Basically, there are two main categories of keyboards that gamers can choose from – the membrane keyboard and the mechanical keyboard.
A membrane board’s keys are not individual moving parts but are, rather, pressure pads, with outlines and symbols printed on a flat, flexible surface that respond to pressure.
A mechanical keyboard, on the other hand, has actual physical switches underneath the keys that use spring and metal contacts to complete a circuit; so, when the user pushes a key, a signal is sent to the PC, letting it know that a particular key has been pressed.
When it comes to gamer preference, it’s the mechanical keyboard that invariably wins, simply because the switches on these boards are more durable and tactile and much faster to actuate.
Apart from switches, there are other factors that are taken into consideration when it comes to choosing the right keyboard for your gaming needs; factors like size and additional features, to name a couple.
2018 has been an exceptional year, so far, in terms of gaming keyboard releases.
So, out of all the different boards available on the market, today, we have selected five keyboards and compiled them into a comprehensive comparison, keeping in mind the gaming needs, preferences and budgetary constraints of different gamers.
Razer Cynosa Chroma
Let’s begin our quest with a pocket-friendly option, and that too from a top-notch manufacturer like Razer Inc. because you seldom see entry-level keyboard releases from the upper echelons of the gaming hardware-manufacturing society, these days.
The Razer Cynosa Chroma is as basic a keyboard as you can get – a membrane keyboard with hardly anything in the way of additional features, other than the fact that it is backed with the full power of the Razer Synapse.
Razer Synapse is the company’s “configuration software that allows you to rebind controls or assign macros to any of your Razer peripherals and saves all your settings automatically to the cloud.”
Despite being its cheapest keyboard, Razer has given the Cynosa Chroma full per-key RGN illumination.
While it may not have much to offer in terms of extras, it is a great option for gamers who don’t want to invest too much on a keyboard and yet care about having a plethora of lighting options.
There are two variants of this Razer keyboard available on the market – the $60 Cynosa Chroma and the Cynosa Chroma Pro, which will cost you an additional $20 for, basically, the same board but with an under-glow below the keys.
The Wooting One is a pretty cool keyboard, considering that it’s the first gaming hardware from what is essentially a start-up company trying to make incisive forays into the world of gaming peripherals.
The company’s obsession with brand recognition is evident from the fact that it calls its software driver Wootility.
So, the Wooting One is a tenkeyless (TKL) form factor keyboard built like a tank, and while it doesn’t offer much in the way of superficiality, its unique selling point is its analog switches that pair with the Wootility software to give you great typing and gaming flexibility, by allowing you to actively set your actuation point.
With the Wooting One, you can actually set up multiple profiles with actuation points ranging from 1.5 to 3.6mm.
If, for example, you like speed for gaming situations but realize that it leads to typo errors during regular work, you can simply set up two different profiles, each with a different actuation to suit your gaming and typing requirements.
The Wootility software allows full per-key control of the RGB lighting, which is pretty impressive-looking on the Wooting One because each of the analog switches on this board has a distinct stem.
The Wooting one has a $150 price tag attached to it.
Thermaltake X1 RGB
This year, Thermaltake released its all-new X1 RGB Cherry MX Silver Speed/Blue Switch Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, which looks, well, embarrassingly similar to the Corsair K70.
However, to be fair to Thermaltake, if there ever was a keyboard that you would want to emulate, it would most certainly be the Corsair Gaming Keyboard.
That said, the X1 RGB offers a plethora of features and extras, including an illuminated logo; a set of metallic ABS keycaps; five pre-configured lighting zones, including FPS1, FPS2, RTS, MMO, and MOBA; n-key rollover; and full anti-ghosting.
Additionally, you have a full set of dedicated media keys with volume scroll wheel; a detachable plastic wrist rest; on-the-fly macro recording; and USB and audio pass-through, offering maximum customization to suit the individual needs of most gamers, if not all.
The X1 RGB also involves a smartphone-enabled Companion app that allows you to create and manage profiles, use voice commands, and even use your phone as a virtual controller.
Priced around $120 on Amazon, the Thermaltake X1 RGB is certainly not a bad buy.
Logitech G5 13
Although the Logitech G5 13 is an updated version of the of the G4 13, it doesn’t really add much in terms of design elements; however, it is still a beautiful-looking keyboard, available in either carbon or silver-brushed aluminum finish.
While it is not oozing a whole lot of extras like some of the other brands out there, it does promise what gamers would consider to be the absolutely necessary stuff.
It is a high-performance RGB keyboard with customizable full spectrum color lighting per key, with LIGHTSYNC game-driven lighting colors and effects.
It comes with a robust set of angled keycaps, USB pass-through on the back, and a decent enough Memory Foam wrist rest – probably the best there is on gaming keyboards, today.
However, the most exciting feature of the G5 13 is its advanced Romer G Tactile Mechanical key switches which are 25 percent faster in responsiveness and actuation feedback.
The G5 13 is available for a $150.
HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
That brings us to the final gaming keyboard on our list of top five – the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB.
This keyboard features a set of dedicated media keys with volume scroll wheel; a set of diamond plate keycaps, which are actually ABS plastic; and six dynamic lighting effects with a signature integrated 18 LED light bar.
Furthermore, it comes with a detachable plastic wrist rest that is certainly not the best you’ve ever seen; there’s your USB pass-through on the back of the board; and it has a rock solid build quality, thanks to its solid steel frame.
The Alloy Elite RGB comes in red, blue or brown Cherry MX switches and will make you $170 poorer, should you decide to go for it, which would not be a bad choice by any stretch of the imagination.