We review new gaming keyboards from Logitech, Razer, SteelSeries, Thermaltake and Gigabyte. Five will enter, one (or maybe two) will leave...
As time goes on, the gaming peripheral space gets more and more crowded. With an abundance of products available from industry staples like Logitech, Razer and SteelSeries, finding the right keyboard, mouse or headset can be difficult if only because of the wide array of choice. However, that doesn’t stop other companies like Gigabyte and Thermaltake from entering the fray. While experts in their respective fields (motherboards, power supplies and so forth), those companies are relative newcomers to PC peripheral space. Will the new kids on the block take out the tried and true veterans? Let’s find out.
These five keyboards will be tested in this roundup: The Logitech G510, Gigabyte Aivia, Thermaltake Challenger Pro, SteelSeries 6Gv2, and Razer BlackWidow Ultimate. They will be judged in five different categories, including design, build quality, value, features, and performance. Of the five categories, value and features are the two most closely linked.
It’s important to note that two of the keyboards (SteelSeries and Razer) are mechanical, while the other three used the traditional rubber membrane. Mechanical keyboards use a mechanical switch to communicate keystrokes from the keyboard to the computer. The result is a more satisfying click when a button is depressed. Membrane keyboards uses a small rubber dome that, when pressed, bring two circuits together to send a signal to the PC. Most keyboards use this tech, and while there are a number of differences between membrane and mechanical, the biggest is tactile feedback. That said, the Razer and SteelSeries boards will be competing against each other more than against the other three boards in this roundup.
Some piece of the PC gaming pie already has a preference when it comes to mechanical or membrane keyboards...but that doesn't mean you should discount one type or the other. If you're a dyed-in-the-wool mechanical nut, you should still give the G510, Aivia, and Challenger Pro a look (and feel, if you can find a demo unit at a friends house or Best Buy somewhere). If you find yourself using whatever membrane-based keyboard that's laying around, you might enjoy the tactile feedback and overall feel of a mechanical board. In the end, look at all five of these keyboards before judging either type too harshly.