The best gaming keyboard features mechanical switches, offers macro and media keys, and has some backlighting. It should also have anti-ghosting and n key rollover as standard, and the board itself should be an adequate size.
The best keyboard is determined by personal preference. For example, some prefer tactile keyboards with a loud click and haptic feedback, while others prefer a simple and silent operation. With that said, there are some factors that should absolutely be considered vital when buying this type of peripheral.
Avid gamers use mechanical switches. Not only do they offer greater tactility than membrane boards, but they are more responsive, they include features like anti-ghosting as standard, and they will last up to 10 times as long.
Membrane switches are only good for infrequent and very basic use. With that said, there are various colours of switch to choose from, and a number of manufacturers other than Cherry MX are now making their own mechanical switching systems, which means that the range is only increasing. Find the actuation point and the feedback that matches your preferences, and the colour and name of switches that meet these preferences.
If you’re an avid RPG gamer or strategist, then you will want macro keys as part of your keyboard. These allow you to assign a key combination or series of key presses to a single button. They make it easier to farm or take any repeated action, without having to keep going through the same routine.
Some keyboards actually enable you to customise every single key, in which case macro keys are unnecessary, while some offer dedicated macro buttons. However, they are not found on all gaming keyboards, so do look around first. You can check out our selection of the best gaming keyboards to get an idea of those that do incorporate macro keys.
Key Rollover And Anti-Ghosting
In all honesty, these two features should be standard on every single gaming keyboard, and there is no reason that you would not want key rollover or anti-ghosting features. Be wary if manufacturers are eager to boast about these features, because it could mean that the keyboard has very few other discernible and beneficial features.
To be honest, we’re not entirely sold on the need for backlit keyboards, other than for purely aesthetic reasons. If the room is so dark that you cant make out the keys you’re pressing, the room is too dark. With that said, if you are looking for a backlit keyboard, you will have a choice of one that displays in a single colour, or one that offers RGB colour choices – some keyboards off the choice of as many as millions of colours and hues.
Another factor to consider is the keyboard form. Some mechanical keyboards come as a full keyboard layout, which means that it still contains the numerical pad on the right of the keyboard. Other models, called tenkeyless models, have no number pad.
Tenkeyless models take up less room on the desk, are easier to transport, and they offer a more comfortable hand position between keyboard and mouse.