For as many keys as your keyboard holds, there are always hundreds more symbols that get left out. One of these is the degree symbol.
Luckily, the degree symbol is on your keyboard – just hidden behind a special code or action. Here’s how to type the degree symbol on your keyboard, whether you’re using a computer or phone.
How to type the degree symbol on a Windows PC
On a PC, you have a few options.
If you’re using a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad (or “numpad”) on the right side, you can type the degree symbol with an Alt Code. These codes require you to hold down the Alt key and type a series of numbers on the numpad.
The degree symbol code is Alt + 0176. As soon as you let go of the Alt key, the symbol should appear.
The emoji menu
Windows 10 has a hidden emoji menu that lets you easily insert any emoji or special character into your text.
1. While you’re able to type, press the Windows key + . (period) to open the emoji menu.
2. At the top of the menu, click the omega symbol (Ω) to see the list of every special character.
3. Scroll down in the list until you find the degree symbol and click it to add it to your text.
Third-party keyboard remappers
Remapping is the process of changing what a specific button or key does. You can download apps and configure your keyboard so when you press a specific key, or enter a keyboard shortcut, it types out a degree symbol.
There are a few apps that let you create custom keyboard shortcuts, but the best for making special character shortcuts (like for the degree symbol) is probably CatchChar. It takes a little tinkering, but will let you insert any special character with a quick keyboard shortcut.
How to type the degree symbol on a Mac
To type the degree symbol on a Mac, press Shift + Option + 8.
Alternatively, press Control + Command + Space to open the Emoji & Symbols menu and then click Punctuation in the left sidebar. You’ll find the degree symbol in this list – double-click it to add it to your text.
How to type the degree symbol on a Chromebook
The method on a Chromebook will sound a bit confusing at first, but once you do it once, it’ll be clear.
1. While you’re able to type, press Ctrl + Shift + U. The letter u with a line below it will appear where you typed.
2. Without clicking away, type OOBA and then press Enter.
The underlined u will turn into the degree symbol.
How to type the degree symbol on an iPhone or iPad
1. Tap a place that you’re able to type so the keyboard appears.
2. Press the 123 icon in the bottom-left corner of your keyboard, and then press and hold your finger on the zero key (0).
3. After a moment, a small pop-up will appear with the degree symbol in it. Drag your finger over to it and release.
How to type the degree symbol on an Android
1. Tap a place that you’re able to type so the keyboard appears.
2. Tap the ?123 icon in the bottom-left corner, and then the =< icon above it.
3. The degree symbol will be on this page. Tap it to type it.
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Gaming keyboards can make or break your game, so we rounded up the best for you to choose from.
The best gaming keyboard overall is the Corsair K100 RGB, combining sheer performance with a deep feature set.
We’ve picked out the best mechanical, optical, and mini keyboards too, meeting every PC gamer’s need.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
When it comes to choosing a gaming keyboard – or even just narrowing down your choices, you might have your work cut out for you. Not only are there several types and sizes encompassing all price points, but every keyboard manufacturer boasts several models and versions as well.
We’re here to make it easier to find the best gaming keyboard for you. We’ve found and tested the best gaming keyboards for every need and even budget. More of an optical switch fan? We’ve got the best out there. Prefer a traditional mechanical keyboard? We found the one lauded by most gamers. Working with a small space? We have our pick of the best mini keyboard as well.
Of course, the final decision is still yours, which is why we’ve also included a short yet detailed guide to choosing the right gaming keyboard just below our list. When you’re done going through our picks, be sure to read through that. By the end of this guide, you’ll know in your gut the one that’s a perfect fit.
If you’re looking for a premium experience, the Corsair K100 RGB brings sheer performance that is only surpassed by its feature set.
Pros: Solid construction, top-notch performance, a host of great features
Cons: More expensive than most, takes up space, bulkier than others
Competitive gamers want the best, and the Corsair K100 RGB is the best. But, even if you’re more about getting the most features for your money, this gaming keyboard is also a win.
We’ve used it on games like Marvel Avengers, Death Stranding, and Cyberpunk 2077 – and it really delivers on performance. Touting Corsair’s impressive OPX switches and Axon Hyper-Processing technology, it boasts a 4,000 polling rate, 1 millimeter (mm) actuation point, and the N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. That means that it’s as fast as it is responsive, which matters in games where every fraction of a second and every key press count.
The Corsair K100 RGB is also one of the most robust and premium feeling gaming keyboards we’ve ever tested. You just know it’s going to survive years of button-mashing and pounding, as well as resist everyday wear and tear, swimmingly while staying elegant-looking and comfortable to use.
What gives the Corsair K100 RGB even more value, however, is its host of incredible features. Corsair really took advantage of its sizable footprint by stuffing it with a whole bunch of useful features.
There are extra media keys and six dedicated macro keys on top of its already fully-programmable design. There’s also a very accessible control dial that lets you cycle through five different functions and adjust their settings.
Passthrough charging via its USB port allows you to attach another device to your rig. And, its RGB lighting is also grouped into 44 zones, so you can get as creative as you’d like without spending too much time on customizations.
To really make it worth your money, Corsair also gave it an 8MB onboard memory so you can create up to 200 key remap, macro and RGB lighting profiles that you can take with you.
K100 RGB (button)
The best mechanical gaming keyboard
Touting premium features without the premium price, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is a terrific and affordably priced mechanical keyboard.
Pros: Great value, solid build, a whole lot of customization options
Cons: Sizable form factor, wrist rest is not comfortable, minimal keycap curvature
If there’s one thing the Razer BlackWidow V3 proves, it’s that those features we don’t pay much attention to really do matter. The minimal curvature in its keycaps and lack of foam on its wrist rest make this keyboard an adjustment to use, especially if you’re upgrading from something that keeps your fingers and wrist resting nice and comfortable.
Still, this full-sized keyboard is much-lauded and for good reason. Those green or yellow mechanical switches are not only very precise and solid with a rating of 80 million keystrokes, but they’re also extremely satisfying to use. In fact, we love typing on this keyboard as much as we love gaming on it. Of course, it’s in gaming where it really shines, boasting a 1,000Hz polling rate and N-key rollover that allows its performance to be as responsive and accurate as its pricier rivals.
There aren’t as many features here, sadly, with Razer putting its focus on making it among the best mechanical keyboards out there. However, it’s not bare-bones either – at that price, it better not be. You’re getting onboard memory for up to five profiles, a multifunction media button, a multifunction roller wheel, and a handy cable routing solution in the back.
Plus, as much as this keyboard belongs in the entry-level category of gaming keyboards due to its more stripped-down approach, it still has a robust set of customization options to match its excellent performance. Via the Razer Synapse software, you can personalize its RGB lighting (though not per-key), program per-key remaps and macros, and take full advantage of Razer’s Hypershift feature that basically gives you a whole new set of shortcuts and key reassignments.
Razer then rounds those out with the BlackWidow V3‘s keycaps and matte aluminum body, both of which feel like they can take their share of beating. Speaking of those keycaps, they’re labeled using a doubleshot molding process, which means you’ll never wear those letters off no matter how much button-mashing you do.
BlackWidow V3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (button)
The best optical gaming keyboard
The Roccat Vulcan Pro packs robust performance and solid build in a beautiful and elegant design. If you’re looking for an optical option, you’ll fall in love with this one.
Pros: Aircraft-grade aluminum body, thin and light, excellent performance
Cons: Hard wrist rest, keypresses may take some getting used to
We cannot deny that we’re big fans of Roccat’s gaming accessories. The manufacturer has a knack for producing luxurious peripherals that masterfully combine robust performance and rugged build with sexier aesthetics.
The Roccat Vulcan Pro certainly doesn’t fall far from that high-class tree, and is the best performing and best feeling optical gaming keyboard we’ve ever used.
Optical keyboards are generally considered to be faster and more durable than the traditional mechanical ones. However, they tend to also have a bit more resistance. If you’re unfamiliar with optical switches, you should do your due diligence before buying.
If, however, you are a fan, then the Roccat Vulcan Pro is the one to get. We love the bounce its keys offer, as much as we do the curvature of those keycaps that are incredibly effective in keeping our fingers in place.
Gaming on this thing is a pleasure, which isn’t surprising. After all, it boasts an actuation point of 1.4mm, which is much shorter than other premium keyboards, a 1,000Hz polling rate, and a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based processor for incredibly fast responses. And, its Titan optical switches are rated at 100 million keystrokes.
As far as features, you’re getting an onboard memory to save five profiles in, a set of mixer-style audio controls, and a detachable wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard.
It’s beauty and brains in one, and there’s certainly a lot of beauty here. The floating keys on an aluminum plate aesthetic are designed to let that customizable RGB light up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree. And, even though it is a full-sized keyboard, its 3.20cm-thin profile makes it feel less in your face. So much so you won’t be embarrassed to use this at the office, especially because those keys are also elegantly quiet.
Vulcan Pro (button)
The best customizable gaming keyboard
Perhaps the most feature-rich and most customizable gaming keyboard we’ve ever tested, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog makes gaming incredibly seamless and easy.
Cons: Pricey, a bit of a learning curve with some features, heavy
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog isn’t what most would call cheap, but it’s also among the best value gaming keyboards out there thanks to its treasure trove of features.
We’re not just referring to its unbelievably plush wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard and makes your wrists feel like they’re resting on clouds or the USB passthrough that offers another port to which you can connect other peripherals or the underglow RGB lighting that extends to the wrist rest. Although those do add to this keyboard’s appeal.
Most importantly for gamers, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is incredibly customizable, offering per-key adjustments and remapping like you’ve never seen on other keyboards. Via the Razer Synapse software, you can toggle each key’s actuation point from 1.5mm, which is the default, to 3.6mm, so the keyboard responds to your presses exactly how you want it.
That’s nothing, however, next to the keyboard’s dual-step actuation function, which actually lets you assign two different functions at two different actuation points on the same key. It’s an incredibly nifty feature to have, as it gives you the ability to press fewer keys for similar game actions.
A great, if basic, example of this would be to keep the W key’s default forward action at 1.5mm actuation point while assigning the run action as its secondary function at 3.5mm in games like Valheim. It essentially eliminates the need for extra key presses and makes your gaming experience much more seamless, mimicking the dynamism of analog gamepads.
Of course, essentials like customizable RGB lighting, macro recording – which can be done on-the-fly, onboard memory for up to five profiles, media keys, and robust doubleshot PBT keycaps are on hand as well. That’s not to mention its super responsive and accurate performance thanks to its 1,000Hz polling rate, optical switches and N-key roll-over with anti-ghosting.
Huntsman V2 Analog (button)
The best TKL gaming keyboard
The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro stands out by combining elegance and style with sheer performance and durability, making it our tenkeyless champion.
Pros: Compact form factor, quiet operation, short actuation distance
Cons: Pricey, FN shortcuts take a bit of adjustment, bouncy feedback not for everyone
If you want the best tenkeyless (TKL; lacking a number pad) gaming keyboard, take a look at the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro, which is among our favorite gaming keyboards at the moment.
This optical option takes the classy route with its elegant and stunning aesthetic that features a floating keys approach on a brushed gunmetal finish. The whole thing seems to be designed to allow its customizable RGB lighting to shine brilliantly, which it does even in broad daylight.
Don’t let that elegant exterior fool you. The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is as robust as they come, boasting aircraft-grade aluminum and optical switches that are rated at 100 million keystrokes.
Speaking of those optical switches, they are Roccat’s Titan optical switches, renowned for not just being durable but also for being extremely responsive. With an actuation distance of 1.4mm, you don’t have to press those keys all the way for them to register — and accurately, we might add. In fact, we’ve typed up a song verse on this keyboard with very light presses, and it did not miss a single key. Combined with its 1,000Hz polling rate, you’ll find this keyboard a huge advantage when gaming.
Because it’s incredibly quiet, you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that you can game late at night and not piss off your roommate with all the button-mashing.
Don’t worry about the more compact form factor, either. Its Function (FN) key shortcuts allow for quick access to media controls, settings, or RGB lighting presets, while the Roccat Swarm software lets you adjust keyboard settings, program key remaps and macros, and fine-tune the RGB lighting. There might just be an adjustment period — it’s the price you pay for compactness. However, you definitely won’t be missing out on full keyboard functionalities.
Vulcan TKL Pro (button)
The best 60% gaming keyboard
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs the performance, feel, and customization of the company’s flagship keyboards into this tiny 60% keyboard.
Pros: Very small form factor, fast performance, quality build
Cons: No dedicated arrow keys, software not user-friendly, thicker than most 60% keyboards
TKL and mini keyboards seem to be the latest trend in gaming keyboards, and for good reason. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini, for example, packs most of the quality, performance, and customization of the Corsair K100 RGB in one of the smallest form factors out there – 11.6 x 4.14 x 1.74 inches to be exact.
Performance-wise, it has an impressive 8,000Hz polling rate with a 1.2mm actuation distance, as well as N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. Essentially, it can keep up with you, whether you’re bashing away in Sayonara Wild Hearts or the latest stress-inducing e-sports game.
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini is also fully customizable. You can create a Macro for every key via the iCue software. And RGB customization is versatile, letting you cycle and adjust through a number of presets or use up to 20 different lighting layers to create your own psychedelic effects. Plus, thanks to 8MB onboard memory, you can take up to 50 profiles of customization on the road. All this versatility comes at a price however, since the iCue software comes with a learning curve.
A 60% size keyboard also comes with some inherent drawbacks. Only the most necessary keys are included. However, Corsair was clever enough to include a ton of built-in shortcuts to make up for all the missing keys you would have on a full keyboard. Still, having to press FN plus the H, J, K, or U for the arrow keys makes us miss dedicated arrow keys.
Luckily, there’s not much else to complain about. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini‘s profile might be thicker than other 60% keyboards but it is a tank. It looks and feels top quality from the durable key caps down to the removable USB-C cable.
K65 RGB Mini (button)
The best wireless gaming keyboard
It doesn’t just go by looks alone, however. Despite being one of the thinnest gaming keyboards out there, it also feels robust, its aluminum alloy top case supported by a steel-reinforced base. Meanwhile, its GL switches feel like they can take their share of button mashing.
There are a lot of other things to love here. Though it may not have an expansive feature set, it does come with its share. Those dedicated media keys, all round in shape, as well as the volume dial, are definitely useful additions. Meanwhile, the dedicated wireless, Bluetooth, game mode, and RGB brightness buttons are a boon to multitaskers who either use two devices at once or want to go from being productive to gaming in seconds.
Because, honestly, you’ll love using this keyboard for typing up documents and writing those work emails as much as you would gaming with it. Combining a 1 millisecond response time and 1.5mm actuation distance with its satisfying tactile feedback, it’s just as comfortable to use for work as it is responsive and accurate for gaming.
Of course, being our top wireless contender, there are a few noteworthy things here. It has two connectivity options — one via its Lightspeed USB receiver, the other via Bluetooth. This is something we often see with Logitech’s wireless keyboards, but it isn’t something we often see with wireless gaming keyboards.
While Logitech didn’t specify its Lightspeed USB receiver’s range, we’ve used this keyboard six to seven meters away from the laptop it’s connected to in another room with the door closed, and it didn’t miss a single keypress.
G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB (button)
The best gaming keyboard for less than $50
The Corsair K55 RGB may cost less than $50, but it still looks like a fully-featured gaming keyboard and boasts many of the same features.
Pros: Cheap, RGB lighting, customizable keys
Cons: Keys aren’t mechanical, not fully programmable,
This is the third time Corsair has featured on this list, though for good reason. Not only does the company build excellent top-tier keyboards, it also builds great affordable keyboards for the gamer on a budget. The best of those is the Corsair K55 RGB, which comes in at less than $50.
The Corsair K55 RGB, as the name suggests, offers full RGB lighting, making it look much more expensive than it really is. It also boasts a total of six programmable buttons, which can be programmed through the same great software you’ll get with the K95 Platinum. It also has dedicated media controls, and well-built keys.
So why is the keyboard so cheap? Well, those keys may be well-built, but they’re not mechanical keys, and as such, they may not be as satisfying to press or durable as other gaming keyboards.
Still, that doesn’t make this a bad keyboard, it’s just something to keep in mind.
K55 RGB (button)
When it comes to buying computer peripherals, gamers often need something a little higher quality than everyone else. After all, when you’re gaming, every millisecond counts, and the feel of a keyboard and mouse can have a pretty major effect on a gamer’s performance. Those are the things we test when deciding whether or not a particular gaming keyboard is a worthy addition to this list.
In terms of performance, we typically see what a gaming keyboard does in the face of the latest popular games, playing a good mix of game genres on it. For example, we tested our most current picks above on AAA games, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Resident Evil Village, as well as lower-budget but equally popular titles, like Valheim and It Takes Two. Of course, since most people often just use the same keyboard for productivity as they do for gaming, we’ve done our fair share of typing up emails and articles on these picks as well, which also helped us gauge each one’s comfort level, tactile feedback, and overall typing experience.
We also make sure to test the software every keyboard utilizes for customizations, especially when it comes to macros, remaps, and RGB lighting. After all, many gamers rely on those supporting apps to improve their gaming experience. Naturally, if a gaming keyboard is wireless, we test its range and amount of latency as well, typically by taking it as far as we can from the PC it’s connected to or in another room and using it like we normally would. Finally, we test specific features as well — for example, if a keyboard has some specifically for MMORPG and MOBA, we make sure to utilize such features for such online multiplayer games.
Mechanical keyboards offer tactile and auditory feedback that can reduce typos for fast typists.
Many gamers also appreciate the speed of mechanical keyboards.
The best mechanical keyboards come from brands like Das, Razer, Logitech, SteelSeries, and more.
Mechanical keyboards create both tactile and auditory feedback, delivering more accuracy for typing and more speed for gaming. The best mechanical keyboards deliver a mix of speed and accuracy in a comfortable set-up that doesn’t feel too loud.
Mechanical keyboards use a physical switch under each key rather than a membrane or rubber dome. Besides offering a satisfying “clicky” feel, mechanical keyboards are more accurate for fast typists. Tom Gilmore is the technology education coordinator at Free Geek, an electronic recycling and refurbishing nonprofit. People who type fewer than 150 words per minute won’t see much of an improvement by ditching the membrane keyboard, he said, but fast typists will gain more accuracy. “The robust construction of each switch also lends itself to being much more durable in terms of the number of times that a key can be pressed before it wears out,” he said.
The feel of the switch is a matter of personal preference. That’s why mechanical switches come in different variations. Besides the amount of pressure required to push each switch, the different types of keys will also have a different feel and noise to them.
As a writer, I regularly type for several hours a day. To find the best mechanical keyboard, I consulted experts, fellow Insider writers, and dozens of professional reviews on the top-ranked options. We’re currently testing many mechanical keyboards to narrow down our list.
Here are the best mechanical keyboards you can buy:
With a classic layout, a sturdy build, and a click that isn’t overly loud, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is an excellent yet versatile mechanical keyboard. The Das Keyboard 4 comes in a PC or a Mac version, so keys like command and Windows will be properly labeled for your system. It’s a full-size, 104-key layout with a numeric pad, with the addition of a nice-sized volume dial and a few media keys.
The version with Cherry MX Brown keys offers that mechanical feedback without annoying anyone that happens to be nearby.
The full-size keyboard is constructed from plastic, but it’s a thicker, sturdier build than some aluminum models we’ve tested. It doesn’t have colorful backlighting, but the sleek black design will easily fit into any office. The keyboard also connects with a chunky USB cord. But for the mix of comfortable typing, system-specific layouts, and build quality, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional stands out.
Razer’s gaming keyboards are highly ranked, but the company’s new mechanical keyboard geared toward the office is getting high praise, too. The Razer Pro Type Wireless loses the colorful backlighting and black keys for a clean, white keyboard with white backlighting.
Using Razer Orange keys, the keyboard uses a quieter key that doesn’t require much force. That makes the keyboard much more office friendly than one designed for gaming, though it’s not as quiet as a membrane, non-mechanical keyboard. The keys are also fully reprogrammable, so you can customize them with shortcuts that best fit your workflow.
Most mechanical keyboards are still corded, but the Razer Pro Type Wireless uses a dongle-free Bluetooth or a wireless connection that requires a USB dongle. That keeps your desk space less cluttered. The Bluetooth connection works with up to four devices, including smartphones and tablets.
But this mechanical keyboard is power hungry, according to Forbes. If you use the lights and the Bluetooth, the battery is rated to 12 hours, so this is a keyboard you’ll want to plug in at the end of every day. Alternately, you can get up to 84 hours with the lighting off or 78 hours with no lights connecting via Wi-Fi. You can use the keyboard while charging, if necessary. Some users also didn’t like the automatic sleep mode made for saving battery, which can create a delay after pausing.
The best budget mechanical keyboard
The Drop ENTR is ideal for users new to mechanical keyboards and those on a budget.
Mechanical keyboards usually cost over $100. The Drop ENTR, from a company known for its customizable keyboards, sells for $90 without sacrificing the must-haves. Drop says that the keyboard is designed for newbies, so you don’t have to be a mechanical keyboard expert to get started with a tactile typing experience.
The keyboard is available with a tactile switch called Halo Trues or a linear switch without that bumpy feedback. N-key rollover helps the keyboard keep up with any typing speed. The ENTR is a tenkeyless keyboard, which means it has everything except for that secondary number pad that usually sits on the right. If you don’t need the extra numbers, the smaller keyboard can be more comfortable for centering in the right position on your desk. It also allows you to comfortably reach your mouse. It uses a USB-C wired connection, so there’s no need to charge or worry about batteries.
While it’s a budget-friendly keyboard, PC Magazine notes that the build is good for the price. The keyboard is made from both metal and plastic.
The Drop ENTR lacks the customization of some of the pricier models. It doesn’t have any extra buttons, like media controls, and it’s labeled for use with a PC. It can be used with a Mac, but the layout of some of the extra keys are different.
The best quiet mechanical keyboard
The Logitech G513 is ideal for those looking for a mechanical keyboard to use in a shared office space and for gamers who don’t want to annoy their roommates.
The Logitech G513 is a slightly older model, but it delivers some flagship-like features without the price. Insider writer Matthew Smith says that the keyboard has a good, chunky tactile feel for the price point. It’s a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, though it lacks extras like play and volume buttons.
Using Logitech’s own Romer-G Tactile or Romer-G Linear switches, the keys have a bit of a different feel than the Cherry MX options. Membrane-based keyboards will still be the quietest option, but PCMag notes that these keys are quieter than a lot of other mechanical keyboards while still retaining the feel. The keys are also quick enough for gamers to consider this keyboard.
Customization options include both the function keys and adjusting the colorful RGB lighting down to individual keys. The keyboard includes a USB pass-through port, but you don’t gain an extra spot to plug in peripherals because the keyboard needs two USB ports to power that “extra” port.
The best mechanical keyboard for typing
The Varmilo VA87M is great for frequent typists who want both comfort and style.
You don’t need to choose between standard black or white to get a comfortable keyboard. The Varmilo VA87M is a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. That means there’s no extra number pad on the right. It’s easily customizable by switch type, color, and even layout, making it easy to find one that suits your needs, including options that are tailored to Mac.
With its custom switches, the Varmilo VA87M allows you to choose whether you want a lightweight, quiet push; a firm, clicky feel; or something in between. The keyboard’s caps use dye-sub printing to get a variety of colors and styles. That makes it easy to color-code frequently used keys or to get a keyboard that doesn’t look like every other one out there.
The VA87M has a few customizable controls, though it lacks the every-key customizing of some of the pricier models. For roughly $130, it has a mid-range price, but it does lack macros and lighting. Business Insider writer Simon Hill said the keyboard is “easy and effortless to type on.” He also noted that the construction will last for years, though some gaming features are missing.
Razer added an optical sensor to each switch on the Huntsman series. Similar to the light sensor on a mouse, it registers when you press that mechanical switch. You get the feel of a mechanical keyboard but at a much faster speed with the Razer Huntsman Elite.
Available in linear or clicky switches, the keyboard uses switches designed by Razer rather than a third-party key, like Cherry MX. Razer says the switch has a shorter actuation distance than other similar switches. That means you don’t need to press the keys hard or far. Though it’s a gaming keyboard, it’s also great for general typing, according to TechRadar.
Besides the speed and comfortable typing, the Huntsman Elite offers a full set of keys, including extra controls for media and a custom dial. It has custom macros and custom lighting and can save five user profiles, more if you plug in more memory. The keyboard is constructed with an aluminum top plate. It’s pricey, but you can get those fast switches in models with a smaller design and fewer features, such as the Huntsman Mini.
The best adjustable mechanical keyboard for gaming
The SteelSeries Apex Pro allows you to customize the sensitivity of individual keys, so you can make it fit your preferences.
Mechanical keyboards make it possible to find a key that works best with the way that you type, but the SteelSeries Apex Pro takes that one step further. The keyboard uses linear switches that have adjustable actuation points. That means you can change how hard you need to push each key before it registers, between 0.4mm and 3.6mm. If you tend to always accidentally bump a key, for example, you can turn the actuation way up. The keys you need to press the fastest, on the other hand, can be reduced to just a slight press.
After trying out the Apex Pro late last year, Insider’s Simon Hill said it “might just be the best gaming keyboard there is.” Besides the ability to customize the sensitivity of each key, the keyboard also integrates a small LCD screen and a clickable roller, along with the usual keys that you find on a full-size keyboard.
The Apex Pro is made from aluminum alloy. The USB connection has two ports. You’ll need both if you want to use the USB pass-through port that’s on the keyboard itself. It also includes a magnetic wrist rest, but we’ve tried models with more cushioning. Hill notes that the keycaps can develop grease build-up, while the keyboard surface tends to attract dust. But for gamers who want both a light, easy press and a firmer, harder key, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is hard to beat.
A full-sized keyboard doesn’t easily tuck into a laptop bag. The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 is a compact, 60% keyboard that still delivers the feel and durability of a high-end mechanical keyboard. Despite the smaller size, it still builds in RGB lighting, which the white swirls on the space key tend to pick up, too.
A 60% keyboard does away with the numpad like a tenkeyless but goes one step further and removes the arrow, function, and command keys to the right of the Enter key on a typical keyboard. These keyboards make up for those missing keys via shortcuts, so you’ll need to press two keys to hit an arrow key, for example.
We liked the feel of the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 while conducting tests for the best keyboards overall. While the 60% design isn’t for everyone, the smaller profile may be worth considering for gaming away from home or finding that perfect perched keyboard position.
How to choose a mechanical keyboard
Key type plays a big role in the overall feel of the keyboard in your hands. Mechanical keys come in three main types, Free Geek’s Tom Gilmore explains:
Linear switches are a simple switch type. When you press a key, a circuit is completed, which is what gets that signal to the computer.
Tactile switches add a bump to a linear switch. This creates tactile feedback so you can physically feel that the key has been fully pressed.
Clicky switches are tactile switches but with auditory feedback as well. As the name suggests, you get a louder click with this switch type.
There’s more than just the basic switch type. Different types of switches will also vary depending on the amount of pressure that you need to use them. This creates variety even among, say, two tactile switches. Pressure sensitivity is measured in grams (g) or centinewtons (cN). “A lighter key (say 45 cN) will be easier to press than a heavier key (60 cN), which can be beneficial for writers or others who type a lot,” Gilmore said. “The lower pressure allows for a faster keypress and less finger fatigue —yes, that is a real thing — for a more efficient workday. A heavier key, however, gives a lot more feedback to the typist and can make people feel more connected to their computer and the work that they are doing.”
Many companies use Cherry switches. Cherry MX has several colors with different feels. The MX Red is quiet without feeling any physical feedback, MX Brown is quiet but tactile, and MX Blue has both physical and auditory feedback. Some companies design their own switches. Some people will prefer one type of switch over another. If you have no idea what type of switch you want, a switch sample costs around $20 and lets you test the sound and feel of different types.
Outside of the keys, consider features like size and connectivity, and extras like a built-in wrist pad. “A built-in wrist pad keeps your wrist in a neutral position, not flexed or extended,” said Kevin Weaver, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy at New York University.
What we are currently testing
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT: With smooth typing and some gaming-focused macros, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT receives some good praise from the gaming community. It lacks the custom pressure keys and optical-mechanical design of the other $200 gaming keyboards on this list, however.
SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL: The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL is similar to the Apex Pro, but it uses standard mechanical switches and not customizable switches. It comes in the smaller tenkeyless design. If you don’t want the customization or numpad, you can save $70 and still get a great gaming keyboard.
Leopold FC900R: Recommended by Wirecutter, the Leopold FC900R has a lot of customization options for a full-sized keyboard. Reviewers also note the keyboard’s sturdy build.
Introduced to MacBooks in 2016, the Touch Bar is a small touchscreen located above the number keys on MacBook Pro keyboards.
The Touch Bar was built to replace the function keys – the numbered F1 through F12 keys that come standard on most keyboards. Despite this, the Touch Bar actually has a variety of features and tools that change depending on what app you’re using.
As of this writing, the Touch Bar is only available on 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. However, this might change in the future.
How to use a MacBook Touch Bar
As its name suggests, Apple’s Touch Bar is activated by touch, and as such responds to gestures like tapping, swiping, and sliding. You can use these gestures to adjust the brightness and volume, activate Siri, access function keys, and more depending on the app you’re using.
For example, if you’re checking your email, you’ll see actions to reply or flag emails on the Touch Bar. Image editing apps might let you trip or crop with a touch. And a calculator will display the standard adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing symbols.
Try using different apps and watch how the Touch Bar changes to match them.
This Apple Support page shows which buttons pop up when you select a file in Finder (including Preview and Share) and when you view a picture in the Photos app (including Rotate and a slider to quickly navigate through photos).
An advantage of the Touch Bar is its ability to customize which buttons appear. For app-specific functions, you can customize the buttons to include commonly used tasks. To change your Touch Bar’s settings, open System Preferences, select “Keyboard” and the “Keyboard” submenu afterward, then choose and adjust among the variety of customizable options available for the Touch Bar.
While the buttons located in the center of the Touch Bar will change depending on the app you’re using, the Control Strip, which is located on the right side, doesn’t change. Here, you’ll find buttons to activate Siri and adjust settings like brightness and volume. To expand the Control Strip, tap the left facing arrow button.
In the expanded view of the Control Strip, you can also adjust keyboard brightness, control video or music playback (with pause, play, rewind, and fast forward buttons), and more.
The function keys
Function keys (F1 to F12) are standard on most keyboards, meaning that you’ll likely still need them.
For Macs with a Touch Bar, the function keys are accessed via the Touch Bar. To find them, press and hold the Fn key or Globe key (whichever one you have) on your keyboard.
If this doesn’t work, go to your Mac’s keyboard preferences to ensure this shortcut is enabled. You can find your keyboard preferences in the “System Preferences” app.