Are Laptop Keyboards Good for Gaming?

More and more people are starting to look into the idea of portable gaming. This isn’t a surprise, really. A lot of the laptops on the market nowadays can pack a real punch when it comes to gaming. As a result, a lot of people do wonder whether the keyboards on these laptops are going to live up to the rigors of gaming. Let us answer that question for you. 

So, are laptop keyboards good for gaming?

No, laptop keyboards tend to be a little bit too soft and far too close together to make them effective for gaming. Additionally, Laptop keyboards often lack some of the features that gamers desire such as shortcuts, additional keys, macro functionality, and a faster response time.

We do want to go into this in a little bit more depth with you. This is because there are some laptops that have keyboards that are decent enough to game on. There may also be options available if your laptop keyboard is not good enough. 

Are Laptop Keyboards Good for Gaming? 

Mostly, no. In recent years, companies have started to introduce gaming laptops with mechanical keyboards. These are going to be fine for gaming. The problem is that at the moment they are prohibitively expensive.  

Now, don’t get us wrong. You should be fine with a standard laptop keyboard if the games that you are playing don’t involve that much in the way of keyboard pressing. If you only ever play games using a gamepad, for instance, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about the quality of the keyboard. 

For most gamers, however, the average laptop keyboard probably wouldn’t be able to put up with the rigors of gaming, and there are a few reasons for this.  

Soft keys 

Laptop keys tend to be soft. Now, of course, soft keys are more likely to become damaged. We have read ‘horror stories’ of people gaming on a laptop keyboard for a couple of years. At the end of it, they have severe pitting on the keys. Some are falling off. Some no longer work. 

However, there is a bigger problem than this. Well, at least when you start using a laptop keyboard. 

Soft keys aren’t quite as responsive. One of the perks of using a mechanical keyboard is that you get that satisfying ‘click’ knowing that you have hit a button. You don’t get that with your average laptop keyboard. There is no response. You don’t know whether your button press has been registered. Nothing. 

This may not be a problem for everybody, but most gamers tend to hate ‘soft’ keys on a keyboard. 

Key spacing 

Laptops are designed to save space. They try and cram as much as they can into the smallest size possible. After all, you need a laptop to be portable. 

The keyboard suffers here. While the keyboard will include roughly the same keys that you would find on a normal keyboard, everything will be ‘squeezed’ together. The buttons are smaller. The keys are closer together. 

A lot of gamers find that their hands rest in unnatural positions when they game on a laptop keyboard. This can really hamper their gaming. 

Laptop construction 

We have all been there. We are locked in an intense battle, or trying to defeat the final boss in our favorite game. Tensions start to run high, and you stop thinking about how hard you are pressing the keyboard. You are button-mashing in the hope of survival. 

The problem? This will damage your laptop. 

All of the important hardware for your laptop will be located just under the keyboard. There will be very little to protect it. If you are constantly hammering away on a laptop keyboard, you run the risk of ruining the hardware. 

Lack of ‘gamer’ keys 

Laptops are designed to be portable. As a result, a lot of the keys that a gamer may require won’t be on a laptop keyboard. 

For example, many gamers love macro keys. This is because they are able to bind certain functions to a single key. It makes them much more efficient when they are playing their games. 

Your average laptop keyboard won’t have macro buttons. In fact, some may be lacking important buttons that you may find on a standard keyboard e.g. the number pad. 

Can You Use a USB Gaming Keyboard on a Laptop? 

Most proper gamers won’t actually use the in-built keyboard on their laptop. Instead, they invest in a proper gaming keyboard. 

The gaming laptop can connect via USB to the laptop. Most of them are plug n’ play. 

If you go down this route, you will be able to enjoy the portability of a laptop, but you don’t have to sacrifice your ability to game. 

Final Thoughts

Most laptops, even ones marketed as gaming laptops, probably won’t have a good enough keyboard for gaming. While they may be fine for a bit of sporadic non-competitive gaming, if you take your gaming seriously, you may want to invest in an external keyboard.  

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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