A gaming keyboard is an often-overlooked weapon in your arsenal, but the truth is they are a vital tool in getting the absolute most out of any setup. They are the conduit between you and your computer, and so for the best playing experience, you are going to need a keyboard that can keep up.
With that in mind we have put together this article giving you our top 5 reasons why you should invest in a gaming keyboard, and these are:
- Faster key clicking
- Software to assign keys and turbocharge your gameplay
- Backlighting to help you play in the dark
- Far more durable than standard keyboards
- They just look and feel fantastic
Many people think that kitting out your gaming setup stops at your PC or laptop’s internal features. This is a mistake.
In fact, running a high-end system capable of running the latest releases with ease and still using a plain old keyboard, would be like a professional cyclist racing the most expensive bike while wearing baggy jeans and a winter coat. It just doesn’t make sense.
Throughout this article, we will expand on the reasons above and show you exactly why.
Faster Key Clicking and Response Time of Gaming Keyboards
When it comes to gaming, speed matters. This has been true since the very first arcade game and it has only gotten more so as games have become more advanced, and more competitive.
In these high-intensity situations, a fraction of a second can be the difference between success and failure. This is where a mechanical gaming keyboard comes in.
Almost all gaming keyboards use mechanical switch keys these days and with good reason. A standard membrane keyboard works with a single sheet of plastic underneath the keys, that gets pushed down to an electric contact to register the action and then raises back up when the key is released. This gives a user a familiar and somewhat underwhelming typing experience.
A mechanical keyboard though contains spring-loaded switches underneath each individual key. Due to this separation, there is feedback associated with each key tap. With this, you can have the confidence that your click has registered. With this, you can focus on the next one.
This takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have done you will hit keys faster. You will see your skills improve in no time.
Not only this, but most mechanical gaming keyboards actually register a keystroke when you are only halfway down, making for an even quicker response, and more seamless gameplay.
These two factors make for a powerful increase in your quality of play, and with it, your enjoyment. Winning isn’t everything, but it does always help.
This alone would be more than enough of a reason to pick yourself up a gaming keyboard in our books, but we are far from done with their benefits yet.
Assigning Keys on Gaming Keyboards
If you have spent any time playing games with complicated combinations, or where you find yourself doing the same combinations over and over, or just have a million different accounts with different login information like I do, you need to stop missing out and start assigning keys.
Assigning keys is where you program your keyboard to follow any set of combinations with just an easy couple of clicks. This could be as simple as adding a save shortcut by holding down ‘Ctrl’ and ‘Save’ for a game that does not include one, or as complex as a multi-action process involving reloads, spells, weapon changes, special moves… literally any action you can do in a game.
These shortcuts tend to be called macros, and they can drastically cut down your action time and revolutionize your gameplay.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, you can even save passwords to different keys to cut down on login times and save annoying resets just because you can’t quite remember which account is which. Gaming is supposed to be fun, and these handy shortcuts allow you to get straight down to the fun without getting bogged down or wound up.
If this all sounds a little technical or too much messing around you, don’t worry it really isn’t. Almost every gaming keyboard on the market comes with its own software which is highly intuitive and simple to use. Trust me, if I can get to grips with it, you can too.
Gaming Keyboard Backlighting
Backlighting. Looks. Awesome. In fact, nothing completes a setup quite like the LED glow of whatever colors you want behind your keys, it really is a look you don’t want to miss out on. What is incredible about backlighting though, is that how cool it looks isn’t even the best reason for wanting it.
Instead, that honor goes to how it helps your gameplay.
Yes, they look absolutely incredible as you can see in the photo above, but that is not all.
When gaming in a dark room (like I do!), the keys being lit up is a game-changer. No longer will you have to look down and squint trying to work out where everything is in the gloom when you lose your finger placement on the keyboard or have reached over to get a drink.
Instead, with just a quick glance down you will be able to instantly identify the keys you need, and get back to what you do best.
If you want to really maximize this benefit you won’t stop there, however, as in many cases you can actually customize the lighting for each individual key or section of the keyboard. This cuts down on time even further as you get used to exactly which lights belong to which keys, and level up your gameplay that little bit more.
Durability of Gaming Keyboards
In general, gaming keyboards are a bit more pricey than regular ones. This puts people off, thinking why bother, or that it isn’t really worth it. Trust us though, it is. Quite apart from all the reasons we have gone through already, it will last much longer.
Your average run of the mill keyboard will have a lifespan of at most 20 million clicks. This means that you can click each around 20 million times before it wears out. Then, you have to replace the whole keyboard.
This may sound impressive, but those clicks quickly add up. Add on the fact that when gaming you are generally using the same buttons over and over again, and you will find yourself needing to replace a plain old keyboard all too often.
Gaming keyboards solve these issues in two important ways.
First of all, they last longer. Much longer. In fact, the most common line of key switches (the internal working of the keys), Cherry MX, has a minimum lifespan rating of 50 million clicks. Some variants even go all the way up to 100 million! This added longevity is massive and means you will be paying for new equipment far less often.
|Type of Keyboard||Expected Key Lifetime in Clicks|
|Low End Membrane||5 million|
|High End Membrane||20 million|
|Low End Mechanical||50 million|
|High End Mechanical||100 million|
That is not all though. As well as each key switch lasting over two times longer than regular keyboards, because each one is an individual component you can replace that switch rather than the whole board. When one of those keys you keep hitting does run out, you don’t need to throw away the whole thing.
Just buy a new key, and save a whole bunch of money.
All this means that while a gaming keyboard may seem a little steep, long term it is a sound investment. It could well cost you less than multiple regular keyboards. You absolutely won’t regret it.
The Look, The Feel, The Experience
Okay, so we have run through all of the super logical reasons why you should get a gaming keyboard. We stand by these. Each one is enough by itself to start shopping and order one today.
Ultimately though, gaming is not a logical behavior. We don’t do it for money (well most of us don’t. If you do… teach me!), or because we have to, we do it because we want to. We do it to have fun, to spend time with our friends, to test ourselves.
When we are talking about such an emotional topic, all of the perfectly reasonable reasons in the world probably won’t convince you to get a gaming keyboard as much as one simple truth.
Gaming keyboards are just so much more enjoyable.
The response you get from a mechanical switch giving you complete control over the game is so much more satisfying. Your feeling of immersion when everything responds to you before you even finish thinking allows you to get fully lost in the game. Looking down and seeing your neon keyboard illuminated against the dark adds a feeling of professionalism. It helps to give you the confidence to know you can win.
These are the feelings you get when you use a gaming keyboard, and this is why you deserve to have one.