The average office keyboard is not made for gamers. When it comes to replying to emails or typing long essays, these keyboards may get the job done. When it comes to gaming, an average office keyboard will not cut it.
If you are serious about gaming and want to improve your in-game performance, then you should consider investing in a gaming keyboard. All the top gamers that play for eSports teams use gaming keyboards.
Features of a Gaming Keyboard
While you have probably received the advice of getting a gaming keyboard from your fellow gamers, most people do not know why gaming keyboards are better. Here are the main features of a good gaming keyboard.
- Fast Response Time: Firstly, an office keyboard is not designed for lower input lag. If you are using a normal keyboard and you try to turn left while playing a driving game, you will feel a noticeable delay between the instance that you pressed the key and the instance that the car actually turned left on your screen. To mitigate this from happening, gaming keyboards come with fast response times that reduce input lag.
- Anti-Ghosting: While gaming, you may encounter certain instances where you may have to press several keys at the same time. This is not possible with a normal keyboard. Gaming keyboards have anti-ghosting features that allow you to press as many keys as possible at the same time.
- Macros and Customization: Some gaming keyboards have several extra keys that a player can set to perform particular functions. Almost all gaming keyboards have customizability options in terms of keyboard layout and lighting options.
- Build Quality: While the average office keyboard is built from plastic, gaming keyboards employ tough materials such as metal. Gaming keyboards are built to last and can take tons of abuse.
- Key Switches: Gaming keyboards have special switches that are specifically designed for gaming. They provide improved features such as tactile feedback and short key travel. There are several types of switches to choose from discussed further.
When it comes to gaming keyboards there are several clarifications that you can choose from. Here we have listed and discussed all the popular classifications available for gaming keyboards.
As we have already discussed, with gaming keyboards you can choose from different types of key switches. These switches are classified according to two main features. These features include the feeling or the feedback that each one provides and the sound that each one makes.
Cherry is a German company that manufactures switches for mechanical keyboards. The switches made by this company are the most popular and are used by almost all keyboard manufacturers. Hence we will be discussing the switches made by them.
- Cherry MX Blue: The Cherry MX Blue switches provide tactile feedback while being pressed. While pressing a keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches, they produce a clicking sound. This clicking sound is liked by some gamers but disliked by those who like to live stream.
- Cherry MX Black: The Cherry MX Black switches do not provide any kind of feedback when being used. The feel of using these switches is completely linear. Black switches also require much more force than other switches to properly actuate.
- Cherry MX Brown Switches: By far the most popular switches used by gamers around the world are the Cherry MX Brown switches. These switches do not produce any kind of clicking sound while being pressed but provide satisfying tactile feedback.
- Cherry MX Red: Just like the Cherry MX Black switches, the Cherry MX Red switches do not provide any feedback while being pressed. The only difference is that the Red Switches require much less force to be actuated than the Black switches.
The next thing that you should consider while looking for the right gaming keyboard for you is the layout. Some people prefer as many keys as possible stuffed on their keyboard while others prefer a more minimalistic layout. Here are some of the most common layouts that you can find in gaming keyboards.
- Full Size: The full-size form factor keyboard includes all the keys that make up a complete keyboard. This type of keyboard includes dedicated key collections such as the number pad, the complete function row, and the arrow keys.
- Tenkeyless (Also called TKL or 80%): This form factor is the same as the full-size keyboard with the only difference being that the TKL keyboard does not include the number pad. By the number pad, we mean the complete section including, the plus, minus, etc. keys. This brings the number of keys down to about 88 hence the name 80%.
- 75%: The 70% form factor retains most of the functionality of the tenkeyless keyboard. In this form factor, the arrow and most of the directional keys are smooshed right next to the enter and shift keys. This is done to save as much space as possible.
- 60%: If you are all about minimalism then you will love the 60% form factor keyboard. This type of keyboard ditches the function keys, the directional keys, and the numpad. All it includes are the typewriter key set including the enter, tab, etc. keys.
While keyboards come in four primary layouts, some of the full size and TKL keyboards may include extra unmapped buttons that you can map according to your desired function. These buttons are especially useful for MMORPG or MOBA players who have tons of abilities and combos that they have to use. You can head on over to Razer to see which one fits the bill perfectly for you.
It is always best that you get a gaming keyboard. The main features that you should look for in a gaming keyboard are low input lag, tactile feedback, build quality, and anti-ghosting. When it comes to choosing the key switches, the form factor, or the design, it all boils down to personal preference. We recommend not going below the 80% from factor because you will need the directional keys for some games. However, many gamers do just fine even on the 60% form factor.
On the other side of the mousepad, if you wish to learn more about the different types of gaming mice that are available right now, and which is the perfect one for your gaming needs, we have you covered. Click here to learn more.