If you are a professional gamer or a gamer who just enjoys playing games, you must be willing to buy a gaming keyboard. But when it comes to buying one, the first thing that comes to your mind is what is the difference between a gaming keyboard & a normal keyboard? More specifically is it worth buying a gaming keyboard over a normal one? As there is a significant amount of price gap between the two. So let’s break it down to a few points.
What’s different in a gaming keyboard?
Not only for PC but keyboards with console like Xbox One, Playstation and others are also in great demand now. The gaming experience you get with a keyboard is beyond compare than anything else. You control to a very high degree that’s why most competitive players prefer keyboards rather than a console.
Gaming keyboards are usually built with gamers in mind and they come with some cool & useful features that you can’t get in a normal keyboard. These features include mechanical switches, programmable keys, RGB lighting, macros & customizations, etc.
Most of the gaming keyboard comes with mechanical switches instead of membrane switches which are commonly found in regular keyboards. Mechanical switches are way more responsive & durable compared to membrane keyboards & give a better experience in both gaming and typing.
Mechanical switches can be of three types –
- Clicky tactile
& each of them come up with different types of activation force & sound level. So as per your preference, you get a whole bunch of alternatives to choose from. This kind of switches comes with some very useful advantages.
Faster Response Time
The response time of a mechanical switch is 10 to 15 milliseconds faster than a membrane keyboard which you can’t even recognize with your eyes or while typing. But in games, it can be a huge difference between winning or losing. So a faster response time always gives you a slight upper hand on your opponent especially in competitive e-sports gaming for games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Cyberpunk 2077, or Assassin’s Creed.
In most PC games you have to press a certain number of keys simultaneously to perform a certain action. That’s where the key rollover aka anti-ghosting function comes in handy. In a normal membrane keyboard, you can press max to max 6 keys at a time. But in a mechanical keyboard, you can press any number of keys simultaneously and all of them will be registered accurately in the correct order. All thanks to the N-Key Rollover function which only comes with mechanical switches.
Build Quality & Consistency
As a gamer, you may have to press certain keys repeatedly & in a heated situation, you may get a little aggressive with your keyboard too. As an example, W, A, S, and D keys suffer a lot of punishment while playing games as they are often used to move in-game characters. Keeping that in mind mechanical keyboards are made of many individual components that make them more steady & robust than membrane keyboards.
If you are looking for a gaming keyboard for quite some time, then you must have come across the term Cherry MX with a colour code. Cherry MX is a type of mechanical switch which is built by Cherry Corporation. Most of the gaming keyboards use these switches which has a lifespan close to 100 million clicks.
You can’t get this much lifespan from a membrane keyboard. With mechanical keyboards, you don’t have to press it all the way down to get feedback & you can accurately predict when your keystroke has been registered. It’s a key feature for a gamer as he/she may have to press & hold some keys for a long period of time than usual typing.
Most of the mechanical gaming keyboards can be modified further as per your preference. That means you can change each & every existing key type with another. The activation force, travel distance, feedback & sound produced by each mechanical key differs from each other.
For example, if you want quiet but tactile feedback then you can go with Cherry MX brown switches or if you want tactile feedback with a clicky sound you can choose between Cherry MX Blue or Cherry MX green switches. You can change it on your own with a keycap puller. Damaged keys can also be replaced very easily.
You can also easily pull out the keycaps & brush out the dust or junk that may catch inside with time. You can’t have this flexibility with the membrane keyboard.
Macros (Customization of Keys)
Most of the gaming keyboard comes with some extra programmable keys. It is also known as macro keys which allows a user to record a series of different commands in a single key. It’s very much helpful for a complex command to perform repeatedly without any further outside assistance.
These macro keys come very handy for people who play Real-Time Strategy or Role Play Games that have lots of skills such as Cyberpunk 2077 or World of Warcraft. In these games, you can build your own set of macro keys as you like so that you don’t have to remember it every time you open the game.
Macros also allow you to set multiple profiles for different games. That means you can set it for different games & switch between them as per your need. Different companies use different software to manage these macro profiles and allow you to customize the keyboard. Razer, Corsair, Logitech are a few examples of this type of company. Through the help of this software, you can download popular streamers or your friend’s profile & you can share your own profiles too.
RGB Lighting & Aesthetics
Now comes the cool part. This part of the gaming keyboard has nothing to do with the performance. It’s all about the looks & appeal that a gamer needs. The gaming keyboard often comes with different colour switches rather than the commonly used black & white keys. It can also be of different shapes like an ‘alien spaceship’ or a ‘racecar’. Some of them come with futuristic fonts on the keycaps.
Almost every gaming keyboard comes with some or a full set of RGB lights underneath the keys. It can be controlled by some function keys or some apps that are synchronized with the keyboards respectively. These RGB lights create a gaming environment & give gaming vibes especially when playing some action or horror games. With the software of the keyboard, you can assign different colours to specific keys. This makes it easy to identify different keys without shifting your eyes from the screen while intense gaming.
After all these discussions the main point which comes, at last, is pricing. It is very obvious that gaming keyboards will be much more expensive than regular ones. A moderate gaming keyboard like Logitech G213 can cost you around four thousand rupees. And the keyboard like Mountain Everest MAX can cost you up to twenty thousand rupees.
So these are some points that you have to keep in mind while buying a gaming keyboard. It’s not that a gaming keyboard will make you a pro gamer but obviously, it will increase your keyboard experience much better.