With the gaming industry more popular than ever, computer manufacturers across the globe have scrambled to tap into the $200-billion gaming market. Now, gamers have access to a wide variety of customizable peripherals – like headsets, chairs, and keyboards.
Among all gaming equipment, a gaming keyboard is the most essential. But with so many on the market, how do you know which one to choose?
At first glance, a flashy keyboard with all the bells and whistles may seem like the perfect one for you. However, a range of factors determine the keyboard’s usability and performance.
If you want to buy a gaming keyboard but don’t know what features you want or the difference between mechanical and membrane switches, this article is for you.
1. Decide if You Want Wired or Wireless
Think about it: the average computer user doesn’t usually spend hours and hours using their keyboard as gamers do. Because gaming sessions can last for hours, being as comfortable as possible is essential.
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a wired or wireless keyboard.
There are two main types of wireless keyboards – RF connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity. Keyboards with wireless connectivity work the same way cordless telephones and Wi-Fi do.
Wireless keyboards are popular because they run on batteries – gamers with large screen displays prefer to sit further away (say, on a comfy couch) without being limited by wires.
Wired keyboards are typically connected to a PC via a USB port, and they are generally plug-and-play. They are the most widely-available keyboards, don’t need batteries, and are generally less expensive than their wireless counterparts.
The right keyboard for you will depend on the size and layout of your gaming room. A wired keyboard would suit your setup best if you have a small screen display and limited space. If you have more space and a larger screen display, a wireless keyboard is the way to go.
2. Choose the Features You Need
For a smooth gaming experience, your gaming keyboard should be optimized for precision and accuracy. There are many gaming keyboards available to suit your requirements – whether you want simple functions or complex ones that need additional software.
A Macro keyboard might be appealing to you if the games you play are repetitive and time-consuming. Essentially, Macro is software programmed to do repetitive tasks or a series of actions with one customized command.
Add-on functions such as multimedia options customized for social media use or allowing you to control the volume make a keyboard extremely user-friendly.
You may want extra keys if the games you play require quick reflexes to quickly switch weapons and constant tapping. Many keyboard manufacturers build customizable keys into their keyboards.
Toggle keys are an excellent feature for gamers who don’t want to be hampered by computer functions – for instance, accidentally opening the “Start Menu” in the middle of a game.
A built-in, customizable backlight feature is popular among gamers who enjoy playing in the dark but need to see their controls.
3. Mechanical or Membrane?
There are two types of computer keyboards: mechanical and membrane. Gamers usually prefer mechanical keyboards because they provide more tactile feedback by making satisfying clicks when the keys are pressed.
However, mechanical gaming keyboards are more expensive than membrane gaming keyboards. If you’re shopping for a keyboard on a budget, a membrane keyboard may be a better choice. Although membrane keyboards can be less accurate than mechanical keyboards, they may be more comfortable for you if you already tend to press your keys hard.