Gaming

Gaming Mechanical Keyboards – Should You Buy One?

how to choose a gaming keyboard

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All professional gamers will tell you that peripherals count and they help you to be better at the game you play. This includes the keyboard you use. Mechanical keyboards are often presented as the best possible choice. Are they or not?

The truth is that mechanical keyboards will make your gaming experience better. However, there are numerous things that have to be mentioned about the topic of choosing a gaming keyboard.

Mechanical Keyboards – Advantages And Disadvantages

If you are in a hurry, here are the main things you have to remember.

Pros:

  • Mechanical keyboards last longer.
  • They offer stronger typing feedback.
  • They are responsive.
  • They are easier and faster to type on.
  • They are very precise.
  • They are very comfortable.

Cons:

  • Mechanical keyboards are heavier.
  • They are louder.
  • They are more expensive.
  • They are difficult to clean.
  • They are easy to damage with spills.

Defining The Mechanical Keyboard

To put it as simple as possible, the mechanical keyboard is exactly what you think about when you first think about a computer keyboard. These started to be built in the eighties and the main characteristic is that every key includes a switch under it.

The keyboard switch is the most important part of the mechanical keyboard. It is made out of:

  • Housing – Holds together all components.
  • Stem – This is the part that will move down when you press the key.
  • Keycap – This is the top cap, what you see, with the number/letter.

As you press down on the keycap, a physical switch is activated. It is spring-loaded and the clicking sound you hear tells you that you applied enough pressure for the motion to be registered.

Cherry MX Switches

There are many different technical things that can be said about mechanical keyboards. However, the most important part is the switch under the keycap.

During the eighties, Cherry was a company that developed plastic key switches. They were named Cherry MX switches. These are now used by top gaming keyboard manufacturers from around the world, including Logitech, Corsair and Razer.

There are different types of switches that are on the market right now. The common ones are:

  • Cherry Blue – This switch is great for the person that does a lot of typing but is not good for gamers.
  • Cherry Green – Stiffer than the Cherry Blue switches.
  • Cherry Red – These are smooth and light to the touch. They are gaming switches that go as down as possible. You will find them in many of the best gaming keyboards on the market, including the HP Pavilion Gaming Keyboard 500.
  • Cherry Black – They are stiffer and best for the games that require a high precision, like RPG or RTS games.
  • Cherry Brown – They are smooth but have a tactile bump, being great when you need to switch fast between serious gaming and work tasks.
  • Cherry Silver – These are linear switches that are good for the games that need heavy key pounding as you constantly refresh skills.

How To Choose A Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

No matter what people might tell you, the best mechanical keyboard for you is different than that of someone else. Most gamers do prefer the mechanical keyboards since they are fast, durable and tactile. Some also like the membrane keyboards.

You will be told that you have to look at many different things like actuation force, tactility or actuation distance. In reality, you do not need to think about technical things. The most important things for you to look at when you choose a mechanical gaming keyboard are:

·        Noise

The mechanical keyboard is noisier than the other keyboard types because when you press a key, there are sounds that come out at the start and at the end of the move. Some keyboards are noisier than others.

Think about where you will use the gaming keyboard and whether or not the noise level is appropriate.

·        Durability

Few people know this but the average KPH (keystrokes per hour) is around 8,000. Multiply this by how many hours you play the game and then for how many weeks and you can quickly calculate how much you use the keyboard. The mechanical keyboard is very durable and the Cherry MX switches have a lifespan of up to 50 million keystrokes. Some are even better, like the HP OMEN Sequencer Mechanical Keyboard, which offers a lifespan of 70 million clicks.

·        Looks

Gaming keyboard manufacturers understand that most people buy based on looks, not on technical aspects. This is why you will see so many LED lights and weird shapes on the market. I personally believe that the Redragon K552 is a beautiful keyboard but many will disagree.

Let’s face it, you want your keyboard to look great.

·        Price

This one is pretty obvious but it needs to be mentioned. Obviously, some gaming keyboards are very expensive while others are pretty cheap. You can find really good models for all budgets. Usually, the highest price appears when the keyboard looks very nice, with many of the aesthetic features dictating price. If you just care about the mechanical switch, you will surely find a mechanical gaming keyboard that is very cheap.

Some Great Gaming Mechanical Keyboards

There are so many on the market that it is hard to choose. I took a look at most of the top ones on the market and after looking hard, I believe these are the best choices one can make, based on specific characteristics.

Best Overall Gaming Keyboard – Das Keyboard X50Q Soft Tactile RGB

Advantages:

  • Gamma Zulu mechanical key switches
  • Aluminum, premium build
  • RGB brightness

This is a gaming mechanical keyboard that is premium, beautiful, sturdy and great for most games you would play. It is a breeze to disable window keys, the cable is very long and the palm rest is very comfortable.

When Money Is Not A Problem – Dygzh Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Advantages:

  • Fast stroke responses, making the keyboard perfect for gamers, programmers, typists, writers, and practically everyone else.
  • The main body is made out of aluminum alloy.
  • Very comfortable and durable.

At first glance, you most likely cannot understand why this keyboard is over $1,400 and the truth is that the design is not perfect for everyone. If you want a gaming keyboard that looks how most people think when they imagine a gaming keyboard, this is not it. If you want extreme durability and high strength, this is it. It also can look stunning in an all-white based setting.

Recommended Compact Gaming Keyboard – SteelSeries Apex 7

Advantages:

  • Guaranteed to last for 50 million keypresses.
  • Superb RGB illumination with millions of color options.
  • Great magnetic wrist rest.
  • Dedicated multimedia controls.

SteelSeries is well-known by gamers and highly respected. Build quality is very high, featuring aircraft-grade aluminum and the wrist pad is deep and wide so you can relax while going through a really long gaming session.

Most Interesting Design – HyperX Alloy Elite

Advantages:

  • Solid steel frame for guaranteed stability and durability.
  • Advanced customization.
  • Futuristic industrial design.
  • 3 macro and lighting profile settings can be stored.

This keyboard uses Cherry MX Red keys, which are preferred by most gamers but this is not the only reason I like it. The design is very familiar, but modern at the same time. Also, the price tag is pretty good as this gaming keyboard is affordable.

When On A Very Tight Budget – Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

Advantages:

  • Highly affordable.
  • Dynamic RGB backlighting in 3 zones.
  • Spill and dust resistant.
  • Dedicated media and volume controls.
  • Very quiet, with responsive keys.

This keyboard is proof that you can buy a great gaming accessory like this for just around $50. It looks great, is durable and you will most likely love it.

Final Thoughts

Buying a great mechanical keyboard is not at all difficult if you just think about the things that I mentioned above. All of these mentioned above are wonderful but you can surely find others that will be great.

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