There are tons of gaming keyboards in the market, especially the mechanical keyboards, coming with a lot of variants of mechanical switches. Gaming keyboards not only improve performance due to faster response rates but they feel a lot better than regular keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards have revolutionized the gaming sector and now there are a lot of companies designing mechanical keyboards which provide features like individual-key RGB lighting, N-key rollover, USB-passthrough, etc. In this article, we will be looking at some of the best gaming keyboards in 2021.
1. Corsair K70 MK.2 Rapidfire
- Cherry-MX speed switches have higher actuation point
- Provides onboard storage for easy customization
- Top of the line RGB lighting
- Also available in low profile
- Complex software
Switches: Cherry MX Speed | Backlight: RGB | Dedicated Macro Keys: No | Media Control buttons: Yes
Corsair has become a very well-respected name in the keyboard market. They are known for well built and good looking keyboards paired with a great typing experience. This remains true with their K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire. This keyboard comes in a lot of versions but the one we are concerning ourselves with is the Rapidfire version paired with the new Cherry MX speed switches. This is a fast and responsive keyboard paired with a great design.
The build quality still lives up to the original K70. The keyboard is built out of aluminium which is anodized black. The Corsair logo is also RGB-lit just like every single key out there. The keyboard is paired with a USB pass-through to connect other peripherals. One thing we do not like about the design is the cable. It is a braided cable but it is very thick and tough to route through a hole for cable management.
The version we are talking about is the Rapidfire which sports the new Cherry MX speed switches. They have 45g of actuation force and an actuation distance of only 1.2mm. At first, the keys might be too sensitive for some people, but once you get used to the keys the speed is very useful in FPS games. However, we do feel that the actuation is a bit too sensitive and it might be annoying for some people. If you can get used to the switches, then this will be a great keyboard for you.
Overall, this keyboard is great for gamers who play a lot of competitive shooters. The keys are very fast and responsive. The only reason this keyboard is at the first spot is due to the reliability of Corsair keyboards.
Steelseries is another great name when it comes to peripherals. Their mice are very popular but they are getting huge attention due to their latest series of headphones and keyboards as well. Steelseries Apex Pro is their flagship keyboard which is available with the Omnipoint Magnetic switches. The omnipoint adjustable switch makes the keyboard a lot pricier than the Cherry MX Switches keyboard that is Apex 7, yet it provides many innovative features. These features include adjustable actuation points ranging from 0.4mm to 3.6mm, fast response times of up to 0.7mm and a great durability rating of up to 100 million key presses.
The design of the keyboard is quite fancy to be honest, with a curved body at the top and the bottom. The volume wheel along with a big button is present at the top right; a suitable position for them while the OLED display is present right next to it. One can easily access the settings with this button and check the parameters on the OLED panel. The wrist-rest of the keyboard is not very special but it is a magnetic wrist-rest which means that you can easily attach it to the keyboard. The RGB lighting is quite beautiful and the lighting bar at the edges is similar to the one found in Razer Huntsman Elite. The software provides all the necessary features you would hope for despite the fact that you can control the settings on the fly with the top-right button and OLED panel. The USB-passthrough is present at the top left of the keyboard and is illuminated as well, providing aesthetics along with ease of use.
Overall, Steelseries Apex Pro provides ultra-durable switches along with tons of innovative features while the price of the keyboard makes it out of the reach of budget gamers.
3. HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
- Uses a steel plate beneath the keys
- The RGB lighting bar looks out of the world
- Comes with additional gaming keycaps as well
- The keycaps are not tight enough
- The wrist-rest feels cheap
Switches: Cherry MX Red/Blue/Brown | Backlight: RGB | Dedicated Macro Keys: No | Media Control buttons: Yes
Next up is a keyboard that is relatively cheaper compared to the first two, the Hyper X Alloy Elite RGB. The keyboard is built of a steel frame and feels very durable, although the base is still plastic. There is a single-colour backlit version as well, although the RGB version seems to be a lot more attractive. It has a USB pass-through and dedicated media buttons along with a nice volume wheel.
The Hyper X Alloy Elite RGB comes with either Cherry MX Red, Blue or Brown switches. The feel of the keyboard is as you’d expect. It’s a great performing no-nonsense keyboard, providing all of the necessary features you would want in a gaming keyboard, although there are no dedicated macro keys. The wrist-rest is not as good as it seems and it is just a piece of plastic to place your hands on; not a wise decision but still, it is better than nothing.
Overall, this keyboard is quite similar to the Corsair one in the design, although the keycaps are not as tight and might fell off if you mash them during intense gaming sessions.
The Huntsman Elite from Razer was the most talked-about keyboard from the previous year. Razer has gone all out in every aspect of this keyboard. It has their iconic Chroma lighting, a great wrist-rest and dedicated media control keys. The highlight of this great keyboard is their new blazing fast optomechanical switches. This keyboard really takes speed to the next level.
The design and build quality are both superb. The keyboard is made of aluminium, painted in this beautiful matte black colour, which looks very clean. Unsurprisingly, as this is a Razer product, this keyboard has their Chroma RGB, which is implemented very well by using a light bar all around the keyboard. The keyboard is paired with a comfortable wrist-rest that clips on using magnets. Even the wrist-rest has that RGB light bar. No complaints with the look of this keyboard. As for the software support, Razer has definitely put a lot of efforts in that sector, however, the software often feels like bloatware and one cannot change the settings of the keyboard without logging in, which is quite a silly idea.
Finally, Razer has implemented media control keys. The volume dial is programmable and can be used in different apps to do different things. You can scroll through web pages or scrub through a video timeline in Adobe Premiere.
The new optomechanical switches are very fast. The way it works is that there is a beam of light under the mechanical switch itself. When the switch is depressed it cuts of that beam of light and your PC registers the keystroke. Basically, that results in a super-fast keyboard that is miles ahead in terms of speed compared to anything else. The keys have 45g of actuation force and an actuation distance of 1.5mm with the travel distance being 3.5mm. What all that means is that this is a great feeling and fast keyboard to type on. The switches also have that clicky sound. Although, the lack of macro-keys might be a problem for some people.
All in all, this is definitely a great keyboard from Razer and if you want to see its detailed review, here. The switches are tactile and satisfying while the RGB lighting is amazing all in all. However, the keyboard is pricey somewhat absurdly and that is the very reason we have placed it on 4th position.
5. Logitech G Pro
- Tenkeyless design is suitable for gaming
- Romer G switches are equally good for typing
- RGB lighting doesn't bleed beneath switches
- No volume wheel and palm-rest
- Romer-G switches are not as pleasant as Cherry MX switches
Switches: Logitech Romer-G | Backlight: RGB | Dedicated Macro Keys: No | Media Control buttons: No
The last product on our list is a TKL (tenkeyless) keyboard. This is the G Pro from Logitech, a small form factor keyboard that doesn’t have any dedicated media keys or macros along with the Numpad. Logitech has equipped the G Pro with their own Romer G mechanical switches which feel just as good as Cherry MX Brown switches. The actuation point of these switches is present at 1.5mm, which results in faster response time than the Cherry MX switches.
The build quality is surprisingly solid considering that is made out of plastic. It does not feel cheap in any way and feels like a durable keyboard. There are no macro keys or media keys as this is a TKL keyboard. The RGB looks great and shines brightly through the keys while it does not bleed beneath the switches due to being at the centre of the switch. After typing on this keyboard it feels as though you are using Cherry MX Brown switches as they are relatively quiet yet have that satisfying tactile bump to them, making them great for regular typing as well.
Overall, G-pro is a great small package. Paired with a subtle clean design and satisfying keys, this might be the best TKL keyboard out there, although some people might find it hard to adjust to a keyboard with no volume wheel and wrist-rest.