Tech

Best gaming keyboard for 2021

With numerous choices obtainable at a variety of costs, discovering the most effective gaming keyboard in your wants usually comes down to non-public desire and price range. That selection shall be completely different for each type and stage of gamer, however our picks embrace the most effective we have examined which can be broadly obtainable. 

For fashions that’ll have rather less impression in your pockets, take a look at our best gaming keyboards under $100. However in case you can spend extra, you will get options equivalent to higher-quality switches and normal development, discrete media controls, a wrist relaxation and extra. And if you do not know a membrane from a mechanical change, the shopping for recommendation part on the backside will assist.

Learn extra: Best gaming keyboard under $100 in 2021

Identical to picking out a new gaming mouse, getting the fitting gaming keyboard has loads to do with private desire (and price range). As for the 2 authors of this checklist, Josh likes tactile switches — ones the place you may really feel the actuation level — however would not like clicky key switches that make a sound. Lori likes clicky and tactile as a result of she likes to really feel the actuation level and likes the mechanical sound for gaming, however makes use of a hybrid membrane-mechanical Razer Cynosa v2 at work for the press and the bounciness of its membrane. Lengthy years of stiff-action piano keys and having discovered on a handbook typewriter have turned her right into a pounder. 

You may also discover some keyboards nice for gaming however not like them for day-to-day typing. For instance, those self same Cherry MX Crimson switches which can be nice for gaming is perhaps too gentle for some typists. Linear switches, like Cherry MX Reds, haven’t got the tactile suggestions that Cherry MX Blues have, however due to their low pressure and clean actuation they’re most popular for gaming, particularly the place a number of faucets of the identical key are needed. If in case you have an opportunity to check out various kinds of switches before you purchase (equivalent to Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Crimson and others), I extremely suggest it. You’ll be able to take a look at this glossary of keyboard terms to assist slim your preferences.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The GMMK is the most effective deal in gaming keyboards. Sure, there are cheaper choices, however the design and options of the Wonderful Modular Mechanical Keyboard, to provide it its full identify, are unbeatable at its $110 price. Out there in full, tenkeyless and 60% sizes and in black on black or white on silver colours, the keyboard is modular, letting you hot-swap its key switches. It comes customary with ABS doubleshot keycaps on prime of Gateron Brown tactile switches, which work properly for each gaming and typing. However you may as well customise the keyboard with certainly one of 13 different Gateron or Kailh switches or the company’s Glorious Panda switches which can be clean however with a tactile bump you will positively really feel. Or you will get simply the board and put in your change of selection. The identical goes for the keycaps; there are 4 to select from or you will get none in any respect. 

The complete-size keyboard has an hooked up braided USB cable with three-way routing underneath the board (it additionally has a keycap puller saved on the underside). The 2 smaller boards have detachable cables. The GMMK has a steel prime with nice-looking beveled edges. It is a streamlined design with simply the necessities; you will not discover additional media controls or a quantity dial or an enormous, cumbersome physique to go together with them. The underside is plastic, however you may’t see it until you carry the board and, mixed with the steel prime, it has a heft to it that retains it in place in your desk. 

Even in case you by no means swap out the switches or keycaps, this is a superb gaming keyboard. It is the truth that you’ve gotten the choice to simply do these issues, although, that makes the GMMK a standout. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Need a compact 65% wi-fi mechanical keyboard for work and gaming? There aren’t that many round (most wi-fi keyboard choices are 60% dimension with out discrete navigation keys) and none that I’ve discovered which have Bluetooth and lag-free 2.4GHz wi-fi just like the BlackWidow V3 Min HyperSpeed. That helps justify the upper $180 value and it is also solidly constructed and is comfy for typing, and clean and quick for gaming. You’re restricted to 2 key switches — linear and clicky tactile — so if you’d like a tactile change with out the clicky sound, you are out of luck for the second. Change decisions apart, in case you’re seeking an excellent little wi-fi mechanical gaming keyboard that may also be your day by day driver for work, you’ve got discovered it.

Read our Razer BlackWidow V3 Min HyperSpeed hands-on.

 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Our present prime tenkeyless (or TKL, i.e. no numberpad) gaming keyboard. A step up from the standard G Pro, the Pro X has swappable switches, letting you select the precise really feel you need with Logitech’s GX switches obtainable in blue clicky, red linear and brown tactile units for $50 every. Eradicating and changing the switches is straightforward, making it simple to customise your expertise in case you’ve obtained the cash. It is modding made simple.

The Logitech keyboard’s general design would not differ a lot from the G Pro, although, which might be our runner-up decide. It is made for esports, and its small, sturdy construct and detachable braided cable makes it good for journey. Logitech’s G Hub software program is simple to make use of so you do not spend a variety of time looking for settings or management choices. Attaching macros to the operate keys is painless as properly.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A compact TKL model of Corsair’s excellent full-size K70 RGB MK.2 gaming keyboard, the $140 K70 RGB TKL is designed for esports however has options any aggressive gamer will respect. It makes use of Corsair’s Axon processing expertise to get a polling price as much as 8,000Hz that just about eliminates the prospect that enter lag goes to price you a victory. At 8,000Hz, it experiences keypresses each 0.125 milliseconds and it has a 4,000Hz keyscan price — 4 occasions sooner than competing keyboards — so it is each detecting and transmitting keystrokes far sooner than the typical gaming keyboard with a 1,000Hz polling price. 

Corsair used Cherry MX Crimson mechanical switches, although in some areas it is going to be supplied with MX Velocity or Silent switches as properly. The common linear Crimson switches are quick, clean and simply reliably good. There’s per-key RGB backlighting shining by means of sturdy double-shot PBT keycaps and Corsair additionally contains some textured keycaps for gaming. The keyboard’s structure is healthier for journey and it has a detachable braided USB-A-to-USB-C cable. 

Subsequent to the cable enter, you will discover a change that flips the keyboard right into a tournament-ready mode. This makes the backlighting static and disables macro activations so there is no unintentional presses whereas enjoying. You’ll be able to nonetheless use different keys just like the media and quantity controls and alter profiles, nevertheless. 

Corsair’s iCue software program was overhauled not too long ago to make organising lighting, programming macros and remapping keys extra simple. Whilst you can create limitless profiles and lighting layers which can be accessible when utilizing iCue, you may as well retailer as much as 50 particular person profiles to the keyboard’s onboard reminiscence. These are accessible with out operating iCue and even while you’re on techniques that do not help iCue. You can even retailer as much as 20 lighting layers. 

Should you’re in search of a quick, full-featured compact keyboard for FPS and MOBA video games, the K70 RGB TKL has you lined.

Read more about the Corsair K70 RGB TKL.

 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Out there in full, TKL and 60% sizes with HyperX’s own linear, tactile and clicky switches, the HyperX Alloy Origins line affords a variety of variety so you could find simply the fitting keyboard in your wants. All of them have slim, streamlined designs with aluminum our bodies and detachable braided USB-C-to-USB-A cables. You will not discover discrete media controls like the corporate’s Elite 2 keyboard, however the operate keys are marked out with media controls in addition to a Sport Mode so you may disable the Home windows key and sure key combos whereas gaming. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Elite 2 is a beefier model of HyperX’s slimmer, lighter Alloy Origins and Origins Core TKL keyboards. As a substitute of an aluminum body, the Elite 2 has a sturdier metal body, which supplies it some heft to maintain it in place in your desk. A thick braided cable is hooked up on the again and there is a pass-through USB 2.0 port in your wired gaming mouse or wi-fi receiver. 

The backlit keyboard is general bigger, too, with the addition of a light-weight bar above the operate keys and a separate bar with media controls and buttons for adjusting backlight brightness, selecting certainly one of three customized gentle modes you may retailer on the keyboard and turning on the Sport Mode, which turns off the Home windows key and different key combos that may intervene along with your gameplay. 

Nonetheless, just like the Origins fashions, the Elite 2 makes use of the corporate’s homegrown Crimson linear key change options as an alternative of the Cherry MX change within the authentic. Clean and quick, the HyperX Reds are similar to the Cherry MX Crimson change and carry out simply as properly and may fulfill most players. 

The switches use surface-mounted RGB backlight LEDs which can be extremely vibrant, so if you’d like an excellent lightshow out of your gaming keyboard, this does not disappoint. Plus, the keyboard is about up with HyperX ABS pudding keycaps that permit the sunshine shine by means of their translucent sides.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Optical key switches are praised for his or her lightning-fast velocity and lengthy lifespan. The Vulcan TKL Professional’s Titan optical switches add the texture of a extremely clean linear mechanical change to the formulation supplying you with an excellent gaming expertise. The keys, which have a muted clack to them, have a 1.4mm actuation level and no discernable wobble regardless of how furiously you press them. 

The keyboard is slim and light-weight and Roccat stripped away nearly the entire body across the keys protecting its footprint as small as attainable. The floating keycap design provides Roccat’s keyboards a novel look within the class and actually lets the per-key RGB lighting shine. It additionally makes use of a removable USB-C-to-USB-A cable. 

The corporate’s Swarm software program is not as simple to make use of as others, however you will discover all the identical kind of design instruments for creating customized lighting setups and macros with completely different profiles. You’ll be able to even make your keypresses sound like laser blasts or a typewriter, amongst different issues, by means of your audio system or headphones. And you probably have different Roccat AIMO gadgets, the lighting will be matched between them. 

Should you’re not bought on optical switches, Roccat’s Vulcan TKL has the identical wonderful design because the Professional however makes use of the corporate’s Titan linear switches. They’ve an identical however barely lighter really feel to them in comparison with the optical switches with the identical 1.4mm actuation level. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

If you are going to spend almost $200 to purchase the most effective gaming keyboard you could find, the Razer Huntsman v2, together with its cheaper little brother the Huntsman v2 TKL, delivers wonderful efficiency with both Razer’s linear pink optical switches or clicky purple optomechanical switches (which is $10 much less). The 2 fashions exchange the veteran Huntsman Elite (the v2) and Huntsman Match Version (TKL), although the latter nonetheless exists in a inexperienced keycap mannequin.

Razer matches Corsair’s Okay sequence for its 8,000Hz polling, and mixed with the swift response of the optically based mostly switches provides minimal lag to your gaming expertise, and brings the up to date sound-dampening expertise to the reds. There are media controls on the full-size keyboard, programmable identical to all the opposite keys, and Razer’s Synapse software program gives intensive management over the keyboard’s setup, which you’ll load into one of many keyboard’s 5 profile slots. You’ll be able to keep on with presets in case you’re not into tweaking settings. 

For the v2, Razer dropped the gorgeous underglow lighting, however meaning it not requires the second USB port in your pc. Should you miss it, there’s all the time the Razer Huntsman Analog v2 in case you can abdomen the $250 price.

Read more about the Huntsman v2.

 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Most players swear by wired keyboards and for good cause: A wired keyboard eliminates lag and potential sign interference. That mentioned, I did not expertise both whereas testing the G915 utilizing its Lightspeed wi-fi adapter. This wi-fi gaming keyboard will be related by way of Bluetooth, too, and so long as you retain the backlight off or low, battery life is pretty good. 

The per-key RGB lighting, in addition to all keys, will be programmed with Logitech’s G Hub software program. The app is mostly simple to work with and you’ll set as much as three profiles you could change to with out opening the software program. 

Its compact dimension and the corporate’s low-profile GL Tactile switches make it a viable selection for work and gaming, which is sweet contemplating its checklist value of $230. You can even get it with GL Clicky or GL Linear switches and in two colours: carbon with black keycaps or silver with white caps. 

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