Considering upgrading your PC gaming set up and want the best gaming keyboard available in Australia? Here are 5 models we suggest you check out.
Corsair Gaming K95 RGB PLATINUM Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
If you’re a hardcore, serious gamer looking for a lighting fast, highly reliable gaming keyboard then the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB PLATINUM Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is definitely worth considering.
This compact mechanical keyboard comes with an aluminum chassis and mechanical keys, which make it, feel very solid and ideal for use on both a desk or on your lap. A few other great features you’ll get when you choose the Corsair K95 include a USB passthrough, the ability to tweak the volume, players or skip tracks mid-game via media controls on the top left of the keyboard, six programmable macro keys on the left edge and the 19 zone ‘LightEdge’, which is a programmable RGB light strip along the top of the keyboard.
Looking at performance, the K95 mechanical keyboard is built around responsiveness and it is, without argument, one of the most reactive keyboards around. For gaming, this makes it a great choice for FPS shooters and games where reaction speed is a key factor but for office environments or mixed living areas it can be a little noisy and will take some getting used too. On the plus side though the keys are nicely spaced out and aligned so those consistent typos should be a thing of the past, once you’re used to it.
It would be hard to argue against the Corsair Gaming K95 RGB PLATINUM Mechanical Gaming Keyboard not being one of the best gaming keyboards around but all this impressive functionality doesn’t come cheap at $329.
Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 Gaming Keyboard
The Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 Gaming Keyboard is a full-size RGB backlit keyboard aimed at both dedicated gamers and advanced desktop users. This flagship mechanical keyboard from Razer comes packed with features including assignable macro keys, RGB lighting and a pass-through for headphones as well as a USB port.
The BlackWidow is very well built and comes in a matte-black finish making it feel quite minimalist. While the solid plastic shell feels indestructible, the key spacing does feel less generous than some of the other options at this price point and results in the keyboard feeling smaller. The BlackWidow does, however, come with a well-padded, leather-like wrist rest that attaches to the front of the keyboard magnetically and feels fantastic. On the front of the Chroma V2, you’ll find a subtle illuminated logo, which combined with the vibrant, bright, adjustable RGB key lighting makes it look pretty cool.
The keyboard connects via a braiding USB cable that isn’t detachable although it is thinner than some of its rivals. There are also plenty of function keys and a bank of 5 ‘M’ keys along the left of the device too which can be used as macro keys or you could configure them with more advanced options via Razer’s software. The functions keys on the BlacWidow are activated via the ‘fn’ key and can control your lighting, media, and the volume too.
The Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 is an excellent and versatile gaming keyboard that comes in a range of styles and delivers impressive reaction times and feedback from each key press. The keyboard comes in a range of styles and offers a very comfortable overall experience for a mechanical keyboard. In terms of price you’re at the top of the scale here – the BlackWidow is priced at $329.
ROCCAT Ryos MK FX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The ROCCAT Ryos MK FX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a solid, robust, and feature-packed mechanical gaming keyboard with impressive customisation and macro support functionality that is aimed, primarily, at the macro-obsessed or hardcore gamer.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about the Ryos MK FX is that this is a very sturdy and solid bit of kit. The upside of that is that it isn’t going anywhere, even during the most over-excited gaming sessions! The keyboard comes with a huge wrist rest too and although that may look a little off-putting at first, in time, you’ll find it actually provides an impressive level of comfort especially during extended gaming and typing sessions.
The Ryos MK FX’s well spaced, RGB backlit keys are capable of being programmed, in just about any color profile combination you can imagine, via Roccat’s Swarm software. The keyboard is also available with a variety of Cherry MX keys and because the keys are fairly noisy, ROCCAT supply the keyboard with the option of using dampers. The dampers do however block the LEDs, which is unfortunate because they are one of this keyboard’s main features.
As with many of ROCCAT’s products, the MK FX comes with ‘Easy-Shift’, which allows you to program two functions for every button. Combine this with the macro keys along the left edge and the customisation possibilities offered by this gaming keyboard are dizzying. Options, options, and more options seem to be at the core of the Ryos MK FX’s design.
All in all the Ryos MK FX is overflowing with features and customisation options, it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing gaming keyboard but it is impressively robust and highly configurable which at $289 offers fantastic value for your money, especially if macros are your thing.
Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a solid, well-designed, beautiful mid-market keyboard that is ideal for gamers who prefer elegance and simplicity over complexity and customisation.
The G810 is extremely quiet thanks to its unique Omron Romer-G mechanical switches, which provide a fair bit of resistance and feel very substantial. This is a big plus for gamers but, being fair, typists may need a little time to get used to the feel and functionality of the keys. The keyboard’s discrete media controls allow you to pause, play, rewind or fast-forward your media and there is also a volume control roller. In addition, the G810 has a button to activate or deactivate the lighting and also a ‘Game Mode’ button that can disable screen-minimising keys during gameplay.
While there are no additional macro keys the Orion Spectrum, it does allow you to create profiles for each of your games, and then reprogram each of the 12 function keys as a command; be it a keystroke, a program function or a macro. It will even scan your system for games and create profiles for each game to get you started. The RGB lighting on the G810 is also very impressive and can be personalised via the inclusive, market leading Logitech Gaming Software.
In short, the Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard may not be as flashy or customisable as other mechanical keyboards on the market but it is a great choice for either an office desk or for a grown-up gamer that comes with a very reasonable price tag of just $199.
Rapoo V800 Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Rapoo V800 Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is the last of the gaming keyboards on our list and for a mid-market, very affordable peripheral it delivers some excellent features that include customisable multi-level backlighting, solid build, dedicated, programmable macro keys and impressive reaction speeds.
The keys on the V800 are built using a non-slip material that provides more grip and is less prone to finger marks. There are five dedicated macro keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard each of which can be easily customised to suit the gamer’s preferences via the supplied Macro Manager which can record your macros in no time and then allows you to store them in the V800’s 2 MB of onboard memory. There is also a ‘Gaming Mode’ button that allows you to toggle between gaming and Windows settings in no time. Another feature worth a mention is that 109 of the 113 keys on the V800 are individually programmable, that’s seriously impressive at this price point!
The Rapoo V800’s multi-level backlighting system is equally cool offering a multi-level key illumination function in five different modes. If all that isn’t enough then there is also a dedicated backlighting button on the top-right of the keyboard that adjusts the brightness level effortlessly or you could opt for ‘Breathing mode’, which takes control of the backlighting, smoothly fading the lighting in and out for you.
The Rapoo V800 Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard might be very affordably priced at only $169 but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t a serious contender. This feature rich, sturdy keyboard is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a mid-market gaming keyboard.
How To Pick The Best Gaming Keyboards in Australia
Whether you’re a part-time gamer with a pre-built machine or a dedicated expert with a custom built setup a good gaming keyboard will undoubtedly streamline your gameplay by increasing your effectiveness, accuracy, and productivity.
The question is: Which gaming keyboard is right for you?
Gaming keyboards generally work best if you’re into FPS (first person shooter games), strategy games or MMOs (massively multiplayer online games).
If you’re more of an occasional player of console port titles or you love playing Telltale games or League of Legends then a custom gaming keyboard may not be the way to go. You would possibly get more value by investing in a good quality controller instead.
So what is a gaming keyboard anyway?
Gaming keyboards can be split, primarily, into 3 basic types, namely;
- Tenkeyless keyboard
All-purpose gaming keyboards
Most keyboards fall into the first category and come equipped with mechanical switches, possibly a few macro keys and maybe some fancy backlighting.
All-purpose keyboards might look a little unstated when compared to their MMO and tenkeyless counterparts but they come with impressive mechanical switches and make a great choice if you’re primarily into FPS, RTS, MOBA or action/adventure games.
MMO gaming keyboards
An MMO keyboard is for you if you spend endless hours online playing co-operative, MMO style games. They come equipped with lots of macro keys – normally between 6 and 18 – and are generally quite expensive.
The other key point about MMO gaming keyboards is that they do tend to be quite bulky so you need to be sure that you have the space to accommodate your new investment before you buy it.
The first things you’ll notice when looking for a tenkeyless board is that they are relatively inexpensive, they don’t have a numpad and they offer great mobility. These keyboards often come with a carry case and some even offer the option of wireless too.
If you’re constantly on the move or haven’t got much space then a tenkeyless keyboard may be the best option for you.
Mechanical vs Membrane
A gaming keyboard buying guide that doesn’t talk about switches (keys) would simply be incomplete so let’s run through the options briefly so you know what to look out for.
Modern-day keyboards come with one of two types of switches. Lower end, less expensive models are normally equipped with membrane switches that work by running an electrical current through 2 plastic membranes.
The other option is a mechanical keyboard, which works much like an old-fashioned typewriter. Mechanical keyboards are a lot more, robust, reliable and reactive than their membrane counterparts but this increased value and build quality does come at a price so they do tend to be at the upper-end of the price scales.
Switches and Keys
Cherry MX keys have become the industry standard for gaming keyboards. If the keyboard you’re looking at doesn’t have them or at least an imitation of them it might be best to look at other options.
Cherry MX keys come in a variety of colours that tell them apart, namely;
- Reds are responsive and quiet.
- Browns are quiet, yet robust.
- Blues tend to be resistant but quiet noisy.
- Blacks are stiff and shallow.
- Greens are comparable to blues with the exception that they are noisier and more robust.
Gaming keyboards generally have 3 types of backlighting, RGB, mono (single colour) or none.
In truth, backlighting is more aesthetic than it is functional and, although having a keyboard that matches your existing rig does look great, whether it’s worth the price hike is a matter of personal choice.
Full RGB keyboards can be expensive so unless it’s something you really need (or want) we would advise looking for single colour backlighting that matches your setup and spend the difference on sound.
Pricing can be a little tricky to offer advice on generically because the gaming keyboard manufacturers all seem to have different views on where the real value lies in their products.
Speaking very broadly, at the lower end of the market you’ll mostly find membrane switches, tenkeyless boards, and older mechanical models.
Mid-market options should include features like single (mono) colour backlighting, mechanical switches and a full set of keys, including a number pad.
Notably, the feature that isn’t too widely available in this price bracket is lots of macro keys so if that is something you want, you’ll need to spend a little more.
At the top end, the world of gaming keyboards is at your feet! You’ll be able to choose a keyboard packed with dazzling full RGB backlighting, top-end mechanical switches, and excellent connectivity options too.
So now you’re all in the know, you should be able to make a wise and informed choice when it comes to upgrading your gaming keyboard.
Arguably, the most important thing is to make sure you get the board that has the right keys for you. Mechanical keys are always better, in our opinion, but membrane switches are kinder on your pocket. Macro keys can be useful especially if you’re into MMO gaming.
Whether you need impressive, dazzling full RGB backlighting is a personal choice that will also be influenced by your budget.
There’s no doubt that a good gaming keyboard is definitely a wise investment for any gamer and also has the added benefit of increasing your productivity when you’re not gaming too.