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The Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020

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Best Overall:HyperX Alloy Elite-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard-$49.99

Best Rated:CORSAIR K95 RGB Gaming Keyboard-$174.48

Best Budget:Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard-$59.99

Best Popular:Das Keyboard 4 Professional-$149.00

Best Cooler Master Gaming Mechanical Keyboard-$84.09

Best Cheap:Redragon K552-N Mechanical Gaming Keyboard-$26.99

The Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020– Keyboards are most important for computer lover people.A wireless mouse and keyboard combo is also be a great option for gamers who have already chosen the best controller for gaming and only need a mouse and keyboard for the basics. Also see Best Laptop,Tablet, Computer.Whether you’re looking for something cheap and simple or advanced and stylish, there are plenty of options for buying the best wireless keyboard,Best android keyboard 2020 and mouse combo that satisfies your needs.

The Best Keyboards of Gaming 2020

HyperX Alloy Elite-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Price:$49.99

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The HyperX Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is the perfect keyboard for the gamer who wants to equip their battlestation with a durable, full-featured keyboard that’s dripping with style. The Alloy Elite is lit both literally and figuratively thanks to its dynamic effects, dazzling HyperX red backlighting, and unique 18 LED light bar that delivers unmatched brilliance.

The keyboard features:

  • Unique light bar and six dynamic lighting effects deliver unmatched brilliance
  • Solid steel frame provides durability and stability
  • CHERRY MX mechanical keyswitches for reliability
  • Dedicated media buttons and large volume wheel put control at your fingertips
  • Quick access buttons let you control brightness, lighting effects and Game Mode
  • Conveniently connect devices via USB 2.0 pass-through
  • 100% Anti-ghosting and N-Key Rollover functionality ensure accurate inputs in the clutch
  • Comfortable, detachable wrist rest with soft-touch coating

CORSAIR K95 RGB PLATINUM Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Price:$174.48

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CORSAIR K95 RGB PLATINUMfeatures CHERRY MX Speed key switches backed by a lightweight aluminum frame. 8MB profile storage with hardware macro and lighting playback enable profile access independent of external software. Utilize the 19-zone Light Edge to add to dramatic animations and effects. Take advantage of the 6 programmable G-keys for in-game macros.

The build quality on this keyboard is fantastic. The metal casing on the keyboard looks and feels incredibly durable. The buttons, volume roller, and other non-key hardware all feel very solid. The wrist rest is very solid with a reversible magnetic pad. GO TO TOP

Pros:


-Key pressing feels great. The feedback and sound is super gratifying.
-The LED’s color range, brightness, and programmable display patterns are impressive.
-The software capabilities for programming LED’s and Macros are wonderful once understood.
-The keyboard has no latency whatsoever IMO.
-I can’t seem to overstate how well made this keyboard feels. The base is metal and heavy feeling. The wrist rest rotates, the mounting is easy, the rubber part is held on with a magnetic strip so you can pop it off and clean it easily. The keys respond well and the switch mechanism feels solid. There is no play in the keys except to give for typing. The volume roller bar is solid and moves well. This keyboard is a wonderfully made device.
-This keyboard can sync with other Corsair LED lit devices to have a continuous pattern.

Best Gaming Keyboard Under 50

Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard

Price:$59.99

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The quiet operation and responsive tactile feedback you love. The long-lasting durability you demand. The K840 mechanical keyboard features a solid aluminum build with expertly engineered Romer-G mechanical switches tested for 70 million+ strokes. 26-key Rollover helps ensure each keystroke performs accurately and independently as you type.GO TO TOP

The keyboard features:

  • Exclusive Logitech Romer-G mechanical switches – Japanese engineered mechanical switches provide an expertly-crafted typing experience
  • Anodized aluminum  – durable and robust construction and design that is made to withstand your most demanding typing sessions
  • Easy Access Shortcuts – Get easy access to integrated media and shortcut keys that allow you to control your entertainment
  • Programmable Keys –  Get more customized control over your productivity with reprogrammable keys.  Through Logitech Options, you can reassign your favorite or most useful shortcuts
  • Familiar and durable  – full-size corded keyboard with 1.8m cable with built-in strain relief for extra durability and reinforced cable strength

Pros: The keyboard looks very professional and the Romer-G keys are quite pleasant. They feel like a mix between Cherry MX browns and reds, slightly less tactile than the browns but not completely linear like the reds. I’ve also used it a bit for gaming and it feels absolutely fine for that too since Romer-G switches were designed for gaming in the first place.

Cons: Like most mechanical keyboards, it sits relatively high so I would highly recommend using it with a wrist rest otherwise your wrists will get sore quickly and you may get injuries in the long term.

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

Price:$149.00

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The keyboard itself is excellent. The improvements over the 3 are all spot on; the volume knob is a joy to turn, and the steel case feels great.Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac mechanical keyboard is specifically designed for maximum Mac compatibility. In addition to standard Command and Alt/Option keys, Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac offers quick, convenient access to a number of other Mac specific key functions. It’s made of the highest-quality materials and robust construction you can feel.GO TO TOP

The keyboard features:

  • Equipped with Soft Tactile Cherry MX Brown switches
  • Dedicated media controls with oversized volume knob
  • Mac OS specific key functions
  • Two-port USB 3.0 SuperSpeed hub
  • Anodized aluminium top panel
  • UV hard coat-protected key caps to prevent fading
  • NKRO over USB for faster typing and programming
  • Removable Das Keyboard footbar can be used as a precise ruler
  • Instant sleep button to save energy
  • Extra long 6.5 ft (201 cm) USB cable

Best Gaming Keyboard Under 100

Cooler Master Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Price:$84.09

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Looking for a high-performance keyboard that means business when it comes to heavy PC use? The MasterKeys PBT series is ideal keyboard, a natural evolution from our incredibly popular QuickFire Rapid and XT keyboards. By choosing substance over style and functionality over flash, the MasterKeys PBT isn’t a fashion statement – it’s a smart approach to a superior typing experience.

The MasterKeys S PBT keyboard is everything you love about the MasterKeys line, enhanced for a superior typing experience. It has the build, N-key rollover, and genuine German Cherry MX switches we all know and love for its durability, accuracy, and tactile satisfaction. Added are extra thick 1.5mm PBT keycaps, the king of all keycaps. Wear and tear, smoothing, or fading of the keys are a non-issue. And with Cooler Master’s exclusive on-the-fly system, you can switch layouts, from QWERTY, Dvorak or Workman – all with simple key shortcuts that don’t require supplemental software.GO TO TOP

The keyboard features:

  • Cherry MX Blue (Low Tactile+Click) with 4 Green (Firm Tactile+Click) Switches on ESC, CAPS LK, SPACE BAR, FN KEYS. Good for 50 million strokes
  • Thick 1.5mm PBT Keycaps for Durability – No wear and tear due to your sweaty fingers
  • Easy Switchable OS and Key Layouts – Switch from Windows, Mac, QWERTY, Dvorak, and Workman with simple shortcuts
  • On-the-Fly Adjustment of Settings – On-board Cortex processor allows changes in macros, repeat rate, etc. instantly the press of the keys
  • 6-Key and N-Key Rollover for Superior Precision – All keys inputted are registered. Period

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Best Gaming Keyboard Under 30

Redragon K552-N Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Price:$26.99

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The Redragon K552-N KUMARA without Backlighting isn’t your average mechanical gaming keyboard. Not only is it a great choice for entering the World of Mechanical Keyboards on a budget, it also has great ergonomics and a space saving design. No matter how long you type or how intense your gaming marathons are, you are always comfortable.

The K552-N Mechanical Gaming Keyboard features a Solid Aircraft-grade Aluminiumand ABS construction, plate mounted keys, double-shot injection moulded keycaps, high-end switches with mechanical ultra-last springs. High-Speed USB cable with gold-plated corrosion free USB connector for a reliable connection which will stand up to fast hardcore gaming.GO TO TOP

The keyboard features:

  • Crystal Clear Laser engraved keycaps with lettering that doesn’t scratch off.
  • Compact space saving design with 87 Full Size keys,
  • All 87 keys are 100% conflict free, anti-ghosting
  • 12 multimedia keys
  • WIN key can be disabled for gaming

Logitech Prodigy G403 Gaming Mouse-Keyboard Combo

Price:$114.81

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G213 GAMING KEYBOARD Prodigy Series Logitech G keyboard for advanced gaming-grade performance up to 4x faster than standard keyboards so every keypress is near instantaneous from fingers to screen Brilliant Color Spectrum Illumination lets you easily personalize up to 5 lighting zones from over 16.8 million colors to match your style and gaming gear Tactile performance keys tuned for gaming with responsive and more Dedicated media control let you quickly play, pause, skip and adjust the volume of music right from the keyboard Easily customize key lighting, 12 Function keys with custom commands, and more with free Logitech Gaming Software G403 GAMING MOUSE Lightweight ergonomic design with rubber side grips and a removable 10 g weight Advanced button tensioning delivers a clean, consistent click feel and performance with less force 6 programmable buttons, customizable lighting Easy to use Logitech Gaming software.GO TO TOP

Key Feature:

  • Prodigy Series Logitech G keyboard for advanced gaming-grade performance up to 4X faster than standard keyboards so every keypress is near instantaneous from fingers to screen
  • Tactile performance keys tuned for gaming with responsive and more
  • Dedicated media control let you quickly play, pause, skip and adjust the volume of music right from the keyboard
  • Prodigy Series Logitech G mouse for advanced gaming-grade accuracy and performance
  • Ergonomic, lightweight design with rubber side grips and a removable 10 gram weight for supremely comfortable grip and control

Best Gaming Keyboard Under 200

Best Overall: Das Keyboard 4 Professional

Price:$150

First released in 2014, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is a superb choice with an outstanding typing experience. Available in both “soft” and “clicky” variants depending on your noise tolerance, the 4.4 out of 5-star Amazon rating speaks to the superb typing experience that comes with a mechanical keyboard. Beyond features such as two USB 3.0 ports, an instant sleep button and laser-etched key inscriptions to avoid wear and tear, the anodized aluminum top panel provides a solid feel that’s sure to last for years or 50 million key presses, whichever comes first.

The Das keyboard offers a best-in-class mechanical typing experience that offers excellent tactile and audio feedback, which leads to precision typing and cuts back on errant key presses. Dedicated media controls and an oversized volume knob give immediate access to adjust volume quickly during a Skype or Google hangout call or while listening to music. The included 6.5-foot cable plugs directly into any USB port while additionally powering the built-in USB ports on the keyboard itself.

Best Budget: Verbatim Slimline Keyboard

Price:$7

In the world of keyboards, you’d assume that any peripheral worth its salt nowadays is either a high-end gaming keyboard or a seamlessly, wirelessly connected Bluetooth keyboard. But, whether you’re looking for an ultra affordable keyboard for yourself or a bulk order of keyboards for a whole office, the Verbatim Slimline Keyboard is a great choice for wired, USB keyboards. The slimline profile stays low to your desk, so it will look sleek and keep out of the way of the rest of your desk gear.

It also comes with the large, far-right number pad for quick data entry, so you won’t have to sacrifice space for functionality. The action is smooth and tactile but also operates quietly. It’s compatible with Mac or PC, and Verbatim offers a one-year warranty for factory defects. It comes standard with function keys and music playback controls built right in. It’s all under one pound and sits at 5.71 x 17.52 x 0.98 inches.

Best Portable Gaming Keyboard

Best for Portability: Logitech K780

Price:$80

Logitech’s K780 multi-device wireless keyboard is the ideal choice for travelers or even desktop fans who want a superior typing experience. Connecting to computers, tablets and smartphones via USB or Bluetooth, there’s room for three devices with instant on-the-go switching between them at the touch of the “easy-switch” button on the keyboard. Compatible with Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, as well as both Android and iOS devices, the K780 offers a full-sized keyboard in a compact body that leaves no wasted space to maximize portability.

Additionally, the Logitech includes a number pad, as well as an integrated smartphone and tablet stand that offers the ideal angle for both typing and reading. With its two-year battery life (based on two million keystrokes per year), inexpensive pricing and comfortable typing experience, the K780 is the must-own portable keyboard.

Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard

Best Wireless keyboard: Microsoft Wireless Desktop 900

Price:$35

The Microsoft Wireless Desktop 900 is a full-sized, ultra quiet keyboard that comes with an ergonomically designed mouse. The inclusion of 128-Bit encryption provides an added level of security for business types who have enterprise-level security concerns. Luckily, the Microsoft keyboard favors both right and left handed design, with an ambidextrous look and feel that’s great for either dominant hand.

Additionally, hot keys offer fast and easy access to commonly used shortcuts, as well as customizable buttons to quickly find the Windows feature you use most. With up to 24 months of battery life, 30 feet of range and super-quiet, comfortable keys, the Microsoft 900 is handily the total wireless keyboard package.

Best for Mac wireless Keyboard: Anker Ultra Compact

Price:$22

Apple’s included keyboard is a well-loved experience for Mac users, but if you want something a little different, the Anker Ultra Compact wireless Bluetooth keyboard is your new go-to. Priced at more than half the price of Apple’s wireless keyboard, the Anker takes up just two thirds the space of a traditional keyboard. Additionally, it offers nearly six months of battery life based on non-stop usage of around two hours per day. Beyond battery life, its slim and compact design features matte finish keys that automatically connect to the last device via Bluetooth connectivity. Recharging takes around 2.5 hours with the included universal USB cable and Anker promotes a three million click lifespan, which is perfectly OK given the low-price point. Fortunately, Windows fans don’t have to feel left out since the Anker offers compatibility with Windows 10. (But it’s best used for Mac owners, thanks to its dedicated shortcut keys that are Mac specific.)

Most Quiet: Jelly Comb MK08 Wireless Keyboard

If you’re on the hunt for a whisper quiet keyboard to mask the sound of typing, your search is over. The Jelly Comb MK08 ultra compact wireless keyboard offers a stylish and colorful keyboard experience without making a sound. Designed for both Windows and Android devices, the MK08 connects via a 2.4GHz wireless connection directly through a USB receiver. Additionally, the MK08 comes with a similarly styled yellow and black wireless mouse that connects to the computer via the same USB receiver. The addition of a built-in numeric keypad masks the compact nature of the MK08. which is just 15.9-inches long overall. Whether you’re typing a novel or an e-mail to your colleagues, the MK08 and its months of battery life provide a comfortable, stylish and silent keyboard for a wallet-friendly price.

Most Ergonomic: Microsoft Sculpt

If comfort is your main priority, then spring for the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard. The unusual design offers a natural arc layout that helps mimic the curved shape of your fingertips for the most comfortable typing experience around. Add in a cushioned palm rest and your wrists will feel comfortable, well-positioned and in a more natural typing position. Beyond its comfort, the three-year battery life, based on an estimate of two million keystrokes per year, is top-notch for a wireless keyboard.

Ideally compatible with Windows 10, Apple laptops and previous Microsoft versions, almost any computer user can give the Sculpt a try for added comfort. The included mouse provides additional ergonomic support with a thumb scoop to keep your hand in the best possible position and there’s even a separate number pad for your workspace. The single unifying receiver for both the mouse and keyboard can connect to any laptop or desktop allowing for a 15- to 20-foot range before losing connectivity.

Read more reviews of the best ergonomic keyboards available to purchase online.

Best Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Best Mechanical: AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard

Price:$28

The ultra-sturdy, metal base AUKEY keyboard makes the “best mechanical” spot on the list for its beautiful style and satisfying user experience. First, the mechanism itself — each key is operated via an independent Blue Key switch that provides tactile feedback. Each key is also independently tested for 50 million keystrokes, so it will stand up to years and years of coding or writing. Those keystrokes are supported by anti-ghosting, as expected by independent keys, which means that you won’t have any conflict between keys and will never miss a stroke. The keyboard’s style is a really cool, vintage-style typewriter look, with a solid metal base and round keys set against it. The keyboard comes equipped with double-shot-molded ABS keycaps that are super durable, but you can also swap in Cherry MX keycaps (or whatever style is more in line with your personal aesthetic) because they employ the same stem design. It connects via USB and it will take up a footprint of 6.38 x 15.55 x 2.17 inches on your desk.

Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best mechanical keyboards available online.

Best Gaming: Hcman Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Price:$30

This Hcman mechanical keyboard is a great option for someone who wants a mechanical interface or a gaming interface — which end up being the same thing in many cases. Of course, this keyboard could earn the spot on our list here for straight mechanical keyboards, but for a few reasons that we’ll get to now, it’s really the best choice for gaming purposes. First let’s talk about the LED backlighting, a crucial feature for gaming in dimly lit rooms. You can choose from six different colors and nine different illumination settings. You can customize the brightness and configuration of the keyboard to fit whatever your gaming style.

The mechanical action gives the player that satisfying, resistance-centric click feeling, given by the keyboard’s Blue Switches. On top of that, each key is operated by an independent switch, so you won’t have any ghosting on controls. The compact, 87-key interface doesn’t offer the far-right 10-key number pad, so while you don’t have the added benefit of quick-access number entry, it is compact enough to fit on a small desk space, while also giving you the benefit of keeping the mouse closer to you. Finally, it’s compatible with all the modern Windows machines and Linux.

If you’re looking to carry your computer to work or on vacation, you obviously need a laptop. And some have slimmed down to weigh as little as a couple of pounds.

If mobility isn’t a concern get a desktop, because it’s very likely that you’ll get more performance for the same money—plus more flexibility in customizing the machine once you buy it. (That’s one reason that lots of serious gamers have desktops.)

Those are two major categories of computer, but there are several variations to consider—and we haven’t even mentioned the choice of operating system yet.

Choices among computers are becoming more confusing as the boundaries between categories blur. For instance, some new desktops are nearly as small and inconspicuous as a laptop. Conversely, you can easily find a laptop that’s just as powerful as a typical desktop. And then there are some slightly unconventional categories, like laptops that convert into tablets and tablets that convert into laptops and all-in-one desktops that don’t need a separate monitor. For more, check our full computer ratings (available to subscribers).

Desktop Computers

Many people have moved away from desktops in the past decade. However, there’s still a lot to recommend desktops for many users.

Desktops typically offer more performance for the money than laptops and are less expensive to repair. They may allow for a more ergonomically correct work environment, let you work on a larger screen, and generally come with better speakers. Click here for our computer ratings.

Photo of full-sized desktop computer.

Full-Sized Computer

Though they require a lot of room under or on top of your desk, full-sized desktops are the least expensive and the easiest to upgrade and repair. They also offer the most features and options.

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Photo of a compact desktop computer.

Compact Computer

At less than half the size of full-size desktops, compacts or slim desktops are ideal if you lack space under your desk or you plan to put the computer on the desk itself. Like their larger brethren, compact desktops tend to be inexpensive. But they may be more difficult to upgrade and repair.

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Photo of an all-in-one computer.

All-In-One Computer

These computers incorporate the computer and monitor in one case. The components are tightly packed behind and underneath the display, making them difficult to upgrade or repair. Meant to be space-savers, they’re also designed to look less stodgy than traditional computers. You’ll pay a premium for these models.

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Photo of a computer that is good for gaming.

Gaming Computer

The sky’s the limit for gaming systems. You get the fastest processors, the most sophisticated graphics cards, multiple large hard drives, and lots of RAM. Cases are usually large and offer room for additional RAM and other improvements.

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Laptops

Laptops let you use your computer away from your desk, but you pay for that mobility with a keyboard that’s a little more cramped, a higher price, and (sometimes) reduced performance. They’re also more expensive to repair than desktops.

Whether your main consideration is portability or power, screen size will be an essential factor in deciding which type of laptop is right for you. Visit our computer ratings (available to subscribers) for more.

Photo of a smaller laptop (10" to 13") computer.

Smaller (10″ to 13″ screen size)

If you’re planning to carry the laptop around with you frequently, an 11- to 13-inch model may be the right choice.

While 10- or 11-inch laptops may require you to sacrifice some performance, laptops in this range tend to have fast processors and, more importantly, fast solid-state drives, for very good or excellent performance. But you’ll also lighten your load.

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Photo of a medium laptop (15" to 16") computer.

Medium (14″ to 16″ screen size)

This size range offers the ideal balance of performance, portability, and price for many users. They are a good choice if you take your machine along less frequently, or need to use it extensively for work or school. Such a laptop can easily be configured as a desktop replacement.

Until a few years ago, only 17-inch-and-larger models had graphics processors with dedicated video memory, but now some 14- to 16-inch models have them, making them suitable for gaming.

For photo editing, our tests of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display ($1,800) reveal its screen to be among the best we’ve seen for color accuracy and crispness.

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Photo of a large laptop (17" to 18") computer.

Larger (17″ to 18″ screen size)

For folks wanting a desktop replacement, big enough to sit semi-permanently in one place but portable enough to take from room to room, these laptops will deliver. They tend to use top performing processors with standard hard drives that give you tons of storage, though not top performance.

You might find some with better speakers than smaller laptops can offer. However, they still won’t sound as good as external speakers. And, of course, the larger screen can make it more comfortable to work on multiple windows or large spreadsheets.

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Other Types

Lighter and less expensive than most laptops, these highly mobile devices offer an extra dose of portability and many–but certainly not all–of the features. Click here to check our computer ratings.

Photo of a chromebook computer.

Chromebooks

Chromebooks are based on Google’s Chrome operating system. They’re generally inexpensive, with some starting as low as $170. They’re designed for users willing to work on and store most of their files online. Chromebooks are quick to start up, partly because the operating system doesn’t place the demands on the computer that a heavy-duty OS like Windows does, and partly because they use solid-state drives instead of hard drives.

On the downside, there’s not a lot of storage space on a Chromebook. You need access to the internet to get the best work out of one of these machines. And these aren’t workhorse computers, though they are fine for creating and sharing documents, web surfing, email, streaming videos and light gaming.

Computer Ratings by Consumer Reports

Photo of a detachable computer.

Convertibles & Detachables

The tablet-like features in Windows 10 make convertible laptops an appealing category for both serious work and casual play.

These look like a regular laptop, but the display either pulls out of the keyboard or twists around and lays flat so it can be used like a tablet. What distinguishes detachables from tablets are the keyboard docks that come with them.

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Photo of a tablet computer with a keyboard.

Tablets

See our Tablet Buying Guide for detailed information about shopping for a tablet. But, in brief, for some users a tablet can take the place of a laptop. These machines are lightweight and highly portable. They’re multifunctional, serving as Web browser, e-book reader, movie viewer, and music player.

They weigh from just under a pound to about 1.5 pounds and have 7- to 10-inch touch screens. And, in our tests, battery life ranged from 4 hours to nearly 13 hours. Tablets are not ideal for office productivity tasks, but you can add a keyboard to many of them.

Computer Ratings by Consumer Reports

Interactive Video Buying Guide

For more, watch our interactive video below. You can skip to different chapters depending on your interests. For example, battery life, specs, portability, and brands.

No Guts, No Glory: A Computer’s Inner Workings

Person using their finger to navigate through a touchscreen menu.

Choosing a Processor, OS, and More

Speed Matters
Processors with multiple cores can process more data simultaneously. You can check Intel’s or AMD’s website to see how many cores a processor model has.

Clock speed, measured in gigahertz (GHz), along with the number of cores and other factors, determines how quickly a CPU can process information. Many processors can up the speed a bit for a brief time to yield maximum performance. Generally, within a processor family, the higher the clock speed, the faster the processor. Clock speeds typically start at around 1GHz for a mobile processor. Speeds can exceed 3GHz for a desktop processor.

Power Consumption
Another important factor when choosing a processor, especially for laptops: Lower power consumption = longer battery life.

If you’re looking for a very basic or budget computer to web surf, email, work on Office documents, then the Intel Celeron, Pentium, AMD A4, or A6 will suffice. If you plan to do some simple gaming as well, the Intel Core i3, AMD A6, or A8 should do the job.

If you plan to watch videos or play mainstream games, the Intel Core i5, AMD A8, A9, or A10 are good choices. And if you’re a gamer or plan to edit HD video, go for a high-end processor such as the Intel Core i7 or AMD A10 or A12 Series.

How Much Memory?
The more memory a computer has, the faster it is, up to a point. Memory is measured in gigabytes (GB). On desktops, 8GB is common and many laptops include 8GB of RAM. For anything other than heavy multitasking or video editing, 4GB is plenty.

Operating System
Windows 10 continues the work of Windows 8.1, bringing a more uniform interface across a variety of devices: computers, tablets, Xbox, and smartphones. In addition, “universal apps” developed for Windows 10 will look and work the same on a variety of devices. And far more games are available for Windows computers than for Macs.

Macs can be more expensive, but they’re less prone to most viruses and spyware, and Apple’s support has been tops in our surveys. The company’s phone support is free for only 90 days, but you can get unlimited technical support through the Genius Bar at any Apple Store. Apple’s OS X El Capitan will be the company’s OS until late 2016, when the company replaces it with Mac OS Sierra.

Graphics Adapter and Graphics Memory
Also known as the video card, GPU, or graphics card, this hardware is responsible for drawing what you see on your screen. Graphics processing comes in two basic flavors: It can either be integrated into the same chip that’s running the rest of the computer, or it can run on a discrete piece of equipment.

Most computers have integrated graphics. This has usually been the less expensive and lower-performing option—fine for most tasks, but not for serious gaming. If you play mainstream and extreme  games with all the visual effects turned on or edit video, especially HD and 4K, then you need discrete graphics. Light video editing and gaming and all other typical computer tasks will do fine with integrated graphics.

Some new CPUs integrate discrete-class graphics, offering excellent graphics abilities without adding a separate chip.

Integrated graphics use up part of your system’s memory, so make sure you have at least 4GB. If you choose a system with discrete graphics, look for at least 1GB of graphics memory. Gamers should get 2GB or more.

Photo of a computer drive.

All About Drives and the Battery

Solid-State Drives
SSDs are a different type of storage technology, letting your computer access data without the moving parts required by a traditional hard drive. They are also the single largest performance boost you can give a computer over an identical computer with a hard drive.

SSDs don’t have the spinning disk of a conventional hard drive, so they use less power, work more quietly, and should be more resistant to damage–and less likely to fail mechanically.  And because there are no moving parts, they promise quicker access to data.

Although they once cost several times as much as traditional hard drives and had smaller capacities, prices are coming down and capacities are inching upwards. In general, Consumer Reports recommends solid state drives over hard drives.

Hard Drives

Also known as a hard disk, or HD, this type of drive uses a spinning hard disk and uses more power than a solid-state drive. It is also slower overall.

Bigger is better. Hard drive sizes are measured in gigabytes and terabytes, and commonly range from 250GB to more than 1TB (terabyte).

Speed is equally important, and is measured in rpm (revolutions per minute). A slow hard drive will take longer to start up the OS and programs, and complete tasks (such as installing programs or scanning your hard drive for viruses).

For best performance, get a desktop with at least a 7,200rpm hard drive and a laptop with a 5,400rpm hard drive.

Hybrid Drives
Lower-priced hybrid drives, which combine a hard drive with solid-state memory, represent a good compromise.

Optical Drives
Blu-ray Disc (BD) drives are the newest standard. They’re capable of playing Blu-ray movies and can store 25GB (single layer) or 50GB (dual layer) of data, respectively.

Many of today’s laptops come without an optical drive, saving weight and cost. With high-capacity flash drives available, extra storage isn’t a problem on these models. But installing older software—typically distributed on a CD or DVD—could be a problem. Most of today’s software is distributed via download, so there’s little need for an optical drive.

The Battery
When not plugged into a wall outlet, laptops use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power. Laptops go into sleep mode when used intermittently, extending the time between charges.

You can lengthen battery life if you dim the display, turn off WiFi connectivity when it’s not needed, and use only basic applications.

Some laptops, most notably Apples, Ultrabooks, and other thin-and-light models have non-removable batteries, which may be costly to replace when run-time starts decreasing.

See Top List

Best Overall:HyperX Alloy Elite-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard-$49.99

Best Rated:CORSAIR K95 RGB  Gaming Keyboard-$174.48

Best Budget:Logitech K840 Mechanical Keyboard-$59.99

Best Popular:Das Keyboard 4 Professional-$149.00

Best Cooler Master Gaming Mechanical Keyboard-$84.09

Best Cheap:Redragon K552-N Mechanical Gaming Keyboard-$26.99

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