Best gaming keyboard for Dota 2
Recently, a reddit sub turned into this raging debate about the Best gaming keyboard for Dota 2. On one side, there were the pseudo-experts out to trash every theory or suggestion made by some of the guys who live, eat and breathe Dota 2. That includes me by the way.
And on the other, a bunch of us were trying to dole out some honest and unbiased information. Guess the hostility of the game has leeched into everything related to it.
My first stint with Dota 2 was way back in 2014 and I didn’t know shit about the game back then. After countless tutorials, training sessions and watching pros go at it for what seemed like a time warp, I have finally figured out enough to keep me alive in the game.
Coming back to the debate, it’s what prompted me to write this blog post in the first place.
Most of the expert comments mentioned that buying the best gaming keyboard for Dota 2 2 is worthless because it isn’t going to improve your skills.
Whoever buys keyboards hoping that they are going to go from noob to pro overnight? Nobody!
I repeat, nobody buys gaming keyboards to improve their skills. Instead, the idea is to have a keyboard that gives a better tactile response, keys that don’t die on you after a few weeks of endless pounding. People look for keyboards that they can tuck into their backpacks and carry for LAN parties.
There are many reasons why someone would want a new keyboard for Dota 2.
Irrespective of whether you are a noob or an expert, if you were looking for the best gaming keyboard for Dota 2, then here are my picks.
Razer a16 Black Widow
CM Storm QuickFire
#1 - Razer a16 Black Widow Tournament Edition
Anyone worth their salt in gaming will suggest that to go for a mechanical keyboard over anything else. The Razer Black Widow a16 is one of the best mechanical keyboards in the market.
This is a successor to one of the most popular gaming keyboards of all times, the Razer Black Widow Ultimate. And it is a worthy one at that. Razer has redesigned it from the ground up. Among the new features are a revamped set of mechanical keys for better tactile response and customizable backlighting which adds to the ambience created by the game.
The A16 measures an extremely compact 14.4 inches x 6.06 inches and weighs a feeble 2.1 pounds which makes it an excellent choice to lug around for tourneys and LAN parties. This can easily fit into your laptop backpack. But Razer also throws in a dedicated carry case in the package.
The customization is clearly one of the standout features of the A16. When you plug-in the keyboard, a wave of colors passes across it. You can choose to keep this default setting or customize it by selecting specific colors for specific keys.
The tactile response is top notch. The Black Widow A16 Chroma edition uses Razer’s own mechanical switches which have a faster actuation time as compared to the old Cherry MX switches that they used in earlier models. Also, these switches have an increased lifespan (60 million keystrokes). The actuation time in particular, makes a significant difference in an intense game like Dota 2.
The only possible downside is the lack of a dedicated numerical keypad. For Dota 2, that’s not going to make a difference. But if you also intend to use it for strategy games, this limits your ability to set macros.
Instead, there’s a dedicated macro key for on-the-go recording. Just press it once to start recording your macro and repress it to stop. It’s that simple. The numerical keys double up with other functions like volume, gaming mode (a mode that deactivates unwanted keys like Windows, Alt and Tab which can otherwise interrupt with your gaming) and 10-keys rollover for anti ghosting.
· Lightweight, compact design
· Razer Mechanical switches with shorter actuation
· Custom backlighting with 16.8 million color options
· Dedicated macro key
Why I like it: This is a hardcore gamers’ keyboard. It is portable, it is fast and it can take some pounding. In a tournament, this can give you the edge that you desire which makes it perfect for Dota 2.
#2 - Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The STRAFE mechanical keyboard from Corsair is often pegged as the budget-priced choice for gaming enthusiasts. It has a cheaper price tag as compared to the K Series keyboards from Corsair. But the good part is that there is no tradeoff in quality or performance.
It uses the Cherry MX mechanical switches which is an industry standard for gaming mechanical keyboards. The actuation time is not as fast as the Razer Black Widow. But the keys have an excellent responsive feedback with a clear click. Also, the standard features like anti-ghosting and full-key rollover are thrown in.
The Strafe has individually backlit keys. But the backlighting is limited to red color. However, unless you are all hung up over multiple colors for the backlight, which is only a minor flaw in an otherwise impeccable package. If you use the Utility Engine software from Corsair, then you can customize the lighting effects for the backlight. The possibilities are endless with this. And there’s also six preset effects like a wave pattern, a ripple effect and a scattered rain effect among others.
The software also allows you to customize each individual key on the keyboard and record macros. Unlike some of the earlier models from Corsair, dedicated macro keys are missing from the Strafe. Instead, there are two dedicated keys for altering the brightness and activating the gaming mode.
At 17.63 by 6.69 inches, it is not exactly a super-compact keyboard. It weighs approximately 3 pounds. It can fit into your backpack or laptop bag though. Also lacking is a wrist-rest which can result in some extra strain on your hands especially if you spend hours clacking away on the keyboard.
· Budget-priced mechanical keyboard from Corsair
· Uses Cherry MX mechanical switches
· Individually backlit keys
· Variety of custom lighting effects
· Individually customizable keys
· Can record macros
Why I like it: Unlike a typical gaming keyboard, the Strafe can easily be used for everyday tasks like typing. This clubbed with the excellent mechanical switches and customization possibilities make it a great choice for the Dota 2.
#3 - CM Storm QuickFire TK
Some people wouldn’t be caught dead with a keyboard that does not contain a numerical keypad. But with desk spaces getting limited and portability becoming the key to enjoy tournaments, a tenkeyless keyboard can be a better choice in many situations.
The Quickfire TK is available in a choice of almost all the popularly used Cherry MX switches. You can pick the Cherry MX Brown which has a slight bouncy response to a key press or choose the Red which is noticeably softer. Irrespective of which one you choose, the typing experience is smooth and uninterrupted. There are no lags or jitters in the game and it is not overly noisy either.
The CM Storm Quickfire TK is one of the most compact keyboards for gaming. It measures just 14.1 x 5.4 inches and weighs a touch above 2 pounds. This one will fit even on the most space-constrained table.
The keys have a white backlight which is a refreshing change from the multicolored backlighting that is widely used. You have the option to alter the brightness as well as customize the illumination. You can select from a solid light, a pulsating light or choose to illuminate a key only after it is pressed.
There are no dedicated macro keys or software to customize the macro functionality. Instead, there is an option to store and save up to four profiles which you can switch on-the-go. Another unique feature is the option to set a key to repeat between two to eight times. However, none of these features quite make up for the lack of macros.
· Extremely compact keyboard
· White backlight
· Multiple illumination choices
· Cherry MX mechanical switches
· Smooth typing without jitters or lags
Why I like it: The QuickFire TK is almost custom designed for the Dota 2. It is simple but very effective. Also, it is portable. It does lack some of the bells and whistles of the other models in this list of the best gaming keyboard for DoTa 2. But it provides an error free gaming and typing experience, which is what matters in the end.
#4 - Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The G710+ is hands down, the best gaming keyboard for Dota 2 in this list. It is crammed with practical features, many of which enhance your gaming experience and give you better control irrespective of the type of game you play.
At the onset, let me speak about the backlighting control. The G710+ has two independent lighting zones, one for the WASD and Arrow keys and the other for the remaining keyboard. You can choose from five different brightness levels for each zone. If you want just the arrow keys to be backlit in low lighting, you can switch off the lighting for the rest of the keys and illuminate the arrow keys.
The key layout is flawless. There are six dedicated macro keys, each one of which can store three different macros. It is easy to toggle between them on-the-go too. There are dedicated media control buttons for play, stop, skip (forward and back), volume control, mute and gaming mode.
The G710+ uses Cherry MX Brown switches which have a springy response to a key press. But the keys are surprisingly quiet thanks to the sound dampening ring and give you error free typing. For those frantic heart-in-your-mouth moments when you go bazooka on the keyboard, there’s 110-key antighosting and 26-key rollover. Also, there’s a detachable wrist rest for those intense day-long gaming sessions.
The keyboard does have a very stiff cord and uses two USB ports to hook up to your PC. On the upside, there’s a USB pass-through that allows you to attach a headset or any similar peripheral to the keyboard.
· Full sized keyboard that is packed with features
· Customizable macro keys
· Dedicated media keys
· Cherry MX brown mechanical switches
· USB pass through
· 110-key antighosting and 26-key rollover
Why I like it: You cannot hate Logitech’s gaming keyboards. The G710+ is one of their flagship offerings. It is fast, programmable and designed for an uninterrupted gaming experience.
#5 - SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
I’ll end this list of the best gaming keyboard for Dota 2 with one for the ‘keyboard-slammers’. If you are a complete newbie to Dota 2, there will be a lot of those moments when you want to slam your fists on the poor keyboard or rip your hair out in frustration.
This beast of a mechanical gaming keyboard will keep you covered.
This is the SteelSeries 6GV2 which is one of the most durable and heavy gaming keyboards in the market. It uses the Cherry MX Black key switches which demand a heavy actuation time. In simple terms, if you like to clack hard on the keys, then this is the keyboard you need.
Other than the extremely durable build, there is very little on offer here. It does not have backlighting or dedicated macro keys or feet to adjust the angle. The keyboard layout is slightly unconventional too which may take some getting used to.
The left windows key is replaced by a key with a SteelSeries-logo that doubles up as a function modifier key. So, you can switch from normal to dedicated media control keys. If you use the left windows key for shortcuts, then it can be a tad cumbersome to use the one on the right instead.
Also, the | key is positioned adjacent to the right shift key.
Having said that, these minor quibbles cannot be considered deal breakers, especially if you are looking for a keyboard that can take a pounding.
· Incredibly durable keyboard
· Cherry MX Black mechanical switches
· Compact sized
· Full antighosting (with a PS/2 adapter)
Why I like it: The SteelSeries 6GV2 is a minimalistic gaming keyboard especially when you compare it with the fancy ones like the Logitech G710+. But the build quality makes it incomparable to any other model.
That sums it up fellow Dota 2 enthusiasts! If you want to add something to this or have your own favorite Dota 2 clacker, then I’d love to hear about it. Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section. Until next time, adios!