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Assembling your very own battle station can be a difficult task. Every gamer has different needs and preferences. A flood of technical terms and features might seem overwhelming at first, but we are here to give you an overview on our products. The first part of our series covers gaming keyboards. What makes them special? What is “ghosting”? And do you need expensive switches or are membranes just fine?
Gaming keyboards vs. everyday keyboards
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a gaming keyboard? Is it not just a normal keyboard with rainbow lights that had the “gamer” sticker slapped on for marketing reasons? The answer is: no, there are many differences between a gaming keyboard and the regular one you use for everyday work.
Mechanical switches: The most important difference lies behind the keys and the technology which transfers the input of your finger pressing the key to your PC. Traditional keyboards are built with membranes, whereas the gaming edition comes with mechanical switches.
In short: membrane keyboards are quiet, lighter, and cheaper, but are less precise, slower, can wear out and don’t give you tactile feedback. Mechanical ones have spring-loaded switches which are robust, register every input quickly and with precision, give you audible and tactile feedback and other advantages which we will take a closer look at below.
Diverse options for keys: As every gamer has a different tactic when playing, customisation is of great value. Gaming keyboards come with a range of options which allow you to alter their keys for ultimate convenience. For example, keys can be reprogrammed to any command you want. One option to do so is with special software provided by the manufacturer, such as AOC G-Tools. On top of the customisation, gaming keyboards are also equipped with additional keys. Some products come with a set of dedicated media keys as an example. With these keys, you can quickly switch between soundtracks, pause a song and much more.
N-key rollover: Another great advantage is the possibility of pressing several keys at once and every input actually being registered. This feature is not needed for normal office work or everyday use, which is why most normal keyboards come with no rollover at all or perhaps a 5-key rollover in some examples.
If you’re in the middle of a team fight and the action gets heated, you have to simultaneously press several keys to unleash all of your combos and spells. Therefore, the N-key rollover of gaming models has no limit on how many keys can be recorded at the same time.
Anti-ghosting: In this whirlwind of keystrokes, it is crucial that all your commands are registered with extreme precision. With cheaper versions, an effect called “ghosting” can occur. This means that some of your keystrokes are not forwarded. Or also the contrary, it registers strokes on adjacent keys that you did not even press! As this could be a game-ruining disadvantage, high-class gaming keyboards come with anti-ghosting.
Additional macro keys: A gaming keyboard usually sports an extra row of keys which you don’t need for your office job but come in handy for certain type of games.
Take your favourite MOBA, for example. You might be playing a hero who can duplicate itself and suddenly, you need to control several units at once. Your usual keys are all taken, but you can bind units to additional macro keys and quickly switch between them.
More keys can also be beneficial if you want to stream your games. Switching between windows, using a sound board, changing camera settings or soundtracks – just by pressing one key.
Higher durability: Another benefit is that gaming keyboards are more durable. When playing games several hours per day, specific keys such as W, A, S and D will be heavily used. You might have experienced that letters sometimes start to fade, or the keys stop working entirely.
The membranes of usual devices can endure around 5-10 million keystrokes on average. Mechanical switches however last for over 50 million key presses.
Lights: And finally, the famous (or infamous) colourful lighting. Sure, nice LEDs will not magically win you games. But why furnish your room with lifeless, bland items if you can also opt for something special? Your battle station should hype you up for the next gaming session and the right background lighting can help you feel more pumped.
AOC Gaming: we bring you comfort, convenience and customisation
All these differences are important to note when shopping for a new device. AOC offers a selection of top-notch gaming keyboards that bring all the benefits mentioned above. Additionally, all our products come with a detachable magnetic wrist rest to ensure a healthy position for your hands. An ergonomic keyboard is important to prevent injuries after regular long gaming sessions.
To give you the option to customise our keyboards to fit your exact requirements, AOC has also developed a special software called G-Tools. This feature allows you to assign commands to each key and save different profiles, depending on which game or genre you’re diving into. With AOC G-Tools, you can not only customise all your keys, but also record macros for key-combinations, manage LX effects of your device, or test different settings. The text editor setting offers shortcuts for common commands when working, the multimedia setting conveniently lets you manage your media player and songs, and much more.
The best options for aspiring pro players and casual gamers
With all these different models, switches and layouts, what keyboard should you go for? If you’re passionate about games and even want to compete at a higher level, you can check out the AOC AGON AGK700. This high-end product comes with Cherry MX Red switches that are designed for extremely quick and reliable input registration. N-Key rollover and 100% anti-ghosting ensure you will always stay on top of your game. And additional macro keys give you more flexibility.
If all of this sounds like overkill because you just want to enjoy some casual games every now and then, the AOC GK200 might be the ideal choice for you. This model is more budget-friendly, as it comes with affordable membranes that have been upgraded with tactile sliders. You still get a snappy and responsive keypress that gives you complete control of your inputs, but don’t have to pay the full price of mechanical switches. And don’t worry, the model still comes with anti-ghosting and a 25-key rollover to let you spam your combos.
For those who want the medium ground between a casual experience and high-tech equipment, the AOC GK500 might be the best of both worlds. They keyboard comes in two versions: One features Red Oetemu MX switches for the fastest input, and the other one comes with Blue switches for those who favour precision. All AOC keyboards are also equipped with a wrist wrest to ensure maximum comfort during long gaming sessions.
Stay tuned for our second part of this series where we cover everything you need to know about gaming mice!