The best gaming keyboards in 2021 will take your playing to another level. Whether you prefer a quiet membrane keyboard or a fast, clacky mechanical gaming keyboard there are lots of really great options out there – but narrowing it down to one or two sometimes feels like a particularly difficult boss battle. That’s why we’ve put together our guide to the very best gaming keyboards you can buy for any kind of player and any kind of game.
Right now, we think the best gaming keyboard you can buy for most people is the Das Keyboard X50Q – but if you’re willing to spend a bit more, Razer’s Huntsman Elite offers a very different and very interesting experience. Which one will be the best buy for you? Let’s discover their strengths and weaknesses.
Das Keyboard X50Q vs Razer Huntsman Elite: design and features
The X50Q is understated by gaming keyboard standards, although its aluminium chassis and RGB lighting means it won’t disappoint in the style stakes. The soft-coated palm rest is comfortable and the ability to disable the Windows keys is useful.
This Razer is smaller than many of the firm’s other keyboards thanks to its frameless design. The deck is anodised aluminium and there’s RGB lighting everywhere including the palm rest. We really like the media keys and volume wheel, which is easy to access and has a mute button in the centre.
Das Keyboard X50Q vs Razer Huntsman Elite: switches
Switches are far and away the most important part of any gaming keyboard, and while there’s no one-size-fits-all option different brands and models of switch have very dedicated fanbases.
The best-known switch manufacturer is Cherry, but the keyboards here go their own way. The Das Keyboard X50Q uses Omron’s Gamma Zulu switches, which are very fast and responsive: they require just 45g of pressure at 1.5mm before they’re ready for the next press . They feel very much like Cherry MX Brown switches, responsive but not hard enough that you’ll feel each keystroke in your teeth. They’re quiet by mechanical standards too.
The switches in the Razer are very clever. They’re optomechanical, combining mechanical switches with optical sensors for exceptionally quick responses. Redesigned keycaps mean they aren’t wobbly around the edges either: if you go for the Clicky version actuation takes place with 45g at 1.5mm, and if you choose the Linear switches it’s 40g at 1mm. Because it’s light-actuated the Razer doesn’t have the same “bounce” delay that you get with traditional mechanical switches.
The Razer is exceptionally fast – Razer claims 30% faster actuation than traditional mechanical keys – but the trade-off is power: this is a very hungry keyboard and needs two USB connections to power it.
Das Keyboard X50Q vs Razer Huntsman Elite: price and verdict
The X50Q is definitely worth shopping around for: although it’s typically around £169 we’ve seen deals offering it for considerably less cash, taking this premium keyboard well into more budget territory. At the RRP it’s a great buy but if you can get a big discount it’s a brilliant one.
The Razer Huntsman Elite is typically £199, but again you’ll often find it on sale for less. Just watch out for delivery charges: we’ve seen what appear to be good deals turn out more expensive than buying direct from Razer thanks to high delivery costs.
These are both exceptionally good keyboards, and we think the lower price of the X50Q means it really is the best buy for most people. But those switches in the Razer deliver near-magical performance, and if you can afford to pay a bit more to buy the Elite we think you’ll be glad you did.