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How we test gaming keyboards



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One of the best things about gaming on a PC is the mouse/keyboard combo, but you’re not going to have an advantage over controller-wielding kids if you’re using an office keyboard. We put all our gaming keyboards through rigorous testing and give you all the relevant information you need to make the perfect buying decision.

Design

  • Unboxing and setup
    We detail if the keyboard is packaged safely and any notable features.
  • Design
    We detail layout, number of keys, font on keycaps and color scheme.
  • Weight and dimensions
    We detail measurements superimposed over photos and show the keyboard in profile from both sides, from above, back and front.
  • Layout/size
    We provide an image of the board inside the outline of different common layouts.

Build quality

  • Materials
    We check deck flex, rigidity and overall feel.
  • Key switches
    We detail general type (linear, tactile, clicky), specific brand and type. We detail actuation force and other associated values provided by the manufacturer. We also detail any switch alternatives.

Performance

  • Gaming
    We detail latency and subjective feel during gaming.
  • Typing experience
    We detail how it feels during normal use, along with keycap texture and clarity of legends.
  • Typing sound
    We provide audio of typing and chatter test.
  • Actuation force
    We detail the actuation force and reset point, measured with a probe, and provide a force curve.
  • Battery
    We test battery life and compare our experience with the manufacturer’s claims. We do this with full lighting.

How we score wired keyboards

To ensure we give every wired keyboard a fair score, we’ve assigned weightings to each aspect that we test. This creates a balanced overall verdict. We score with the following weightings.

Build quality (30%)

This refers to how well the keyboard is produced physically. Some keyboards are entirely plastic, some are reinforced with a variety of materials. This creates a wide variance in terms of build quality.

Pre travel/actuation (30%)

These technical-sounding aspects contribute hugely to the overall gaming experience of the keyboard. They affect how the keyboard feels to use.

Typing experience (15%)

This refers to how the keyboard performs outside of gaming scenarios in more general office use. A great gaming keyboard doesn’t necessarily make for a great typing keyboard so we’ve separated these aspects.

Additional features (10%)

This refers to the more extraneous features like media controls, lighting, USB pass-through, and more. Sometimes these extra features can be absolute game-changers, sometimes they can be totally superfluous.

Value for money (15%)

Value for money is a subjective measure of how worth the money the keyboard is. If the features, build quality, and performance correspond to the price, then the keyboard is good value for money.

How we score wireless keyboards

These criteria are identical to that of wired keyboards, with one key difference: battery life. The other weightings have been marginally adjusted to allow for battery life.

Build quality (29%)

This refers to how well the keyboard is produced physically. Some keyboards are entirely plastic, some are reinforced with a variety of materials. This creates a wide variance in terms of build quality.

Pre travel/ actuation (29%)

These technical-sounding aspects contribute hugely to the overall gaming experience of the keyboard. They affect how the keyboard feels to use.

Typing experience (14%)

This refers to how the keyboard performs outside of gaming scenarios in more general office use. A great gaming keyboard doesn’t necessarily make for a great typing keyboard so we’ve separated these aspects.

Additional features (9%)

This refers to the more extraneous features like media controls, lighting, USB pass-through, and more. Sometimes these extra features can be absolute game-changers, sometimes they can be totally superfluous.

Value for money (14%)

Value for money is a subjective measure of how worth the money the keyboard is. If the features, build quality, and performance correspond to the price, then the keyboard is good value for money.

Battery life (5%)

This is to factor in how the keyboard’s battery holds up. We consider both the battery life and the charging solution, and test with full lighting (where applicable).

Test team

Our gaming keyboard specialist is Ben Atkins Chafer. A love of PC gaming led to an interest in everything keyboard-related. He has a particularly keen interest in key switches and how they affect the tactility of the user experience. He has a preference for silent switches but indulges in a clicky experience here and there.

How a gaming keyboard can feature in our best of guides

Only the best of the best appears here as we take special care to curate our best of selections. In addition to the criteria detailed above, we focus on different use cases and budgetary requirements, so we have many different best of guides to make sure we provide relevant advice for as many people as we can.

Recent gaming keyboard reviews

Why not take a quick look at some of our recent gaming keyboard reviews?

Best gaming keyboards buyer’s guides

To help you navigate the quagmire of gaming keyboards, we frequently collate best of guides with varying themes so you know what to pick for your next gaming keyboard. Have a look below.

We love gaming keyboards here at WePC and we find the small differences and how they work particularly interesting. To that end, we frequently write guide pages to help you learn more, for example, ANSI vs ISO, cleaning guides, and PBT vs ABS.

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