If you are going to buy a new gaming keyboard -either to change your current keyboard or to improve from a more basic one-, you should know that it is not all a matter of having colored lights. If you want the keyboard to be your ally when it comes to improving your gaming performance, there are many factors that you should pay attention to , and in this buying guide we are going to cover all of them so that you can be right when making the purchase.
As always when we make these types of items, we will start by saying that the first thing you should look at is the price. We are looking for a gaming keyboard that is of good quality, since as “gaming” it is assumed that you are looking for high performance but also durability so that it supports long gaming sessions for a long time without resentment. Therefore, we automatically discard “cheap” keyboards and those from manufacturers of dubious reputation, although what we are going to tell you here is not to tell you what keyboard you should buy, but what you should look at when doing it.
What kind of mechanisms should your gaming keyboard have?
We return to influence the fact that we are looking for a keyboard that is a gaming tool, and therefore from now on we also discard keyboards with membrane , scissor , butterfly and other switches, remaining only with the mechanics . There are several keyboard models with hybrid switches (opto-mechanical, etc.) very worthy that should also be taken into account here, but we are going to assess the main switches to take into account taking into account that, we are looking for a tool to gaming.
At this point in HardZone we have already tested practically all the existing switches on the market, and of which we recommend the following depending, of course, on your preferences. Also note that in terms of mechanical switches there are equivalences between manufacturers (Cherry, OUTEMU, Kailh, etc.):
- Red : they are the “standard” for gaming, with linear operation, medium pressure and travel and without tactile feedback. Especially recommended for users who want to try what a mechanical gaming keyboard is.
- Brown: the operation is equivalent to the Red but they have tactile feedback, which makes them very pleasant to use and in games they will help us to quickly know if we have pressed a key or not.
- Blue: they have tactile feedback and also clicky sound. They are not highly recommended for games because of the noise they make – which can be distracting or even annoying – but they behave perfectly well and the pulsation is very pleasant.
- Silent : the operation is similar to that of the Reds, but they have some noise suppressing crowns that make them very quiet, but they leave a “rubbery” touch when pressing the keys to the end. They are not for all tastes but they are recommended if you want the keyboard to be as quiet as possible.
- Black : This switch is almost out of use, as it is similar to the network but it takes more pressure for activations. It is recommended for hardcore gamers who “crush” the keyboard. Professional StarCraft players often prefer this type of mechanism.
- Silver (Speed) : Possibly the best switches for hardcore gamers. They have linear operation, without tactile feedback and without clicky sound, but they have the particularity of having a cut-off trigger point, so it is almost almost enough to put your finger on the key to record the keystroke. Only recommended for users with experience with mechanical keyboards, since this fact causes many involuntary keystrokes to be made until you get used to it.
- Silver (Speed) LP : they are the same as the previous ones but low profile, in many cases (depending on the manufacturer) with an even lower trigger point. Highly recommended for expert users because they are the ones that allow greater performance in terms of beats per minute. Also, they are a little quieter.
Dedicated keys for macros, yes or no?
Another important aspect that you should consider when buying a new gaming keyboard is whether or not you need additional macro keys. As a general rule these are located on the far left of the keyboard and allow you to configure macros or shortcuts, something that can be very useful depending on what games and situations, but on the contrary, many users are annoyed when positioning their hands on the keyboard, in addition to that it will be wider than the account and will take up a lot of space on the table.
These keys are especially useful for MMO players, since they will be able to quickly assign actions on buttons that will always be close to where you have your hand (since as a gamer you will know that you will generally have it on WASD keys). However, for the other games they are something that is counterproductive since they usually get in the way.
Buy a TKL or regular gaming keyboard?
TKL keyboards (TenKeyLess, without number pad) are excellent if you only use the gaming keyboard, since it eliminates the number pad on the right and allows the keyboard to be reduced in size, being able to place it in a more natural position on the table and also giving extra space to the mouse (surely it has happened to you that in certain situations you hit the mouse against the keyboard when playing).
Now, keep in mind that there are many games in which default actions are assigned to keys on the number pad, so you could miss it in some situations, or rather in some specific games. Keep this in mind when choosing.
Accessories and other essentials to consider
Finally, there are some additional things that we consider essential when making the decision to buy a gaming keyboard or another. For example, since it will be a keyboard that we will use for hours and hours, probably in intensive gaming sessions, we consider it essential to include a wrist rest; Although you have never used it, once you do it you will notice less fatigue in the fingers and wrists, and that in the long run shows a lot. Really, we recommend that you have wrist rests as a mandatory feature.
Other features to consider are the multimedia controls, especially a wheel or volume buttons and button to mute the audio of the equipment. It seems not, but they are very, very useful in the long run, especially when you get used to using them instead of using the controls you have in software.