There are your average gaming keyboards, and then there are great gaming keyboards — and a few bad ones now and then. What sets the two apart can sometimes be a fine line. Many share a good chunk of the same DNA, from their RGB lighting and mechanical switches to their macro buttons and wrist rest. With the higher-end options, you can see keyboard makers showing off their best work, experimental switch technology, quicker actuation, and a trove of features that might give you an advantage over your opponents.
Many high-end gaming keyboards include dedicated controls for your media, giving you an easy way to skip songs or change volume without needing to reach away from the keyboard. Some may use a higher-quality material for the keycaps, helping you get more value by extending the lifespan of the keyboard. Then there are advanced features, like more exotic key switch mechanisms, enhanced RGB lighting, and zero-latency wireless. You can also store profiles on board for easy access. If you’re looking for a keyboard that can wow, we’ve weeded through and tested a bunch, and you’ll find the best of the best below.
TL;DR – These are the Best High-End Gaming Keyboard:
1. Corsair K100 RGB
Best High-End Gaming Keyboard
Corsair knows how to make a high-performance gaming keyboard, and it continues to outdo itself. The Corsair K100 RGB keyboard doesn’t settle, bringing your the best performance available. For starts, rather than the typical 1,000Hz polling rate seen in most gaming keyboards, it has jumped up to a 4,000Hz polling rate for some insane responsiveness. The lightest of touches will register with no lag, giving you a big leg up in AAA games. The powerful onboard processor ensures it continues to stay responsive even when you go crazy with the extensive RGB lighting effects.
The Corsair K100 RGB has two switch options, so you can go for what feels best to you. A fully mechanical experience is available with the Cherry MX Speed RGB Silver switches. Corsair’s own OPX Optical Mechanical switches are also on offer, and in either case, you’re getting fast performance. This wired keyboard also supports macros with 6 dedicated keys on its left-hand side, plus a tactile wheel is on board for its Elgato Stream Deck integration. You even get 8MB of storage to save all your preferences and macros on the keyboard. And, don’t get us started about the cozy palm rest or the extra keycaps in the box.
2. HyperX Alloy Elite 2
Best High-End Gaming Keyboard On a Budget
Want all the high-end features for less? Check out the HyperX Alloy Elite 2. You’re getting a solidly constructed wired keyboard with a steel frame and reliable, responsive mechanical switches. Dedicated media controls, a USB pass-through, full N-key rollover, and compatibility with PS4 and Xbox One add to its functionality and value. You can even store three profiles onboard, making swapping between them a breeze. That’s a compelling package to start, but wait till we get to the RGB lighting.
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 has all the RGB lighting effects you’d want, so this is perfect if you’re looking to show off your setup during a live stream. You get per-key customization and a light bar above the keys with plenty of dynamic lighting options. HyperX ensures those keys shine, too, as their Pudding Keycaps have a translucent bottom to let more light through. Best of all, though, is you can snag this keyboard for just a hair over $100.
3. Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless
Best High-End Wireless Gaming Keyboard
There’s a gaming keyboard that has all the functionality and features you could want, while also letting you remain untethered. That keyboard is the Logitech G915 Lightspeed. It’s extravagant in all the right ways. On board is Logitech’s Lightspeed wireless connectivity for all your PC gaming needs. After slotting in the USB dongle, the keyboard should feel as responsive and lag-free as its wired counterparts. You also get multi-host Bluetooth connectivity for connection to other devices like your phone or tablet.
The Logitech G915 Lightspeed offers a low-profile form factor that won’t look out of place in an office as long as you remember to turn off the per-key RGB lighting. Speaking of lighting, the keyboard gets 30 hours of battery life with the lights on, but if you turn them off, you can get up to 135 days for a wireless gaming experience that doesn’t come with the frequent need to recharge. It also has all the keyboard basics covered with low-profile, highly responsive switches and goes beyond that with dedicated media controls, a volume roller, and several macro keys.
4. Roccat Vulcan Pro
Best High-End Wired Gaming Keyboard
If you don’t mind being tethered to your computer, the Roccat Vulcan Pro is worth the extra cable running across your desk. This gaming keyboard brings all the prestige of the Roccat name, so you’re getting one of the most reliable and responsive keyboards out there. The performance is stepped up further with Roccat’s Titan Switch Optical key switches. These switches offer a super speedy actuation and response, as there’s no de-bouncing required before the signal is sent to your PC. However, the switches still manage that signature mechanical feel and can last for up to 100 million keystrokes.
The Roccat Vulcan Pro offers quite the light show with per-key RGB lighting that readily shines out through the translucent key switch housings and low-profile keycaps. Beyond this, the keyboard includes dedicated media controls and a magnetically attached wrist rest for improved ergonomics. Anti-ghosting technology is also on board to ensure that every keystroke is registered even during the most heated moments of a game. With all that, the Roccat Vulcan Pro still maintains trim proportions, so it won’t take up more space on your desk than it needs to.
5. Razer Huntsman V2
Best High-End Optical Gaming Keyboard
Most keyboards tote the classic mechanical switches, but if you’re into competitive gaming, where winning or losing comes down to milliseconds, optical may be the way to go. These switches offer up an even quicker actuation and don’t suffer from the same debounce electrical interference that can add input delay to mechanical keyboards. The Razer Huntsman V2 offers up solid linear optical switches that are both consistent and responsive. And with a polling rate of 8,000Hz to register inputs even faster, this keyboard is all about clicking first to win the game
At $200, the Razer Huntsman isn’t cheap, but it offers impressive value considering its performance and features. Naturally, you’re getting some slick visuals with Razer’s RGB lighting. You can also set up five profiles to save on the keyboard itself, and a dial along with media buttons add to the convenience. As far as ergonomics go, there’s a large, plush wrist rest that attaches with magnets. The keyboard also doesn’t take up more space on your desk than it needs to.
6. Logitech G915 TKL
Best High-End Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Logitech G915 is pretty great, so if you want a slightly more compact keyboard, you’re in luck. The Logitech G915 TKL takes what was already a winning keyboard, and trims it down to a compact gaming champ. You, of course, lose out on that num pad, but do you even need it? Keeping it even sleeker is the slim design afforded by its use of low-profile GL switches. These mechanical switches are still speedy and tactile, but half the size of your average mechanical switches. It’s truly impressive that even at its reduced size, this keyboard manages to include dedicated media controls and a volume wheel.
And did we mention it’s wireless? That’s right, the Logitech G915 TKL also uses the company’s gaming-grade Lightspeed Wireless to offer 1ms response times. You can enjoy a top-notch gaming experience without turning your desk space into a jungle of wires. All you need to do is plug in the USB dongle and get gaming. When you want to use the keyboard with other devices, it can even connect over Bluetooth.
7. Das Keyboard 4 Professional
Best High-End Gaming Keyboard for Work
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is geared more toward people who want a keyboard for work but also enjoy a bit of gaming on the side. If that’s you, this is an excellent high-end mechanical keyboard option. It’s an extremely well-made board featuring Cherry MX Brown switches. These switches are super tactile and clicky, providing a great experience whether you’re annihilating opponents on the battlefield or typing up a report for work. It even supports full n-key rollover to ensure every press is registered. You also get dedicated media controls just above the number pad, including a sweet volume wheel and two USB pass-throughs.
Since Das Keyboard 4 Professional is meant mainly for work rather than play, you don’t get any fun RGB lighting. It’s also missing those handy macro keys, so you’re paying for the quality of the understated design more than any specific features. Though, there is one rather unique inclusion, a ruler that also acts as a stand.
8. Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro
Best High-End Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Razer is back with a mechanical keyboard for those that want a premium product that can do it all. The Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro totes multiple mechanical switch options. You can go for a tactile feel and satisfying clicky sound with green switches or go speed and a smooth typing experience with yellow. Whichever you choose, these switches hold up great and offer up a reliable performance. This board also comes with dedicated media controls, on-board profile storage, and a plump wrist rest for the ultimate user experience.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is a wired mechanical gaming keyboard – or is it? In fact, it can connect to your gaming devices over a wired USB connection, a 2.4GHz wireless dongle, or Bluetooth. Running wirelessly, you can get up to 193 hours of playtime — just keep the RGB lighting off to minimize the need to charge. If want to watch your keys shine, however, you get 13 hours of juice with RGB lighting maxed out, or you can always just wire the keyboard up.
9. Mountain Everest Max
Best High-End Modular Gaming Keyboard
All the other keyboards on this list are cool and all, but what if you want something different? The Mountain Everest Max is exactly that. This keyboard is modular in more than a few ways. While plenty of keyboards will let you swap keycaps or even switches, the Mountain Everest Max supports hot-swappable key switches, so you can make your changes on the fly.
That’s just the start. The Mountain Everest Max comes with a few attachable accessories, including a media dock that can control a variety of settings and a number pad with four customizable shortcut keys. Those accessories are attachable at multiple points on the keyboard, or you can put them away for a more compact footprint. There’s also a magnetic wrist rest. Basically, you can turn this keyboard into a very different device whenever you want.
10. Asus ROG Falchion
Best High-End Compact Gaming Keyboard
Asus has taken a high-end keyboard and distilled it into an incredibly compact form factor. The Asus ROG Falchion is a 68-key keyboard with a 65% layout packed into a 60% keyboard frame. From a practical standpoint, that means you’re getting a high-performance mechanical keyboard ready to razzle-dazzle while only taking up a foot of horizontal space on your desk. And, yes, that also means the ROG Falchion is quite portable, so it’s thoughtful of Asus to have included a keyboard cover for all your on-the-go needs.
Despite its small size, the Asus ROG Falchion is surprisingly ripe with features. It boasts Cherry MX key switches that come backed with RGB lighting. It’ll let you run in a wired mode, but it also offers 2.4GHz wireless for a 1ms response time that’s game-ready. It even has enough battery to run for up to 450 hours on a charge. Though the form factor has to sacrifice some keys, Asus snuck a touch panel onto the side of the keyboard that can handle volume controls, switch apps, or serve up macros.
What to look for in a High-End Gaming Keyboard
Today, the best high-end keyboards for gaming all sport a similar design and feature set that’s dictated by what is currently en vogue in the gaming world. That includes a healthy combination of most of the following: per-key RGB lighting, mechanical or optical switches either from Cherry or made in-house, dedicated media controls and macro keys, USB and headset passthrough ports, and easy-to-use software to let you assign macros, customize your lighting, and even set up per-game profiles.
Finding the right high-end keyboard for you is all about taking a look at how manufacturers combine these features in different ways. You should seek out a high-end gaming keyboard that strikes the right balance between form, function, and what you’re looking to use it for.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark
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