If you often play games on your laptop, it is normal to wonder if your laptop’s keyboard is good for gaming and whether you should buy an external keyboard.
A common concern with using your laptop keyboard for gaming has to do with how gaming affects its lifespan. Other concerns are to do with how much gaming on your laptop keyboard affects your response times, 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 delicate membrane keyboards that are not built to withstand the stresses of gaming, such as repeated, and sometimes forceful pressing of certain keys.
Normal laptop keyboards are designed for light tasks such as typing and scrolling which do not require frequent or repetitive pressing of keys. When normal laptops keyboards are used for gaming, the possibility of early damage increases.
Gaming laptop keyboards are good for gaming because they are specially designed to take a tremendous amount of punishment from regular gamers.
In fact, a few high-end gaming laptops such as the Razer Blade Pro 17, MSI GT83 Titan, and Gigabyte’s Aorus 17 have mechanical keyboards which are much tougher than membrane keyboards.
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
Gaming laptop keyboards don’t get easily damaged from intense gaming because they are specially built for that exact purpose. They are more durable, tactile, responsive, and have RGB backlighting that enables gamers to assign specific colors to certain keys for easy spotting even in low-lit environments.
Should I Buy An External Gaming Keyboard For My Laptop?
You should buy 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 mouse, an external 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 often game for extended periods of time without taking breaks, which is often the case with competitive gaming.
Replacing external gaming keyboards is also much easier than replacing built-in laptop keyboards since you don’t have to be brand or model specific. You have the freedom to choose any type of keyboard as long as it connects to your PC 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 which makes 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 a laptop as long as the laptop has a USB port. The USB port allows you to connect an external keyboard 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 because keyboards are not processor, memory or graphics card demanding. Gaming performance will only be affected if you are playing games on a laptop with very low specs.
Most gaming laptops can maintain high performance even with multiple peripherals attached. For example, besides a gaming keyboard, you can have a gaming mouse, gaming headphones, and a laptop cooler plugged in and not experience any significant drop in performance.
However, devices such as external monitors can cause a significant drop in performance if your laptop is not powerful enough because they engage 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 keyboard software drivers will be automatically installed.
This software is responsible for telling the Operating System (OS) how to work and pair with the new hardware.
Also note that since wireless keyboards don’t have any physical connection to your laptop, they need batteries to power them. Normally, you’ll need to remove the cover at the bottom of the keyboard and insert two AA size batteries.
Make sure you match the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals as per the directions when inserting batteries. If your keyboard has an on/off button or switch, turn it on and once the drivers have finished installing it should be ready to use.
Some keyboards come with rechargeable batteries which you’ll need to recharge every time they get drained.
Conclusion- Are Laptop Keyboards Good For Gaming
With the exception of gaming laptop keyboards, a typical laptop keyboard is delicate which makes it less than ideal for gaming. It is therefore worth buying a separate keyboard to use with your laptop if you plan on playing games regularly.
An external keyboard gives you lots of options to choose from and is much easier to replace in case of damage than a laptop keyboard. 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 touchpad. This is especially true when playing FPS games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and PUBG where accuracy is crucial.