Gaming Keyboard Vs Normal Keyboard: What Is The Difference?

Are gaming keyboards really going to improve the gaming experience or they are as good as normal keyboards and they do not make any difference?

Will a gaming keyboard actually make you a better gamer or they are just expensive for no good?

Gamers often ask this question to themselves and think whether they should be switching from normal keyboard to gaming keyboard.

It is important to be well-informed about both types of keyboards and what characteristics of each actually help in gaming performance.

In order to find the answer of this question and make the right decision, one should understand the significant differences between gaming and normal keyboards.

How Gaming Keyboard and Normal Keyboard Differ With Each Other?

Gaming keyboards are specifically designed after fully considering the requirements of gamers while playing first-person-shooting, action, horror, racing and games of other genres.

The designers of gaming keyboards also consider their gaming style and habit of playing games for long hours without any break and accordingly build the keyboard.  

They introduce features which support all hardcore gamer not to compromise on gaming in any room environment and without feeling tired after long hours of sessions.

Therefore, gaming keyboard comes with RGB backlights, medial controls and programmable keys.

Also, it is built with the mechanical switches known for its durability and faster responses time than the other types of switches such as membrane switches.

Let’s discuss these differences with all details and then you will be able to decide on your own.

Gaming Keyboards Prefers Mechanical Switches

Almost all big brands are selling gaming keyboards using mechanical switches on them, whereas membrane switches are more common in regular keyboards. Mechanical switches are more comfortable and responsive for pressing multiple keys simultaneously to make a combo move.

Otherwise, low response keys are never an option for the player and they always go for type of keyboard which promises faster response time which leads to better gaming performance.

Though, It also requires a gaming skill and few weeks of experience to be more comfortable with mechanical switches. You should not be thinking like mechanical switches works magically and automatically makes you a pro gamer.

However, mechanical keyboards have several advantages over other types of keyboards for a better gaming experience.

This YouTube video explains how mechanical keyboards are better than membrane keyboards for gaming.

Gaming Keyboard Vs Normal Keyboard

Now, we are going to share with you the advantages of using mechanical switches for your gaming keyboard and how it is better than a membrane keyboard.

Fast Response Time

In the technical term, response time is known as higher or lower input lag which means how long it takes the system to response after pressing the switch. In the mechanical keyboard, it takes 15-25 milliseconds and membrane keyboard averages 30 milliseconds.

The response time of multiple keys pressed in accumulation makes big difference for the gamer on the gaming keyboard which is way faster comparing to normal keyboard.

Faster response time also gives competitive advantage over the enemy and player can attack the opponent before they do. This feature is more relevant in the multiplayer and FPS games like Fortnite, PUBG, Call of Duty, CounterStrike and Overwatch.

N-Key Rollover

N-Key Rollover is referred as the ability of the mechanical keyboard to press multiple keys simultaneously and it all will be registered and identified accurately to response. The sequence of pressing multiple keys will also be registered in the correct order.

This is very critical feature for players loves the games like Tekken, Mortal Kombat and other fighting games as these involves use multiple keys in combination to make killer move which eventually defeats the opponent.

In the mechanical keyboard, every single keypress is scanned independently; there is no chance any keypress left unresponsive.

As far as membrane keyboards are concerned, its ability to respond maximum 6 keys rollover means it will accurately register and scan 6 keys pressed simultaneously on the membrane keyboard.

Furthermore, there is no need of key rollover while typing as it does not require the user to press more than one key at a time.

N-Key rollover is critical feature for better performance in games and player cannot even survive without this ability of keyboard. In all big title MMO games, players have to press more than 6 keys simultaneously in sequence to make brutal attack on enemy; otherwise highly skilled online players will not let you survive in fast-paced games.

Instant Feedback of Keystroke

Mechanical keyboard promises instant feedback on keystroke and let the player helps in building a muscle memory to accurately press multiple keys in a sequence to perform the combo.

Otherwise, if it is not instant on membrane keyboard and rather lower input lag, It will be very frustrating for the player to accurately predict whether keystroke has been registered or should I press other keys now.

Membrane keyboards definitely not promises instant feedback and also keeps the player confused about whether keyspress have registered or should I press keys back again and we do not have this much time in competitive games.

Therefore, gaming keyboards are way much faster in registering the keys as compared to the normal keyboards as they mostly have mechanical switches and they are also more expensive.

Heavier and Stable

Mechanical keyboards are made of individual components which makes it heavier than most of the other types of keyboards, keys are also using high-quality material.

Its efficient layout is also the reason scans all keyspress and registers them in correct sequence. Design the layout is the complicated thing and requires lots of R&D.

The major benefit of using heavier keyboard while gaming, it does not easily slide around here and there even during aggressively hitting the keys.

Sometimes, it happens with the light weight keyboards as falls off the table and disturbs the gaming session; only mechanical keyboards can handle aggressive gaming.

Flexibility and Versatility  

Most of the mechanical keyboards are flexible in a way user can place new types of switches after removing its original switches. It depends upon yours choice which makes you feel comfortable with.

This flexibility and versatility can only be availed on mechanical keyboard and no chance to expect the same on membrane keyboards.

Each mechanical switch types differs from each other on the basis of sound produced, level of actuation force and whether switches with little travel distance or not. User has own preferences and choices to choose to decide what type of keyboard they want.

For Instance, if you love audible clicks and sound produced on every keystroke while gaming or typing, then should go for the blue Cherry MX switches. This type of switch is available in various colors and amazing thing is, each color of mechanical switch produces unique sound on keystroke.

You can watch this amazing video below where YouTuber is experiencing all colors of Cherry MX switches.

Mostly hardcore gamers wants switches comes with little travel distance which also requires less actuation force on keystroke. It will help the players not to strictly apply the full actuation force and rather little force will do, otherwise it will also make your fingers tired easily even after one hour of gaming. 

Furthermore, switches with low travel distance have longer life time period and do not bottom out before two to three years.

Mechanical switch also allows the user using keycap remover to remove the all keys, then can pick any soft brush and gently use it to clean out the dust on the keys and in between, otherwise it affects the performance and it starts unregistering keystroke after every few successful ones.

You can also replace the damaged switch without performing the soldering process.

How To Choose Perfect Switch For Gaming?

There is variety of high quality switches available online stores. You can also visit near retail market with a switch tester which helps you to get a feel how it will feel after every keypress on keyboard. This testing will help you to buy perfect switches for better gaming experience.   

There are also some other popular alternatives of Cherry MX switches which produces satisfactory sound while gaming.

Long Lasting Switches

Gaming keyboards are used for pressing almost same keys on repeatedly basis with the full force applied while fully engaged in aggressive gaming. Mostly gamers are using these four keys W, A, S and D because these are used for moving the character Up, Down, Right and Left.

Therefore, a good gaming keyboard is the one comes with durable switches can last long. On average, there are 5000 keystrokes for every 20 minutes in typical gaming session. This is too much intensity of using a gaming keyboard as compared to the normal keyboard.

Most gaming keyboard uses Cherry MX switches that can last up to 100 million keystrokes more than enough even for a hardcore gamer. As far as membrane keyboard is concerned, its lifespan is way shorter and was never designed for 100 million keystrokes.

Programmable Keys (Macros)

Programmable keys are the most powerful function on a gaming keyboard which allows the user to set sequence of multiple commands in single key. For Instance, player do not have to press combination of keys in specific sequence and rather have to only press one programmed key.

Programmable keys also known as Macros which helps a lot in games like Tekken and Mortal Combat where special move requires pressing five or six keys simultaneously in sequence.

Furthermore, programmable keys is also a good feature for online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft and Dota 2, where player has to give faster response than the multiple opponents.

This is the big difference between gaming and normal keyboards; the absence of programmable keys on regular keyboards makes it not worthy for gamers. They cannot stay competitive in fast-paced games on non-gaming keyboards.

The one more benefit of programmed the keys to avoid press keys repetitively. It increases the lifespan of keyboard as takes more time to complete 100 million keystrokes.

It also increases the work productivity and save time by setup of macros for launching programs, copy and pasting on one click.

Keyboard Backlighting  

This is another cool feature gaming keyboards have but no way can enjoy the same feature on normal keyboards; this is backlit keys also known as RGB backlights.

User can have single-colored or multi-colored backlighting on keyboard which looks fantastic in night time. The owners of all big gaming YouTube channels are using the multi-colored keyboards which look appealing to the viewers.

Apart from its appealing looks, this keyboard backlighting also serve as enables the player to press the right keys even in low-lit environments. Most of the times, players chooses the dark lights for enjoying the game at its most especially when playing the horror and action genre.

You can also assign different RGB backlights to hotkeys or frequently used ones; this feature enables the player to also remember the key by assigned color even could not clearly see the keyboard while playing.

Big hardware selling brands like Logitech, Razer and Corsair comes with the complete eco-system and selling gaming mouse, keyboard, pad and headphones which allow synchronizing of RGB lighting with each other. A theme based RGB backlighting looks professional especially running a YouTube channel.

Wide Array of Colors

We do not find regular keyboards in wide array of colors but only available in black and white. Whereas, gaming keyboard are available in wide variety of colors. RGB lighting is the additional feature which aesthetically enhances the beauty of gaming keyboards and its handling is totally fun.

We can see in the above photo, multiple colored keys on keyboard in a specific pattern which looks beautiful and fresh.

Shapes and Design Comparison between Gaming Keyboard and Normal Keyboard?

Normal keyboard usually have the same shape and design, they look simple and clean. In the contrary, gaming keyboards are available in all variety of designs such as Retro-Style, Minimalist-Style, Wooden Bamboo gaming keyboard, Steam-Punk style and recently trending space age design.

Moreover, the fonts are always simple on regular keyboard but there are different styles of fonts on gaming keyboards also including futuristic fonts.

Proprietary Software

A gaming keyboard from the all big manufacturers comes with its own proprietary software which enables the user to customize the keyboard as per own choice of settings. This helps the user to achieve the keyboard optimization which leads to better performance in games.

The below video will help you about what can be customized by using Corsair Utility software.

This YouTube video shows that customization enables the player to assign macros, create multiple color animations and many more things achievable, watch the complete video.

There are also few other things can be performed by using the proprietary software.

  • User can synchronize the RGB lighting for gaming keyboard with rest of the peripherals.
  • It can store your all customized settings on cloud, so can access it from anywhere.
  • A gamer can download profile picture from favorite streamer or any streamer.

High Level of Comfort on Gaming Keyboard

There are also gaming keyboards which comes with detachable wrists rests to provide the comfort and gamers can keep their hands on while gaming. It will help them not to feel tired and any wrist strain even after long hours of gaming session.

This padding area is the extended part of keyboard and really improves the keyboard’s ergonomics. Its benefits is not limited to the gamer but other professionals like bloggers and writers who types a lot and intensively using keyboard also finds padding area more comfortable.

As compared to the regular keyboard, the keys of gaming keyboard are well-spaced which easily lets the player press the right key and no chance accidently pressing the wrong key. Otherwise, it is very complicated to deal with the keyboard comes with narrowly placed keys which leads to lots of errors.

Its supporting features are not over yet, user can access extra USB ports on gaming keyboard to enjoy the portability and data transferability. Its media control buttons on the side provides the quick access to control the volume, brightness and change the resolution.

You can also connect your headphones and microphones with gaming keyboard as its jacks are provided.

Can I Use A Gaming Keyboard As Normal Keyboard?

Yes, you can absolutely use a gaming keyboard for performing daily routine activities like typing, coding and web browsing. Though, it will be expensive for buying a gaming keyboard to use it for regular purpose.

Final Words

A gaming keyboard is designed in a way to provide the better gaming experience and level of comfort while gaming. Therefore, they have to introduce extra features which we do not expect on normal keyboards such as wrist rest area, USB ports, media control buttons and availability of different types of switches.

The ability of gaming keyboard to program the keys and setup the Macros for own convenience, this feature is more than great and helps to become pro gamer. No need to press multiple keys by following a sequence accurately, just press one programmed key to perform big move.

There is no way can use normal keyboard for gaming especially in MMO, fast-paced and first-person-shooting genre.