Let’s talk about something called ‘Gaming Keyboard’. For an average Gamer, who plays Need For Speed game for 15 minutes daily, Gaming Keyboard may not be a big deal. But the same can’t be said about a Hard-core gamer, who spends many hours on gaming daily, and who want to create his Ultimate Gaming environment.
There are many persons who want one for themselves but can’t pick one over other. That’s why I’ve published this post. To make your task a little bit easier. And here it is
Best Gaming Keyboards of 2016
But first, Here’s a thing:
Gaming Keyboard is not a regular keyboard. A typical Gaming keyboard has some extra keys located above the function keys, these extra keys can be “programmed” to do different tasks in games. In addition, they are back-lit, comfortable for continuous use and durable.
No matter how much money you’ve put on those expensive graphics Cards, Wifi Routers, Gaming Headsets and even on gaming mice, if your keyboard is just another average regular keyboard, your gaming rig will be crap. Yeah, you’ve read right, C R A P.
Keeping that in mind, as a Hardcore gamer, you should not only buy those graphics cards or routers, but also pay some good attention to your mouse and keyboard etc – if you want everything perfect.
So now, at least, you know that gaming keyboard is an important part of your gaming. Now a million dollar question you need to ask is
what type of Gaming keyboard do I need?
Well, as much as I hate talking in diplomatic way. My answer is:
Yeah, it depends on what types of games and how much games, you play daily. If you a person who have extensive gaming sessions, then a top notch Gaming Keyboard is a must. On the other hand, if you play games occasionally and those games requires less Keyboard work (First-Person Shooter games), then you should go for a little less expensive Keyboard.
Fortunately, we have covered almost all the bases. We did not emphasis solely on feature-stuffed expensive Keyboards but also some other Gaming Keyboards that are less expensive and punch above their weight. We’ll tell, which keyboard is best for which user. Also, we’ve written detailed review – as much as possible, instead of writing only 50+ words description. So if you don’t like detailed reviews, hit back button right now.:
Best Gaming Keyboards 2016 Review
10. AULA LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard – Check Best Deals
Apart from being a quiet good keyboard for gaming, it is one of the best backlit keyboards you can buy. I know there are many back-lit keyboards around us but most of these just shine around the keys, rather than through them. But that’s not the case with this one. Every key is well-lit. Hence, it is easier for your eyes to read even you’re under the sky during midnight. And make your late night gaming sessions awesome.
Another good thing to mention about this keyboard is its keys. They make typing just fluid and silky. No noise for key presses, so that you can enjoy a quitter atmosphere and just concentrate on your gaming. Besides being silky, these keys are fast and responsive enough to respond even the super fast key typing.
On top of that, even if you’ve broken a key (or two), there is no need to worry. This Keyboard comes with 8 transparent keys that you can replace, and a key plucker. Of course, you can change its lighting color between red, blur, and purple. Every backlight has 4 gears to adjust.
Talking more about its design, it is very compact. You can easily place it in a Backpack. Not to forget about its cool appearance, ultra-thinness and easy-on-hands nature, which make it feel comfortable on hands even after long gaming sessions. It also has a large palm rest space so that your hand should not worn out.
One more thing about it is that it is very easy to setup. It means you don’t need any type of drivers or discs etc to make it work. All those things in a much less price (yup! it’s very cheap). On a side note, I would like anyone who does computer programming/coding (like me!) should also buy it. Because like Gamers, programmers also type a lot. Therefore, they need a solid keyboard with silky and responsive keys and durable too.
So I would recommend it to anyone who’s on a tight budget that he/she must consider it, before going for another one. Because it is one of the few Gaming keyboards to be full and not so expensive.
9. CM Storm Devastator – Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo – Check Best Deals
Rather than selling them alone, Cooler Master packed them together and called it a “Gaming Bundle” – which contains a Gaming Keyboard and a mouse. Though it is a keyboard review post, I had to include this mouse’ review here, since it comes with the keyboard. So we’ll discuss mouse before the keyboard.
The mouse is made from the hard plastic material. Cooler Master perhaps opted for plastic by keeping its weight in mind. As it is evident by its light-weightiness. But don’t you dare think that they used some cheap ol’ plastic. In fact, plastic is pretty hard. On checking further, I noticed that mouse buttons are not separated from its body – making it all a single piece. It is 2000 DPI mouse with three different presets.
When you plug in into your PC/laptop, it shows its neon blue backlighting. But one sad part is that in case you don’t like – you simply can’t put it off. On some more technical specifications, it is six buttons. From which, you can ‘program’ (set) four buttons to do any type of a specific task. One additional button is a DPI switch. Now, you can switch DPI of this mouse switch between 1000, 1600, and 2000 DPI. That too, without any sort of software use.
Performance wise, it may not be a perfect/ultimate Gaming mouse but it’s not too bad either. Comfort wise, this mouse is well ‘n’ good. Even after hours of gaming, you finger will not ache.
Now let’s discuss its better half – Gaming Keyboard.
This keyboard is a membrane keyboard( the one, in which keys are not separated but only have pressure pads which outline on a flat area).
One good/bad thing (it depends on your choice) bout membrane keyboard is that they don’t give you much tactile feedback. Hence, they are pronged to typos and have durability issues. But on reviewing it, I surprised to feel much more feedback than anticipated (but not as much as a mechanical’).As far as durability is concerned CM says that they have ‘optimized’ their mechanical switches to provide enhanced durability and tactile feedback.
Now we’ll talk some about its other features – aka keys. Its keycaps are slightly coated to give you some grip. It also enables you to stop at keys while typing faster. My only disappointment regarding keys is that after two to three hours you fingers will start to hurt – slightly, though.
It also has rubbed size pads for stability, something gamers desperately crave because that’s where precision matters most. It is a backlit keyboard so when you plug it into your PC, its keys will have the neon blue backlight on their backs and around. Of course, you can turn this backlight toggle on and off, but you can’t adjust its level – it’s either on or off!. But one important thing, when you turn its backlight off, keys are a little hard to find because of contrast (blue key color on black background).
Now you may understand why Cooler Master sell them both in a bundle. They may not feel attractive – if looked independently. But together they are a pretty good buy. A good Gaming Keyboard plus an average Gaming mouse. What do you want more in 30 bucks! huh?
8. CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i | Clean Looks — Check Best Deals
I have seen many people who just don’t get comfortable enough with their gaming peripherals. One main reason for this is funky and alien shape/size of their gaming keyboard/mouse. Imagine you have to remember different key combinations and macros other than 104 keys that are already present on your keyboard. I won’t be surprised if any one of us feel overwhelmed.
One way to overcome this problem is to buy a regular keyboard but simply aren’t good enough for gaming. QuickFire Rapid-i solves this problem through different route It is a gaming keyboard that looks like a regular one, literally. It is the second version of CM’ QuickFire Rapid.
Rapid-i is a very compact gaming keyboard with Cherry MX mechanical switches. From the above picture, you may have realized that keyboard has no 10-button numeric keypad. It is available in 3 options: Cheery MX, Blue, Brown, and Red etc.
Like many other gaming keyboards, this one does feature individual backlighting. You can even use 5 different layouts that are already in it. Using these layouts, you can do different things like coloring WASD or Arrow keys etc. You can also adjust the intensity of the backlight.
In case you aren’t satisfied with these presets, you can do manual configurations with each and every button and save it as a profile. Now a teeny-tiny problem is that there are only 4 lighting profiles.
There are many other features such as setting repeat rate. using this feature you can set how many times a holding key’s function should repeat. There are 4 settings for the repeat — right along F5-F8 keys — 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x etc.
What’s so special about it?
Unlike many gaming keyboards you don’t need any special software/driver to download, in order to save your profile. All of that is done through the 32-bit onboard ARM processor.
What big benefit it provides
One big advantage its lack of software installation provides you is that every time you wanna play game or load profile on another computer, you don’t need to install software on that PC.
What pain it alleviates
Well having a compact design and 87 keys to press is a far cry from having a full-fledged gaming keyboard on your desk. Although having keys close to each other makes typing error-prone but it also makes you less confusing about which one key you should press if you have multiple ones like Enter, Shift etc.
Rapid-i comes with 2 years of warranty and CM’ keyboards are known for their solid build. There are many youtube videos proving CM Storm’ keyboards’ toughness. So expect it to accompany you for at least 2-3 years.
What Do Experts Say About It
“When we look at the QuickFire Rapid-i as just a mechanical keyboard first, we are in no way disappointed. CMStorm has kept to that same level of super sturdy construction that you cannot twist more than a degree or two with your best try…..” — Chad Sebring from Tweak Town
7. Razer Orbweaver Gaming Keypad – Check Best Deals
Some of you may raise your eye upon reading this, but I’ve included it. A thing called Gaming Keypad. Well, this does not exactly look like a standard keyboard. It has a limited number of keys which has WASD layout (the four keys W, A, S, and D which are important for gaming). But technically speaking, a Keypad is a type of a Keyboard. Yes, it is. Gaming Keypads, like console-style controllers, give you much more intuition because this is a relatively new concept.
So now you know some tidbits about Gaming Keypads. Let’s discuss some about this one. Razer Orbweaver Gaming Keypad. As the case with all gaming keypads, it is meant to be used with only one hand. But that definitely is not a downside. It means that you will be able to execute all of your gaming commands with only hand and very fast too.
Next is its keys. Its 2013 model had 20 keys, but its new model (which we’ve reviewed) has 30 fully-programmable keys for hotkeys, macros and other stuff like that. Even if that isn’t sound cool, you can use its 8-directional thumbpad as a modifier key or for movements. Since this keypad is back-lit each key is well-lit. In addition to this, its mechanical switches give you perfect tactile feedback and optimized set of actuation and reset points.
For your information, Razer used Cherry MX Blue mechanical key switches for this keypad. Every key is evenly tactile and clicky response. From the comfort point of view, Razer has designed hand, palm and thumb-rest modules with this keypad so you should not much tired after an hour of gaming or two.
On some software side, this keypad has very intuitive in-game configurator. Here you can customize each and every key according to you skills, hotkeys and macros etc. You can save your profile on cloud and sync it to use from anywhere in the world. This service is known as Razor Synapse. It also downloads driver updates automatically.
It’s up to you. A part of you may hold you back from spending 100 bucks on something which isn’t even a full Gaming Keyboard. But if you ask me, this Keypad is definitely worth its price. And you’ll realize this as soon as you’ll get it.
6. Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB – Check Best Deals
It is the one of the best Mechanical Gaming Keyboards you can buy in the market. The previous model of K70 Keyboard was applauded for its simplicity. In its successor Corsair adds a new bunch of great features + a powerful software suite. The first thing to notice is its design.
It is a medium size keyboard that can easily fit on a regular desk. Keys are pretty smooth and its wrist rest area is large and textured too. It is a full keyboard but there’s no space for extra macro keys. But one notable feature where this keyboard is second to none is – backlighting.
This keyboard literally lives up to its name. You can play with almost 16.8 million colors to set a backlight of your choice. Not only that, you can also set uniquely customized backlight for its each and every key, instead of picking just one color for entire keyboard.
This gives you an immense range of color options. And even similar ones also look very distinct to each other.You can set WASD keys lighting red, apply blue to Arrow keys, pink on Enter + Tab, or whatever you’d like to do this color beast.
Now we’ll head towards its keys. As I said earlier, it is a full keyboard without any dedicated keys for macros. Though there are some buttons like the one to active gaming mode, media controls, and a volume slider etc. A noticeable shortcoming I found in its keys is that they won’t give that extra sort of grip. Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB comes in three versions MX Cherry Red for quiet gaming sessions, Blue for noise loves and Brown for in-between both.
One more feature of this keyboard, which I can’t resist but to tell you, is its powerful-yet-complex software suite called CUE system. By complex, I mean that it has a quiet steep learning curve – particularly for beginners. There is no ‘easy mode’ for newbies who just to change backlight of their keys. This is just an example of how unfriendly an interface can actually be.
In terms of performance, it is well above average. Having no dedicated macro keys can frustrate you at times. Another glitch in this keyboard (a minor one) is that it doesn’t do macro recording on-the-fly. It means if you want to record/assign macros with CUE software you have to remember your timing.
What Do Experts Say About It
“The K70 RGB presents something of a recommendation dilemma. Technically speaking, it’s a better, more refined product than its predecessor, but its software is also more difficult to use. If I had to buy any new keyboard today, it would probably be the K70 RGB……..” — Marshall Honorof
A successor of an already good keyboard, it has a lot of good features like its backlight. But dulls some of its fun through un-user friendly software and lack of dedicated Macro-keys. But still, if you want a mechanical Gaming keyboard, you can take a look at it.
5. ROCCAT RYOS MK Pro – Best Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Check Best Deals
Roccat is making its name in the peripheral market by offering unique mice and keyboard in reasonable price. And in this RYOS keyboard, they have produced the best Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – by a margin. RYOS lineup of keyboards is already very popular due to customizable options and high build quality. Like Corsair K70, it also features individual backlighting for each key. But you can’t have customized backlight.
If you’ve previously used Roccat Isku previously, you can get confused. Because it is similar to Isku in terms of design and layout. But the similarity between two ends just there. Because RYOS MK Pro has a lot of features which aren’t present in former.
Its keycaps have a smudge-resistant finish so forget about any fingertips impression on them. It also has somewhat extra wrist-rest space. In case you don’t like this extra space (which would be rare) then you have to live with it. Because you can’t remove it.
RYOS line traditionally has some onboard processing to handle macro processing, multiple tasking, and other functions, without lagging. But in this one, ROCCAT took a step further to put two ARM cortex processor and 2 MB memory in it. It also features 8 dedicated macro keys. Besides this, you can also set up a macro for any particular key. Not to forget about its lighting and lighting’s different modes.
Accoring to PCmag: “The Ryos MK Pro isn’t just the best keyboard Roccat has released so far, it’s also our new Editors’ Choice for gaming keyboards.”
Many customization options and features make it a very versatile consideration. Apart from one single downside – or two. There is no major issue in it. And if you want a mechanical keyboard for gaming purposes it is the best one you can get.
4. Mad Catz STRIKE TE — Check Best Deals
STRIKE Tournament Edition is the first one from Mad Catz to boast mechanical switches. Although these are Kailh Brown switches rather than Cherry MX, actually gives you faster and smoother keystrokes.
Upon looking, you’ll realize that it is asymmetrically half-divided into two parts. This asymmetry isn’t limited to chassis area only. That’s why its Space Bar has a weird shape. One part consists of alpha-numeric area whereas the other consists of Num-pad and Arrow keys etc. Unlike Roccat Ryos MK Pro, STRIKE TE features a detachable wrist-rest. It is a good feature in my opinion if wrist rest of your keyboard makes you uncomfortable. It is available in 4 options: Gloss Black, Gloss Red, Gloss White and Matte Black etc.
Another cool feature it gives you is its enhanced anti-ghosting. There are many gaming keyboards that let you press up to 12 keys simultaneously but with STRIKE TE, you have 30-key Rollover. It means you can press up to 30 keys at the same time and enjoy games such as Dota 2, League of Legends and Warcraft 3 etc.
For macros, this keyboard gives you 12 programming buttons. 7 (M1-M7) are on the top-left while 5 (C1-C5) are on the right side. But thanks to its 3 different modes you can set a different key command for each of these modes. That’s why you can have as much as 36 combinations for storing macros.
In order to utilize this facility, you have to use the Mad Catz Software. This software comes with pre-made gaming profiles and commands to some games. You can share your profiles with your friends.
This keyboard also features adjustable backlighting. You can adjust the lighting of WASD and Arrow Keys at one level and rest of the keys at another one. They call it “Dual-Zone” adjustable backlighting.
We didn’t find any particular flaw in this keyboard. But this is a Tournament Edition gaming keyboard and this type of keyboards are used by professionals. It’s natural if you wonder whether you — as an average gamer — need this pro-level gaming weapon at almost 100 bucks. If you ask me, my answer would be: Of course. Because you don’t need to be a professional designer to run Photoshop and you don’t need to be a programmer to own a high-end laptop. That’s why you don’t need to be a Dota 2 pro in order to have it.
3. Logitech G910 Orion Spark – Check Best Deals
Logitech is a very common name in any gaming niche. But even with those high standards, Logitech still offered something surprising this time. Let’s find out what is that.
On looking, Logitech G910 is a very colorful gaming keyboard with full-layout + 10-key number-pad — all of its keys have mechanical switches (the ones that give you some sound and tactile feedback). One important thing — that you’ll surely love — is gaming mode key. With this gaming mode key, you can prevent any game-related error in Windows. This keyboard connects through a USB-port to your computer.
The whole keyboard is backlit. Not only backlit, it supports individual back-lighting. with To add some comfort level, you can attach a wrist rest, which is more prominent on the left side. WASD and other surrounding keys are very much accessible.
One more utility its design gives you is its smartphone dock. You can place your phone here, But you can use that dock for charging. After reading that, you may feel this sock as pretty much useless.
In more technical terms, Logitech G910 has a left-most column of 5 programmable keys (G1-G5). There are 4 other programmable keys, actually, but they are placed on top of first-4 function keys. 3 swappable profile keys (on the left of top programmable keys) makes the total number of macro combinations up to 27. On the right of these profile-buttons, we have an MR button to record some macros.
To setup a macro, you just need to press the MR button to start and again to end macro recording.
Apart from having latest drivers from Logitech, it is used as a customization tool. First of many things you can do with this Software is individual back-lighting. You can also make different types of designs/patterns by lighting and also adjust the backlighting level.
Logitech Arx Control app is there for Android and IOS users if they want to control their keyboard customization from mobile phones.
What Do Experts Say About It
“…….A great keyboard with a lot of smart design decisions.
In spite of some minor missteps, the Orion Spark a reliable companion for your favorite game genre, whatever that may be. You may have to dig deep in your wallet for this device, but in return, you’ll get an appealing product that’s sure to light up your gaming space for years to come” — Tom’s Guide
2. Razer DeathStalker Ultimate – Check Best Deals
In Razer DeathStalker, we have a premium + feature-stuffed keyboard. At first glance, it side will remind you a small-scale piano rather than a full keyboard — courtesy of an LCD panel. Unlike most of the gaming keyboards nowadays, this keyboard uses chiclet keys with scissor switches. One advantage these switches gives you is a more tactile response.
As I was saying, it has an LCD panel instead of traditional num-pad on its right side. This LCD panel has multiple options and functionalities. You can treat it as a TouchPad of a laptop. It also features two buttons for left and right clicks. In case you miss the traditional num-pad, you can also operate it as the one.
One more thing that differentiates it from the rest of modern keyboards is its wrist-rest option. While many modern gaming keyboards allow you to have an optional wrist-rest, this one has an integrated wrist rest which results in even bigger size.
Another notable feature in it is Razer’ won Switchable UI. I haven’t mentioned but right above its LCD panel, DeathStalker has two rows of buttons with each row containing five of those. You can use all these buttons for storing macros. But this interface is capable of doing much more than that. You can use Facebook, Gmail, and even Twitter while playing your favorite games.
In addition to this, you can also download Razer Synapse 2.0 from the official site. Using this software, you can use include your profile, assign macros and remap key functions and also set backlight colors. To be frank, its back-light’ intensity is not up to the mark when comparing with other keyboards in this list.
What Do Experts Say About It
Building a beautiful LCD touchscreen and ten programmable LED keys into a gaming keyboard is a neat idea, but in practice the Switchblade interface feels more like a gimmick than a useful feature……. Early adopters and LAN partiers in need of a little extra braggadocio may embrace the Deathstalker Ultimate purely on the promise of being able to check Twitter on their keyboard between bouts of Counter-Strike, and MMORPG players will appreciate the extra screen space and programmable hotkeys afforded by the Switchblade UI; everyone else is better off saving some money and investing in a sturdy mechanical gaming keyboard instead” — Alex Wawro of PC World
1. SteelSeries Apex M800 Gaming Keyboard – Check Best Deals
Most of the gamers want to have their keyboards as much customization as they want. In that scenario, SteelSeries Apex M800 might be your perfect partner. It is a one huge keyboard with low-profile and keys more closed to each other than we’re used to seeing in keyboards. SteelSeries have used new switches — QS1 switches — in this keyboard. These switches are faster and less noisy than Cherry MX rivals which are usually found in other rival gaming keyboards.
Since it has low-profile, you only need to half press the keys to in order to give input. Its space key is somehow extended further low. It has a one complete row of macro keys on its left side. According to SteelSeries, this keyboard allows up to 256 keypresses at once. But in real environments, we don’t usually need more than 5 or 6.
Like all new Gaming keyboards, Apex M800 supports backlighting. But the big thing is that, that you can assign different color patterns (like a rainbow, US flag etc) to its keys. On adjustment side, it has 8 brightness levels. Even if you don’t want to use any one of those patterns, you can always create one for yourself. All you need is SteelSeries Engine 3 software.
SteelSeries Engine 3 is one of the coolest gaming software out there, along with Razer Synapse. With its software, you can associates different profiles with different game settings. It is also used to store macros. Apart from these, this keyboards uses 2 little processors of its own. First is used for backlighting and customization while they second one ensures that you don’t have any input lag.
As a gorgeous keyboard with fast-paced PC gaming in mind, the Apex M800 accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. It also costs an awful lot for a peripheral that can hamper everyday typing and only excels at one game genre. FPS gamers on the competitive scene would be wise to look into the Apex M800 and get some hands-on time with it, if possible. Others can find more versatile choices, even if the lighting won’t necessarily be as pretty or intuitive – Tom’s Guide
Some Other keyboards to Know About
There are some other options you can use in order to have your ultimate gaming keyboard weapon. WASD V2 is one of them.
You can literally make this keyboard as your own, such is the level of customization this keyboard gives you. First you go to the official site of WASD Keyboards. From their you can change everything from switch type (Cherry MX Blue, Green, Brown etc) to alphanumeric layout style (DVORAK or QWERTY) and from Keycap color to Text Color and even OS key (Win7, 8, ubuntu, Mac etc.)
Since you need to buy this keyboard directly from manufacturer’s site, this keyboard isn’t available on Amazon. That is the main disadvantage of this keyboard in my opinion.