Last Updated on August 15, 2020
In this post we will be going over the importance of a gaming keyboard to see if “gaming” features are actually as important as some companies say they are.
All peripherals are important and you should always take your time when it comes to choosing the right peripherals for you and your gaming PC but just how many of the gaming features do you actually need with a keyboard?
Let’s go over what is overhyped, what is important and what to look out for when you’re in the market for a gaming keyboard!
Gaming Keyboards In A Nutshell
Gaming keyboards are an obviously important peripheral with any gaming PC as one is required for any kind of input.
Whether it’s chatting with your team, activating certain skills, BMing the other team or writing up posts like this one… It’s inevitable that your gaming PC is going to need a gaming keyboard with it.
But just how much of a “gaming” keyboard is hyped up and how many “gaming” features do you actually need and benefit from in a gaming keyboard?
That’s the goal of this post – to shed some light on what you should actually be looking for if you want to have a nice, high quality gaming keyboard at your disposal.
There is a lot of fake marketing “hype” with a bunch of keyboards out there…
I don’t want to stray you away from your dream RGB keyboard with every “gaming” feature in the book if it’s truly the keyboard that you want… If you really, really want a specific keyboard and can afford it then by all means go for it!
It’s just that you should know what is actually important when you are shopping for a keyboard for gaming specifically.
Gaming Keyboard Features
There are some features that actually help out while you are in-game and I’d like to share some of the best features to be on the look out for when you’re getting a keyboard for your gaming rig.
Features To Look Out For:
- Build Materials
- Multi-Media Shortcuts
- Anti-Ghosting Keys
- Macro Keys
Overall Build Materials
The materials used with the overall build of the keyboard is important because you need to know if it’s going to stand the test of time.
Keyboards should and will likely last for many years before needing to go out and buy another one. Metal, aluminium and sometimes even steel frames are what will last the longest.
But this also isn’t to say that plastics aren’t strong enough, there are plenty of keyboards out there that have plastic frames that will last forever and feel great!
Membrane VS Mechanical
In short, membrane keyboards use thin membranes to press onto a circuit layer for any desired input on a keyboard.
Since there is no switch going on this results in a quiet key press. Membrane keyboards are what your general office keyboards are.
Mechanical keyboards have individual switches going on with each key which results in a louder key press and typically feels more clicky.
If you are pretty casual with your gaming or simply like quieter keyboards then a membrane keyboard will be the way to go. They’re typically on the cheaper side, are lightweight and are good starter keyboards.
A good membrane keyboard I’d recommend is the one included in the Cooler Master Devastator 3 combo – it is widely known for being one of the best yet affordable keyboard/mouse combos you can buy.
If you like a louder keyboard and want a heavier keyboard then mechanical keyboards are going to be your main go-to.
I personally use a mechanical keyboard and love the loud click sounds while typing away. I use the Corsair K70 keyboard.
The multi-media keys are what control your media!
Whether it’s your music player, controlling your PC’s volume or opening up your internet browser – those are what the multi-media keys are good for.
Not everyone uses them and they aren’t entirely essential but it’s still something that has come standard with almost all keyboards nowadays.
It’s nice to be able to switch songs while you’re in-game or to turn the volume down quick when someone interrupts your gameplay. If that sounds like a feature you’d need then be sure to check what keys a specific keyboard has for multi-media shortcuts.
Some will have dedicated keys for multi-media while some will have FN key shortcuts where you hold a key and push F1-F12 for the shortcuts – however they use it, be sure to look into them.
Anti-ghosting keys is when a keyboard doesn’t interfere with inputs that you either didn’t mean to press or will still activate an input regardless of how many keys you are holding at one time.
Some keyboard manufacturers go the extra mile and ensure a 20+ anti-ghosting key feature into their keyboard which is great, a bit much, but great regardless.
Make sure any given keyboard has anti-ghosting and you will be set. This feature is an industry standard when it comes to gaming keyboards.
Macro keys tie in with softwares as well, but some keyboards do not use or require the use of software in order to utilize the macro keys.
These keys allow you to set shortcuts for different programs or to be able to rapidly press specific commands that use multiple keys.
I don’t use macros often but I have used them with keyboards in the past and they’re a nice feature to have.
Not all keyboards have macro keys and they aren’t entirely essential but it’s nice to be able to open up Discord with a quick key press.
Whether it’s the macro key setups or the general lighting going on with the keyboard, customizable softwares are nice to have.
Most of the well-known keyboard manufacturers have drivers and software with their keyboards. Software will allow you to disable certain keyboard presses, change the lighting with your keyboard and set up macros.
Even some of the cheapest keyboards on the market have some sort of software going on with them so be sure to look into whether or not a specific keyboard has software available.
- RGB Lighting
- Fast Switches
- “Proprietary” Technologies
- eSports Sponsors
RGB Lighting Isn’t Essential
I have plenty of RGB lighting going on with my keyboard, the Corsair K70 to be exact, and I love it.
There is something about being able to set the lighting to match up with wallpapers or being able to have a bunch of different lighting effects going on… I can’t not have RGB lighting with my keyboards.
With that said…
RGB lighting isn’t essential at all and doesn’t help with gaming.
As long as you know that fact and don’t instantly buy a random keyboard because of the insane RGB lighting with it then you’re good to go!
Don’t be too distracted from RGB lighting features. Yes, RGB lighting is awesome but other features are more important when it comes to gaming.
Switches Are Overkill?
I’m sure that certain switches that are involved with some of the different mechanical keyboards on the market actually help with having a faster input than the opponents in some games. Maybe for some, it actually is very important.
But for the average PC gamer..?
Buying a gaming keyboard because it has a specific type of switch where you will have to use a few grams less force in order to get an input isn’t the way to go.
Again, I’m sure there are instances where needing less push weight on a key actually gives you the upper hand but it’s only for the small percentage of truly competitive gamers out there.
If you aren’t highly competitive in the games that you play then buying a keyboard because of the eSports switches isn’t an important feature to consider.
However, for those of you that are extremely competitive, you may want to research the different types of switches available and figure out which ones best suit you.
Proprietary Technologies For Marketing Purposes
Some big keyboard manufacturers today talk about their proprietary technologies inside of their keyboards that give a huge upper hand in game…
But it’s mainly just for marketing hype.
A lot of the more expensive ($100+) keyboards are super cool and I get why some folks would want them, I have one myself!
But when the main feature of a keyboard is because of some “killer” proprietary switch that will help you win more… it’s not an actual reason to get a certain keyboard.
Yes, there are some technologies made and for the highly competitive gamer it makes sense to look into things like that but I don’t buy into the hype and neither should you.
If you have some insight here and believe in some of the proprietary technologies with some of the keyboards then feel free to let me know in the comments!
eSports Doesn’t Matter
I’m probably going to get a little bit of hate from some of the eSports lovers out there but I need to say it.
Just because a top player uses a specific keyboard doesn’t mean you’re going to be as good as them.
Top eSports players aren’t at the top because of a certain keyboard they use, that just so happens to be what they’re most comfortable using while in-game.
Or maybe they liked the features that it’s packed with.
Whatever the case, don’t buy a keyboard simply because your favorite streamer or player uses it. Their keyboard isn’t how they’re insanely good at the game.
Sometimes keyboards get overhyped because of a specific influencer and you shouldn’t fall for the overhype.
Don’t Fall For Marketing Mumbo Jumbo
There are a lot of keyboards on the market that are skewed by marketing campaigns showcasing how it is the absolute best keyboard that will launch you into diamond ranked in your favorite games.
Keyboards don’t help your gaming capabilities. What will make you better at the games you play with your keyboard will come down to how comfortable you are with any given keyboard.
If a quiet, membrane keyboard is your jam then go for it.
If a clicky keyboard with Cherry MX switches is what you’re most comfortable with then definitely get one for yourself!
Don’t fall for marketing hype, try out some different keyboards and look into whether or not a specific keyboard has some of the good features I’ve shared here and go from there!
Finding A Good Keyboard For Gaming
There are a plethora of gaming keyboards out there and it should take you while to find the one that’s best for you.
Be sure to take your time, keep the features that will help you the most in mind and be sure to do a lot of research!
A lot of the time you will be able to find out which materials a company used for the keyboard frame and whether or not others have given it a long time of testing and use if you are patient with your research.
Now that you know what to look for, be sure to check out some gaming keyboards on Amazon and let me know what you find!
Concluding The Importance of “Gaming” Keyboards
All in all, don’t fall for fake marketing hype when it comes to top players, proprietary technologies and switches that are going to give you the “ultimate” upper hand.
For some, maybe a specific type of switch is essential for them because of how comfortable they are using it and because they can feel the difference and that’s okay!
But I find it hard to believe that because of some switches, your gaming skill is going to go through the roof.
Find useful features like the materials used in the frame, whether it’s membrane or mechanical, the macro key functions or the multi-media shortcut keys and move forward with a keyboard that you enjoy the most.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what you are going to like the most. Be wary of marketing hype and features that are actually useful and you’ll be able to save yourself some money.
Which keyboard are you currently using?
Which features are most important for you and your gaming keyboard?