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Need advice for a new keyboard

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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April 11, 2011 3:36:12 AM

I want to invest in a decent gaming keyboard, because the current compaq default I have is cheap. The plastic keys hurts my fingers (especially if I am holding down a key for some time) and it is obviously not built for gaming and is awkward as far as comfort goes. Basically I'm just looking for the most comfortable ergonomic keyboard out there that has SOFT rubberized/silicon keys, especially in the WASD section.

I was deciding between a STEELSERIES merch stealth or a RAZER lycramosa

also would like some tips on how to better prepare my hands/wrists from injury from repetitive strain or carpal tunnel.

More about : advice keyboard

a b 4 Gaming
April 11, 2011 2:11:47 PM

having rubberized keys is a double edged sword.

the benefit is yes you do get a non-slip surface that (note:very slightly) cushions your finger from the keys. however, the drawback is that such surfaces usually wear out and any dust or other particulates will feel very gritty on the surface. this usually leads to more than normal cleaning routines.

how exactly are the plastic keys hurting your fingers? depending on the reason there are a few different solutions available.

if the keys are too hard to press (and your fingers hurt from the strain of pushing down) then you might want to look into a keyboard with less resistance. i know logitechs & laptop style keyboards have lower resistance levels.

if the edges of they keys dig into your skin you might want to either think about swapping around your keys (try using the arrow keys not wasd), a keyboard like the zboard or looking into a laptop style keyboard.

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what keyboard you use should be determined by your playstyle. if available try them out in a store. they might not be connected but you can get a good feel of them that way. the logitech's and razer are at best buy i know.

again, if you respond as to how/why the keyboard hurts you then we could tailor a solution to you better.

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to stave off rs or ct there are a few things that you can do. keep in mind that if you use a keyboard all the time there is only so much you can do.

-take breaks once in awhile, stretch your hands out, avoid long sessions. gaming on keyboards is usually not as demanding as typing if the right key layouts are used.

-use an ergonomic keyboard (such as the split keyboards, wave keyboards, etc)
-keep your elbows at 90deg to your body and your forearms straight.
-use a keyboard sized for your hands.
-you could try using a keyboard wrist-rest or pad if none is included.
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April 11, 2011 6:44:09 PM

cleaning is not an issue for me, i can buy a key cover or clean it more often than regularly. Soft keys or atleast keys with much less resistant is important to me because my fingers hurt after awhile of pressing down on hard plastic (like holding ctrl while crouching for a long time) because the capillaries either lose their circulation or something similar. The computer keyboard i have is not ergonomic and was not made for gaming. I'm not at the computer for 20 hours straight, but I would like to enjoy some time (2-3 hrs) playing a fps that requires WASD without feeling numb in my finger tips after about 30-45 mins.

I dont think best buy sells razer's but I'll check. I was just thinking of buying a keyboard online because there is more choices.

I was thinking that the razer lycrosa or the steelseries merch stealth are good options, however I would like some replies from anyone who has used these keyboards or a keyboard that is more ergonomic and better designed for gamers.

what do you mean by right key layouts?

edit - forgot to mention that back in december 2010 I had a skateboarding accident where I landed on rocks on my index finger and the palm of the tip of my index finger had internal hemorrhaging and didn't heal until about 2-3 weeks later. This finger is the one that hurts the most after some time on the cpu and that is also why i need a less resistant keyboard.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 11, 2011 7:18:10 PM

by the right key layout i mean a control configuration that suits your hands and your playstyle. for instance two common layouts:

WASD. ctrl, shift, caps, nearby keys are functions. beneficial for those who type often while playing but can cause a whole lot of cramping and mispresses for people with long fingers.

Arrow Keys. ctrl, shift, enter, numpad group, delete group are functions. beneficial for those who find WASD cramped. your fingers are also at a different angle which may alieviate a little pressure.

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i frequent best buy, the one i have does sell the razer keyboard and 3+ razer mice.

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the rubber finish on the razer won't change the fact that you have to exert pressure on the keys. as i said try a few keyboards out to find which have keys that are less resistant. i gave you a starting point of laptop keyboards (which are scissor switch) and logitech (the ones i used were less resistant)
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April 11, 2011 11:00:35 PM

yes, but there will be less resistant pressure on my finger compared to using a plastic key.

any specific keyboard that you know? have you ever owned a razer?
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a b 4 Gaming
April 12, 2011 11:36:28 AM

the resistance pressure is the same no matter if you have a plastic key or a skim coating of texture on the keys. this texture is so thin that you could in theory scrape it off with your fingernail if you dug in. we aren't talking about a hunk of rubber or padded keys here. the only keyboards i've seen that i would consider soft are those cheap roll up ones although they are absolutely horrendous to type on, let alone game on.

i don't own a razer keyboard, i own the mouse and i've touched the keyboard in store.

from my experience, cheap keyboards such as your run of the mill dell and other rebrands such as your compaq keyboard as well as cheap foreign knockoffs (you know the ones that get you a mouse and a keyboard for under $10) tend to be rather stiff.

the only keyboard i have used that used rubber dome switches that was easier to press than most was my old logitech keyboard that came with my mx1000 mouse. it had 3/4 height keys without a whole lot of resistance behind them. in fact it is the reason why i put it in storage: i prefer stiffer keys. that said, the logitech G series might be the same but you would have to check them out.

on the mechanical switch side of things on another forum people have recommended keyboards using the following switches as easy to press, in order of least to greater resistances: 30g realforce, cherry MX red, cherry MX brown. i've always preferred the higher resistance ones but i can tell you that the feel is much better than rubber domes. since you want a very light touch on the keys i'll quote what was said about the realforce there: "That all 30g Realforce is just taking it a bit too far. That's just a a personal opinion though, and someone with girlie hands might find the ultra low force enjoyable."

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it all depends on how hardcore you wanted to take this. a rubber dome keyboard might be easy enough to press for you but rubber dome keyboards are hit and miss when it comes to pressure. they dont state a number for force required. mechanical switch keyboards state which switches they use (or you can find out by searching) and those switches all have specific activation forces. this means that finding a low force keyboard is as simple as matching up the resistance you want with a keyboard that uses the switches. if you are unsure of how much pressure to use then (albiet a very bad way) to test would be to use a small scale that measures grams and see how much pressure it takes to be uncomfortable to press down with and stay under that. if even the lightest press (under 25-30g) hurts then there isnt much even a low activation force keyboard can do.

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on a side note, switching mouse and keyboard hands would solve the issue. however, this would be a huge learning curve.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 12, 2011 10:13:01 PM

Just to provide a bit more info on mechanical keyboards...

There are two basic types: Cherry ML and Cherry MX. Cherry ML are for low profile keyboards such as a laptop keyboard where the key travels a very short distance for it to be registered. Cherry MX are for your typical desktop keyboard. I will focus on Cherry MX switches.

Mechanical keyboards requires a relatively light touch. You do not need to press the key all the way down for the keystroke to be registered. Merely pressing it half way will be sufficient. This allows for less fatigue and also faster typing.

There are three types of Cherry MX switches:

Cherry MX Brown - This is the most widely used mechanical switch. It is loud compared to your typical membrane (rubber dome) keyboard and can annoy others around you if they do not want to hear you typing away on your keyboard.

This switch provides an audible click and tactile feedback when the key is pressed down enough ("mid-way") for the keystroke to be registered. The feedback can be describe as a little "bump", of course you can press all the way down and not damage the switch.

Cherry MX Blue - These are not as common and is considered to be the "silent" switch. It operates just like Cherry MX Browns, but the "mid-way" click is quieter.

Cherry MX Red - These switches are pretty rare in mechanical keyboards. Basically there is no "mid-way" click or tactile feedback. Typing with this switch will be slower than the other two switches because you do not get any feedback while typing other than the loud click when the key is pressed all the way down.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 13, 2011 12:18:03 PM

jaguarsks,

i didn't list the other switches because the information so as to not confuse the OP. i know that there are more switches than the ones I have listed however the OP seems to be more worried about activation pressure than any tactile feedback or audible click.

i merely through in a mention of mechanical keyboards and the lightest activation switches i could find in to give an option as rubber dome switch keyboard resistance is hit or miss but mechanical keyboard resistance can be determined by switch type easier.
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April 14, 2011 12:54:53 AM

so then a keyboard that isthe cherry ml would be my best choice?

I just figured out that my W key for WASD is not functioning. Yesterday I was trying to play a FPS and I noticed that even when I pressed the key halfway it would not register and it was not until I pressed even harder until the key was pressed up against the keyboard that the key registered and the character moved. this just further exemplifies that I need a new keyboard and why my fingers hurt
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a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 1:15:12 AM

Keyboards with Cherry ML switches are not full size keyboard; at least none that I know of; more like laptop or mini keyboards. Some my have a trackball or touchpad in place of the numeric keypad. I do not know of any that are ergonomically designed as well.

Do a Google search on "G84 keyboard" to find these type of keyboards.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 1:20:00 AM

vrox said:

I just figured out that my W key for WASD is not functioning. Yesterday I was trying to play a FPS and I noticed that even when I pressed the key halfway it would not register and it was not until I pressed even harder until the key was pressed up against the keyboard that the key registered and the character moved. this just further exemplifies that I need a new keyboard and why my fingers hurt


That's how membrane (rubber dome) keyboards work. You must press the key all the way down for the keystroke to register.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 12:22:47 PM

and the benefit of mechanical keyboards is that you only need to press the keys about halfway *until they click) and not bottom out.

i'd say "30g realforce" or "cherry mx red" or "cherry mx brown" switches are the ones you should be looking for (probably in that order) if you want light activation. keep in mind that the red switches (though lighter pressure) don't have the mid-click like others.
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