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Best Gaming Keyboard

Updated on May 30, 2012

In the competitive world of online video games lightening fast response time is critical. Whether you are a professional or casual player, you know the smallest advantage can turn the odds in your favor when battling other players in combat. In first person shooters and MMOs matches are often won or lost by mere seconds. If you want to step up your game, try one of these excellent gaming keyboards.

A specialized keyboard built with the PC gamer in mind can improve your response times, comfort and just overall enjoyment. There are a lot of options to choose from, so first lets outline the top features to look for when choosing a gaming keyboard.

  • Programmable Keys - Arguably the most sought after feature in a gaming keyboard. Programmable keys let you trigger in game abilities and spells, and even macros at the push of a finger.
  • Multimedia Controls - These specialized features allow you to control other programs running on your computer, without the need to minimize the game. Multimedia controls are invaluable when adjusting volume or music in the background.
  • Back-lighting - Some consider a back lit keyboard purely cosmetic. If you enjoy being fully immersed in the game world, playing in the dark will put you right in the middle of the action, and a back-lit keyboard is vital.
  • Gaming Mode - This may or may not seem important, but locking out the windows key may save your hide. If you've ever accidentally switched to your desk top in the middle of a heated battle you'll probably find gaming mode imperative.

Although not specifically noted, all of the keyboards reviewed below offer gaming mode, a feature common to most good gaming keyboards.

SteelSeries Merc Stealth

SteelSeries gaming peripherals are a favorite among professional gamers, and for good reason. They are durable and built with the needs of gamers in mind. This gaming keyboard offers rubberized movement keys, so no need to worry about pressing the wrong button. It comes with 150 predefined gaming profiles, so no complicated set up is required. There are three different back-lighting options red, blue or purple. The game key area to the left hand side of this keyboard really sets it apart. All of the buttons are programmable and easily accessible.

This is the gaming keyboard I chose, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. The side gaming key area takes a few days to get use to, but once you do the improved response time is incredible.

Microsoft Sidewinder X6

This gaming keyboard is packed with all the features you would expect, but also offers dual modes, so it's perfect for work or play. For the casual gamer, or anyone that uses their PC for more than just fun, this is a very handy feature. The brightness of the red back-lighting is adjustable, a nice feature not always offered. The easy to reach macro keys hold up to 90 different macros, more than most gamers will ever need.The most unique feature the X6 offers is the moveable keypad. You can place it to the right side, like a standard computer keyboard, or the left. This is a novel concept that could have a lot of uses.

This is a top pick for anyone who needs to multitask because of the easy to use and quick changing dual mode setting.

Saitek Cyborg

This is by far the coolest looking gaming keyboard around, with it's fun futuristic design. Don't let all the flash fool you though because it is packed with awesome features sure to take your game play up a notch. The distinctive design offers 12 easy to reach 'Cyborg' key, six on either side of the keyboard, that can be programmed for any function or macro. The metal coated movement keys, and space bar, are a nice touch, since these much used keys are often the first to wear out. The touch-sensitive panel found at the top of the keyboard controls the back-lighting, which is fully customizable to your needs and tastes. Five main areas of the keyboard can have their own specific back-light color, making gaming in the dark easier than ever.

This keyboard is a top choice for anyone who enjoys gaming in the dark.

Logitech G19

This impressive gaming keyboard might look complicated and difficult to set up, but the included quick-start video makes getting started fast and easy. The 12 'G" keys are each capable of storing three macros, giving you 36 easy to access macros. Back-lighting is fully customizable. Choose the color and brightest that works best for you. Logitech is a leader in game peripherals, and the G19 is a prime example why. It's responsive keys and intuitive layout deliver flawless output, sure to give you a leg up on the competition.

The color LCD screen is what really sets this keyboard apart from the competition. Use it to monitor system information, game stats, time, or even videos and slideshows.

Razer Lycosa

Razer is another top name most gamers recognize for superior quality and design. The Lycosa delivers on both and then some. If you are a part time gamer looking for something understated to go with your home office, this sleek and compact keyboard with matte finish will fit right in, while still giving you the upper hand against enemies. The back-lighting can encompass the entire keyboard or just the standard WASD movement keys. Rubberized keys ensure your fingers won't slip in the heat of battle. Choose between 10 different customizable profiles, so this makes switching between your favorite game quick and easy. Any key can be programmed to specific abilities or macros. The detachable wrist rest is a nice touch.

Don't let the simple and compact design fool you. This keyboard offers everything a gamer could need. It's a good choice for the casual or hardcore gamer who appreciates a sleek and clean look.

Razer BlackWidow

The BlackWidow is a step up from the Lycosa, offering many of the same feature and a lot more. The mechanical keys are a feature that is not seen as often anymore, and they a long way to prevent mistypes and increase typing speed, great for if you are using it for work as well. The lazer etched keys increase tactile awareness, and won't wear out. Program macros to any keys on the fly. The 5 extra gaming keys to the left hand side are easy to reach and use. Choose between five brightness levels for the individually back-lit keys.

This is a top choice for any gamer in the market for a mechanical keyboard. If you've never used a mechanical keyboard before they really are superior to the standard keyboard in many ways.


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