Gaming Warriors Unit: Gaming Keyboards for Competitive Play

Professional gamers play video games on rgb pc

Key Points

  • Competitive players didn’t start with high-end keyboards — they started by practicing fundamental play.

  • Corsair’s opto-mechanical switches have light-based actuation, resulting in incredible response times. 

  • HyperX has been in the gaming scene for over 20 years.

  • What’s important in a keyboard is only determined by your needs and preferences.

Competitive players understand how essential gear that sustains the strain of continued play — if you only engage in play casually a few hours a week, cheap tools wear out quickly. To reach the highest competitive peaks, you need reliable gear that’s up to the task. Gear doesn’t make the player, but players with reliable gear achieve consistent results. It’s up to you to put the time in, and a trustworthy keyboard can elevate good playing habits.

In this article from SmartScreens, the features and benefits of recommended keyboards for play on PC help you go from mis-inputs and worn-down keys to precise actions per minute (APM) and victory on any field of play you can imagine. Who knows, you might just find the perfect keyboard in this list. Time to dive into it.

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The Corsair K100 RGB stands out among other keyboards because of its speedy 4000Hz polling rate, meaning that the keyboard's communication with your CPU is silly fast, reducing input lag and ensuring your commands enact as fast as possible in high-pressure scenarios. However, polling rate alone shouldn’t sell you on the keyboard — neither should the K100’s extensive RBG lighting customization options, which are matchable to your desktop's aesthetics and responsive to in-game visual cues.

Opto-Mechanical Switches

Features alone shouldn’t sell you on any keyboard, but a deep combination of features can. One such primary feature of the Corsair K100 RGB is its opto-mechanical switches, which use light-based actuation instead of the traditional mechanical keys. Opto-mechanical boasts significantly faster response times which likewise create a more consistent feel. With a lifespan of up to “150 million keystrokes,” the Corsair K100 RGB is a heavy-hitter in the reliability department, especially if you play at the highest levels of competition.

Additional Capabilities

It doesn’t end there, though. The K100 RGB offers built-in macro and media keys, giving you the option to boil down complex actions to a single keystroke. This is excellent for any gaming enthusiast — if you play Diablo IV and Escape from Tarkov on PC, your control schemes for both games radically differ from the other. Having preset control schemes paired to a macro key helps you save time and improve your in-game inputs. The combination of fast response speeds, reliable keystrokes, and deep levels of customizations make the K100 RGB an exemplary option for serious-minded players. 

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HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

HyperX has been in the game for over 20 years, and its keyboards live up to the brand’s standards of “superior comfort, aesthetics, performance, and reliability.” The Alloy Elite RGB embodies these values through a solid steel frame, the durability you need through hours of sustained play over years. For the multimedia enthusiast, this keyboard has dedicated media buttons, allowing you to control your audio and video settings without leaving the game. If you stream, this feature is a must, controlling your entertainment value directly by implementing music while you play, muting your mic if you need privacy, and controlling comms with your teammates.

Cherry MX Switch Options

The HyperX Alloy Elite RGB boasts versatility with its Cherry MX switches. Players and critics praise Cherry MX as some of the best mechanical switches you can get, and the Alloy Elite offers MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches, catered to your tastes. Not only is tactile feedback and actuation force integral for quality play, but every player and working professional understands the satisfaction of a good-sounding keyboard. Cherry MX Red switches boast rapid key presses and smooth keystrokes.

Customizations and Accessories

HyperX’s NGenuity software also gives you RGB customization, custom macros, and settings adjustments, all to your personal preference. It’s hard to go wrong with a HyperX Alloy Elite RBG and how it fits into the look of your gaming setup. For that reason, it’s on the recommendation list.

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Logitech G Pro X

Logitech is a powerhouse in the keyboard market and the Logitech G Pro X walks up to the brand, offering a sleek, tenkeyless design, meaning less desk space required and maintained ergonomics to save your wrists and fingers some pain that comes with deep gaming sessions. Additionally, the Pro X features RGB lighting with Logitech's LIGHTSYNC technology, which makes synchronizing lighting effects with in-game events and other system prompts easy.

GX Mechanical Switches

The GX mechanical switches help the Logitech G Pro X stand out, used for high-level performance and customization. You have options — GX Blue, Red, or Brown types offer a unique combination of tactile feedback, actuation force, and sound profile to tailored to your tastes. The Pro X offers a swappable switch design, meaning you have the option to change out individual keys if they wear out.

Logitech G Hub Software

Using the Logitech G Hub software, customizing the Pro X's keys, creating game-specific profiles, and setting up advanced macros are easier than ever to enhance your gaming experience. G Hub offers deep customization options for your keyboard, whether you want to show it off or not.

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Razer Huntsman Elite

The Razer Huntsman Elite sets itself apart with Opto-Mechanical Switches, combining the speed of optical actuation with the tactile feel of traditional switches. These keys provide a fast and comfortable typing experience, ideal for competitive gaming and emailing your boss in between rounds of Tarkov. The Huntsman Elite also features Chroma RGB lighting, which offers scaling brightness, a broad color spectrum, and customizable lighting effects to craft your keyboard to whatever suits you best.

Plush Wrist Rest

Everyone’s been there — you want to delve deeper into your game’s system through sustained play, but after a while, you’re starting to experience some stiffness in your wrist. You’ve come up against the all-dreaded carpal tunnel.

The Razer Huntsman Elite addresses this need for comfort with its plush wrist rest. Its ergonomics are satisfying to the touch, helping your wrists stay comfortable through rapid APM and continuing to fluff up your inbox with reports while you kill time playing. The nice thing about this wrist rest is that it also includes additional Chroma RGB lighting zones, getting you even deeper into all that RBG splendor.

Razer Synapse 3 Software

Razer Synapse 3 is this keyboard’s approach to key bindings, lighting effects, and other customization options. It’s cohesive, pairs with in-game events and your setup seamlessly, and is the cherry on top of an already competitive keyboard in a market saturated with lesser features. The Razer Huntsman is a quality pickup for any player of any skill level. 

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SteelSeries Apex Pro

SteelSeries’ Apex Pro innovates through a crisp OLED smart display of game information, system stats, and even custom images or GIFs for personalizing your keyboard. Here’s why you must pick it up.

OmniPoint Adjustable Mechanical Switches

The Apex Pro’s aircraft-grade aluminum frame ensures that it withstands the most demanding gaming sessions. On top of the frame go the OmniPoint adjustable mechanical switches which allow you to customize the actuation point for individual keys. This level of personalization is unique in the gaming keyboard space, and boy, does it feel fantastic.

SteelSeries Engine software

With the SteelSeries Engine software, you can create custom key mappings, adjust lighting options, and even set up game-specific profiles and trigger-based actions. It’s further evidence that SteelSeries offers considerable customization tools competitive with other keyboard manufacturers, and gets you that much closer to your ideal keyboard setup and playstyle. 

If you’re still not sold on the Apex Pro, Matt Paget et al. from GameSpot awarded it ‘Best High-End Keyboard Runner-Up’ in April of 2023, saying it “has everything you'd feasibly want from a premium high-end keyboard.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

For the Love of the Game

Keyboards don’t make the player, but the right keyboard in the hands of a great player is like the sword in the hands of a skilled fighter — it wins fights and earns glory and riches. The Corsair K100 RGB, HyperX Alloy Elite RGB, Logitech G Pro X, Razer Huntsman Elite, and SteelSeries Apex Pro each offer a unique combination of features and performance to help you excel in competitive gaming. Every player’s needs — such as key switch type, and depth of customization — are different. However, each player agrees that investing in a high-quality gaming keyboard, can elevate your gaming experience and even improve your performance if you put in the time.

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