The entry-level gamer keyboards really are not the sort of stuff that you should look for if you want a mechanical gaming keyboard and have many features like adjustable backlighting or macro keys.
Indeed, mechanical keyboards require quite a lot of expertise from the manufacturer and they are expensive to build.
The fact that on a mechanical keyboard, each key is unique and has its own click mechanism, especially with the famous Cherry MX or other similar mechanisms, makes the manufacturing process expensive and complex.
It is therefore only towards the mid-range that we begin to see the mechanical gamer keyboards, and it is really in the high-end that they are best realized.
However, if a mechanical keyboard does not interest you and you just want a simple and inexpensive gamer keyboard with which to play on your computer, then you may find your happiness in the entry level.
After a long analysis of the cheap gamer keyboard market, here are the ones we found to have the best value for money.
- 1 Best Gaming Keyboards 2018
- 1.1 Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
- 1.2 CORSAIR – Gaming K55
- 1.3 Razer DeathStalker Essential
- 1.4 Razer Ornata Expert
- 1.5 SteelSeries Apex M500
- 1.6 Logitech G710
- 1.7 Razer BlackWidow Chroma
Best Gaming Keyboards 2018
|Corsair K95 RGB Platinum||Mechanical|
|CORSAIR – Gaming K55||Mechanical|
|Razer DeathStalker Essential||Membrane|
|Razer Ornata Expert||Mechanical|
|SteelSeries Apex M500||Mechanical|
|Razer BlackWidow Chroma||Mechanical|
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
The K95 RGB Platinum is available in two versions in our region: one is equipped with Cherry MX Speed switches, the other with Cherry MX Brown. A bronze gray color also exists in addition to the black color by default.
Right out of the box, the K95 RGB Platinum clearly marks its high-end claims. Less massive than its predecessor (465 mm wide against 502 mm due to the removal of 2 rows of macros), it still occupies a good space on the desktop (171 mm height, about 60 mm more with the rest palms installed), but without appearing invasive thanks to relatively simple lines and side edges of only 5 mm.
This new K95 knows how to stay sober on the aesthetic level and does not show too much its video game side. Only the row of macro keys (G1 to G6) and the font of the characters betray this orientation, without however removing this relatively serious aspect. At least, this is true if we ignore the backlight, which is precisely put forward by Corsair on this new keyboard. In addition to the multicolored backlighting (RGB) keys, the K95 RGB Platinum has a bright band at the top, for a really nice, although quite gadget, let’s face it. The effect can nevertheless remain discreet and brings a certain cachet to the keyboard.
The K95 RGB Platinum has the distinction of being offered in two versions, one of which is equipped with high-speed switches Cherry MX Speed – introduced for the first time with the K70 RGB Rapidfire. We have just tested this version, the other based on touch switches Cherry MX Brown, more classic and different touch.
The special feature of the MX Speed is to activate after only 1.2 mm stroke, against 2 mm for the other Cherry MX switches – the total stroke remains 4 mm. They are therefore more responsive and it feels like typing, since it is enough to push the key slightly to trigger activation. This is good for games that require fast reaction and even for typing if you like to touch the keys and hit without pushing them all the way – for more flexibility and silence. The Cherry MX Speed, however, remain louder than the Cherry MX Silent, fans of silence will always have trouble using a mechanical keyboard such as this one, even if we have experienced more noise in the genre.
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Pros & Cons
Of course, it is a high-end keyboard for players needs, the K95 RGB Platinum offers a complete anti-ghosting with N-Key Rollover (NKRO) in order to activate all keys on the keyboard at the same time.
CORSAIR – Gaming K55
Corsair is obviously renowned for its excellent high-end mechanical keyboards, but the brand does not forget the players to budgets a little more limited. With the new Corsair K55 RGB, the manufacturer offers a membrane model under the $50 mark.
If the mechanical switches are not here at the right time, the K55 does not lack the strengths to establish itself in the entry-level gaming keyboards market. In addition to a full RGB backlight customizable, the model embeds 6 additional keys for its macros, a removable wrist rest or a multitude of buttons to manage its multimedia.
No craziness on the packaging side. The keyboard is offered in a very classic cardboard box, taking the usual colors of the Corsair Gaming range. The front shows a large picture of the keyboard and highlights some of its main features.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to come across a keyboard from Corsair, the general style of this K55 RGB should not necessarily surprise you. In outline, it takes the usual codes of the models of the range, with a quality of construction despite a notch below that of the mechanical models.
Unlike a Corsair K70 RGB Lux or a Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, the entire chassis is made of plastic, and it will be necessary to dispense with the famous aluminum plate. In itself, it is not really a surprise, since it is recalled that this K55 is offered at a much lower price than those of these two models.
CORSAIR – Gaming K55 Pros & Cons
The Corsair K55 RGB is a membrane keypad, unlike most models recently tested that incorporated either mechanical switches or hybrid switches. In practice, it is obvious that we will not expect similar performance from this new model from Corsair.
As a reminder, membrane keypads do not offer as good typing quality as found on models with mechanical switches, and therefore adapt more to casual players or have a limited budget.
Razer DeathStalker Essential
Deathstalker is a model dedicated to players, like all products of the brand with snakes. Its peculiarity: chiclet-style silent keys, very different from the traditional and noisy mechanical keys that players are familiar with.
Most of the keyboard is matte black plastic, well finished, and will not hold too much fingerprints and other dirt. In addition, the assembly “monobloc” facilitates cleaning, often tedious on this kind of device.
The Deathstalker authorizes a Key Roll Over of 10 keys; 10 keys can be activated at the same time. We even measured it to 13 keys, but at this level, you will need more than your 2 hands to realize it. Razer calls it anti-ghosting on its site, which is totally different in reality. With true anti-ghosting, pressing one key will not activate another one at the same time, thanks to special wiring. Another good point to report is that it is possible with the Deathstalker to go up to 90 characters / second, where many stop at 60 or even 30.
Razer DeathStalker Essential Pros & Cons
Admittedly, these chiclet-style keys make less noise than those of a keyboard with mechanical switches – and again, it is not always true here – but they are not very pleasant to the keystrokes. We do not find the comfort and speed of a keyboard like the Logitech K750, yet using the same technology. The keys of the Razer are too resistant to the tiny stroke imposed by the chiclet.
Razer Ornata Expert
Praised by players, keyboards mechanical switches combine responsiveness and longevity. The fact remains that silicone membrane switches are still popular (softer touch, less noise, but less reactive and less enduring). With its “mechano-diaphragm” switches, Razer offers a hybrid solution for those who want both the touch of the membrane and tactile tactile feedback. Let’s see if the Ornata takes advantage of the best of both worlds or if it inherits the defects of each technology.
Apart from its original switches and wrist rests, the Ornata Expert cannot rely on particularly rich equipment, quite the contrary. It is satisfied indeed 105 conventional keys and offers no dedicated multimedia control. The few functions of volume control and audio-video playback are done by combinations with the “fn” key and the F1 to F12 function keys. The same goes for the game mode which is activated with fn + F10 and the adjustment of the intensity of the backlighting which is done on 20 levels with fn + F11 and fn + F12.
The Ornata Expert also does not take advantage of keys dedicated to macros, but we can happily program any key via the Razer Synapse software (see box below) or even record on the fly.
As far as the backlighting is concerned, here we are entitled to the 16.8 million colors enabled by the RGB LEDs and the many Expert lighting effects proposed in the Synapse settings: wave, color cycle, breathing effect or even lighting of certain groups of keys only according to the type of game (FPS, Moba, RTS …), for example. Some compatible games can also directly control the backlight of the keyboard to match the current action.
Razer Ornata Expert Pros & Cons
Strangely, while one might have expected a true mechanical activation to the evocation of the “mecan-membrane” technology, the technical solution used here is actually based on the membrane rather than the mechanics. There is an improved membrane, certainly, because the key remains quite stable when it is pressed, but that allows the activation and not the mechanical part of metal that has been added to the switch.
SteelSeries Apex M500
Everyone does not need a keyboard with macros or multimedia keys, RGB backlighting and other functions that, while they can bring comfort, often inflate the bill and are not essential. This is why SteelSeries offers its mechanical keyboard Apex M500, successor of 6GV2, which goes straight to the point and focuses on the quality of typing and especially robustness. The manufacturer does not hesitate to compare it to a tank, able to withstand the abuse.
No big changes in manufacturing and design for the Apex M500. SteelSeries continues to explain that its keyboard is “designed as a tank” to emphasize its robustness and probably justify a somewhat sketchy design. The M500 is made entirely of rigid black plastic with a granular surface. Its lines are however a little more worked than those of 6GV2 and the upper shell is thus slightly curved. If the assemblies are not exceptional, we can not blame them either and the keyboard actually looks very robust and designed to last.
SteelSeries Apex M500 Pros & Cons
In the end, one can very much appreciate the relatively contained noise of the M500, which does not cause unpleasant resonance, even when you hit hard enough on your keyboard. The noise is relatively low compared to other keyboards also equipped with MX Red.
With this G710, Logitech offers us a rather interesting gamer keyboard: up to 18 programmable shortcuts, silent mechanical keys, 2 types of backlighting, 26 keys that can be activated simultaneously … What about in practice? Answer in the following.
We easily recognize the look of the usual gamer keyboard. Angular, black, a robust look, to believe that a player is only a “big nag” who likes only what is raw and solid. Only a touch of orange colored brighten the turn of hotkeys.
One thing is certain, when you put it on the desk, it does not move. Despite its 1.5 kg, the non-slip pads are very effective, even when using the tilt legs. No worries on that side.
We regret a little the messy glossy coating between the keys, the least easy place to clean so. The removable all-plastic wrist rest is a bit small but remains correct. The plus: a notch in the latter allows to pass the cable of a headphone under the keyboard.
Logitech G710 Pros & Cons
A first attempt in mixed mechanics for Logitech. There are good things, like the 3 shortcut profiles and keyboard stability. But the use, the hit is rather difficult, and above all, the asking price seems disproportionate.
Razer BlackWidow Chroma
Since the end of 2014, multicolored backlit mechanical keyboards have been emerging all over the world, while others are planned for the coming months, according to the various announcements of the CES 2017. The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma is part of these keyboards for players of a new genre. It is however only a variation of the model BlackWidow Ultimate 2014.
At first glance and before the connection, nothing differentiates this Chroma BlackWidow Ultimate Edition. There is a massive keyboard 47.5 x 17.1 x 2 cm (L x W x H), for a weight of 1.5 kg. it is a bit difficult to move from its assigned place on the desk, especially with its seven small rubber pads arranged around the chassis that ensure a good performance.
The keyboard is made of matte plastic very sturdy and pleasant to the touch, even if it is quickly adorned with all the dust in the room. It is possible to enhance the keyboard with the two skids below. It is all in the form of a large angular block, with obvious strength. If you notice the absence of a wrist rest that may be sorrowful, the grip is however in a natural and comfortable way.
Razer BlackWidow Chroma Pros & Cons
No big news this time again on the side of the keystroke, it is provided by Green Razer switches. More resistant than the Cherry MX Blue (50 g for Razer against 45 g for Cherry), the switches have the same progressive activation click. The key activates a first time at 1.9 millimeters, then can continue its work up to 4 millimeters. This feature can be interesting in games that need to press some keys very quickly.