We’ve already looked at all the essential gaming peripherals, and now it’s time to see what’s available in the world of keyboards. Just like the others, the keyboard is an essential part of your gaming arsenal as it allows you to make precise movements, which could either help you win a race or get your head blown up in a death match. Most of the keyboards we’ve rounded up today have been designed specifically for gaming and by that, I don’t mean just fancy lighting and graphics, it’s the type of keys used that really sets them apart. Before we go ahead, let’s just cover some of the basics of a gaming keyboard and what you should look for when choosing one.
In essence, we have two types of keyboards –the membrane or rubber dome type and the mechanical type. Membrane keyboards are the most common ones found in the cheapest Rs.200 keyboard to some high-end ‘gaming’ keyboards as well. If you’ve even taken apart a keyboard then you would've noticed translucent rubber padding between the keys and the circuit board. This is the cheapest and most cost-effective way of making a keyboard and you’ll usually find they have a soft or ‘mushy’ feedback. The key press is only registered here after pushing it all the way to the bottom, which requires more effort and energy from your end. Also, as time goes dust and grime makes the keys ‘sticky’, forcing you to use more energy to press them. This can cause major fatigue in your fingers, if you’re typing for long sessions.
The Cherry MX Black, Red, Brown and Blue keys in action
Mechanical keys, on the other hand are designed to register the key stroke way before bottoming out or having you to press it fully, so this way you’re using less energy per key stroke and you can perform rapid key presses a lot easily and effortlessly. This comes in handy in games that require some button mashing. There are four types of keys most commonly found in mechanical keyboards. The Cherry MX Black is the best type for gaming. It’s a linear switch, which means there’s no tactile feedback giving you a very smooth feel. Cherry MX Red is a lighter version of the MX Black. It requires less force to actuate and keyboards that feature these keys tend to be expensive, since they aren’t easily available. Cherry MX Brown offer the best balance between gaming and typing. They feature a light tactile feedback making it easier to type on. Finally, we have Cherry MX Blue switches, which are the best for typing. The resistance is similar to membrane keyboards and they are quite decent for gaming as well.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at our top 5 contenders. Remember, if you’re going to be spending anything more than Rs.3,000, then make sure it’s a mechanical keyboard, else it’s simply overpriced and not worth it.
Corsair Vengeance K60
The K60 from Corsair is part of the Vengeance keyboard line-up and marks Corsair’s entry into the gaming keyboard space. The K60 features Cherry MX Red keys for the best response in games as well as specially contoured and textured WSAD and numeric keys from 1-6.
Amazing build and finish
The keyboard also boasts of an impressive 20-key rollover (20KRO) over USB, which is otherwise limited to six keys. This allows you to use up to 20-keys at a time and all will be registered, thanks to a 1ms polling rate. The keyboard also oozes style and quality with the brushed aluminium chassis and laser etched keys. The K60 is priced at Rs.5,900.
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate
The ‘Ultimate’ edition of Razer’s famous BlackWidow gaming keyboard, now features LED backlit keys, while maintaining the same feature set. The keys are individually backlit and we have five levels of backlighting to choose from. You can also record macros on the fly and save them among 10 profiles. The keyboard also features multimedia controls for quickly adjusting the volume. Razer uses the Cherry MX Blue keys, which make it easier to type on due to better tactile feedback, but not all gamers may prefer this type of key.
Added backlight makes it even better
There are different versions of the BlackWidow in the market, like the Dragon Age II edition and the Ninja edition, which feature Cherry MX Black for the best feedback for games. The BlackWidow Ultimate edition is available for Rs.5,900.
Microsoft SideWinder X4
This is our only membrane keyboard in the list and much more affordable as well. With a price tag of just Rs.2,350, the X4 is the little brother of the X6 and features full backlit keys, programmable macro keys, 26KRO, automatic profile switching and lots more.
Best value gaming keyboard
The later automatically loads up the macros for that designated game, so you can have virtually unlimited key combinations, which are all categorized and sorted by the bundled software. The keys offer very good feedback, which makes it ideal for typing as well as gaming. It’s also one hell of a looker!
This is your no frills gaming keyboard designed for just one purpose – performance. On the face of it, it may look like any run of the mill keyboard, but don’t be fooled. The 6GV2 feature Cherry MX Black keys for the best and fastest feedback for your games. The mechanical switches even feature gold plating for optimal contact. Despite its stripped down look, there are shortcuts for controlling the volume as well.
A barebones keyboard
The plastics used here are designed to take a beating, so the keys can certainly withstand those intense gaming sessions. SteelSeries also gives you the option to use a PS2 port, instead of USB, thereby lifting the restriction on how many keys can be used at a time. You can find the SteelSeries 6GV2 for a street price of Rs.5,500.
CoolerMaster QuickFire Rapid (Black)
This is CoolerMaster’s latest addition to their CMStorm line-up is designed to be compact and portable – perfect for taking to those LAN parties. The QuickFire Rapid is available in different Cherry MX flavours, black being the highest end. CoolerMaster also bundles along extra key caps in case you need to change some. All the keys are laser etched, so they won’t ware out.
Perfect for those LAN parties
The keyboard also supports PS2 mode, just like the SteelSeries and multimedia shortcuts as well. The entire keyboard sports a rubber coating for added grip. The Cherry MX Black version will set you back Rs.6,500.
Published Date: Mar 13, 2012 04:24 pm | Updated Date: Mar 13, 2012 04:24 pm