1. Expert reviews

Gaming keyboards: 6 gaming keyboards tested

Elina Blom

Updated May 13, 2021

Are you planning to buy a new keyboard specifically for gaming? We tested the latest models from the most popular manufacturers. All keyboards in our test are intended for gaming. However, while some are focused on only gaming, others have switches that also work for more general purposes.

When buying a keyboard, it’s important you think about how you intend to use it. If it’s only going to be for games, you should choose one with macro buttons, switches intended for games, good backlighting and anti-ghosting. You should also think about ergonomics because you often play games for several hours at a time. Wrist support, for example, is a good extra.

Gaming keyboards are usually wired. There are wireless models, but these are still really in their infancy when it comes to keyboards. It’s easier to find good wireless mice for gaming.

We continuously update our tests as new and interesting models become available.

How we did the test

We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. We’ve been testing the following keyboards for quite a long time. We’ve used them for typing documents and in other precision-based contexts as well as for playing games.

Some of the parameters we look at when testing keyboards are:

  • Functionality: What functions does the keyboard have? Can you program hotkeys? How many keys can be pressed simultaneously?

  • Ergonomics: Comfort and ergonomics are important factors if you are going to use a keyboard for a long time. So we test keyboards over both short and long sessions, and examine how they perform.

  • Connection: If the keyboard is wired, we examine the length and quality of the cable. If it’s wireless, we test the battery capacity. We also test the range of wireless models.

  • Design: What are the keyboards made of? Which switches are used? What's the build quality like?

1. HyperX Alloy FPS RGB – BEST CHOICE GAMING KEYBOARDS 2021

Fast, highly responsive gaming keyboard

Intended for: Gaming Connection: Wired Type: Mechanical Switches: Kailh Silver Speed Size: Length: 44 cm Width: 13 cm Weight: 1.1 kg Miscellaneous: USB for charging external gadgets, anti-ghosting

HyperX Alloy FPS RGB

The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is a mechanical keyboard with high build quality. The choice of material and construction make it quite heavy, so it may not be a keyboard to carry with you to a LAN party, but on the other hand, thanks to that weight, it’s really stable on your desk.

Despite the weight, this keyboard is still pretty minimalist. The thin construction and raised keys together with the RGB lighting are very effective.

The Alloy FPS RGB has Silver Speed switches which are excellent for gaming. They are very responsive and sensitive, and don’t feel at all wobbly like they can do in some other models. Another fun detail is that you can charge your phone from the Alloy FPS USB socket.

This keyboard also has anti-ghosting. You can configure this in HyperX's own NGenuity software. This is simple enough to do but the interface itself is a bit confusing.

HyperX-Alloy-FPS-RGB

The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is excellent for gaming and even, to some extent, for those who need to type. However, you’ll need to give it some time to get used to it if you’re just typing, because these are pretty sensitive keys. If you want a keyboard mainly for typing, you should look elsewhere. But if you’re OK with not hammering on the keys, and mainly want to use a keyboard for gaming, then this is a very affordable choice.

Very good responseexcellent build qualityheavy & stable on the surfacegood RGB lighting
Not very portable

Price Comparison

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HyperX Alloy FPS RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Renewed)

£76.66
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HyperX Alloy FPS RGB Gaming Keyboard

£94.85
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HyperX HX-KB1SS2-UK Alloy FPS RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Kailh Silver Speed Switches (UK Layout)

£95.03

2. HyperX Alloy Origins - BEST BUDGET CHOICE

Good value for money mechanical keyboard

Intended for: Gaming Connection: Wired Type: Mechanical Switches: Cherry Red linear Size: Length: 44.3 cm Depth: 13.3 cm Weight: 1.07 kg Miscellaneous: Anti-ghosting

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 RGB (Nordic)

The HyperX Alloy Origins is a pretty affordable mechanical keyboard, which makes it interesting for anyone who wants a relatively well-equipped keyboard without having to spend a fortune. It’s equipped with Cherry Red switches with a linear function and 1.8 mm travel to the activation point. It’s possible to rest your fingers on the keys to some extent without it registering false presses, but this is still a fairly sensitive keyboard. Overall though, the keyboard is responsive without being too sensitive. Quite simply, just right.

The sound from the keys, as is almost always the case with red switches, is a little more distinct. This isn’t the keyboard to buy if you’re disturbed by that kind of noise when playing. On the other hand, you also have the advantage that you can hear clearly if you’ve pressed a key properly or not. Some people appreciate this.

It’s easy to adjust the keyboard to your own preferences via the included Ngenuity program. This is an easy-to-navigate program but rather messy.

The keyboard weighs a lot given its size. In fact it’s over a kilo and so not very portable. One advantage of this is that it’s very stable even in those more intense gaming sessions.

hyperx-alloy-origins

Good overview when you play

The RGB lighting is powerful and makes it easy to see when you play in the evening. You can set the lighting in the software.

The HyperX Alloy Origin is a decent bit of kit. The price is attractive considering that it’s a mechanical keyboard and you get all the features a gamer could wish for. The resistance of the keys is well balanced. The only downside is the noise. If you play with headphones on, this won’t matter.

Easy to play or write ongood RGBgood build quality
Relatively loud

3. Asus Rog Strix Scope TKL Deluxe

Well built and suitable for people who game and and write a lot

Intended for: Gaming Connection: Wired Type: Optical-mechanical Switches: Cherry MX Silent Red Size: Length: 35.5 cm Width: 12.5 cm Weight: 823 g Miscellaneous: Anti-ghosting

ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL Deluxe

The Asus Rog Strix Scope TKL Deluxe is an optical-mechanical keyboard for gamers who like minimalist gadgets. The switches are Cherry Red Silent, which makes the keyboard suitable for both typing and gaming. It’s also, as the name indicates, relatively quiet. If you listen carefully, you can hear a small echo in the switches, but if you have game sound on or maybe even headphones, you won’t notice anything. The switches are a bit sluggish in terms of resistance, but even this is marginal and, in any case, to be expected from Red switches.

The keyboard is backlit with an RGB system. There’s also a lighting strip at the front, but the included wrist rest conceals this.

The fact that the keyboard comes with a wrist rest is a really big plus. From an ergonomic point of view, this is excellent news, especially if you’re typing or gaming for longer sessions. The wrist rest is comfortable and it attaches solidly with magnets.

There are also plenty of hotkeys and a program called Armoury Crate II where you can change all the settings. For example, there are 8 ready-made settings for the RGB lighting. Unfortunately, the software is pretty slow. It’s also annoying that you have to restart the computer every time there’s an update.

Asus-Rog-Strix-Scope-TKL-Deluxe

Stable and solid construction

The design of the Asus Rog Strix Scope TKL Deluxe means it’s fairly heavy. The advantage of that it that it’s stable on your desk. The disadvantage is that it’s quite difficult to carry with you if you often go to LAN parties or the equivalent. Even if you use a laptop, you’ll often want a dedicated gaming keyboard when you play – even away from home. However, it doesn’t take up much space in a bag, as it lacks a number pad so it’s not very wide.

This keyboard works really well as a gaming keyboard and with its strong RGB lighting and convenient format it’s easy to use while leaving plenty of space left on your desk. If you need a number pad, the Rog Strix Scope TKL Deluxe isn’t recommended for you. But if you don’t care about that, this is a really good keyboard for anyone who games and types a lot.

Comes with wrist supportnice to play & type onstrong RBG lighting
Makes some noisefiddly softwareno number pad

4. Asus Strix Scope RX

High sensitivity, water resistant keyboard

Intended for: Gaming Connection: Wired Type: Optical-mechanical Switches: Cherry MX Red Size: Length: 44.5 cm Width: 13.2 cm Weight: 870 g Miscellaneous: 1 ms response time, USB for mouse or similar, anti-ghosting

ASUS ROG Strix Scope RX RGB (Nordic)

If you’re looking for a well-equipped gaming keyboard with good functionality, the Asus Strix Scope RX is an interesting choice. This keyboard has really high build quality and a response time as low as 1 millisecond. We also want to flag the fact that it’s very sensitive – even for Cherry MX Red switches. It takes a while to get used to and won’t suit you if you rest your fingers on the keys when playing, not if you want to avoid false key presses. But if you prefer very high sensitivity when gaming, you’re not going to be disappointed. It’s also very fast and easy to type on.

The keyboard is water resistant. So if you like to drink while sitting at the computer, you don’t have to worry. It’s also equipped with a USB socket, which is nice when you play with a dedicated mouse.

Sound levels when typing are noticeable, and this is far from being the quietest keyboard we’ve tested. But it’s not so loud that you’ll find it disturbing. Overall, the sound profile is fine.

Asus-Strix-Scope-RX

Asus’ Armoury Crate software is quite unforgiving however, and every time it updates you have to restart your computer. This gets pretty annoying in the long run. In the program you can configure the RGB lighting on individual buttons on the keyboard as well as customising the lighting.

The Asus Strix Scope RX is a keyboard that should suit a fairly wide target group. It will suit people who play a lot of games, and also for anyone who has to write essays or reports between gaming sessions. It’s highly sensitive, so you need to bear that in mind if considering a purchase, and it might take a while for you to get used to it if you like to rest your fingers on the keys. But overall the Asus Strix Scope RX is a feature-rich and well-thought-out keyboard offering high build quality.

Very fast response timewater resistantUSB socket
Annoying softwarereacts a little too easily

5. Deltaco DK420 (GAM-111)

Interesting low budget option for gamers who play more sporadically

Intended for: Gaming Connection: Wired Type: Optical-mechanical Switches: Unknown red switches Size: Length: 44 cm Width: 14 cm Weight: 1.2 kg Miscellaneous: Anti-ghosting, low profile

Deltaco GAM-111-W (Nordic)

The Deltaco DK420 is a low-profile mechanical keyboard. If you like playing on low-profile keyboards, you will probably appreciate this model. The build quality feels OK for the price. It may not last for 100 million keystrokes, but if you only game sporadically, you’ll be able to have fun for a while. A five-year warranty feels a pretty good deal too.

The switches are from Outemu. If you’re used to playing with Cherry MX Red switches, you’ll notice that these are a bit stiffer in terms of resistance, but in practice we’d say that it doesn’t make any difference to your gaming experience. The keys are stable and responsive. We didn’t notice any flabbiness.

What is lacking, however, is height adjustment underneath. Most keyboards come with options to adjust the angle, but this one doesn’t. So even though you quickly get used to the low profile, it’s still not a 100% comfortable experience to use. Which is a real shame, because otherwise the GAM-111 performs really well.

Deltaco-DK420-GAM-111

There is also software for this keyboard which makes it configurable. Via this you can, for example, adjust the lighting. Unfortunately, the software is quite well hidden and you don’t get any information about it. We recommend you download it if you want to make your own individual settings.

The DK420 is also pretty heavy. It’s not the keyboard to take to your nearest LAN or when you’re travelling. But given the low price, we think this isn’t a problem. It's probably ideal as the budget model you buy to use sometimes in a quiet corner of your home.

If you don’t want to spend very much on your keyboard or you don’t game very often, then the Deltaco DK420 could be worth a look. There’s no number pad and it weighs a lot despite a slim design. But the keys are nice with good distance between them, and fine for both typing and gaming despite a little higher resistance.

Comfortable low profilegood distance between the keys
Heavydifficult to find configuration softwareno height adjustment

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6. Deltaco GAM-075

Lightweight keyboard for gamers on the go

Intended for: Gaming Connection: Wired Type: Optical-mechanical Switches: Unknown red switches Size: Height: 2.2-3 cm Length: 35 cm Width: 12.5 cm Weight: 552 g Miscellaneous: Anti-ghosting, mini keyboard

Deltaco GAM-075 (Nordic)

The Deltaco GAM-075 is an ultra-portable mini keyboard in the lower price segment. This is especially noticeable in the build quality. The USB-C socket doesn’t have a 100% fit and there’s nothing underneath to adjust the angle of your keyboard. It’s also set at quite a high angle to begin with.

The problem with the combination of being non-adjustable and having a high angle is that you can easily get cramp in your wrist. We all get very set in terms of how we sit and what height we have to be at in order for the keyboard to feel comfortable to type on. The compact size also means that many keys have dual functionality. One big advantage here is that you can decide for yourself what you want the keys to do, and it’s easy to change them – at least it is if you can get the hang of how the software works, because it’s not entirely user-friendly.

It’s also pretty cool that, despite the low price, the keyboard is equipped with RGB lighting and as many as 19 different profiles. There’s even a dedicated key for the different profiles.

Deltaco-GAM-075

Mechanical switches for a cheap price

The Gam-075 is a mechanical keyboard. It comes with red switches of an unknown brand. Unfortunately, the keys feel quite wobbly. So it’s not much fun to type on for a long time and the overall build quality feels pretty low. If you just want to game, however, and also want a very portable keyboard, then it works fine. So it’s primarily the height of the keyboard that will give a negative experience. But if you type a lot, you’ll soon feel the lower build quality.

The Deltaco GAM-075 is an interesting alternative for those looking for an ultra-portable gaming keyboard – rather than for typing longer essays. It will easily fit in your bag. It works OK for gaming but don’t expect it to last very long.

Very portablegood lighting
Poor ergonomicsrickety build qualityslightly wobbly keys

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All about keyboards

Buyer’s guide to keyboards

When you buy a keyboard, it’s important you think about how you intend to use it. What do you need it for – both now and in the future? Are you a student and do you need to be able to write essays on it? Are you going to use it at work? Are you going to play games on it? If you play MMORPGs, for example, keyboards with macro buttons are often welcome because you can set them to your own preferences. For example, they can be set to game shortcuts.

It’s also very important to consider the ergonomics. A keyboard should be designed so you can type on it for a long time without getting a pain in your shoulders, for example. So consider things like height adjustment, wrist support, the placement of the buttons and more. The keys should also be convenient and easy to press.

When it comes to keyboards and layouts, there’s a different layout for every country. A UK English keyboard has one layout, while a Swedish keyboard has another – Swedish includes the letters ÅÄÖ for example. So it’s also important that you buy a keyboard intended for the language you usually type in.

Keyboards have changed throughout the years. Today there are many different types of keyboards, both wired and wireless. Wireless keyboards are powered by batteries and connected to the computer via Bluetooth or a USB dongle.

How keyboards are built also differs. The standard membrane keyboard was common in the past, and still dominates today when it comes to office keyboards and the like. These are based on a system where thin membranes activate a circuit layer when you press a key. Then signals are sent to the computer.

While membranes are common in offices, mechanical keyboards are common when gaming. When you play games, you need to be able to press several keys at the same time without any key failing to register, because different keyboard combinations give different outcomes. In a keyboard based on the membrane system, this wouldn’t work. But in a mechanical keyboard, you have individual switches that send individual signals for each key, instead of a large circuit board. Different keyboards have different limitations when it comes to ghosting. (How many keys you can press at once.) You can press more buttons at once on some than on others.

Keyboard switches

Furthermore, there are also different types of switches. The five most common are listed below, but there are many more.

Cherry MX Blue

Cherry MX Blue switches make a bit more noise than other switches and aren’t really suitable for gaming. However, they are nice for typing.

Cherry MX Red

This is more of a general switch that works for a wide range of tasks. Cherry MX Red switches are characterised by a light typing feel, and are just as suitable for typing essays as for playing games. The switches are activated faster and are more sensitive than, for example, Cherry MX Black switches.

Cherry MX Black

Cherry MX Black isn’t the sort of switch you want on a keyboard where you have to type a lot. By contrast, this type of switch is excellent if you play games such as WoW because they are ideal for individual keystrokes. The Cherry MX Black is a silent linear switch with good responsiveness but, at the same time, isn’t overly sensitive, as the activation of the button takes place about halfway down.

Cherry MX Brown

You can recognize Cherry MX Brown switches by their muted sound when you press them. Just like the Cherry MX Red, these are something of an all-round switch, but they are very tactile, which is what gives them a muted sound profile. Cherry MX Brown switches are well suited for both gaming and typing.

Cherry MX Speed Silver

This is a switch designed specifically for gaming. The Cherry MX Speed Silver has a very short travel and is thus activated very quickly, which makes you faster in a game. These switches are well suited for MMORPG games, for example, where fast key presses are essential.

Frequently asked questions about gaming keyboards

Who invented the keyboard?

The keyboards we all use today come from the typewriter. The popular QWERTY system itself was invented by an American called Christopher Sholes, in the 1860s. The name QWERTY comes from the first five letters on the keyboard.

How do I change the language on my keyboard?

If your language is incorrectly set, you can change it in Windows. You go to the start menu, navigate to the control panel and select the Languages option. (The name of this may vary, depending on your version of Windows.) This allows you to set the keyboard to your desired language.

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