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Author Topic: Any recommendations for a good backlit gaming keyboard?  (Read 7130 times)
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Dunamis
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« on: December 14, 2011, 05:33:19 AM »

Looking for a new multimedia/gaming keyboard.  USB with backlight as I like to play games in low light.  Would like media controls.  I don't really need macro stuff as I don't typically program my keyboards for macros.

Any suggestions?

Looking for durability as my previous bluetooth keyboard had connection problems (hence the need for USB) and my WASD keys started to wear out.

Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 02:21:00 PM »

Logitech and Razer for the win.
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 08:26:12 PM »

I'd only recommend Logitech due to them being one of the only ones consistently putting out lighted keyboards. If I had the choice, I'd likely go back to using the Saitek Eclipse, but they stopped making the first model in red, which I loved, and their keyboards don't seem to be readily available. I got a Logitech G110 as a replacement when the Eclipse bit the dust, but I felt the quality was really off for the price I paid for it. When I had just gotten it, the keys felt very stiff and would often get stuck, something I'd appropriate to an older keyboard and I wasn't too happy with it, but the keys have eventually loosened up.
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 10:35:02 PM »

If you don't need macros and LCD screens and other doodads, I so far remain quite happy with Logitech's Illuminated Keyboard (most places have it far cheaper than the MSRP):
http://www.logitech.com/en-us/keyboards/keyboard/devices/4740

I type text faster with it (I'm making lots of typos in SWTOR, which I attribute to a combination of over-excitement and fatigue  icon_razz), and find it works well for games even if it's not a gaming keyboard per se.

I did use various Saiteks for several years. The Logitech's much quieter though and I'm hopeful the keys won't peel the way my Saitek keyboards' keys did over the years under heavy use. I've only had this a few months though. Ask me again after a few months of SWTOR-pounding.  icon_smile

fwiw, while this has a few illumination settings (tap one button a few times to toggle settings), it doesn't have a variable illumination dial the way some Saiteks do, nor different colors. So I wouldn't get this one if you need those features.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 10:36:34 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 06:16:28 AM »

Blackjack - while that Logitech keyboard looks nice enough, I have to ask - can you remove the wrist rest looking thing from the bottom, or is that part of the keyboard?
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 05:51:12 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on December 19, 2011, 06:16:28 AM

Blackjack - while that Logitech keyboard looks nice enough, I have to ask - can you remove the wrist rest looking thing from the bottom, or is that part of the keyboard?
I'm afraid it's a molded-in part of the keyboard, not removable. I've found it very comfortable though and hasn't bothered me at all. I know where you're coming from, because I've never kept a detachable plastic wrist rest attached to any of my previous keyboards.

If you're worried about it, I'd suggest getting it from a retailer who won't charge you a restocking fee if you return it. Or you might be able to try it at some stores. I think some Best Buys have it on the display shelves.

What I find annoying at stores is they'll often put a keyboard or mouse on a slanted surface (usually slanted down towards you) that doesn't represent at all the flat desks most of use. So I've had several instances over the years where something felt good at the store, but when I actually used it on my desk at home, it felt uncomfortable. Of course, if you drag a display keyboard over to a flat surface, the employees might blanche.  icon_razz
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 02:48:18 PM »

I'm heading out to memory express (www.memoryexpress.com) in 10 minutes to pick up my new MS Sidewinder X6 keyboard.

Backlit, removable / switchable numpad, and macro keys. It's what I need for my new PC location. Now I've got a spare MS non-backlit keyboard I'm going to need to find a new home for. It's 2 months old - just got it as a replacement for 1.5yr old one that had one key start acting funny.
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2011, 04:40:24 PM »

I have the Sidewinder X4 and love it.  It doesn't have the detachable numpad like the X6 Purge is getting, but everything else is the same.  I definitely recommend either one.  It has the full gambit of media controls, volume controls (which I love, especially since my headset has no volume control on it) and a calculator button.  I'm not sure how useful that is, but it's kind of cool.  It is cabable of running macros, but since you are not interested in macros you may be happy to know the macro keys do not take up much space.  Plus, it's cheaper than most other gaming keyboards. 

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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 08:33:23 PM »

They had some mechanical keyboards there (one which also allowed numpad switching, but oddly no backlight) but I couldn't be bothered to drop another 40bux on top of the 65 dollar pricetag of the X6.

Tested it at work, I'm pretty happy with the key feel. The only thing I'd like to have is an MS Natural version of it, but beggars and all that. biggrin

Looking forward to having my backlit keys glowing tonight.  nod
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2012, 04:29:14 PM »

I guess I have to rescind my Logitech Illuminated Keyboard recommendation if you happen to play keyboard-pounding shooters. All my time in SWTOR never caused any problems, but the fury of Mass Effect 3 co-op broke some tiny mount clip on the back of the 'E' key. I've sent off to Logitech customer support about a replacement, but this doesn't really bode well for the keyboard's long-term durability, even if I love typing on it.

I kinda had a feeling the "scissor style" keys were not going to hold up, but they had held up quite nicely to this point. Damn you, Bioware!  disgust icon_lol




I probably didn't help matters by trying to mash the key back in place, but I think the tiny clip on the lower right back of the key snapped, and I don't think I was making it worse. Just wasn't helping.

I still have my last couple noisy Saiteks thankfully so I'll just go back to that while I wait to hear from Logitech.
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 03:27:06 PM »

I heard back from Logitech. If I mail the broken keyboard in, they'll do a one-time replacement (they don't fix individual keys).

Which is nice, but now I'm thinking I should just retire the keyboard from ME3 co-op duty.  icon_razz
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 03:33:07 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 04:30:50 PM »

I'm sure you're all breathlessly waiting further Logitech warranty updates.  icon_smile

It sounds like they'll go ahead and ship me a replacement, and apparently won't ask me to return the broken keyboard unless this replacement also breaks. Something like if they have to replace it twice, they'd want to have their engineers look at it to see if there's a flaw.

"Yeah, dude, you're using teeny weeny fragile plastic clips to hold the scissor thingies in place!"  icon_razz

Anyway, hopefully you'll all keep my secret that it broke from too much bashing of the neighboring W,S, and D keys in Mass Effect 3 co-op...   banned
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 04:38:45 PM »

Dude, you posted it on the internet.

slywink

Also, see if they'll replace it with an MS X6 Sidewinder.

Loving the giant brightness and volume knobs. I've labeled them C and K. biggrin
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 04:28:41 PM »

Actually, I'm here to also say if you do any sort of gaming, but especially shooters, do not get the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard.

I have the exact same model and I regret buying it now for gaming.

I haven't had an issue with the keys falling apart, but rather, with the keys not registering certain combinations of presses.

It seems that logitech went with a particular hardware setup that makes it so that a particular combination of Shift, WASD, and Space cannot be pressed at the same time.

Anyone who plays shooters know that's how to Sprint/Run forward or to the side, and jump/slide or do whatever actions is on the spacebar.

This hardware issue was confirmed by logitech where all they did was recommend a different gaming keyboard. There's no way to fix it in the drivers.

This sucks since besides that issue, I've had nothing but good experiences with this keyboard. But, I play enough games that this hardware problem comes up every time.
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 06:22:35 PM »

I was aware of that limitation, though since I'm retired from FPSs, it hasn't been a problem for me much. Or at least, I haven't noticed?

If nothing else, I was impressed with Logitech's warranty response. Very prompt, and the guy gave me his name and stuff. They sent out the replacement keyboard yesterday, so I hope to have it later in the week.

Perhaps I'll consider one of their gaming keyboards. Maybe the G110? I don't think I'd have much use for the fancy pants LCD display on the G19. I did notice the G110 only has a 1-year warranty vs. the 3-years for the Illuminated despite costing about the same.  confused Perhaps they just (rightly) assume that a gaming keyboard would be expected to take a lot more abuse and maybe wear out faster.

I may well just use the Illuminated keyboard at work (or I might see if my mom wants to use it). I've been using this old IBM keyboard at work for years. It's got so much crud and dirt embedded between the keys and I've really not figure out a way (short of inserting cotton swabs in every crevice) to clean it.

I've been playing so much PC stuff using my XBox360 for Windows controller (LOTR: War in the North, Renegade Ops, Amalur, Batman: Arkham City, among others) that maybe I just didn't realize I wasn't putting a lot of "gaming stress" on the keyboard anymore.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 06:40:36 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2012, 05:25:49 PM »

The replacement keyboard arrived. Still debating whether to put it right back into service at home, retire it to home use (risking the same E key damage from ME3 co-op neighboring-key-bashing), give it to a relative, or just mothball it. I'd start a poll here on what to do, but you BozosTM would just send me to go see a Saw sequel again.  icon_razz
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2012, 06:34:14 PM »

You could sell it.
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2012, 07:13:28 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on March 30, 2012, 05:25:49 PM

The replacement keyboard arrived. Still debating whether to put it right back into service at home, retire it to home use (risking the same E key damage from ME3 co-op neighboring-key-bashing), give it to a relative, or just mothball it. I'd start a poll here on what to do, but you BozosTM would just send me to go see a Saw sequel again.  icon_razz

keep it as a backup and go see Saw again.
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2012, 12:38:34 AM »

Quote from: Purge on March 30, 2012, 06:34:14 PM

You could sell it.
C'mon, man! You're not living up to your smart aleck reputation. You can do better than that!  drillsergeant  icon_smile

Seriously, when I got home, I realized the box cover art for the keyboard is noticeably different. While that's all just cosmetic, the box does say copyright 2011, whereas the broken one's box says 2009. So it's possible they may have improved the keyboard... or made it worse, since 2009.

I think I'm going to at least stay with the old, noisy Saitek until my affection for ME co-op wears off. I'm thinking stuff like Diablo 3 and X-COM: Enemy Unknown won't be too keyboard-bashy. Nothing wrong with the Saitek per se, it's just the poor letters (laser etched or not), were all peeling to the point some keys are barely legible.

I guess the funny thing is, that while I love the feel of the Logitech Illuminated, I probably type less accurately on it than I do on more typical (more typewriter like) keyboards. The Saitek is more like what I use at work, so I probably type more accurately on it.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 12:44:32 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2012, 03:36:56 PM »

I've been too scared of breaking it again to put my replacement Logitech keyboard back in action. Maybe when the more mouse-centric Diablo III comes out.  icon_smile

Here's a review of another illuminated gaming keyboard (about $80):

ROCCAT Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard Review
*The main schticks are a few additional macro/hotkeys in a column along the left side of the keyboard, and three "Thumbster" keys just under the spacebar. Also, it has a few profile status LEDs in the upper left corner, so if you use the software, you know what profile's in place. And some media key stuff at the top.

Lighting is light blue, with three brightness levels.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 03:38:40 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2012, 08:15:10 PM »

I've returned my scissors-switch style Logitech Illuminated Keyboard replacement to active duty while playing Diablo 3. Wish me luck.  paranoid

Next time I might consider a mechanical keyboard, and noticed a detailed review of a $145 illuminated model:

Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8
http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=1514&page=1
Includes a useful explanation of mechanical switch keyboards (I thought they were all noisy but two types are quiet, one's noisy and one's sort in between):
Quote
A mechanical keyboard, on the other hand, does not rely on any sort of electrical tracing to register a keypress. This design uses a wait for it mechanical switch, for every individual key. Switches can vary in feedback response and activation pressure, allowing for a wider range of "customization" to suit almost any user preference. Mechanical keyboards are typically heavy and expensive, have a very long life, and also have the ability to register more than one keypress at a time (known as N-Key Rollover), meaning you can mash on more than one key and the presses will still all register. Clearly, you can see why mechanical keyboards are becoming very popular.

Cherry MX Switches are the most popular mechanical switches on the market, and come in four colours which each have different properties: Black, Red, Brown, and Blue. The main difference between Cherry MX switches is around how they register a "hit" and consequently how the keys feel when pressed. These are then categorized whether they have linear feedback (silent) or force feedback (click). Black and Red switches have linear feedback, while Brown and Blue switches have force feedback. Black has the most resistance, Blue and Red have the least, and Brown has medium resistance. Below is a quick summary that helps clarify the differences.

    Cherry Black: Linear feedback, silent, strong keypress resistance
    Cherry Red: Linear feedback, silent, very low keypress resistance
    Cherry Brown: Force feedback, light click noise, medium keypress resistance
    Cherry Blue: Force feedback, loud click noise, low keypress resistance

So the silent switches that operate on linear travel are Black and Red. Cherry Black switches are typically popular with gamers because you can really mash on them, but they are rather stiff. Cherry Red are identical to Black except they require less effort to engage a keypress, so they're easier on the fingers and are better suited to typing tasks than Black switches. However, despite the linear travel, Cherry Red also require very little actuation force, so they tend to be rather touchy and register accidental presses very easily; you need to be more precise with Cherry Red switches.

At the other end of the spectrum, Cherry Blue switches are best suited for typing, providing high tactile response, low resistance to register a keypress, and loud feedback (think "clackety sound"), so Blue switches are ideal for fast typing if you're very accurate. And finally, Cherry Brown switches sit in the middle, providing tactical feedback and fairly lightweight activation pressure, but not nearly as noisy as Blue switches nor oriented toward typing. Cherry Brown are arguably considered the best all-purpose option with good suitability for both gaming and typing.

So.......love the old school feel of a real keyboard/typewriter? Get the Blue switches. Want smooth keys that are quiet for fragging late at night without waking mom and dad? Use the Black or Red option. Want a more traditional feel but not the noise? Get the Brown switches.

The Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8 uses the Cherry MX Brown switches for its keys.
Despite the price this has no additional macro keys at all. I assume the price is simply because it's mechanical and pretty stout.
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2012, 04:26:56 AM »

Logitech G510 ...Nuff said.
http://www.logitech.com/en-us/gaming/mice-keyboard-combos/gaming-keyboard-g510
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2012, 04:46:14 AM »

why get a backlit keyboard when you can get one of theseicon_lol
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2012, 03:10:11 PM »

None of those women were "EZ" on the "Eyes". There ought to be a law.  disgust
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« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2012, 07:25:45 PM »

A couple new gaming keyboards (w/ green illumination), from Razer; the pricey one seems very similar to the SWTOR keyboard they put out earlier in the year...

Razer Deathstalker gaming keyboard announced, packs Switchblade UI LCD panels (hands-on)
http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/15/razer-deathstalker-gaming-keyboard/
Quote
the Deathstalker will arrive in Ultimate and Standard versions. They both plump for chiclet-style keys and the pricier (and larger) Ultimate felt both light and slim. The standard issue packs three backlit color options, while the bigger board adds in Razer's light-up Switchblade UI, seen on its first gaming laptop.

The first part of this is ten LCD keys that can be customized to gaming buttons or more typical PC use. They're still contextual, meaning if you launch the calculator from one of the keys, they will then transform into more appropriate calculator functions. Beneath that, a touchpanel LCD can act as a trackpad and accepts several gesture motions. It can also display your Twitter feed, game information and plenty more.

The keyboard will also feature Synapse 2, Razer's new cloud-based settings service. The CEO explained that a player's custom layout and profile for the 'board could be stored online and then accessed from any computer it's plugged into, ready for your next (online) fight.
...
Both the standard and ultimate iterations are set for a global launch next month, priced at $80 and $250, respectively.
The press release indicates the initial game-specific apps for the pricier model's touchpanel are an SWTOR combat logger app, and something for Batttlefield 3.

I can't see a lot of people needing a $250 keyboard (that was about the price for their SWTOR keyboard), but the $80 model might suit some folks' needs if you like "chiclet style" keyboards.
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2012, 03:16:41 AM »

Are there people who prefer chicklet style keyboards?  I certainly wouldn't pay $250 for one, no matter how neat.  Throw that design on a real keyboard, and I'll think about it.
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2012, 12:16:50 PM »

Quote from: Hrothgar on August 16, 2012, 03:16:41 AM

Are there people who prefer chicklet style keyboards?  I certainly wouldn't pay $250 for one, no matter how neat.  Throw that design on a real keyboard, and I'll think about it.
Someone here bought that $250 SWTOR chiclet style board and loved it, so yeah, there's at least one person. Not sure about people. :-)

The Logitech illuminated (hybrid laptop/desktop style keys) remains my favorite. I just can't recommend it for fans of shooters because the scissors-mechanisms under the keys dont seem durable enough. It did hold up fine under MMORPG use.
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