With the ever increasing number of recreational and even professional gamers nowadays, there are more accessories than ever designed specifically for this purpose. The truth is, whether you are a gamer or not, you can find a great use for gaming products.
Maybe you work in an office or as a programmer and spend most of the day at the computer. If you try a gaming mouse or keyboard, which is what this article will focus on, you’ll probably find that it is much more comfortable than a conventional one. That is because gaming peripherals are generally designed with great attention to detail and have excellent build quality, giving them a long lifespan.
And now we have to talk about pricing. If you take gaming keyboards, you’ll soon realize that they can be extremely expensive, especially because of the mechanical switches used for each key. Luckily, you can also find some cheaper alternatives that don’t compromise too much on the quality. Let’s look at three of the best gaming keyboards priced below $50.
We’ll start with the Redragon K552. This keyboard boasts an impressive quality for its price and is probably one of the best with regard to value for the money.
The design is tenkeyless, which means it does not have a numeric keypad. This isn’t necessarily bad, it all depends on personal preference. You may prefer the compact design to save some space on your desk, or you may miss the number keys if they are a thing you regularly use.
Build quality is great, thanks to a metal body and ABS plastic keys. The keys are actually mechanical, which, again, is impressive given the price tag. The switches are a cheaper version of the Cherry MX Blue switch, but they retain that clicky feel of the original and are a joy to use. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Redragon still managed to include red backlighting in the keyboard. The backlight is adjustable, and we found it can be set to a clearly visible tone without being too bright.
There are no dedicated macro or multimedia keys, although you get some additional functions through the “Fn” key. It also does not include a wrist rest.
All in all, the K552 is a great keyboard with solid build quality. It is arguably missing some details, and it does not have a numeric keypad, but it is a compact product with a nice feel to it, and for the price, you couldn’t ask for much more.
Next up is the G105 by Logitech. This company has gotten us used to good all-around peripherals, and the G105 is no exception.
Firstly, we should start by saying that this is not a mechanical keyboard like the K552, but actually a membrane keyboard. However, the keys have a nice feel to them and come with the advantage of operating more quietly than mechanical keys, especially really clicky ones like the keys on the MX Blues. As a nice detail for gamers, the WASD and arrow keys are colored differently so you can quickly adjust the position of your hands.
Design-wise, this is not the prettiest of keyboards, and with a plastic body, it misses the premium feel of other devices. However, it does have its perks. It is a full-size keyboard, so it has a numerical keypad. You also get 6 programmable macro keys, which, combined with 3 selection keys, allow you to record a total of 18 combinations through the MR key.
Two more keys are dedicated to specific functions. The first one toggles the gaming mode on or off, which basically disables the Windows key. The other button controls the blue LED backlight and allows you to switch between the three settings: Off, Low and High. The backlight itself is not the brightest we’ve seen, but the High setting should be enough for you to clearly identify the keys in low light conditions.
You also get some additional multimedia functions in the Fn key like on the K552. Overall, this keyboard does not have the most premium feel but it is packed with features and should be enough for most of your gaming needs.
And last, but not least, we have the Corsair K55. While it does not have the polished finish of some of the company’s high-end products, it retains that classy and solid feel that Corsair delivers so well.
Like the G105, the K55 is also not a mechanical keyboard, Corsair having opted instead for the more economic membrane keys. Having said that, this is, in fact, one of the best membrane keyboards we’ve tried. It does not feel mushy like lots of other keyboards, but instead, has a rewarding feel that almost makes it seem mechanical. Plus, it is more silent than a mechanical one, as is usually the case with membrane keyboards.
It is also a full-size keyboard with a numerical keypad but this one looks amazing. Although it has a plastic body, it shares the nice classic lines of other Corsair keyboards and feels sturdy overall.
The backlighting on the K55 is clearly the best among the competition. This is RGB lighting divided into three zones and 10 modes. This allows you to set a static or dynamic backlight, with either one or several colors.
Best of all, you need no software for this keyboard. All the backlight modes can be adjusted by using the Fn and the numbered keys. On the top of the keyboard, you also have a dedicated key to turn the backlight on or off.
Next, to this key, you have one key to toggle the gaming mode, which, as we’ve seen, disables the Windows key. You also get an MR key to record a maximum of 6 macros and associate them with the 6 dedicated macro keys.
Finally, there are also 6 buttons on the top right corner which allow you to control the volume and multimedia playback. And to top it all off, the K55 comes with a detachable wrist rest. While it is not rubberized, it should provide some extra comfort for long sessions, and if you don’t like it, you can always remove it.
We’ve reviewed three excellent gaming keyboards under $50. But while all of them have great quality, our top pick is the Corsair K55. The membrane keys are silent and yet have an excellent, tactile feel. Furthermore, the RGB backlight gives you a lot of customization while the wrist rest provides extra comfort.
Our second choice is probably the Redragon K552. This compact keyboard managed to include mechanical keys in the design which is an incredible feat for the price.
Finally, with the Logitech G105, you get a great all-around keyboard, although it is just not as strong as its adversaries in some aspect.