If you are planning on playing games on your laptop, you may wonder if your laptop’s keyboard is good for gaming or whether you should buy an external keyboard instead.
A common concern with using your laptop keyboard for gaming has to do with how gaming might affect its lifespan. You may also be concerned about how much gaming using your laptop’s in-built keyboard affects your response time, ergonomics, and overall gaming performance.
So, is a laptop keyboard good for gaming?
Well, it depends on your preference as well as the type of keyboard installed on your laptop.
Most laptop keyboards, with the exception of gaming laptop keyboards, are not good for gaming because they use membrane keyboards that are not built to withstand the stresses of heavy gaming, such as repeated, and sometimes forceful pressing and holding of certain keys.
Normal laptop keyboards are designed for everyday tasks such as typing and scrolling which do not require forceful or repetitive pressing of keys. When ordinary laptop keyboards are used for regular gaming, there is a high possibility for them to get damaged.
Gaming laptop keyboards are good for gaming because they are specially designed to absorb a lot of punishment from aggressive gamers without failing.
In fact, a few high-end gaming laptops such as the Razer Blade Pro 17, MSI GT83 Titan, and Gigabyte’s Aorus 17 have built-in mechanical keyboards which are more durable than membrane keyboards used in regular laptops.
Besides durability, mechanical keyboards have shorter response times and are more tactile than membrane keyboards. They also produce a clicky sound and sensation when pressed which provides feedback that lets the user know that an input has been registered.
Does Gaming Damage A Laptop’s Keyboard?
Most laptop keyboards get damaged from gaming because they are not designed to withstand forceful and repetitive pressing. How long a laptop keyboard lasts before it suffers damage depends on its quality, how often it is used, and the amount of force applied when pressing keys.
When laptop keyboards get damaged, you may experience all kinds of problems including:
- Keys falling out
- Keys getting stuck after being pressed
- Some keys work while others fail to register
Should You Buy An External Gaming Keyboard For Your Laptop?
You should consider buying a gaming keyboard if you find that the keyboard that came with your laptop isn’t as comfortable as you’d want or if you are looking to enhance ergonomics and performance. An external mechanical keyboard can provide faster response times and better feedback than a typical laptop keyboard.
When combined with a gaming mouse, an external gaming keyboard allows you to sit farther away from the screen so that you don’t have to maintain a slouched position during long gaming sessions. You can lean back comfortably on your gaming chair, relax your back, and make full use of your peripheral view.
Slouching can negatively affect your posture, especially if you game for extended periods of time without taking breaks, which is often the case with competitive gaming.
Replacing external gaming keyboards is much easier than replacing built-in laptop keyboards since you don’t have to be brand or model specific. You can choose any gaming keyboard of your choice as long as it connects to your laptop via USB.
Most gamers opt for mechanical keyboards because, besides the above-mentioned advantages, they offer a variety of switch types such as Cherry MX series and Omron switches that can be customized to suit your gaming or typing needs.
In addition, mechanical keyboards are heavier than membrane keyboards, making them sturdier when placed on a desk.
The downside to buying an external keyboard is the added cost, less portability, and in the case of mechanical keyboards, they are louder than membrane keyboards.
Can You Use A Gaming Keyboard With A Laptop?
You can use a gaming keyboard with any laptop as long as the laptop has a USB port. The USB port allows you to connect an external keyboard via cable or wirelessly, using a Bluetooth dongle, or directly using a USB cable.
Does Using An External Gaming Keyboard Reduce Laptop Performance?
Connecting an external gaming keyboard will not have any significant effect on your laptop’s performance since it is not processor, memory, or graphics card demanding.
Most gaming laptops can maintain high performance even with multiple peripherals attached. For example, besides a gaming keyboard, you can have a gaming mouse, headphones, and a laptop cooler plugged in and not experience any significant drop in performance.
However, devices such as external monitors can significantly affect performance if your gaming laptop is not powerful enough because their high resolution engages both the CPU and GPU.
How To Connect A Gaming Keyboard To A Laptop
External gaming keyboards can either be wired or wireless. Wired external keyboards connect to your laptop through a USB cable and are powered by your laptop. Connecting wired keyboards is quite easy; take the keyboard USB cable and plug it into your laptop’s USB port.
Wireless external keyboards use infrared (IR), or Radio-Frequency (RF) such as Bluetooth to connect to your laptop. Regardless of the technology, they come with a receiver (also known as a USB adapter/dongle) that resembles a flash drive.
To connect a wireless keyboard, you’ll need to plug in the receiver to your laptop’s USB port. Once the receiver is connected, the gaming keyboard software drivers will automatically be installed and the keyboard will pair with your laptop.
Also note that since wireless keyboards don’t have any physical connection to your laptop, they require rechargeable or replaceable batteries to power them.
With the exception of gaming laptop keyboards, a normal laptop keyboard is delicate which makes it less deal for gaming. It is therefore worth buying a separate keyboard to use with your laptop if you plan on playing games regularly.
Compared to a built-in laptop keyboard, an external keyboard gives you lots of options to choose from and is much easier to replace in case of damage. And when combined with a gaming mouse, an external gaming keyboard will improve your posture and you can game for longer hours without suffering back pain.
Buying a gaming mouse will also improve your gaming experience as well because it offers better precision than a laptop’s touchpad. This is especially true when playing FPS games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and PUBG where accuracy is crucial.