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Unlock the Power of Macros with These Gaming Keyboards

  • Post published:August 4, 2022
  • Post category:HOW TO

Keyboards with devoted macro keys can streamline your enhancing workflow. Take into account these keyboard choices and save time in your subsequent edit.

The keyboard is so important to on a regular basis life—particularly for these whose work includes sitting in entrance of a pc—that it typically goes unnoticed. With only a keystroke or two, you possibly can open a brand new program, implement results on Premiere Professional, or create a brand new file from a template on different enhancing software program.

Recording macros is comparatively simple, as long as you’ve the fitting software program. When you document your most-used duties, you possibly can sit again because the macro does the be just right for you. You don’t precisely want a particular keyboard, however a couple of keyboards with devoted macro keys and built-in software program make the expertise way more accessible.

For those who’re the kind of one that can memorize over a dozen hotkey and macro shortcuts, then, by all means, proceed utilizing your keyboard. However, have a look under if you wish to know what else is on the market.

Costly with the Most Options: Corsair K100 RGB

The Corsair model is a longstanding staple within the PC business, identified for its RAM modules, SSDs, and peripherals. The model has lengthy marketed its wares to the online game phase of PC fans, however their keyboards are completely able to serving a number of features.

Corsair’s high-end keyboards characteristic high quality elements, and Corsair’s iCUE software program makes it simple to customise any peripheral made by the corporate.

Whereas Corsair makes a number of keyboards under the $100 mark, the Corsair K100 RGB is their flagship keyboard. It’s, after all (this could go with out saying), additionally their costliest.

Constructed from anodized brushed aluminum, the body is sturdy and funky to the contact whereas additionally extending a classy look to the general design. The K100 additionally brings a fully-programmable multi-function management wheel to make use of for something you might want it for.

For those who can’t stand the over-the-top gamer RGB lights, you possibly can shut them off by way of the software program. The keyboard has fully-programmable per-key RGB lighting, PBT double-shot shine-through keycaps, and 6 macro keys—double-shot keys have legends that by no means fade away.

There are two choices for switches within the K100, Cherry MX Silver, their quickest mechanical change at 3.4mm whole journey and solely requires 45grams of precise pressure to activate.

The opposite choice is Corsair’s personal OPX optical switches with simply 1.0mm actuation distance. Both choice you select, it’s a really responsive and satisfying keyboard to make use of.

Corsair's K100 RGB keyboard
Corsair’s K100 RGB. Picture by way of Consair.

The six macro keys are customizable by way of Corsair’s iCUE software program or Elgato’s Stream Deck software program (Corsair bought Elgato again in 2018). Recording a macro is straightforward on iCUE, and there are a selection of user-friendly settings.

The macros you create will depend upon the software program, so it’s onerous to supply any particular recommendation. However, consider all of the duties you continuously repeat and might eliminate utilizing macros. Utilizing macros will solely make your workflow quicker, and also you gained’t need to cope with mundane, repetitive duties anymore.

The K100 is backside line, among the finest pre-built keyboards with devoted macro keys obtainable. It has high-quality elements, terrific software program, and a good {hardware} firm makes it.

I personal the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2, which is an identical mannequin sans the macro keys. So, I do know simply how good these keyboards are. The K100 RGB retails for $229. It’s costly, but it surely doesn’t get significantly better until you construct it your self.

Most Bang for Your Buck: Corsair K55/K57

To the bare eye, the Corsair K55 RGB keyboard appears to be like much like the flagship K95. However, there are important variations—to not point out the worth distinction of $150.

To be clear, the K55 and K57 are virtually equivalent besides that the K57 is wi-fi.

Consair's K57 wireless gaming keyboard
Whereas the K55/K57 might look much like the K95, they’re nothing alike. Nevertheless, it’s not unhealthy for $50-$80, particularly because it has devoted macro keys. Picture by way of Corsair.

Essentially the most important distinction is that this keyboard isn’t constructed from aluminum. As a substitute, Corsair makes the body from onerous plastic. This keyboard additionally opts for rubber dome key switches as a substitute of mechanical ones. This offers every keystroke a squishy really feel that may be off-putting when you’re used to typing on a mechanical keyboard. Additionally, the RGB LED lights will not be nearly as good, and fewer of them result in dim lighting.

To recap, it is a cheaply-made keyboard that appears rather a lot like its huge brother, however acts nothing prefer it. Nevertheless, it nonetheless maintains the identical performance for the macros, which is why we’re right here.

For $50-$80, you would do a lot, a lot worse. The K57 prices barely extra ($80) due to its wi-fi performance. As a starter keyboard, it’s not unhealthy. Plus, you possibly can nonetheless use the iCUE software program to create macros and switch off the RGB lighting.

Greatest-Wanting: Logitech G815 Orion Spark

Technically, the Logitech G815 Orion Spark—any more known as the G815 as a result of it’s such a mouthful—is a mechanical keyboard, but it surely appears to be like nothing like its contemporaries.

For one, it is a low-profile keyboard that resembles Apple’s keyboard choices. Which means it’s smooth, aesthetically pleasing, and skinny. Nevertheless, in contrast to Apple’s keyboard, the G815 makes use of Logitech’s proprietary GL low-profile key switches, sustaining that mechanical keyboard really feel with out the added bulk (typing on Apple’s keyboard typically appears like tapping on cardboard, in my view).

The G815 is available in three low-profile key change choices—brown (tactile), crimson (linear), and white (clicky). Low-profile mechanical switches are the rationale why this board is so slim.

Aside from the looks, some customers might want the texture of the low-profile switches, as a result of they’ve a shorter journey distance that may improve typing pace and decrease wrist fatigue.

The G815 is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, makes use of RGB lighting, has devoted media controls, and 5 macro keys. With Logitech’s G Hub software program, customers can create macros and as much as three totally different profiles, totaling fifteen macro keys.

Logitech markets the macro keys, referred to of their advertising as G-Keys, for gaming and streaming use. However, like all the opposite choices on this listing, the G-Keys have extra advantages exterior of gaming.

Logitech's G815 Orion Spark keyboard
The G815 could also be skinny, but it surely’s nonetheless a formidable mechanical keyboard, with devoted macro keys and a smooth aluminum construct. Picture by way of Logitech.

Logitech sells a wi-fi model of this keyboard—the G915—for $250 extra, which is $70 costlier than the G815. By far, that is the best-looking keyboard of the bunch.

Regardless that it’s primarily a gaming keyboard, it wouldn’t look misplaced in an workplace or different skilled setting.

The Darkish Horse: Durgod Hades

Whereas Corsair is a legacy gaming model with many years of peripheral-making expertise, Durgod is a newcomer. The Zhuhai, a China-based firm, earned the love of mechanical keyboard fans as a result of their keyboards are constructed from high quality elements—not typically seen in different keyboards—plus, they appear nice.

A fast Amazon search will current you with Durgod’s small choice. I like to recommend the Hades, which is a small sixty-eight key keyboard. This sort of keyboard is named a sixty-five p.c keyboard, or ten-keyless (TKL) due to the lacking quantity pad.

The Durgod Hades’ housing is constructed from sturdy aluminum, and it has colourful RGB LED lights that mild up every key. It’s simple to dim or shut the lights off. The legends on the keys are double-shot, a course of that mixes two items of plastic to supply keys with legends that by no means fade or put on off.

When selecting key switches, there’s a myriad of choices to choose from, with manufacturers akin to Cherry MX, Kailh, and Gateron. I received my board with Kailh Field Jade key switches, making a loud clicking noise requiring a excessive actuation pressure. It appears like typing on a typewriter.

Eschewing the quantity pad, perform row, and different keys, the Hades keyboard has a small footprint and solely has the important keys. Nevertheless, there are two distinct perform keys to the fitting of the house bar that apply layers to the board, so you continue to have entry to media controls and different keys.

You’ll be able to apply a 3rd layer by holding down each perform keys. For instance, I exploit the third layer for particular hotkeys, whereas I reserved the primary two layers for media controls, lighting controls, and keys such because the perform row (F1-F12), print display screen, and Home windows-key lock.

Even higher, customers can change between three distinct profiles simply, so there’s much more room for tweaking and customization.

Screenshot of how to download Hades
Because of the Hera Compiler software program, any key on this board generally is a macro key. The Durgod Hades is smaller than the opposite keyboards on this listing, however the FN1 and FN2 keys can immediately apply three totally different layers. Picture by way of Durgod.

Right here’s the perfect half, although: The Hera Compiler, Durgod’s keyboard configuration software program, permits customers to tweak lighting hotkeys and create macros that they will shortly entry by means of the perform keys.

Macros have by no means been part of my day by day use, however I gave it a shot, and I’m slowly counting on them increasingly more. I created one Macro that opened the gaming platform Steam, and I made one other one which put my laptop to sleep.

Hera Compiler data your keystrokes, mouse clicks, and delays with the recording characteristic. Delays could be tweaked by the millisecond.

For $120, the Durgod Hades is my private favourite (full disclaimer, I personal 4 mechanical keyboards). For a lot of mechanical keyboard fans, it is a strong keeb—shorthand for keyboard—that holds its personal towards costlier fashions. It’s small, has many options at a wonderful value level, and the minimalist software program is intuitive and uncomplicated.

Due to all the explanations I simply talked about, this keyboard is my present day by day driver.

Not a Keyboard, however Nice for Shortcuts/Hotkeys: Elgato Stream Deck Mark II, XL, and Mini

Stream Deck MK. II interface
Stream Deck MK. II. Picture by way of Elgato.

Because the authentic Steam deck hit again in 2017, Elgato has revised the basic with the MK II and has added two new additions—the Stream Deck XL and the Stream Deck Mini.

The MK II ($149) has added some welcomed adjustments, like a removable USB-C cable, tactile keys, brighter LCD panel, OBS/Twitch integration, configurable faceplates (though, that is an add-on however a wonderful addition for anybody who needs a customized wanting Stream deck), and a much-improved high quality within the construct and stand of the machine.

For those who want extra buttons, Elgato has one thing for you, the Stream Deck XL. That is excellent with thirty-two programmable keys when you suppose the unique fifteen keys weren’t sufficient, although it comes with a hefty $100 improve over the usual deck.

Screenshot of Elgato's Stream Deck XL
The Steam Deck XL. Picture by way of Elgato.

For those who solely want one thing small in your deck, why not strive the Stream Deck Mini.

Screenshot of Elgato's Stream Deck Mini
The Stream Deck Mini. Picture by way of Elgato.

This cute-looking machine is simply six keys and might slot in any gaps in your desk. It’s cheaper than shopping for a normal deck, however at $100, it’s onerous to justify the worth when you would get a normal deck for $150, which provides 9 keys.

On the r/ElgatoGaming Reddit web page, a number of Redditors reward the Stream Deck for its compatibility with Adobe software program. One person created Photoshop shortcuts on the Stream Deck whereas adding custom tool images for each key.

One other Redditor in r/Editor posted his Premiere Pro setup for the Stream Deck, and it’s genius. Some buttons open apps, whereas others apply results or activate shortcuts.

It doesn’t matter what software program you’re utilizing to edit. You’ll be able to create customized hotkeys by means of Elgato’s software program and shave valuable day without work your edits.

Elgato has no official assist for enhancing software program, however that’s not a difficulty. Creating a brand new shortcut for any software program is easy. Nevertheless, you might want to go searching for the fitting key icon or design one your self. For those who can’t stand to have a look at clean keys, strive discovering the fitting icon within Shutterstock, which has tons of unique logos and designs.

A Temporary Information on Key Switches

Cherry—a German firm, specializing in making laptop peripherals—manufactures Cherry MX key switches. These are by far the most well-liked key switches.

Since Cherry’s patent ran out a very long time in the past, many firms now make Cherry MX clones or lookalikes. Most of them even adhere to Cherry’s design and color-coding system.

The Cherry MX is the golden customary for key switches, and most rivals are spinoff of Cherry MX switches.

The Cherry MX key switch
When disassembled, that is what a Cherry MX key change appears to be like like. When the stem (crimson half) is pushed down onto the contact (steel half) by the important thing, it actuates and registers a keystroke. Picture by way of Cherry.

Pink switches are quick and linear, that means they go straight down with no resistance and have a easy really feel. Velocity Silver switches are much like Reds, however they’re a lot quicker and smoother. They principally seem in Corsair keyboards.

Browns are tactile switches which have a definite bump on the downstroke. Typists like these as a result of they really feel extra responsive—these are my favorites.

Blue switches are click-y and make an audible sound when pressed, and have a slight tactile bump that’s not as noticeable as Browns.

For gaming, Reds and Velocity Silvers are really useful. They’re additionally greatest for workplace use since they’re a lot quieter than different choices.

Browns are seen as general-purpose key switches—they’re not the quickest, however they’re additionally not the loudest, and so they really feel nice when typing.

Lastly, when you work intently with others, Blues are greatest reserved for house use solely as a result of they’re loud.

If you wish to get a really feel for every change earlier than committing to an costly keyboard, you should purchase a key switch tester that comes with the most-popular switches.

Want extra gear-talk? We’ve received you lined:

Cowl picture by way of ozrimoz.

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