Best Gaming Keyboard Now
The keyboard is one of the most important peripherals when it comes to gaming. It handles nearly all of the commands and inputs that you can do in your games.
As important as this peripheral is, most average gamers really do not know what keyboard to buy up their gaming experience.
That is about to change because, in this article, I will talk about the best gaming keyboards on the market.
Check out these best gaming keyboards on Amazon Now
Also, check out the best gaming keypads here.
Most gamers nowadays opt for mechanical gaming keyboards. As you can tell by the name, best mechanical gaming keyboards make use of mechanical key switches.
Before I talk about the best gaming keyboards that you can buy on the market, I will first talk about the different mechanical switches that are quite popular today.
But before that, what are mechanical key switches?
What is a mechanical key switch?
A mechanical key switch is quite different than your regular rubber-dome/membrane switches in that they have mechanical springs and other components that truly stand out compared to regular keyboards.
There are actually 6 intricate parts that make the mechanical key switch work: the Keycap, Switch housing, Stem, Metal Contacts, Slider, and Spring.
- Keycap- the cover of the switch
- Switch housing- The square housing that holds everything together
- Stem- where the keycap is mounted
- Metal contacts- the component that allows you to know if the switch is actuated
- Slider- the one that interrupts the connection between the metal contacts and the side of the switch
- Spring- mounted at the base and it resets the switch back to its original position
There are also three mechanical key switch behaviors that people typically associate with them. These are the Linear, Clicky, and Tactile.
The Linear switches are smooth and don’t have a tactile bump. In other words, when you press a linear key switch, there will be no resistance. Linear switches are the quietest mechanical key switches currently used today.
Clicky switches, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. They are the loudest key switches on the market and they do have a tactile bump before you bottom out they keys. They are clicky because it gives that popular audible click once you get to the actuation point.
Last, but definitely not the least, are the tactile switches. Compared to the clicky switches, tactile switches only have that bump without the audible click. Cherry MX Browns are the best examples of this type of switch.
Most Common Mechanical Key Switches
There are plenty of mechanical key switches out there, but I will only cover the ones that are the most popular. Below are just some of the most widely used mechanical key switches:
- Cherry- the most popular key switch on the market. The company’s Cherry MX Switches have been the standard for many other mechanical switches today. There are five Cherry MX Switches, each having their own unique properties, that are quite popular. These are the Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, Black, and the new Cherry MX Speed.
Red- this switch is the most popular switch used in most mechanical gaming keyboards. This is a linear switch with an actuation force of 45 grams and an actuation point of 2mm.
Black- this switch is not that popular nowadays, but a few years ago, some gamers prefer this linear switch than the Cherry MX Red. This switch requires 60 grams of actuation force and it has the same actuation point of the Cherry MX Red.
Brown- a tactile switch, the Cherry MX Browns are the best switches for gamers and typists. It has the same actuation force and actuation point to the Cherry MX Red, but it has a tactile bump that lets you know that the actuation point has been reached. This switch is much quieter than the Cherry MX Blues
Blue- popular among typists, the Cherry MX blue switches is the company’s patented clicky switch. It requires 60 grams of actuation force and has an actuation point of 2mm. Do not be fooled with its actuation force requirement as the blues feel soft to the touch and is very comfortable to type on.
Speed- also known as the Cherry MX Silver, the Cherry MX Speed switches have the fastest actuation point on the market with only 1.2mm. It also requires the same actuation force of 45 grams, similar to the Cherry MX Reds.
- Razer Switches- Since the Cherry corporation lost its patents over mechanical key switches, a lot of companies sought different manufacturers for a better price and probably even better quality. Razer is one of those gaming peripheral companies that sought the aid of both Kaihua electronics and Greetech to create what is known as the company’s “Razer Switches”. There were originally two Razer switches used by the company, but as of the time of writing, they’ve now added a third one.
Green- The Razer Green switches are likened to the Cherry MX Blues with some minor differences. These switches only require 55 grams of actuation force and it has an actuation point of only 1.9mm. Furthermore, these are also clicky switches, but they are not as loud as the Cherry MX Blues.
Orange- Akin to the Cherry MX Browns, the Razer Orange switches also have a tactile bump and it requires the same actuation force and actuation point to that of the Razer Green switches.
Yellow- Razer’s newest switch, the Razer Yellow switch has the same actuation point to that of the Cherry MX Speed at 1.2mm and it also requires the same actuation force of 45 grams. These are the most silent switches in Razer’s lineup and it is a linear switch as well.
- Kailh Switches- made by Kaihua Electronics from China, these are basically Cherry MX clones. Their mechanical key switches have the same actuation force and actuation point to that of their Cherry MX counterparts. For example, the Kailh Red switch requires the same 45 grams’ actuation force and it also has the same actuation point at 2mm.
- Romer-G- These are Logitech’s own mechanical key switches and the company partnered with Omron, a popular switch manufacturer to create these. It requires 45 grams of actuation force and has a 1.5mm actuation point. The Romer-G switches are light and is perfect for people who are looking to transition to mechanical key switches as they feel a hybrid between a mechanical switch and a membrane one. These switches have a mild bump that is almost unnoticeable and they are very soft to the touch.
- QS1- Developed by SteelSeries, the QS1 switch has the same actuation force and actuation point to that of the Romer-G switches. They differ in feel, though, as people report the QS1 switches to be much lighter than the Romer-G.
- Topre- made by Topre Corporation, a Japanese company, the Topre switch is probably one of the most unique mechanical key switches out there. It has a 2mm actuation point, but the where it stands out is its actuation force. There are keyboards that make use of a toggle that actually changes the required actuation force of the key switch. The Topre switch’s actuation force may vary from very light (35 grams) to Medium (55 grams). It is great for gaming and typing and it is a tactile switch.
Now that you are aware of the most popular mechanical key switches on the market, it is now time for me to recommend some of the best mechanical gaming keyboards on the market.
Best Gaming Keyboards – Mechanical
- Thermaltake Poseidon Z RGB Review
Price: Under $90
Key Switch: Kailh Blue
Pros: Inexpensive, Full N-key Rollover, RGB Lighting
Cons: No macros, Software doesn’t offer much, lower build quality
Mechanical gaming keyboards can become quite expensive. If you just want to try it out for the first time, but you do not want to spend a lot of money on one, then the Thermal Take Poseidon Z RGB is the one for you.
For under $90, you get a keyboard with a standard layout which uses the Kailh blue switches. As mentioned above, the Kailh blue switches are akin to their Cherry MX Blue counterparts which means that they have a require an actuation force of 60mm and it has an actuation point of 2mm.
Anyway, the Poseidon Z RGB is a pretty simple keyboard as it doesn’t have a “loud” design. It does have some media key functionality by pressing the Fn key and the corresponding key together.
It has the full N-key rollover which means that even if you press all of its keys at the same time, all of the keys are guaranteed to register on screen.
This gaming keyboard also comes with a companion software, but its functionalities are limited to assigning macros and adjust the keyboard’s lighting. At least, the keyboard comes with per-key backlighting which ensures that the keyboard stays illuminated when the feature is turned on. Oh, and not to mention that this keyboard has full 16.8 million RGB support as well.
Even though this gaming keyboard has all of the essentials nailed, it doesn’t have a robust build quality. The keyboard is predominantly made of plastic and its cable is not even braided, though, it is thick.
Despite its subpar build quality, the Thermaltake Poseidon Z RGB is one of the best gaming keyboards for people who are on a budget.
Gaming Keyboard review – Corsair Strafe RGB
Price: Under $120
Key Switch: Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, Silent
Pros: Can choose from a variety of Cherry MX Switches, USB Pass-through, Solid build quality, Extra keycaps
Cons: Software is robust but requires a steep learning curve
Corsair has originally been known to craft some of the best PC RAM modules out there. But, the company has since ventured into other gaming peripherals, in this case, gaming keyboards. The Corsair Strafe RGB is one of their most popular gaming keyboards.
Why is one of their popular gaming keyboards? That is because you can choose from a variety of Cherry MX Switches; from the tactile Brown switches to the Clicky Blue switches. Not to mention, you can also choose Cherry MX Reds as well. And, if you do not want a loud mechanical key switch, you can opt for the Cherry MX silent which essentially is a Cherry MX Red switch with a dampener to mitigate the sound.
Aside from that, another key feature of the Corsair Strafe RGB is that it has a USB pass-through. This is a godsend because then, you will not have to go to the back of your PC to plug in your peripherals and other USB-powered devices.
It does, however, make use of two USB ports, but that is okay considering the convenience that you get. Do note that the USB Pass-through is only USB 2.0.
There are a number of popular gaming genres today like the FPS, MOBA, and MMO genres. These games make use of a specific set of keys most of the time and that is why Corsair included some extra keycaps.
There are keycaps for the W, A, S, and D for FPS gamers. And there are also keycaps for the Q, E, R, D, and F for MOBA and MMO gamers. These extra key caps are textured so that you can easily distinguish them from the other keys.
Corsair was kind enough to include a wrist rest so that you will be comfortable using this gaming keyboard for hours on end.
It also has a 16.8 million RGB support which you can tweak using their own software: the CUE (Corsair Utility Engine).
The CUE software is robust and offers a lot of tweaks and functionalities. However, this isn’t a software that is kind to the beginners; it will take time getting used to.
However, once you mastered the program, you can pretty much do whatever you want with the gaming keyboard. This includes macro programming, intricate RGB lighting, just to name a few.
With all of these features, no wonder the Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical gaming keyboard is one of the most popular gaming keyboards on the market.
Cougar Attack X3 RGB Review
Price: Under $120
Key Switch: Cherry MX Black, Red, Brown, and Blue
Pros: Multiple Cherry MX Switch options, Robust build, RGB Lighting
Cons: Has an extra USB connector with no apparent purpose
Cougar is a company that also makes gaming peripherals and they’ve just recently gained buzz in the gaming peripherals niche.
The Cougar Attack X3 RGB is a solid gaming keyboard. It has an aluminum chassis, but there are also some parts that are still made of plastic. It has full RGB lighting, but a slight bummer is that the Cougar logo doesn’t illuminate; not a deal breaker, though.
Cougar, like Corsair, also gives users plenty of Cherry MX Switch options you can choose from. I am quite surprised that the company included Cherry MX Blacks in their list because not a lot of people are using this particular key switch anymore. But, there are people who are heavy handed and would love to use Cherry MX Blacks over the other Cherry MX Switches.
It’s aluminum frame kind of improves the RGB lighting effect as the light bounces off the sheen of the said metal chassis and it also provides an overall sturdy feel to the gaming keyboard as well.
This gaming keyboard comes with a standard keyboard layout, but it also has an extensive set of other functions embedded in some of the keys which you can enable using the Fn key.
The Cougar Attack X3 RGB makes use of the company’s UIX software which has pleasing aesthetics and is much easier to use compared to Corsair’s CUE software.
In the UIX software, you can assign macros in which you can save to the keyboard’s onboard memory. You can store up to 30 profiles into the onboard memory which is plentiful and is also helpful if you want to bring the keyboard with you on LAN events.
The gaming keyboard is okay in most cases, but there’s one thing that I dislike, and that is the extra USB connector.
Most gaming keyboards nowadays make use of only one USB connector and if there is another one, it could be for the USB Pass-through. However, the Cougar Attack X3 RGB doesn’t come with a USB pass-through which make this extra USB connector a somewhat useless design flaw. Could it be for extra power? Possibly, but again, most keyboards can function by just using a lone USB 3.0 port.
Other than that, the Cougar Attack X3 RGB is still quite a good gaming keyboard with an option to use the Cherry MX Switch that you like.
Logitech G810 RGB Review
Price: Under $125
Key Switch: Romer-G
Pros: Professional Design, Key switch ideal for gamers
Cons: Doesn’t come with a wrist rest
Logitech is one of the frontrunners in the gaming peripherals industry and since Cherry lost their patents over mechanical key switches, Logitech created their own called “Romer-G”.
The Logitech G810 RGB, also known as the “Orion Spectrum”, is a gaming keyboard with a standard layout. Despite its typical design, the keyboard actually looks elegant in that it is made of premium materials and the keycaps and RGB lighting punctuate the peripheral’s aesthetics.
This gaming keyboard doesn’t come with extra keys or macro buttons, but it has added functionality embedded on its F-keys.
Furthermore, the G810 also has a game mode button which disables the Windows key and another button to control the lighting intensity. Gamers will also be pleased that the company has included a volume scrollbar that allows you to control your PC’s volume on the fly. And, just below that are dedicated media keys as well.
The Logitech G810 RGB makes use of the Logitech Gaming Software which is a robust software suite that not only allows you to record macros and just RGB lightings, it also has a game integration feature as well.
What this feature does is it integrates with some of the most popular games today and it automatically creates a profile for it.
The Logitech Gaming Software is also pretty straightforward and the interface is also pleasing to the eyes.
I just want to touch on the Romer-G switches for a bit. These switches are ideal for gaming as it provides a slight tactile feedback and is also quiet. But, people will need to take time getting used to this key switch when they use the keyboard for typing because it is a fast switch with a much higher actuation point than the standard Cherry MX Switch.
But, when it comes to games, the performance of the Romer-G Switches is topnotch. This key switch allows you to do double or even triple taps with ease; perfect for fast-paced games like CS:GO or Overwatch.
If there’s one thing I could complain about this keyboard, it is the lack of a wrist rest. Wrist rests are a godsend, especially for people who are playing for more than 4 hours. It is a bummer that Logitech didn’t include it in this keyboard.
Despite not having a wrist rest, the Logitech G810 RGB is one of the best mechanical gaming keyboards on the market.
Corsair K70 RGB Lux Review
Price: Under $160
Key Switch: Multiple Cherry MX Switches
Pros: Variety of Cherry MX Switches to choose from, Solid Build quality, USB Pass-through, extra keycaps, Wrist rest
The original Corsair K70 mechanical gaming keyboard has a standard layout and is pretty much a solid keyboard for gaming. But, a lot of people have been clamoring for a few features that are not present in the original K70 such as additional keycaps and a USB pass-through.
Thankfully, Corsair is a company that listens to the crowd and they have released a revamped edition of the K70 in the form of the Corsair K70 RGB Lux.
The Corsair K70 RGB Lux is essentially the original K70 with some added features, namely the ones that I’ve mentioned earlier and some other differences.
One such difference is the space bar. The K70 Lux now has a textured space bar which actually feels great to use. This is perfect because it allows you know to discern the spacebar from the other keys.
Another difference is that the Corsair K70 RGB Lux now supports 16.9 million colors as opposed to the original K70’s 16.8 million. Even though this is just an aesthetic change, people actually make use of all of the colors possible to create their own unique lighting schemes.
The Corsair K70 RGB Lux also has a USB Pass-through, which as you may have guessed by now, the keyboard uses two USB connectors. One of the connectors will be used for the keyboard’s power and the other for the Pass-through.
Aside from that, this gaming keyboard also comes with additional keycaps and it also has a keycap puller for convenience as well.
Like the Corsair Strafe RGB gaming keyboard above, you will have a choice of multiple Cherry MX Switches. You can choose between MX Red, Brown, Blue, and even the Quickfire Cherry MX Speed switches.
Build quality is solid as the keyboard is made of brushed anodized aluminum. The keyboard also comes with dedicated media controls and it also has a volume scrollbar with the mute button just beside it.
All in all, the Corsair K70 RGB Lux is a welcome upgrade to the original Corsair K70. It has the bling and the features that truly warrant that hefty price tag.
Corsair K65 Rapidfire RGB Review
Price: Under $150
Key Switch: Cherry MX Speed/Silver
Pros: TKL design, USB port, RGB lighting
Cons: Does not have a carrying pouch, not suitable for office work
If you want a portable gaming keyboard with a solid build quality and the RGB lighting that makes it look premium, then the Corsair K65 Rapidfire RGB is for you.
The Corsair K65 Rapidfire RGB has a TKL (Ten Keyless) design which means that it doesn’t come with a numpad. That is both a good and bad thing. It is good for gaming because it makes it portable and it allows you to carry the keyboard wherever you want to play games.
It is bad for productivity purposes, especially if you’re writing a lot, because the numpad is an indispensable tool.
Anyway, the Corsair K65 Rapidfire RGB, as you can probably guess, has the Cherry MX Speed switches. This switch has a much higher actuation point of 1.2mm and it touted to be the fastest switch on the market.
The keyboard also comes with media controls, but you will have to press the Fn key and the corresponding function key to toggle some media controls.
Since this keyboard is intended for tournaments and LAN events, the Corsair K65 Rapidfire RGB comes with an additional set of textured keycaps suitable for FPS and MOBA games. Corsair didn’t include a keycap puller, however.
This gaming keyboard does come with the company’s RGB lighting and it can be set on the Corsair Utility engine. Again, it is a robust piece of software, but it does take quite some time to get used to.
I am happy that Corsair has included a USB pass-through with the K65 Rapidfire. It is a very useful port that allows you to not only charge your mobile devices, but to also transfer some files to and from the device as well.
If I were to say a negative about this product it would be the exclusion of a carrying pouch. Most TKL keyboards are designed to be portable so that you can bring it with you whenever, wherever. And, since this keyboard costs a lot of money, it would’ve been nice if Corsair included a pouch for the keyboard.
Still, the Corsair K65 Rapidfire RGB is a great gaming keyboard if you want one that you can carry with you in gaming events.
Razer Blackwidow V2 Chroma Review
Price: Under $180
Key Switch: Razer Green, Orange, or Yellow
Pros: Razer Yellow, Sleek, Macro buttons, Sturdy, Wrist rest
Cons: Expensive, Doesn’t have a keycap puller
This article will not be complete without mentioning the top brands in the gaming peripherals industry. Razer has become the frontrunner when it comes to gaming peripherals but has now had stiff competition against Corsair and Logitech.
Anyway, the Razer Blackwidow v2 Chroma is one of their best gaming keyboards as of yet. When the company released the keyboard, they also released their new Razer switch called the Razer Yellow.
The Razer yellow switch is akin to Corsair’s Rapidfire Cherry MX Silver switch which has an actuation point of just 1.2mm and requires 45 grams of actuation force. That being said, this switch is the direct competitor against Corsair’s Quickfire keyboard.
The Razer Blackwidow v2 Chroma looks premium and it also has that metallic chassis for increased durability. Also, couple that with the Razer switch’s 80 million click lifespan, and this keyboard should last for more than 3 years.
One neat feature of the Blackwidow V2 that was not present in previous Razer keyboards was its included wrist rest. It is a soft and plush material that allows your wrists to rest comfortably while you’re using the keyboard.
Gamers would also require macro functionality and the Blackwidow V2 Chroma has five additional macro buttons on the left side of the keyboard which you can bind to whatever command that you want.
The keyboard also has 3.5mm jacks for audio-out and mic-in and it also has a USB 2.0 port as well. The only gripe I have with the USB port is that it is situated on the right side of the keyboard as opposed to the top, which can prove to be problematic in some cases.
Razer makes use of the Synapse software for all of their peripherals. It is a user-friendly program that allows you to create macros, configure the lighting, etc. It is pretty easy to navigate through the different options, but I have to say that it lacks the extensiveness of the Corsair Utility Engine.
This gaming keyboard is expensive and you would have to spend a lot of money on it. It would’ve been nice if Razer were to include a set of additional keycaps or just a keycap puller, but oh well, I guess the price to pay for a premium keyboard is this high.
The Razer Blackwidow v2 Chroma is definitely one of the best gaming keyboards on the market and if you like the feel of the Razer switches, this is the keyboard to get.
Corsair K95 Platinum RGB Review
Price: Under $180
Key Switch: Cherry MX Speed, Cherry MX Brown
Pros: High-quality build, Light strip with RGB lighting, Cherry MX Speed or Brown switch, wrist rest, USB port, programmable macro keys
Cons: Expensive, Wrist rest may not be comfortable for some
As mentioned earlier, Razer has had some stiff competition against Corsair, especially when it comes to gaming peripherals.
The Corsair K95 Platinum RGB is probably the direct competitor to Razer’s Blackwidow V2 Chroma. Even if this was the case, Corsair made it apparent that it is still a bit ahead than their competitor.
This gaming keyboard not only looks premium, it is also made of premium materials as well. It is made of anodized air-craft grade aluminum to ensure that the keyboard can withstand some heavy pounding.
Like the Blackwidow V2 Chroma, the Corsair K95 Platinum RGB also has programmable macro buttons, but instead of having only 5 of them, this keyboard comes with 6! Furthermore, the macro keys come with textured keycaps to allow you to distinguish the normal keys from the macro buttons. The space bar’s also given that approach and it also has a textured keycap as well.
The Corsair K95 Platinum RGB also comes with dedicated media controls as well as a volume scroll bar located on top of the keyboard to allow you to control the system’s volume without tinkering with it in your game’s settings menu.
There are some features that are not present on the Razer Blackwidow V2 Chroma, which makes the Corsair K95 Platinum win in some regard.
First of all, the Corsair K95 Platinum RGB has an RGB light strip at the top of the keyboard. It is purely for aesthetic purposes, but man, is it an amazing thing! You can even sync up the lighting on the keys and on the light strip as well!
Second, the Corsair K95 Platinum RGB has 8MB of onboard memory which allows you to put specific lighting effects, program macros, and what have you and it will be saved on the keyboard. You can just bring your keyboard and you can make use of all the saved settings without internet connection!
The Blackwidow V2 Chroma was okay in this regard because the Synapse software can just sync up the settings, if your computer is connected to a network. But, what if there’s no internet connection? That’s the problem with the Synapse software and all of the saved settings.
As for the Key switch, you have two options: the Cherry MX Silver/Speed or the Cherry MX Brown. Both are the most desired Cherry MX Switches for gaming; one is linear and quick and the other provides that tactile bump without being too loud.
There is also a USB port that is situated on top of the keyboard which is nice. Do note that this is only a USB 2.0 port, but it is still a great addition, nonetheless.
Lastly, the keyboard comes with a detachable wrist rest and it garnered mixed reactions. Although it was fine in most cases, people report that it is not too comfortable for prolonged used. That is probably so because the wrist rest doesn’t have the same plush padding that the Razer Blackwidow V2 Chroma has.
Despite it being the case, the keyboard is still comfortable. I guess it all boils down to personal preference.
The Corsair K95 Platinum RGB deserves its high price tag because of its plethora of features and its premium look.
Topre Realforce RGB Review
Price: Under $250
Key Switch: Topre
Pros: A toggle between variable actuation forces, Sleek looks, RGB Lighting
Cons: Very Expensive, doesn’t come with extras
And, the most expensive gaming keyboard on this list is none other than the Topre Realforce RGB.
As you can tell from the moniker, this makes use of the Topre switches from Japan. These are capacitive switches that feels great to the touch.
What makes the Topre Realforce RGB different from the rest? Well, it is its APC or the “Actuation Point Changer”. When you press the APC, it allows you to toggle between three actuation points: 1.5mm, 2.2mm, and 3mm.
The 1.5mm is perfect for gaming; the 2.2mm is perfect for just about anything else, and the 3mm actuation point is great for typing. How does this key switch sound? Well, it is very silent and is a perfect switch for people who are into competitive gaming that wants a keyboard which has a great feel without making too much noise.
In fact, according to a lot of people who have tried the Topre Realforce RGB, it feels like the Cherry MX Blues without the loud clacking noise! And oh, the Topre switches on this keyboard only requires 45 grams of actuation force to activate.
The keyboard also has a standard design. It doesn’t come with macro keys; it just has that standard office keyboard layout. But what makes it look amazing is its RGB lighting, which you can tweak using the keyboard’s companion program.
Its program is straightforward and it allows you to change the per-key backlighting if you so desire. Heck, you can even change the actuation points of the different keys on the keyboard if you want.
Now, for a keyboard that has the ability to toggle between different actuation points, I am surprised that the company did not include a wrist rest. I mean, for this price, you should at least get a wrist rest, right?
Another thing that might put off potential buyers is that this keyboard doesn’t come with any extras at all. Like, it doesn’t have a USB port, it doesn’t have a carrying case, and it doesn’t have additional keycaps, let alone a keycap puller.
All you’re going to get is the keyboard itself and nothing else. But hey, the ability to switch between different actuation points is a game changer in itself.
So, if you want to buy a keyboard that allows you to switch between different actuation points that are perfect for whatever scenario, then the Topre Realforce RGB is the one that you should get.
Best Hybrid Gaming Keyboards
Now, the keyboards that I have mentioned so far all sport mechanical switches, but there are some advances in the technology that allows companies to have the feel of the mechanical switch without the high cost.
Below are some of the best non-mechanical/hybrid gaming keyboards that you can find on the market.
- Razer Ornata
Price: Under $100
Key Switch: Mecha-membrane
Pros: Key switches feel great, RGB Lighting, Wrist rest is comfortable
Cons: Expensive for a non-mechanical switch keyboard
Most gamers nowadays have mechanical gaming keyboards and they feel that they cannot go back to the standard rubber-dome keyboards.
But, there are still a small demographic that wants membrane keyboards because they are not too loud and they are very inexpensive.
Razer, as a gaming company, wants to cater to every gamer out there, and so, they’ve made a switch that could possibly bridge the gap between people who love Mechanical switches and people who adore membrane switches.
Then, the company released the Razer Ornata. The Ornata comes with the company’s “Mecha-Membrane” switch. This switch is essentially a rubber-dome/membrane switch, but the difference is that it has a mechanical key switch feel to it whenever you press the keys.
That is thanks to the same mechanical switch technology used in the said switches. So, you’re essentially using membrane keys with the touch and feel of a mechanical switch. This also means that the keyboard is not that expensive, but more on the pricing later.
The switches feel somewhat like a hybrid between chiclet-style keys and mechanical switches. It is very responsive, though, and it has a much higher actuation point, allowing you to quickly double-tap if you need to.
The Razer Ornata comes with the same plush leather wrist rest that comes with the Blackwidow V2 Chroma. It has a magnetic coupling mechanism that although does its job well, it kind of feels that the wrist rest can detach any time, especially when you play roughly.
This gaming keyboard also has the Chroma lighting feature enabled and it can be tweaked using the company’s own software.
Honestly, the Razer Ornata is a winner if you are a membrane keyboard lover. But, what is interesting is that the price is just too high. You have to ask yourself if you want a non-mechanical keyboard for about $100.
If you do want a membrane keyboard with the feel of a key switch and has a very comfortable wrist rest, then the Razer Ornata is the one for you.
- Logitech G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard
Price: Under $60
Key Switch: Hybrid
Pros: Spill-resistant, Dedicated media keys, RGB-enabled, Compact form factor
Cons: Limited RGB lighting customization, Wrist rest not removable
The Logitech G213 Prodigy is another gaming keyboard that sports a hybrid switch. It does have the membrane keys, but it also has that mechanical switch treatment making them feel as if you’re typing on true mechanical gaming switches.
This gaming keyboard is intended for people who are on a tight budget, but wants a competitive gaming keyboard that does have enough features to give them the edge in competition.
The G213 Prodigy sports a standard keyboard layout and it also has a non-removable wrist rest as well. The wrist rest is comfortable enough, but it would’ve been nice if it were removable.
Gamers who love to play music while they’re playing will be pleased to know that this keyboard also has dedicated media controls. And what’s more, the G213 Prodigy also has RGB lighting as well.
Do note that the RGB lighting is not per-key, but rather, it has five lighting zones. This would mean that your RGB lighting customization will be limited, but I guess that is to be expected for a keyboard at this price point.
This gaming keyboard does have a compact form factor and is entirely made of plastic. Sturdiness is not big of a deal, though, as the keyboard is mostly placed on the desk anyway.
One cool feature of the G213 is that it is spill-resistant. It can withstand up to 60ml of liquid. This is perfect for people who frequently spills liquid on their keyboard. I do have to caution that during testing, only water was used. Having sweetened drinks like sodas, for example, will probably have a negative impact on the keyboard’s performance.
The hybrid switches offer the same performance to that of the Razer Ornata above, but what I do love is that the price is much lower compared to the aforementioned keyboard.
If you do not have a lot of money to spend on a gaming keyboard, then the Logitech G213 Prodigy is definitely something to consider.
Things to Look for when Buying a Gaming Keyboard
Gaming keyboards are not cheap; they are far more expensive than your regular, run-of-the-mill rubber-dome keyboards.
And since you’re going to spend some money on a gaming keyboard, it is best that you know what to look for when buying one.
Below are just some of the things to look for when buying a gaming keyboard:
- Key Switch- when buying a mechanical gaming keyboard, make sure to look at the key switch used first. There are a number of gaming keyboards all having different key switches. Research on the one that you want and then go from there.
- Layout- Another thing to look for is the keyboard’s layout. Do you want a keyboard with the standard layout? Do you want a keyboard with a TKL design? Or do you want a keyboard that has extra buttons for your macros?
- Software- Most gaming keyboards unlock their true potential when used in conjunction with its companion software. Research first on the program the keyboard’s using before you make the purchase. If it the program gives you the customization that you want, then go for that particular keyboard.
- Lighting- Although, in essence, lighting is optional. But for a gaming keyboard, however, lighting is definitely a must. You’re spending a lot of money on an expensive keyboard, so why not get one with some illumination, right? The choice of whether to go for one backlighting or RGB lighting is up to you.
- Price- Last but definitely not the least, you have to consider the price. Gaming keyboards, as I’ve said earlier, are expensive. You have to know how much you’re willing to pay to get one. After you’ve established your budget, it will be much easier for you to find one that suits you.
One common question people ask when buying a gaming keyboard is: should I go buy a mechanical gaming keyboard or one with Rubber-dome keys?
And, if they went to the mechanical gaming keyboard route, the next question would be: which switch should I use?
Well, truth be told, even though mechanical key switches have different actuation points and require different actuation forces to activate, it still boils down to personal preference.
For example, MX Cherry Red switches are made for gaming because of its linear nature and that it only requires a light tap to activate. However, some people find typing on Cherry MX Reds to be a pleasurable experience.
Conversely, Cherry MX Blues are specifically made for typists. But, some people actually love using the Blue switches for gaming because it gives them that tactile bump and that clicking sound, allowing them to know if they’ve pressed the key or not.
So, to answer the question, “what mechanical switch should I use?”, it depends entirely on you. In other words, it is pretty subjective.
I urge you to go buy a mechanical key switch tester or go to a gaming peripheral store and try out different mechanical switches until you find the best that works for you.
If mechanical gaming keyboards aren’t your thing because of their much higher price tag, there are some gaming keyboards that offer hybrid key switches. I’ve mentioned the Razer Ornata and the Logitech G213 Prodigy, but do not limit yourself to these gaming keyboards since there are still plenty of them out there. I just mentioned the two because these are by far the best in its class.
I hope that this article has helped you get the best gaming keyboard for you.