Up For Debate - What Do You Look For In A Gaming Keyboard

Written by Neil Soutter on Fri, Jan 1, 2016 4:00 PM

The humble keyboard is such a fundamental part of our gaming experiences, and yet it’s all too easy just to tap away on any old thing and hope for the best. Eventually though you’re going to want to splash the cash and try out a proper gaming keyboard, but what is it exactly you’re looking out for?

Practically the first thing anyone is going to decide is whether to opt for wired or wireless. This decision is kind of made up for you depending on your setup of course. If you’re going to be sat a long way away from your rig then wireless it is, but if you can get a wire to reach then it’s always going to be the winning solution. Wireless keyboards typically come with a price premium just for being wireless, but there will be a minor element of impact lag. That is offset by being able to perch yourself 30 feet away from your gigantic screen

Next up there’s the key switches to think about. Normally you wouldn’t be too bothered by these, but for the competitive gaming advantage you’re going to want a set up customised to you. The key switches are the things which sit under the keys on a keyboard, registering key presses. There are three common types of key switches - Silicon dome, Scissor and Mechanical.

Silicon dome switches are the standard type you’d find on a budget keyboard, offering fairly unresponsive but quiet feedback. Where these fall down are in in rapid key presses, where the soft press slows things down. But hey, at least you won’t wake the neighbours up with your typing. Scissor switches meanwhile are the types you’d normally find on laptop keys, offering a pretty solid feel thanks to being quite clicky and responsive.

Lastly there’s the mechanical switches, and these are pretty much exclusively the forte of the gamer. You’ll see all sorts of variations on a theme here, but the mechanical switches are all spring-loaded and offer the most responsive control around. They also happen to be the most expensive, and pushing down a key on a mechanical keyboard produces a loud clacking sound. If you’ve ever sat in any office with someone typing on one of these, you’ll know perfectly well how annoying this can be.

Beyond that there’s also a litany of other reasons you might opt for a particular keyboard, whether that’s backlit keys for gaming in the dark, macro functions, additional keys, or even something as fundamentals as its ergonomics and comfort.

So what are the things you prioritise when looking for a gaming keyboard? Do you go for budget delights or premium products? What keyboard have you got at the moment? Let us know!

What is the most important thing in a gaming keyboard?

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22:48 Jan-07-2016

I bought a krom kratos rgb whit mx red switches and i am loving it.
Perfect backlit and mx red it's a nice switch for gaming

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01:11 Jan-04-2016

As long as it has flat and not tall keys, i'm fine with it.
I don't think a gaming keyboard is important, an above-average mechanical one should suffice
Mouses are another story imo, though

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18:04 Jan-03-2016

Im using CoolerMaster Octane for me its prefect gaming keyboard.
Keys are decent, has some nice backlit and it looks cool. :)

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15:38 Jan-03-2016

A normal one as I am having controller

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12:58 Jan-03-2016

How weird lol my backlit keyboard just arrived today xD

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12:45 Jan-03-2016

That it works...that's all...

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11:38 Jan-03-2016

For me backlit, comfort and mechanical keys all together.

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17:33 Jan-04-2016

couldn't agree more.

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21:51 Jan-02-2016

USB hubs.

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19:39 Jan-02-2016

Sometime last year, the left arrow key on my laptop's keyboard wasn't working properly when i was playing NFS Hot Pursuit 2011. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it won't. So i decided to use a usb keyboard, although it was given away to my brother. So i buy a next one but funny enough, the left arrow key on my keyboard starts back to work and i never had any trouble with it since. So depending on games i play on my laptop, i would either use the laptop's keyboard or the next usb keyboard i bought. It just had to do with which one i'm comfortable with.

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19:14 Jan-02-2016

Cherry Blue switches and aesthetics.
Currently have Corsair Quickfire tk and a ducky shinee mini that are both plugged in all the time.

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16:30 Jan-02-2016

I recently sold my ducky shine 3, it was my first mechanical keyboard. Before that I was using an illuminated keyboard from logitech, I'm using it right now while I have to wait for the Corsair strafe RGB with silent switches. The ducky one had brown switches, It was okay I guess. Definitely what those red/silent switches will be like.

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00:55 Jan-03-2016

I LOVE my Strafe and ive only had it a couple days. I don't need the silent keys or the rgb so i bought a strafe brown. Im a light typist and got used to this quick, its as quite as my membrane if i type normally not doing a speed typing test. Only downside for me is the space bar is quite loud even when going easy.

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11:35 Jan-03-2016

yeah I didn't really mind the loiudness of the brown switches. I wanted to get the strafe red at first but someone advised me to go for the RGB version

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14:52 Jan-02-2016

Still using logitech G110 with a broken comma lol.
How I broke it?
Tried to clean it once by opening whole keyboard from behind without seeking tutorial, and now sometimes if I press it, it gets stuck typing commas for few seconds.

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14:03 Jan-02-2016
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14:17 Jan-02-2016

same but no num pad. It's a really solid keyboard:D

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00:31 Jan-03-2016

soild enuf to K.O someone with it?

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10:45 Jan-02-2016

If you are not living in the US,but in a country like Croatia,you have to look out for a different key layout.So my priorities are comfy,then croatian layout(i couldn't write š,?,? without it),then functions and extra buttons that are backlit.

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14:03 Jan-02-2016

Yes, true..

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00:53 Jan-03-2016

Most keyboard manufacturers make a dif layout. Its actually quite simple, most keyboards besides the US and a few other countries are ISO layout. So a croatian,uk, french keyboard are identical. Only difference is the different keycaps they might add for symbols. I hate the azerty layout so i bought a qwerty lol.

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10:31 Jan-02-2016

i have a4tech bloody b120, is that a good keyboard? how to check its response time. on box there is written 1 ms but i don't think i would be that fast...

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10:19 Jan-02-2016

I don't buy keyboards very often, but when I'm in the market for one, I usually go for a backlit keyboard with some additional keys. Price matters as well and unless the item at hand is discounted or fairly cheap, I'm very likely to change my mind, wait for a sale or go for something less costly- despite my preferences above.

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09:29 Jan-02-2016

I want a keyboard that can lift your wrist up a bit more. Right now I am just using this pillow snake I have lol to do it for me

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12:34 Jan-02-2016

Lol

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08:53 Jan-02-2016

mechanical with backlit...those are requirements for me :P

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08:05 Jan-02-2016

Guys...i have been using a normal imation keyboard for past 2-3 yrs....so i am planning to buy a new one soon


Could anyone recommend a few good gaming keyboards....i dont want extremely high end ...im thinking about where gtx 950 currently in gpu market...similar think with keyboards

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09:45 Jan-02-2016

thermaltake make good keyboards at reasonable price you might want to check those

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07:38 Jan-02-2016

mostly comfy...... Anyways I am not using keyboard & mouse for games... only X360 wireless controller for games......

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