PC gaming keyboards

edited February 2018 in Hardware / Software Hell
I swear we have a thread on this but danged if I can find it here.

I bought that fancy pants Corsair RGB keyboard on sale a couple years ago, the one touting "Cherry MX Silent" keys:

I just have to say the keys make a really loud clacking sound, and God only knows what "non silent'' Cherry MX keys are. They're also atrocious for typing, and I've just grown weary of my constant typos when using it.

I was disappointed at the lack of the durability of the optional embossed keycaps, which all withered and peeled off in the face of my mighty sweaty gaming fingers. :p While it's nice to be able to easily pull off and replace individual keys, the elevated keycap design means crumbs, dead skin, pet hair, human hair, God knows what else constantly gathers under the keycaps and gets entangled there. You can clean it out but it's just gross and annoying.

And while the programmable individual key lighting is fun and useful for games like The Division that have a zillion hotkeys to remember, in recent months the keyboard lighting keeps fizzling and requires removing/reinserting the USB connectors to 'reboot.'

So I'm actually "downgrading" to an Apex SteelSeries 150 membrane-style keyboard. Some online had recommended it as great for both typing and gaming, and very quiet (which I confirmed fiddling with an open box model at Micro Center today):

It doesn't have a wrist-rest, which hopefully won't bother me. I've gotten kind of used to them in recent years, but it used to be the first thing I'd remove from a gaming kb.

Hopefully this will work better for typing, and my messages and emails won't look like a monkey or cat typed them. And I will no longer sound like a dot matrix printer (BANG BANG BANG BANG) when I type. :)

I considered some other lower rung non-mechanical switch gaming keyboards, including Corsair's bottom end model K55 RGB; and Razer's Ornata; but I think this SteelSeries 150 will hopefully be the one for me. Will be putting it to the test tonight. :)


  • Blackjack
    GT Member edited February 2018
    Here's a photo of the new keyboard. So far, so good both for quieter, more accurate typing, and good in the few games I tried last night (mostly twin-stick overhead shooters, and a platformer). Also just easier on my middle-aged fingers. :)
    I highly recommend it if you're NOT into hardcore, noisy mechanical switches, and want a rainbow illuminated membrane keyboard that's adept at both gaming and comfortable, relatively quiet typing. :)

    I do wish it had an integrated wrist/palm rest. I used to disdain those things but the last few years I've gotten used to it. I may try some thin Velcro strips or something to see if I can make a more secure attachment between the SteelSeries KB and the Corsair's snap-on plastic wrist/palm rest.

    Note that if you're not into the whole 5-zone color schtick, you can choose various solid colors for the entire keyboard easily. I find green the most pleasing of those.

    While it's waaaaaaaaaaay quieter than the Corsair Cherry MX "Silent" (HAHA) kb, it's not as quiet as, say, a chiclet style keyboard. The Logitech Illuminated Keyboard I retired to use at the office is probably one of the quietest I ever used -- but its fragile tiny "plastic scissors" mechanisms beneath the keycaps are just too fragile for PC action gaming in my experience; and the 'laser etched' lettering tended to peel off badly under heavy gaming use too.

    Unlike some keyboards at this price point ($50), the SteelSeries' backlighting shines directly through the clear letter and number outlines. Some others at this price point, including Corsair's K55, only project backlighting 'around' the borders of the keys. This doesn't matter much to me but if like to play with all the lights off, it can be important.

    I wrote a review on it at the Micro Center web site. I gave it 4/5 stars. I'd say the lost 5th star is on a few of what I consider minor things:
    1. Lack of an integrated palm/wrist rest
    2. No USB passthrough port on front or side (some gamers find this useful in terms of cable management)
    3. Can't program individual key backlighting per keybindings as on Corsair's more expensive kbs (as I blabbed, useful in games that have a ton of keys to remember)
    4. Lacks a "disable Windows key" function on the keyboard or in the SteelSeries software. So far I've not ever accidentally hit the two little WIndows keys on the kb, so maybe that's a moot point. :)
  • Rumpy
    GT Member edited February 2018
    Is Steelseries even around anymore? At least locally, or maybe even nationally, it seems to have fallen out of favor for Razer and Corsair, and I haven't seen them in stores lately. I didn't see any Steelseries keyboards at all when I was shopping for a keyboard earlier this month.

    Razer seems to be everywhere now. I had to get a new keyboard earlier this month, and at first I got the 2016 version of their Blackwidow in green (Previously I had a 2014 version of the model) , but that turned out to have a technical issue and I returned it and ended up getting a Corsair K70 Lux in red /w brushed aluminum casing.

    My main thing I want out of a gaming keyboard is something I can just plug in and not have to install software. The Blackwidow 2016 didn't allow me to do that, and it had this odd consistent pulsing that I'd apparently have to install the software to get rid of, which is something I didn't have to deal with the the earlier version of the model.

    My first gaming keyboard was from Logitech and is what I'd call faux-gamer, in the sense that it was all gamer-fancy, but was technically a regular membrane (or possibly scissor) keyboard, from an era before Logitech started getting into mechanical switch keyboards. Right when I took it out of the box and started to use it, the keys were sticking which was highly disappointing given how those expensive it had been. That had left a sour taste in my mouth and ever since I've been staying away from Logitech. They used to be a favourite of mine, but I feel their quality really took a dive. I feel especially within the last 10 years or so, quality has been really hit and miss to the point that I felt I had way overpaid for the quality it ended up being.
  • Isgrimnur
    GT Member edited February 2018
    I'd say they are.

  • Blackjack
    GT Member edited May 2018
    I'm still very happy with the Apex SteelSeries 150 membrane-style keyboard I got from Micro Center in February, While I can't call it whisper-quiet, it's probably the quietest, durable gaming kb available.

    My only complaint is I wish it came with a detachable wrist-rest. I'm still jury-rigging my Corsair's wrist-rest with it. I didn't even like using wrist rests with kbs until maybe 10-15 years ago. And I wish I could program individual key illumination like on the Corsair for individual games -- it was helpful in games like The Division with a zillion hotkeys, or in mmogps -- but I'm not really gaming much in recent months.

    And the kb is I guess not popular enough to support lighting profiles from other companies much so ithe Steelseries 3 engine utility lighting profiles features is not something I use much.

    One long term issue may be that I can still see my hair (ugh; apparently i shed worse than my JJ the cat :p ) is getting underneath the key caps. While this was a chronic issue on the Corsair, I could easily remove individual keys via their simple key puller tool to clean out crud; I'm not sure I can do that with a membrane-style kb (or at least it came with no key puller tool to do so).

    I don't think Steelseries overhypes as much as other gaming kb-makers, which is why probably don't see much about it these days.

    Only things I've used quieter are chiclet and fragile "scissors mechanism" keyboards like my Logitech Illuminated that I retired to work duty. I'm reading some newer Apple laptops with the scissors mechanism kbs are in class action lawsuit trouble due to durability issues -- with no way to just replace individual broken keys, as was my Logitech Illuminated experience -- and I could've told them that years ago based on the Logitech.
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