If you’re a PC gamer, you need to have a keyboard that can keep up with your fast movements and button pressing. This article will show you what we think are the best gaming keyboards under £100 and why you need one.
Rubber-Dome Keyboard or a Mechanical Keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards were only recently promoted by the biggest gaming brands as a must-have PC accessory for gaming. Basic, rubber-dome keyboards offer the same functions as mechanical keyboards and yet most serious PC gamers have converted to mechanical keyboards.
The reason for this is because a mechanical keyboard can facilitate much faster movements than a regular keyboard. This is because each key has an individual switch. These switches provide the player with a subconscious queue that the button has been pressed and pressed correctly. This is due to the switch giving physical feedback to the user. When you press a key on a mechanical keyboard you can feel a click engage and you can then move on to pressing other keys.
This switch system was originally created for typists so they could type faster however, gamers started using these keyboards to enable faster movements, actions and selections in the game. The switches also allow more simultaneous button presses. On most mechanical keyboards you can simultaneously press up to six keys. A rubber keyboard limits you to a two key rollover. This allows you to perform more actions at the same time.
The lifetime of a keyboard is also much higher on a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards have a lifespan of more than 50 million key presses, while rubber-dome keyboards are rated for just 10 million.
Verdict: Mechanical keyboards are a must for PC gamers. They allow you to perform faster actions, perform more simultaneous actions and are more economical because they last longer than rubber-dome keyboards. You will be severely disadvantaged when gaming without a mechanical keyboard.
See Also: The Best Gaming Headsets for UNDER £100
The 5 Best Gaming Keyboards Under £100
1. Corsair Strafe RGB
The Corsair Strafe is more expensive than its competitors but it’s the best keyboard on the market for less than £100.
This is a mechanical keyboard that is very quiet. Some mechanical switches can produce a loud clicking noise when pressed. The Strafe uses Cherry MX mechanical switches and these are very quiet. This means you don’t annoy everyone else in the room.
The keys are very responsive and enable faster actions in the game.
Lighting is very attractive on the keyboard with bright LED lights lighting up the keys from underneath. The one problem is that this keyboard does not have designated media keys such as play or pause. Instead, you have to use the top row of function keys whilst holding ALT. However, that is not a major problem.
Corsair ships this keyboard with extra keys. These are used to replace more commonly used buttons such as W, A, S, D and Q, E. These keys have a different feel to them, so you can easily and quickly differentiate whether you are pressing the right button or not without looking. That is important when gaming.
Verdict: The Corsair Strafe is the best keyboard on the market for under £100. It’s fully mechanical, it’s quiet and they go the extra mile by providing you with easily differentiated keys.
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2. Havit KB395L
The Havit KB395L is a low-profile mechanical keyboard with a fantastic price.
This keyboard has features that you would usually pay a lot more for. RGB LED lighting is one such feature. This keyboard has a light display that is very nice visually. You are also able to change the LED mode to something that more suits your taste.
This keyboard is very small, and also very thin. Gaps between keys have been sacrificed and it feels like they have been pushed together as much as possible.
This can result in unintentional key presses which can get slightly annoying.
Verdict: The Havit KB395L is a great deal. Its mechanical keys are very responsive, however, it’s thin design can result in accidental button presses which can be an issue when gaming.
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3. Hyper X Alloy Elite
The Hyper X Alloy is a keyboard that quite often varies in price. This is a really good keyboard that you should keep your eye on because it goes on sale regularly.
This keyboard is very big. It takes up a lot of space on your desk. It does have media keys in the top right for things like brightness, profile switching and turning on game mode but it is oversized.
This is a fully mechanical keyboard. The speed of your key presses with the Alloy Elite will be a lot quicker than a membrane-based keyboard.
Our typing tests showed that we could type 120 words per minute as opposed to our 107 words with other keyboards.
Verdict: The Hyper X Alloy Elite is more expensive than it’s competitors but it is a fully mechanical keyboard. You will be able to make faster in-game actions with this keyboard. Make sure you have a large desk though.
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4. Cooler Master Master Set MS120
The Cooler Master Master Set is a fantastic deal for those who are looking to upgrade their gaming setup. This product is actually a bundle. For the very low price, you get a keyboard and a mouse, both of which are perfectly suitable for competitive gaming.
For those of you who want your gear to look flashy, the Master Set keyboard and mouse do contain RGB LED illumination.
These coloured lights can be customised to your personal taste. If you aren’t into lights, you can turn them off completely as well.
The keyboard is not fully mechanical. Cooler Master explain it as mem-chanical. This means that the keys do have a membrane/rubber dome as well as a switch. For those who aren’t familiar with fully mechanical keyboards, the difference will not be noticeable but for those that are, you will feel slower when pressing keys.
Verdict: The Cooler Master Master Set MS120 is an absolute bargain. You get a mid-range mouse and keyboard for the price of one. The keyboard is not fully mechanical which can slow down some key movements.
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5. Razer Ornata
The Razer Ornata has tried to change the game by feeling like a mechanical keyboard whilst actually being a rubber dome keyboard.
Razer has created what they call the “mecha-membrane switch.” The keys are rubber dome keys however when pressing down, they feel like mechanical keys. You can feel a bump when pressing these buttons. This results in a keyboard that is somewhere between a standard, membrane-based keyboard and a mechanical keyboard.
The problem with this is the key action. With the Ornata we found that you end up pushing a key further than you have to because the rubber dome keys don’t push back on you as a mechanical keyboard does. This means that if you push a button halfway, the action is already performed in-game. However, there is no physical queue so you end up pushing the key all the way down. This can result in slower actions in-game.
Verdict: The Razer Ornata is a clever keyboard. It is a rubber dome keyboard that feels like a mechanical keyboard and for the most part, works like one. The only problem is with the key action. This can possibly slow down in-game actions.
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