What to consider when purchasing your next keyboard

Whether it’s for work or play, buying a new keyboard is like buying a new phone, it’s something you’ll interact with every day, so making the right choice is...

Whether it’s for work or play, buying a new keyboard is like buying a new phone, it’s something you’ll interact with every day, so making the right choice is incredibly important. With so many options on the market, it’s important to consider your options, set your priorities and your price point when looking to purchase a new keyboard.

From size, to switches, to custom buttons, and of course RGB lighting, this buying guide from HyperX offers a quick guide to help Australians understand the important features they must consider when purchasing their next keyboard.

What size keyboard do I need?

A full size keyboard with a number pad is the most common choice for most workers, especially those dealing with numbers on the daily! Full size keyboards are a jack of all trades option, great for all uses, from the office, to education, to blogging and gaming. 

Some full size keyboards, like the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 (our review here) also feature dedicated media keys and volume sliders for easy access to computer audio control.

Recently, smaller, more compact keyboards have also risen in popularity. Tenkeyless keyboards such as the Alloy Origins Core are 80% the size of regular keyboards. Removing the ten key number pad creates a compact design which frees up space for mouse movement in desktop setups where space is limited. 

If desk space truly is at a premium, or you’re looking for an ultra-compact and portable keyboard, 60% keyboards such as the Alloy Origins 60 will save the most space. These keyboards do away with dedicated arrow keys, instead incorporating them into the rest of the keyboard as additional function keys. 

60 percent keyboards are perfect for anyone looking to maximise mouse movements, such as gamers, or those after minimalist setups.

Why should I choose mechanical switches?

Most regular keyboards that come with computers, that are used in offices and schools nationally, are a membrane or rubber-dome keyboard. These keyboards have a flat panel below the keys which trigger electric circuits when pressure (a key press) is applied. They’re quite cheap to produce, but don’t provide an optimal and durable typing experience compared to modern day mechanical keyboards.

Mechanical keyboards, such as HyperX’s Alloy range feature individual switches under each key which register when pressed. The benefits of this are twofold. Firstly, it’s much easier to press a mechanical key, which leads to a faster, more efficient typing experience. Secondly, mechanical keyboards provide a much more tactile and personalised typing experience when a preferred switch type is chosen.

An example of three switch types are HyperX’s manufactured linear (red), tactile (aqua) or clicky (blue) switches. Each switch creates a different feeling when typing due to the way they trigger the switch mechanism underneath the key. Mechanical switches are also more durable than other switches, as each HyperX switch has an 80 million keystroke lifespan. For an in-depth look at how each switch operates, click here.  

Mechanical keyboards also feature full N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting, which allows multiple keys to be pressed simultaneously, a must for fast typers and gamers who may find their key presses are not always registered on regular keyboards.

What type of keycaps and RGB do I need?

Most mechanical keyboards feature RGB lighting, but it’s important to remember that different switches and keycaps produce unique lighting so you should look out for the right style to match your preferences. Consider the Alloy Elite 2’s Pudding Keycaps (pictured below) which have a white base to allow more light to shine through compared to solid-colour keycaps. 

With HyperX’s Ngenuity software, you can customise the lighting effects on your keyboard to your preference, including changing lighting colours, and add effects like a pulse, or colour explosion when keys are pressed.

Visit the HyperX website to learn more about HyperX’s complete keyboard offering, but let us know if you have any questions about anything you’ve read.

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Hardware

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
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