Table of Contents
- 1 The best mechanical gaming keyboard
- 3 1. Trust Gaming GXT 865 Asta
- 4 2. Cooler Master CK-550
- 5 3. Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO
- 6 4. Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2: Editor’s Choice
Like gaming mice, today there is no doubt about the need to have a gaming keyboard worthy of the name to shine in your favorite video games.
In addition to the performance of this device, notably driven by the integration of new technologies; keyboard must above all be comfortable and adapt to your needs; whether in terms of design and ergonomics, or even behavior. This is why we offer you here a heterogeneous selection of gamer keyboards all responding to quality and performance criteria which make them suitable for use at a sustained pace; which is not always the case with “office” keyboards. If it is not always easy to choose the jungle of keyboards and other switches; here we give you some ideas with keyboards as well mechanical or membrane, ten keyless, compact or not, too, to find the right fit for you.
It would have been unreasonable to approach this selection of peripherals only through restricted criteria. This is why we wanted to divide this selection into two; mechanical gamer keyboard/membrane gamer keyboards with at the end of the article the elements of choice to answer the eternal question: should we necessarily opt for a mechanical gamer keyboard?
Finally, for greater clarity, the keyboards in our selection have been classified by price in ascending order. You will therefore find for each of the two categories the least expensive keyboards first; to end up on keyboards that flirt with the very high end. The cheapest keyboards were selected for their value for money; while the higher-end models were chosen for their excellent performance and finishes.
The best mechanical gaming keyboard
1. Trust Gaming GXT 865 Asta
Present in many sectors, from the connected home to office automation and gaming, the Dutch of Trust make the quality/price ratio their main focus.
The GXT 865 Asta mechanical keyboard is no exception and offers great benefits for a device that does not cross the € 50 mark.
Trust Gaming keyboard GXT 865 Asta: mechanical and affordable
Finding a gaming keyboard with mechanical switches when you have a limited budget is a real headache. Between brands of questionable quality found in supermarkets and entry-level brands from major manufacturers like Steel Series and Corsair; whose prices are not quite affordable, there is a world.
Fortunately, there are a few models to occupy this space, this is particularly the case of this GXT 865 Asta which certainly makes some compromises; offers a serious approach to the gaming keyboard. So as not to have any surprises, know that you will not find certain features that you might expect from a keyboard; GXT 865 Asta does not offer RGB backlighting but only 6 colors; manage macros, does has no wrist rest, media keys, or companion software.
Once these absences are listed, this keyboard shows many qualities. First of all by its solid construction with a compact frame covered with an aluminum plate on which the floating keys offer a nice rendering; far from references which are however on the same price range, like a SOG Xpert-K500, or an Aukey KM-G6.
These switches are also of good quality. Designed in-house by Trust Gaming, here we are dealing with linear GXT Reds, they are very similar to Cherry MX Reds with similar characteristics.
Finally, note that the noise pollution generated by this keyboard is relatively moderate; the aluminum coating of the chassis indeed makes it possible to muffle the noises of keystrokes; despite everything we should not expect miracles on this point. Finally, although the backlighting overflows here and there, it remains well under control overall; only the coating of the keycaps reflects a little too much light for our taste, as you can see by consulting our test of the GXT 865 Asta.
Trust Gaming keyboard GXT 865 Asta: Cubic’s user review:
If the absence of this keyboard is not prohibitive for you, then go for it! Trust Gaming keeps its commitments by offering here a mocha keyboard with very good value for money; better than with entry-level references that we have been able to test before.
Responsiveness and precision are essential with GXT switches, it remains to be seen whether you can live with the lack of tactile feedback inherent in linear switches.
2. Cooler Master CK-550
Known by all to be the king of cooling, Cooler Master has also been offering for several years to heat gaming keyboards!
With its CK-550 mechanical keyboard, the Taiwanese manufacturer hits hard: performance, finish; solidity and customization come together at a price that can clearly be described as “moderate”.
Cooler Master CK-550: an enticing entry-level
No unnecessary frills here, Cooler Master offers us a sober and elegant gaming keyboard with beautiful brushed aluminum finishes. To make the bill a little less salty, the CK-550 is equipped with Gateron Red linear switches; similar in all respects to Cherry MX Red – actuation force of 45 g, activation distance of 2 mm, guaranteed for 50 million keystrokes – and just as comfortable in-game.
If Cooler Master has also ignored the wrist rest here, as well as the dedicated multimedia keys; we can still count on arguments that will certainly tend to tip the scales when choosing a gaming keyboard. . We thus find anti-ghosting with N-key Rollover (NKRO); as well as an RGB backlighting per key easily customizable with the excellent Cooler Master Portal software.
Finally, if it does not have dedicated macro and multimedia keys, it still allows the configuration of keys (and lighting) on the fly by simply pressing the Fn key. An obvious time saver as well as disconcerting ease of use since it is ultimately not even mandatory to go through the Portal software to configure macros and other lighting effects.
Cooler Master CK-550: Clubic’s user review
The Cooler Master CK-550 is position at the entry-level in the mechanical keyboard market but has serious arguments to win and delight those who do not intent to break the bank.
Indeed, despite its price of 69 €, it impresses with its good performance, the responsiveness and quality of its switches; as well as its exemplary finishes. For the price; it’s few flaws remain in the field of detail as is the case with the absence of a wrist rest, an accessory that is easily obtainable. Note that this keyboard is also available in a compact version, without a numeric keypad, it is the CK-530.
3. Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO
As we have seen in our comparison for gaming mice, Roccat is placed both at the entry-level and the top of the range with high-performance products with a refined design.
Once again, the German manufacturer keeps all its promises and offers here its own “Titan” switch with this magnificent Vulcan 120 AIMO. According to Roccat, this home contactor would be 20% faster than those of the competition.
Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO: a gaming keyboard with an assumed design
With a price that is in the high average of mechanical gaming keyboards (159 €); Roccat has to offer us an impeccable Vulcan 120 AIMO, it is clear that the manufacturer has largely succeeded in its bet here. Note also that those who wish to save some money can be satisfy with the 100 versions (without wrist rest); the 80 version which does not include the RGB backlighting.
With its well-defined design and its RGB switches left visible thanks to its low profile keys less than half a centimeter thick; Vulcan 120 shows a lot of elegance; a quality still highlighted thanks to the aesthetics of the brushed aluminum frame, its frameless design; as well as its magnetic wrist rest, therefore without attachment.
Regarding the features of gaming keyboard
Regarding the features, there are many things that today strongly mark the identity of a purely gaming keyboard, as is the case with the fully customizable RGB backlighting, multimedia keys including a wheel, but also the Easy Shift [+] option which allows a secondary function to be assigned to any key, which should satisfy those for whom the macro keys configurable via the Swarm software are not sufficient. Finally, the keyboard includes a memory that allows you to save your preferences and other macros.
In addition to the assumed aesthetics of this keyboard, which will please or not; the innovation here mainly concerns the Titan home switch. Developed with TTC, this tactile switch is indeed ultra-responsive; even if it is difficult to say if the argument “20% faster than its competitors” advanced by the manufacturer is very real.
Roccat announces keys 50% lighter than on a standard keyboard, but above all, an activation point at 1.8 mm for a total travel distance of 3.6 mm; indeed better than most Cherry switches. (But not Cherry MX Speed with its activation distance of 1.2 mm).
Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO: Cubic’s user review
With this keyboard, Rocca thinks outside the box by concentrating its know-how in a product with an assumed gaming design. The quality of its materials and its finishes are simply excellent and suggest that this keyboard will surely be an example of longevity.
To complete the whole thing, the Swarm software offers advanced customization of the whole while remaining very easy to use. If the price of 159 € may cool some, Rocca offers two models that are slightly less expensive and which ignore a few features (this is especially true for the Vulcan 80); which benefit from the same level of finishes.
4. Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2: Editor’s Choice
In the high-end of mechanical keyboards, Corsair is today a serious contender, especially with its K95 RGB Platinum which flirts under the bar of 200 €. If the latter largely meet the criteria to enter our selection, we nevertheless preferred a relatively silent; robust, and responsive model, it is the Strafe RGB in its MK.2 version.
Offered with Cherry MX Red or MX Silent switches, this high-end keyboard has undergone some welcome changes since its first version. Today it represents what can be describe as “the ultimate” in gaming keyboards, which also translates into a fairly spicy price: € 169 in its “Silent” version.
Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2: the “silent” mechanical gaming keyboard
Defects, the Strafe MK.2 from Corsair has very few, so you might as well start by listing them here. Due to its heavyweight, Corsair may have judged that wider anti-slip pads were not necessary for its Strafe RGB MK.2. There are 4 under the keyboard and 3 under the palm rest, they turn out to be far too small when using the device on a slippery surface such as a satin desk. Of course, the problem is absent if you use an XXL mouse pad; such as the Corsair MM350, or a desk with a slightly “rougher” surface.
This is about the only real flaw we could find with this keyboard, although if we looked a little further we would have liked a more practical system for the removable palm rest; as well as a finish. brushed aluminum rather than plastic, like the K95 RGB Platinum.
Otherwise, regarding performance, as well as features, Corsair signs a faultless. Full anti-ghosting, USB cable pass-through port, 8 MB on-board memory, multimedia controls, complete bundle with replacement MOBA and FPS profiled keys; customizable RGB lighting per key, iCUE software to manage many options and configure macros: it’s all there is and Corsair has made sure here that the high price of its keyboard is justified.
Nevertheless, it is the version equipper with MX Silent switches that allow this keyboard to stand out from its competitors; responsive, precise, and efficient, they are above all much less noisy than conventional switches, of the order of 30% according to the manufacturer. In use, the difference is obvious after the first few seconds; apart from the space key as well as the return key, all the other 103 keys allow you to play without making too much noise; even if the adjective “silent” remains exaggerated.
Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2: Editor’s Choice
We are dealing here with what is currently the best on the gaming keyboard market and it was a real surprise; for us to play on a powerful and responsive keyboard while significantly reducing the volume during our sessions. Although perhaps too responsive for word processing, its unobtrusiveness also makes it interesting for office use; which is not always the case with gaming keyboards. Without a doubt a keyboard that has a bright future ahead of it!