Gaming Keyboard vs Regular
Regular keyboards come in all sizes and have either mechanical or membrane switches. Mechanical and non-mechanical keyboards each have advantages and disadvantages depending on how you use them.
Gaming keyboards are made with gamers in mind and feature media controls, programmable keys, and RGB backlights. They often have mechanical switches, as opposed to membrane switches, because they have a faster response time and last longer.
Mechanical and membrane keyboards are very different but the main difference is in how they feel. Since membrane keyboards are lighter and have rubber underneath, they feel “mushy” but are quieter. Mechanical keyboards are louder and more expensive but they have smoother switch action and key rollover.
Gaming keyboards need to be durable, fast, and comfortable. They are full-sized and well spaced keyboards with customizable keys you can program to do almost anything in your game. Certain gaming keyboards even feature control pads that mimic WASD keys - making it easier for you to control your character in-game.
Gaming keyboards also feature backlights that are often multi- colored or customizable. Aside from looking cool, these lights are perfect for those who enjoy gaming in the dark. Having a gaming keyboard improves your experience significantly when playing on a PC.
Most people picture mechanical keyboards when they think about computer keyboards. These are the ones that have high-quality spring activated key switches underneath each individual key cap. The keycap is the top cap and features letters, numbers, or symbols. Underneath the cap is the stem that moves down when pressed and the housing is the case that holds together all the components.
When you type and press down on keys, spring-loaded switches activate which create a “clicking” sound. They are louder, heavier and often more expensive than membrane keyboards but they last longer and perform better.
Advantages of Mechanical Keyboards
One of the main key advantages of choosing a mechanical keyboard is the overall lifespan. A quality mechanical keyboard switch outlasts membrane keyboards.
Over its life, a mechanical keyboard can be good for 50 million up to even 100 million keystrokes whereas a membrane keyboard might last up to 5 million keystrokes. In addition to the longer lifespan, mechanical keys also retain their feel over their lifetime, meaning they'll feel just as springy as the first day you used it.
Not only are they more durable but mechanical keyboards give you more customization options for all sorts of characteristics. Some switches are designed for typing and some for gaming. Whatever your preference is there is a mechanical switch to suit your preference.
Disadvantages of Mechanical Keyboards
The main reason some individuals might be put off by a mechanical keyboard is the noise level. Compared to a standard membrane or scissor keyboard, mechanical keyboards are quite loud. However there are some manufacturers that make silent versions of their popular mechanical keyboards with custom damping and or you can add in custom O-rings to reduce the noise level.
Mechanical Keyboards do carry a premium price compared to their membrane counterpart. That said, investing in a mechanical keyboard can be worth it in the long run. With the durability of a mechanical keyboard, you wont need to purchase a new one for a long time.
With high quality components comes some additional weight. Mechanical keyboards are heavier and can be more of a nuisance to move around when you want to take your setup somewhere else.
Programmable Keys or “Macros”
Programmable keys or “Macros” are special keys typically not found on standard keyboards which allow you to pre program a series or set of keystrokes in a custom order.
So for example, if you play a game or use a program that requires you to press multiple buttons in sequence, you can program these strokes into a single programmable key saving you time and effort. You need to use a special software to create these predefined keyboard strokes as not every keyboard works with “Macros”
N-Key Rollover or “Anti-Ghosting”
Rollover means how many keystrokes your keyboard can register at a single time. Many older keyboards designed to work with operating systems up to Windows XP would only be able to register two strokes at the same time. What this means is if you are playing a game where you need to perform many actions at once, your keyboard could limit your ability to realize those actions.
Gaming Keyboards brought us into an arena where no matter how many keys you press, your computer is able to register them all.
Mechanical keyboards have higher tactility and offer better feedback and response times than membrane keyboards. The keys are easier to press and do not require as much force as membrane switches, allowing you to type faster.
The tactility of mechanical keyboards provide audible feedback through the clicking sounds and visually when you watch your fingers press the keys that spring back and raise the keycap.
One of the biggest determining factors when deciding on which keyboard to choose is comfortability and ease of use.
Many mechanical keyboards have additional customizable options varying from different keystroke lengths to how loud or quiet the keys are. With how much time gets spent on the computer, especially during long gaming matches and tournaments, comfortability is key when it comes to making sure you are up to the task.
Some mechanical keyboards, particularly gaming keyboards, have RGB backlights that look cool but are also functional. These lights are often multi-colored and can get customized with different colors or patterns to make your PC setup standout. Keyboards with backlights allow for gaming in different lighting. The backlights help you see what you are doing even while enjoying your favorite horror game in the dark.
Can You Use a Gaming Keyboard for Regular Use?
Gaming keyboards can be great options for everyday use from typing emails, surfing the web, and of course gaming. With a longer lifespan and higher levels of comfortability, gaming keyboards are a good investment if you find yourself on the computer often. Some gaming keyboards even have programmable keys, making productivity faster and life easier.
Membrane keyboards are your standard everyday keyboards, they work by using 3 layers to achieve their effect. The switches on a membrane keyboard are referred to as “dome” switches, because the top layer is a dome that completes the circuit when the key gets pressed down.
Advantages of Membrane Keyboards
Membrane keyboards tend to be easier to transport around due to their lighter weight construction and lower weight parts. Keyboards with membranes switches are also quieter when compared to mechanical keyboards,
Disadvantages of Membrane Keyboards
A membrane keyboard requires more effort as opposed to a mechanical keyboard, which could cause you to tire and become fatigued faster.
The overall feeling of membrane keyboards is less enjoyable in comparison to mechanical keyboards.
Key rollover is also another issue, if you type too fast and press another key all the way, the feedback is less noticeable so you may have missed keystrokes.
The main con of membrane keyboards is the shorter lifespan, lasting anywhere from 2-5 million keystrokes, meaning you'll have to buy a new keyboard sooner than you would if you had chosen a mechanical keyboard.
Do Gaming Keyboards Make a Difference?
When it comes to gaming, choosing the right keyboard designed for gaming can make all the difference. With competitive games like first-person shooters, every second and millisecond matter, gaming keyboards have the quickest response time allows you to be ahead of your opponent.
Are Gaming Keyboards Worth It?
If you are purchasing a new custom gaming PC then it’s worth spending extra on high-quality peripherals that can make a huge impact on how you play.
A big advantage of gaming PCs over consoles is the higher accuracy and response rate you get with keyboard and mouse vs gaming with a controller.