If you are an avid gamer you know the importance of having the right tools to annihilate your enemies, in this case the perfect gaming rig with the best gaming components you can find on the market. One of those components I’ll be focusing today is the keyboard, one of the two input methods commonly used in games. I’ve discussed the other one, the mouse, in a previous article about the best gaming mices. This time I’m not gonna make a top 5 or top 10, so I’ll be focusing on presenting the most important gaming keyboards of 2009 found in stores at prezent time.
I’ll try and present the pros and cons of each one of those keyboards, leaving you to decide which one is right for you depending on budget, brand and features.
This is the most expensive of the bunch, and it’s easy to understand why: Logitech G19 features an LCD screen panel that shows game stats, system information, VOIP communication data, video playback, without leaving the game plus it can display RSS feeds, Youtube videos while using the computer for office work.
All keys have illuminated backlight, which can be adjusted in intensity and color (yeap, you head that right). The Logitech G19 comes with twelve programmable buttons using the delivered software and can be set to perform up to 36 commands or macros. G19 acts also like an USB hub with two ports, so it’s convenient to use for MP3 files transfer to/from your music player or transfer images from your digital camera.
Gaming keyboards design usually appeals to just a few people, people that like flashy designs, this being a reason why some prefer a more ‘standard’ keyboard instead of a gaming one. That’s not the case with Razer Tarantula, which features a pretty stylish design and very comfortable keys (something gaming keyboads usually lack). There are only 10 dedicated macro key, which are illuminated (the rest of the keys aren’t).
On the gaming features, the Razer Tarantula keyboard prouds itself with 1000Hz ultrapolling / 1ms response time and Anti-ghosting capability for up to 10 keys, meaning you’ll make the best of the multi key Mortal Combat combo moves.
What strikes you first when looking at the Microsoft Sidewinder X6 gaming keyboard is the detachable keypad that can be placed on the left or right side of the main keyboard. The number of programmable keys is very high: 30, leaving room for a lot of macros and combos. Also there’s two color backlighting for late night game raids.
This is keyboard in the category much more gaming that office, as it’s not the most comfortable to use in a work environment, but that’s not the purpose of Ideazon’s Merc Stealth, a keyboard with a dedicated left side programmable 34 gaming keys WASD pad with an ergonomic layout. 125 predefined mapping layouts can be used in popular games, but you can add/edit those profiles later.
All keys are backlit, with three colors to choose from: red, blue, purple. The dedicated gaming keys are rubberized, adding for more comfort during prolonged play hours. If you decide to puchase the Ideazon Merc Stealth make sure you have enough desktop space, as the gaming keyboard is pretty wide, thanks to the added gaming keypad.
This keyboard has a cyberpunk design with multiple straight angles, multi color backlighting and 12 programmable keys on the left side. Cyborg mode disables Windows keys during gaming, and with one push switches back to “normal” mode. The SST software is responsible for keys programming.
All surfaces are coated with special hard wearing substances which ensure the Saitek Cyborg outlasts you to maturity, when you’ll probably ditch late night gaming sessions.
The Logitech G15 has almost all the advantages of the G19 except the price, and to be fair the LCD screen is monochrome, so no fancy Linux running a color screen you’re not using all the time, but this will shave off about 100$ so I think is worth it.
You also don’t get the multi colored keys backlight: you’re stuck with orange all the time. The rest is unchanged, from the multi macro keys, to Windows keys inhibitor (so you don’t launch the start menu during intense gamemplay) to multimedia control keys for your favorite media player. The Logitech G15 is one of the most balanced options when it comes to gaming keyboards.
Razer Lycosa’s Mirror name comes from the high gloss mirror finished Hyperesponse keys with slim cap structure. Like a respectable gaming keyboard the Razer Lycosa Mirror features also backlight illumination for keys, plus a set of fully customizable keys via included software and up to 10 switchable software profiles.
If you’re out of USB ports for your peripherals don’t sweat and use the included USB extension port. For in game communications the two microphone and headphones jack surely will help a lot. Those annoying Windows Keys can also be deactivated while in a game. So here you have it: nothing missing and a great price for a modern looking gaming keyboard.
I have to admit that the Microsoft Reclusa gaming keyboard is one of the most oddly shaped keyboard I’ve come upon, but that’s not the point. All that matters is what it can do, given the very affordable price.
So let’s start with the features of the Microsoft Reclusa: 12 fully programmable keys, including two 360 degrees jog-dials (just like a console controller) and two bumper buttons. The Wrist pad is here, but can be removed if you please. Two USB ports make sure you don’t run out of ports for your peripherals. Let’s face it, besides the shape Microsoft Reclusa has it all.
Other gaming keyboards
Those I think are the most important gaming keyboards on the market, which will help you get better during multiplayer combat, but I wish to mention other keyboard too, in case you’re taste and needs are a little different from what I’ve shown you above.