9.38
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.75
8.13
9.38
10.00
10.00
5.63
9.38
8.13
9.38
10.00
8.13
10.00
9.38
7.50
10.00
10.00
7.50
7.50
8.13
8.75
9.38
10.00
8.13
8.75
8.75
8.75
8.13
9.38
5.63
10.00
9.38
2.50
10.00
10.00
 
Features
Key Rollover (KRO) in USB Mode Unlimited 10 Unlimited 26 10 10 6 6 6 Unlimited
Anti-Ghosting
Dedicated Media Keys
Gaming Mode
Backlighting
Adjustable Backlight Sectors/Keys
 
   
Adjustable Backlight Color  
   
 
Customization
Programmable Keys 18 All All 6 All All 12 24 18 None
Multiple Profiles
 
 
Customization Software
 
Macro Capable
 
In-Game Macro Creation
 
 
Swappable Keycaps
 
  
 
Design
USB Hub
 
 
Braided Cable
 
 
Removable Wrist Rest
  
  
Mechanical Switches (Cherry MX)
 
    
Key Switch Characteristics Multiple Available   Multiple Available Brown Blue      Multiple Available
Connection Type USB USB USB USB USB USB USB USB USB USB
Keyboard Finish Bushed Aluminum Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Matte Bushed Aluminum
Size (Inches) 19.8 x 6.5 x 2.9 22 x 8.7 x 2 20 x 9.2 x 1.5 20.7 x 9 x 2.4 18.7 x 6.7 x 1.2 20.2 x 8.5 x .8 20.4 x 10.2 x 2.6 15.1 x 9.3 x 7.5 20.9 x 9.1 x 2.3 18.6 x 8.3 x 3.3
Weight (Pounds) 4.5 2.9 3 4.8 3.3 2.5 1.9 7.3 3.3 3.8
Support
Warranty 2 Years 1 Year 1 Year 3 Years 1 Year 1 Year 3 Years 2 Years 3 Years 2 Years
Email
Phone
  
 
 
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