A gamer’s keyboard can be even more important than their computer’s CPU for performance when factors like the responsiveness of their keyboard’s keys and the polling latency of its switches make a difference in-game.
It’s no surprise then that in 2021 manufacturers have dropped some impressive new functionality that should be a boon for gamers looking for a performance edge.
Razer in particular have pushed boundaries with the Razer Huntsman V2 that costs AU$397 at Amazon. This keyboard introduces second-generation optical switches and 8000Hz polling, which according to Razer, provides a lightning fast 0.2 millisecond actuation. That’s three times faster than keyboards with magnetic switches.
While these keyboards could end up setting new benchmarks for speed, speed isn’t everything. Keyboards are intensely personal, with factors like build quality and design, key travel and even software support for key accuracy just as important for gamers wanting to find an ultimate compatibility match.
Thankfully, these things are no longer the exclusive domain of premium keyboards and there is no shortage of quality keyboards in a range of different designs, sizes and styles at more affordable prices this year.
Mechanical keyboards like the Roccat Magma Membrane (AU$89 at JB Hi-Fi) may not come with all the bells and whistles of keyboards like the premium Corsair K95 RGB (AU$289 at Amazon), but in 2021 many come with a subset of design upgrades that make them durable, customizable and just as much fun as their premium counterparts. Here we present some of the standout options across the categories.
Razer Black Widow V3 Mini Hyperspeed
This is Razer’s newest mini mechanical wireless gaming keyboard. Measuring just 1.61 x 12.55 x 5.14 inches, the Razer Black Widow V3 Mini Hyperspeed is a 65 percent keyboard. Its small size frees up considerable room on a desk compared to a full-sized keyboard, so it’s likely to appeal to those wanting a premium but compact option. It features RGB customizable backlighting and hybrid on-board memory as well as cloud storage to store up to five profiles. Its compactness comes at the expense of a number pad and dedicated Home and End keys, however it does have arrow keys.
For connecting wirelessly, it has a 2.4GHz USB-A Bluetooth dongle. A USB-C cable is also included for those wanting a wired connection. Razer says the V3 Mini Hyperspeed has an 80 million keystroke lifespan. It offers 200 hours of battery life unplugged.
Amazon - AU$257
Razer - AU$329.95
JB Hi-Fi - AU$299
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT
The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT sports premium features that should appeal to serious gamers. These include double-shot PBT keycaps for durability and six programmable Macro keys for executing command series whilst gaming. It measures 1.4 x 18.3 x 6.7 inches, which gives it a sizable presence on your desk and should appeal if you like big keyboards. It’s available in three switch variants: MX Speed Silver, MX Brown or MX Blue. It also has Elgato Stream Deck software that lets you program streaming commands that can then be conveniently executed via the dedicated S-key keycaps during streams.
Amazon - AU$298
Mwave - AU$319
Scorptec - AU$309
Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed Wireless
The Logitech G915 TKL features low-profile mechanical GL switches and a compact (tenkeyless) design to save space. It includes Lightspeed wireless technology that Logitech says provides a low-latency response time of 1 millisecond. The keyboard’s Lightsync technology allows you to fully customize per-key lighting across 16.8 million colors. As a wireless keyboard it needs to be plugged in via a USB to be charged, but this is no hassle as the Logitech G915 TKL is fully functional for gaming while simultaneously charging.
Amazon - AU$358
Logitech - AU$379.95
HyperX Alloy Origins Core
The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is a tenkeyless keyboard meaning it's 80 percent the size of a full gaming keyboard, measuring just 1.3 x 14 x 5.3 inches. It’s considered one of the strongest and sturdiest gaming keyboards available in 2021 with a full aluminium body for extra rigidity and stability. It has a long list of functionalities which are customizable via the compatible Ngenuity software. For example, you can customize the HyperX’s RGB lighting, craft macros, and assign per-key lighting. Its on-board memory offers up to three keyboard profiles. It also features a Game Mode that activates anti-ghosting to help prevent lost keystrokes.
Amazon - AU$119
JB Hi-Fi - AU$119
Mwave - AU$119
Razer Huntsman V2
Razer has added to the already smoldering feature set of the Huntsman Elite gaming keyboard in its 2021 release - the Huntsman V2 Optical Gaming Keyboard. Among the upgraded features are second-generation optical switches with silicon sound dampeners for reducing the audible clacking sound of keys. Razer has also added new 8K Hyperpolling technology that it says gives an eight-fold reduction in the time it takes for the keyboard to communicate with your computer. It also features double-shot PBT keycaps for added durability and resistance to wear. The Razer Huntsman V2’s Razer Chroma RGB backlighting with 16.8 million color options is customizable via the Razer Synapse 3 app.
Amazon - AU$399
Razer - AU$379.95
JB Hi-Fi - AU$379
Roccat Magma Membrane
Roccat’s Magma Membrane doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the Razer Huntsman V2, but for AU$89 (at JB Hi-Fi) it represents exceptional value. It features Roccat’s AIMO lighting technology and is illuminated by 10 LEDs. The keyboard incorporates a semi-transparent top plate that creates five distinct RGB backlighting zones to give gamers 16.8 million RGB illumination options. The Magma also has anti-ghosting technology to register all your keystrokes when keys are pressed simultaneously. For comfort, it has a palm rest that provides support while typing but can be conveniently detached whilst gaming.
Amazon - AU$113
JB Hi-Fi - AU$89
Whirlwind FX Element
The Whirwind FX Element has arguably the best RGB lighting system in a gaming keyboard to date and for one particular reason: it can match the visual effects of your game without programming, which is a very cool trick. Its accompanying software also includes a host of routines that you can apply, including dedicated game integrations for games like Fortnite, Minecraft and The Witcher 3. It features a sturdy build quality with a brushed anodized aluminium finish. Its red or blue Kailh switches have a polling rate above 1000Hz for super quick key actuation.
Amazon - AU$211.60
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