While most of us use keyboards to email or let the world know about our day on social media, gamers look at their keyboards as an important tool that can give them a competitive edge. Gaming keyboards can improve a user’s gaming experience through a variety of features not normally seen in regular keyboards. Here are just some of the features of a gaming keyboard to consider before making your purchase.
Mechanical or Membrane
Gaming keyboards have either mechanical or membrane switches beneath the keys. Each key on a mechanical keyboard has a mechanical switch, meaning that it requires less force for each press and has a faster response time. This is ideal for fast-paced gaming. Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, have one panel below the keys, meaning that each tap requires a little more force before it is registered.
Wired or Wireless
Most of the keyboards currently available on the market are wired. Whether you are using your keyboard for work or gaming, in most cases wires don’t cause a problem. Nevertheless, a wireless keyboard might be preferable for those who like to move around while they play. Sick of sitting on a chair? No problem. Just move to the sofa. The biggest problem with wireless keyboards, however, is that they may have some lag between users tapping a key and it being registered as a keypress. Another issue with wireless keyboards is that they need to be recharged. Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than your technology dying on you in the middle of an on-screen battle.
From a single color to a full RGB (over 16 million colors), most gaming keyboards come with backlighting. While single color keyboards can only be adjusted in brightness, full RGB keyboards offer a variety of individual key customization options that include not just color but also different effects. Most gaming keyboard let users set up different lighting zones, a useful feature for frequently used keys, such as the arrow and WASD keys. Some keyboards even let users customize the color of each key. Applications such as SteelSeries Engine’s GameSense can be used to enable reactive lighting in certain games.
Most gaming keyboards are designed to withstand the frantic tapping of a fast-paced game. Many high-end keyboards come with metal backplates to minimize the risk of breaking or bending. The keyboard components, in turn, are protected by either metal or durable ABS plastic casing (many regular keyboards are built from PVC plastic, which can break easily).
Considering the intricacies of today’s video games, players need to be able to execute complex keystrokes within a split second. The good news is that most gaming keyboards feature micro keys, which let users program certain key configurations. This, in turn, lets gamers make an otherwise complex action in just one keystroke.