Is a Gaming Keyboard Important? Tips To Decide on the Right Keyboard for You
Have you ever wondered why gamers spend big bucks on their gaming keyboards? What features do gaming keyboards have that make them ideal for gaming? These are some of the questions this article will provide answers to. Before we begin, we should first explain what a gaming keyboard is. Keyboards should have certain designs and features to be suitable for gaming which is what makes a gaming keyboard important for gaming.
Gaming keyboards improve the gaming experience because of features such as N-key rollover, macro keys, RGB backlights, and compatibility with proprietary software.
Why not check out this video tutorial by PC Centric to see whether a gaming keyboard can actually help you to be a better gamer by checking out the various features of a gaming keyboard? In this article, we will also look at the features that make a gaming keyboard important.
N-key rollover is a feature that allows gamers to register multiple keystrokes at the same time.
N-key rollover is a gaming keyboard feature that prevents ghosting during gameplay. Typically, mechanical gaming keyboards are more likely to have higher key rollover, than membrane keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards have higher key rollover than membrane keyboards as explained in this article from PCmag.com. Since most gaming keyboards are mechanical keyboards, they have better key rollover, which makes it possible for these keyboards to scan and register more keystrokes individually. Read our article comparing membrane keyboards and mechanical keyboards for an in-depth explanation of these two types.
Ghosting is when some keystrokes are not registered by a keyboard because a lot of keys are being pressed on the keyboards simultaneously. So, a keyboard that allows ghosting will have a problem successfully registering some in-game keyboard commands. This is bad for gaming, as mistakes will be made and the gamer will not perform optimally. N-key rollover is a feature that is not necessarily needed if the keyboard is only used for work-related tasks like typing. However, it is a must-have feature for keyboards, like these, that are used for gaming.
Macro keys are the additional keys on a keyboard that can be programmed to perform various tasks. Without them, a gamer will have to memorize and press each key individually before a sequence of in-game activities can be executed. But with macro keys, all that a gamer needs to do is assign this sequence of in-game actions to a single press of a macro key.
Gamers use macro keys to record sequences of in-game actions. Use a keyboard with macro key functions to improve efficiency and performance while gaming and completing non-gaming tasks.
Apart from automating a sequence of repetitive keyboard actions, macro keys are also beneficial in carrying out non-gaming tasks. Macro keys can be programmed as shortcuts to carry out certain tasks such as launching and opening a program, muting and unmuting a speaker, and inputting texts. Thus, the macro keys feature of a gaming keyboard like this can increase the productivity of both gamers and non-gamers.
A gaming keyboard is important because it allows macro-ing, which increases your actions per second and gives you an edge over your opponents. Should your keyboard not have macros, our article explaining E-gaming shortcuts lists some of the most popular keystroke sequences, and when to use them.
Similarly, you may be wondering how to turn off gaming mode from your keyboard. If so, be sure to read our related article for more details.
RGB backlighting is another cool feature of gaming keyboards that enhances the gaming experience of gamers. RGB backlights give a keyboard an appealing look. This feature also allows gamers who prefer to play in dark or low-lit environments to play comfortably without having to struggle with locating the keys of the keyboard, which is something they would do if they were to play with regular keyboards.
Gaming keyboards with RGB backlights make it possible for a gamer to play in dark or low-lit environments, to experience more immersive gaming, and change the overall aesthetic of the keyboard
Our tips and tricks on how to choose gaming keyboard light settings explain how to adjust light intensity and color grades on a gaming keyboard like this. Similarly, our article explaining how to choose a gaming keyboard that lights up may be of more interest as well.
Similarly, you might be interested in learning about our e-gaming keyboard shortcuts. Be sure to read our related article to find out more information.
Some pricey brands of gaming keyboards have proprietary software that allows gamers to customize and optimize their keyboards.
Proprietary software for gaming keyboards allows users to integrate light settings and sequences according to the game. Gamers can also share their profiles with each other through the proprietary software application.
A gaming keyboard is important because proprietary software has several useful functions including ensuring that the firmware is up to date and synchronizing the RGB lighting of the keyboard, mouse, and speakers with other devices. Proprietary software also allows users to share gamers’ profiles and download profiles of other gamers. Finally, this software also makes it possible to store custom game settings in the cloud for safe and easy access.
Similarly, you might find interest in learning if a gaming keyboard is right for programming. Be sure to check out our related article to find out more.
Is a Good Keyboard Important for Gaming? Benefits of a Gaming Keyboard
On the surface, it appears that gaming keyboards are no different from regular keyboards, but they do offer a few extra features which are lacking in regular keyboards. These extra features provide a gamer with a quality gaming experience, making them ideal for playing computer games.
A gaming keyboard is good for typing, its quick response time allows for quick execution of in-game commands, it is more comfortable and functional, and the quality of materials used makes it more durable and long-lasting.
Our article comparing gaming keyboards vs. regular keyboards discusses some of the major differences and similarities between them.
Our related article gives you some tips and tricks on choosing a small gaming keyboard without a Numpad. Be sure to check that article out for more information.
Gaming keyboards are important because they offer the following benefits:
Benefit 1. Good Typing Experience
Gamers prefer gaming keyboards to regular non-gaming ones because of the better typing experience a gaming keyboard like this typically provides. The good typing experience of gaming keyboards comes from the fact that they are mostly mechanical keyboards. Since they are mechanical keyboards, their keys are usually light and have a short travel distance. So, a gamer won’t have to press the keys of these keyboards down too hard for their commands to be registered. And this ease of typing prevents strain on the fingers that could otherwise be caused by pressing keyboards that have keys with too much travel distance. Our article explaining how keyboards work provides useful insight as to why these types of keys are more efficient when gaming.
Benefit 2. Fast Response Time
Since gaming keyboards are mostly mechanical keyboards, they have low input lag or latency. Compared to membrane keyboards like this which have an average response time of 30 milliseconds, mechanical gaming keyboards have a response time of about 15-25 milliseconds. The quick response time of gaming keyboards gives them fast keyboard reactions, which is instrumental in winning fast competitive games like Fortnite and Overwatch.
Benefit 3. Comfort and Functionalities
Gaming keyboards have some ergonomic features that make them comfortable to use. One of the cool ergonomic features of gaming keyboards is the paddings or detachable wrist rest that can sometimes be attached to a gaming keyboard like this. This feature supports the wrist, allowing gamers to rest their wrist on them, and to use keyboards for a long period of time, without experiencing wrist strain or hand fatigue and strain. To learn how to reduce and treat arm, wrist, and hand pain while gaming, make sure you check out our article.
The keys of a gaming keyboard are also well-spaced, which makes it easier for gamers to press them, without accidentally pressing the wrong keys. The macro keys which are often found in gaming keyboards make it very easy to create shortcuts and automate certain keyboard actions.
Benefit 3. Durability
Gaming keyboards are often subjected to stress, which is the main reason they are usually built with high-quality materials. High-quality materials that are used to build gaming hardware including gaming keyboards like this one, make it possible for them to have a longer lifespan. Though, this accounts for the reason gaming keyboards are generally more expensive than regular non-gaming keyboards, purchasing them can be a worthwhile investment.
Summary of Gaming Keyboard Features
|Keyboard Feature||Example Product||Price|
|Fast, responsive typing||Roccat Vulcan Tkl Mechanical Pc Tactile Gaming Keyboard||~$90|
|Quick response time||Havit Mechanical Keyboard, Wired Compact Keyboard||~$40|
|Comfortable and functional||Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard: Fast Keyboard Switches - Clicky Optical Switches||~$95|
|Durable||SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Aircraft Grade Aluminum Alloy Frame||~$80|
You may be able to find all of these features in a laptop gaming keyboard too. Make sure to take a look at how this might make a difference too. At this point you might also be wondering how to fix gaming keyboard issues. Be sure to take a look at our related article to find out more.
Are There Downsides To Using a Gaming Keyboard?
So far, we have seen the reasons gamers are willing to splash out on a gaming keyboard. The extra features available in gaming keyboards create a wonderful gaming experience, making them very desirable to lots of gamers. But, irrespective of all these benefits there are some downsides to purchasing a gaming keyboard.
There are not many downsides to using a gaming keyboard. The downsides of using a gaming keyboard are the high price, their sound or noise level, and their heavier weight. However, the functionality and durability of a gaming keyboard make it worthwhile.
There are just a few downsides to slashing out on a gaming keyboard:
Downside 1. High Price
Gaming keyboards are known to be generally more expensive than regular, non-gaming keyboards. The average price of a gaming keyboard is about $50 to $150, though high-end keyboards may cost way more. The high price of gaming keyboards like this one is due to the extra features they have, which make them ideal and suitable for gaming. On the flip side, this should be considered a worthwhile investment, as the durability and long lifespan of gaming keyboards make it possible for gamers to use them for long periods.
Downside 2. Sound Level
Mechanical gaming keyboards, especially the ones with blue switches as this article from makeuseof.com explains, are known to be a bit louder than other keyboards. Though this is a minor problem, it may sometimes be annoying for people that hate the slightest noise. This problem can be solved by choosing a mechanical gaming keyboard that has minimal key sounds or one that has O-rings to decrease the sound level of the keys, as this article from mechkeybs.com explains.
Downside 3. Heavier Weight
Mechanical keyboards are known to be generally thick and heavy, weighing about 1.5Kg. Due to the heavier weight of mechanical gaming keyboards, it may be a bit more difficult to move these keyboards from place to place. Thus, they are not suitable for use by those who are digital nomads or those who are highly transient. However, the high weight of gaming keyboards gives them much more stability. Since they will be firmly positioned on the table, it is usually very difficult for them to fall from the table, even when they are being subjected to rough and aggressive use.
Tips For Choosing the Best Gaming Keyboards
Now you know that a gaming keyboard is important so let’s consider tips that can help you choose the right gaming keyboard.
When choosing the best gaming keyboards be sure to get a durable and high-quality keyboard. Take into consideration the price of the gaming keyboard, and make sure the gaming keyboard has good N-key rollover and anti-ghosting features. Get a keyboard with backlights for playing in low-lit conditions, and take into account the connection method of the keyboard.
Consider these tips to help you choose the right gaming keyboard for your needs:
Tip 1. Get a Highly Durable Keyboard With a Good Quality Build
Due to how addictive and immersive gaming can sometimes be, there is a tendency for gamers to subject gaming keyboards to long periods of stress and rough handling. This is why you need to get a gaming keyboard like this that will be able to withstand long periods of stress. An effective way of getting the best quality gaming keyboard is by making sure to get keyboards from already established brands like Logitech, Razer, and Corsair that have good reputations. You can also take time to go through the reviews and comments of those that have already used whatever keyboard you want to get. This will give you a basic idea of what you can expect to get.
Tip 2. Consider the Price of the Gaming Keyboard
While you may like the super cool features of a gaming keyboard, your budget is the ultimate factor that will determine if you will be able to get that gaming keyboard or not, as the features of a gaming keyboard will often affect the price. A fancier keyboard with more sophisticated features will often cost more than one with fewer features.
We are not saying you have to get the most expensive gaming keyboards for you to enjoy gaming. You can still get a good one like this that will provide the best gaming experience even with a smaller budget. Just make sure that whatever keyboard you want to get has features that will enhance your gaming experience and performance. Our gaming keyboard recommendations guide provides a handy resource to read before making your final decision about a keyboard.
Tip 3. Check the N-key Rollover and Anti-Ghosting Features of the Keyboard
Since the gaming keyboard will be actively used for gaming, you need to ensure your keyboard is highly responsive and has minimal input lag or latency. The N-key rollover will determine if a keyboard will be able to register all the keys on a keyboard, as they are being pressed. Though most mechanical gaming keyboards have a good N-key rollover, you still want to confirm this by pressing the keys of the keyboard simultaneously to see if they all register and display on the screen simultaneously. A gaming keyboard with a good N-key rollover and an anti-ghosting feature like this one will register simultaneous key presses accurately and in the right order.
Tip 4. Consider the Environment That You Will Be Gaming In
While it is usually ideal to play games in a well-lit room, there are some gamers who love gaming in a dark environment or in a place that has less lighting. The reason some gamers prefer gaming in this kind of environment is the immersive nature of playing games in such atmospheres. If you are one of those gamers who love gaming in a dark environment, then you need to make sure you go with a gaming keyboard that has backlighting like this one. The backlight feature will allow you to play optimally in a dark area, without having to struggle with locating the keys of the keyboard. It will also give your keyboard an interesting look.
Tip 5. Consider the Connectivity of the Keyboard
There are usually two types of keyboards available - wired and wireless gaming keyboards. Wired keyboards function using cables that are connected to the computer, while wireless keyboards function using radio frequency (RF) technology. Our article comparing wireless and wired keyboards explains the pros and cons of each of these keyboard connection types.
While wireless keyboards may provide extra convenience and ease of use, they are not best for playing computer games. Their inefficiency comes from the fact that you may experience interference with the connection, causing them to freeze occasionally. This is another factor that should be carefully considered when striving to maintain the best gaming experience.