If you’re just using your PC for email writing and the occasional work task, then a standard keyboard is probably fit for the purpose. It’ll have everything you need on there, and your hands won’t be in position for long enough to suffer from things like poor ergonomic design.
By comparison, PC gamers can spend potentially hours each day using their keyboards. As such, investing in a specific gaming keyboard is one of the best ways to enhance the experience. It’s also the best opportunity to ensure all-important hand health and game functionality.
Whether you’re in the market for a new gamer keyboard or want to buy your first-ever gamer keyboard right now, it’s important that you know what to look for. After all, there are loads of ‘best gamer keyboard’ lists out there. But, you’ll struggle to narrow down the options that suit your unique gaming style if you don’t take the time to consider the following essentials.
1) Ergonomic Design
Most PC keyboards are designed for semi-regular usage and general typing patterns. But gamers use PCs in very different ways to the average typer. They also spend a lot longer with their hands in position than most other users. As such, ergonomic design is a crucial consideration for gaming keyboards.
This is true whether a gamer intends to spend hours playing a PC pinball game, or wants to delve into a long-form PC epic like World of Warcraft. Ergonomic keyboards like the Logitech ERGO K860 are especially popular right now thanks to a curved design and a plush wrist rest. Split keyboards like the MoErgo Glove80 are also great for PC gaming enthusiasts, as they can be tailored to your specific seating preferences and wrist movements.
Gamers should also spare a thought to keyboard connectivity, as this can be tailored to suit gaming styles. Wireless gaming keyboards like the Logitech G915 Lightspeed are particularly popular with gamers thanks to their potential for creating distance from PC screens. However, the need for recharging means that wireless may not be best for gamers who intend to play for extended periods. In that instance, a USB keyboard would likely be a better option. Consider how long you play, your preferred set-up and your general gaming needs to settle on the right keyboard connectivity.
Gaming keyboards are available in a variety of sizes, so it’s worth considering this priority, too. To some extent, the ‘best’ size for your gaming needs will depend simply on the games you’re playing. This is because compact keyboards like the Mountain Everest 60 don’t have a left-hand number pad (hence their smaller size). Many gamers find that this doesn’t affect play, and can make for a more subtle game setup in even a small space. However, if you have the space for a full-size keyboard, and you require the use of a left-hand number pad for the games you play, then full-size, or even a keyboard that has additional gaming buttons, could be a better choice.
Operationally speaking, gamers face two prime keyboard choices – membrane or mechanical. With membrane keyboards like the Razer Cynosa Chroma, gamers can access a more affordable option that provides a soft typing touch. However, many gamers prefer mechanical keyboards, as these allow for more precise keystrokes, and are typically more durable. In light of that, however, they can also be more expensive.
Choosing between these top operational options should see you considering things like your budget and your gaming frequency. A heavier-handed gamer who plays regularly and has the budget could certainly benefit from investing in a mechanical keyboard. By comparison, an occasional player with a limited budget and a need for comfort could get on well with a membrane keyboard.
While laptops typically now include backlit keyboards as standard, the majority of PC keyboards don’t offer this feature upfront. There’s nothing wrong with this for daytime players who want to keep costs down. But, for gamers who don’t mind spending a little more, and who regularly play at night, a backlit gaming keyboard could prove transformative. If you are investing, consider things like adjustable lighting levels, the color of lighting used, and keyboard functionality as a whole to ensure that you make the right choice.
Investing in a gaming-specific keyboard can see you bringing your A-game to whatever you play on your PC. Make sure that the keyboard you buy ends up being money well spent by considering these essentials, and understanding how each of them could impact your unique gameplay preferences.