If you’re looking for a good but cheap backlit gaming keyboard, whether as a backup or whatever, the requirements are the same. The gaming keyboard needs to be functional, and, in the case of being backlit, must provide enough illumination to allow gaming in the dark. There’s tons of cheap keyboards out there, and, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The trick to finding a backlit gaming keyboard that is functional without breaking the bank is deciding which features you can do without, and which ones you must have. Luckily, by identifying the type of gamer you are you can identify which features are important to you.
In this article we’ll briefly cover the different types of gamers and then look at the features that are most important for that gamer type. Finally we’ll look at the top 3 backlit gaming keyboards best suited for each type of gamer that are also on the cheap side.
What type of gamer are you? Good Cheap Backlit Gaming Keyboard
Truth be told there are only 4 different types of gamers out there; strategy/puzzle, action/FPS, RPG/MMO and the ‘everything’ gamer.
The strategy/puzzle gamer likes the ‘thinking mans game’ slow and steady, deep in thought. His gameplay isn’t about action, it’s about thinking. This guy doesn’t need high quality mechanical keys that can take abuse or even tons of macros or special keys. All this guy really needs is backlit keys to play in the dark.
The action/FPS gamer however demands a good, well constructed keyboard that can take a pounding in the heat of battle. The keys must be high quality and take abuse without failing. Like the strategy gamer there’s no need for programmable keys or special keys, the 1 – 9 keys are usually more than enough. Backlighing is of course still mandatory.
The RPG/MMO player, unlike the above types of players, need programmable keys and macro functionality. Any MMO player knows that the key to victory is programming your own macros for speed and efficiency. Although good tough construction would be nice it isn’t the most important feature.
The ‘everything gamer’ plays all of the above, and anything else he finds interesting. Since we’re looking for cheap backlit gaming keyboards he’ll have to make a tradeoff and choose only the most important features. Yes, sacrifices must be made.
Now that we know the different types of gamers let’s take a quick look at the features found on today’s gaming keyboards.
Gaming keyboard features – Good Cheap Backlit Gaming Keyboards.
Here’s some of the features you’ll see when shopping for a gaming keyboard, keep in mind that some of these are only available on the most expensive of models.
- Programmable keys: With this you’ll be able to perform a ‘script’ of actions with the press of a single key
- Reinforced WASD keys: A must for action gamers, reinforced keys are less likely to break
- Illuminated keys: Pay attention here, some have just back lighting, which doesn’t really illuminate the key, make sure the light shines through the key so you can actually read it in the dark.
- Media controls: Allows you to adjust volume and other music related actions
- Modified keyboard layout: Geared towards action gamers, more ergonomic but usually takes up more desk space, measure before you buy!
- On board memory: Allows you to store your macros, great if you move to a different machine so you can take your macros with you.
- Game mode switch: Long name for a simple function. It disables the windows key. If you’ve ever hit this key by accident while gaming you know how useful it is.
- Macro recording: If your game doesn’t allow text input command into a console you can actually record yourself moving the mouse and hitting keys, save it into a key and replay it on demand.
Pretty long list, it sure would be nice to have all these features but the fact is a cheap backlit gaming keyboard will only have a few of these. Luckily we know what type of gamer we are and what features we really need.
Which Good Cheap Backlit Gaming Keyboard is best for me?
My criteria here is simple. Find the cheapest keyboard rated 4 stars or better in consumer reviews that’s best for each type of gamer UNDER $50. Obviously if we expand our criteria there will be dozens more to choose from but I don’t believe that’ll really add anything here.
So, let’s get to it….
For the strategy gamer there’s only one choice. The Azio Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Keyboard, no frills, just a good, solid backlit gaming keyboard. As you remember, the strategy gamer doesn’t really need any fancy functions, just some light. Notice the light goes through the keys and the inscriptions are large print. This keyboard fills those needs perfectly at under $30 with 4.5 star consumer reviews.
Check it out here..
Next up, for the action gamer we have the Cyborg V.5 Keyboard. Under $50 and 4.5 star reviews. It does have some programmable keys, which aren’t really necessary for the action gamer. It’s solid construction, however, is. It should last a long time. It also has adjustable brightness levels.
Check it out here.,
Next up we have the RPG/MMO player. He wants programmability as well as back lighting. The keyboard doesn’t have to be incredibly tough. Macro keys are the name of the game here. The Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110 is the best choice here. This one has 12 programmable keys with 3 functions each for a whopping 36 programmable macros on the fly. Game mode switch and USB hub are built in, great if you use headphones/mic for online gaming. 4 stars at under $60.
Check out the reviews here…
And lastly, for the gamer who plays everything I’d recommend the Cyborg V.5 above. It does a little of everything and will at least provide some functionality no matter what game you’re playing.
Obviously, as you search around you’ll see many more amazing gaming keyboards out there but you have to put a limit on price. If you want a good, solid but cheap gaming keyboard I believe the three previewed above make the best choice out there.
Filed Under: Computers and Electronics