Let’s start by being sincere: most keyboards full of stickers, colored lights, and signs to consider “gamer keyboard “ is, in general, a real nonsense. Terrible construction materials, delay when pressing the keys, unnecessary functions that you will never ever use, and a long etcetera.
A keyboard is a tool. You have to look for comfort for those periods of long use, usability and practicality; you have to be realistic and recognize that there is no low range in which products. Better any generic series than a 10 euro gamer toy. That said, let’s go there:
Any PC-hardened player has had to deal with good and bad keyboards. Before deciding on a specific model, there are a few preliminary considerations that we must take into account:
Backlit keys the backlighting is key to those nightly games where you are only in front of the screen and headphones. One thing is a handful of colored LEDs like the Enterprise control panel and another one is soft and uniform lighting, preferably in cool shades, white or bluish.
Numeric keyboard. Here it is easy to debate between the comfort of a compact keyboard that, in turn, dispenses with this extra section, and one that carries it. The reason is obvious: to have the mouse closer. Hence, the major manufacturers design their Long and Short versions. It depends on the tastes, but a numeric keyboard is also a broad resource for programming shortcuts, as we will see later.
Durability. For this the requirement is simple: we need a mechanical keyboard. The cheap plastic membranes end up getting stuck, they lose sensitivity and their flat angle requires a conscious effort to assimilate where each key is: it does not create such an organic global image.
Macros. The keys for macros are essential among gamers. Macros are actions that must be executed with key combinations and, thus, using a single key press. In an MMORPG, where you need combinations to cast spells or give orders, they serve as a shortcut. They consist of one or several rows of keys, programmable even for the audio volume of the chats.
What good are mechanical keyboards?
When you are choosing a good keyboard it is easy to find the words ‘ Cherry switches ‘. This is due to the fact that a large part of the manufacture of electromechanical components comes from ZF Electronics GmbH, better known as Cherry Corp., a German-American company that has been manufacturing keyboards since the 1950s and you can also buy best mechanical keyboards.
Currently, there are a lot of switch types -and combinations, ‘MX’, ‘ double ‘, etc-, but what we have to be clear is that, on the one hand, they can be removable and, on the other, adapt to our needs.
Among all these types we will highlight three: the Cherry Back, with linear touch and constant force from the beginning of the deep pulsation until the end. The Cherry Brown, soft and balanced performance. Among these, the silent mode stands out, which adds cushions that reduce the loudness when the key is pressed. And, between the Cherry Blue and the Red, we would highlight the latter, with a very soft sensation, ideal for experts who know the position of each key.
One drawback of mechanical keyboards versus membrane keyboards is their weight. Not only are they noisier and more expensive, due to the quality of their components, but, as a result, they easily jump the kilogram of weight, resulting in the more uncomfortable transfer.
Faced with this, the solution is in compact models. These not only omit the numeric keypad but shorten the ‘Enter’ key, leaving it in the middle, in addition to suppressing the macros. If your thing is to play at home, with good performance and spend prolonged periods in front of the PC, we do not recommend them.
For a handful of keys
Based on these notes, we can now form an image of the keyboard that we would like for our game environment. There are thousands of models with thousands of configurations, so it is worth observing, more than the price range, its technical specifications.
Lenovo opted for specialized peripherals market both for very strong professional players of e-sport s as experts- users in the past CES 2016 with its Gaming Keyboard of the series Y, the gaming brand family. This model comes to be an extension in the design of the notebooks also of the Y series.
This is not a normal and current RGB keyboard. Under each key it has an independent adjustable LED, with 5 levels of illumination intensity, USB connection added to a 2.5 “jack input for headphones and another for micro, all bathed in gold for better performance. This « gaming keyboard » is easily the most complete and solid of its kind.
Includes on the left side 6 fully programmable macro G keys, the switches are made up of the advanced ‘Kailh Red’ system, the entire lower surface is a great wrist rest – in front of the usual fins that often generate more inconveniences than advantages -, and the keys add a short delay against double presses or erroneous keystrokes on the adjacent keys.
Positioning the modifier keys-they to serve for everything, control, upper case, alt, shortcuts of commands on the left side has a design reason: they are focused to be used by the little finger. While other models think of the thumbs, this Lenovo keyboard bets on the other finger eternally forgotten. But, in this case, the performance is agiler because it does not involve a wrist movement, just an extension of the fingers.
This keyboard, by the way, will be followed by a professional finish surround headset and a high-performance mouse, 4 levels of adjustable DPI – programmable speed – and 4 small 5 gram weights in the lower base to customize the movement and precision of the mouse.
There is still a lot of room for improvement
But not everything is perfect. Many designs opt for templates where most of the keys are colored. There is a debate between whether this should be done or not: on the one hand, an expert knows that he does not need to be pointed to the crossing composed of the letters ‘A’, ‘S’, ‘D’, ‘W’, and ‘X’ because, simply, you already know its functionality beforehand. On the other hand, the switch keys should always be highlighted in groups of colors. Or, in the case of the directional arrows, an illumination independent of the rest.
Some technical requirements
For the traditional player, tanned in a thousand battles, from ‘Counter-Strike’ to ‘Age of Empires’, from ‘World of Warcraft’ to ‘Battlefield’, it is better to go a little deeper. There are several additions to consider.
For example, the minimum travel of the key, 3.5 mm. This conditions the speed of our pulsation and writing. The design must also accompany, with a top point in the center and lightening the slope towards the edges, based on the logical position of the arms.
Although most mechanical keyboards promise durations of years and years, it should always be noted if they highlight the number of pulsations in their lifespan. At least 5 million pulses would be a good standard, but the ideal is at just double. Oh, and two years of warranty.
The strength peak. They will have read at some point that of ‘ charge ‘ or ‘ dominant force ‘. A standard in the switches is 55 ± 7 grams. This defines the elasticity and resistance of the key and, in turn, is related to the effective distance to press the key. Without entering into many technicalities we will say that the less height the finger needs to press, the faster we can acquire, avoiding getting off the keyboard.