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Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: What’s with colour on gaming keyboards?

A reader is venturing into gaming and wants to understand what the colours mean. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK has a few answers.

Q: I’m getting more into gaming and want to buy a gaming keyboard. I’m confused by all the colors. Do I need different colors for my gaming keyboard keys? And what’s with RGB lighting? It just confuses me.

A: That’s cool! You’re going to have a lot of fun, but you’re also going to get very frustrated when you find your reactions are not as fast as those of gamers with whom you compete. 

One way to speed up your reaction time is to have a color-coded keyboard. The way it is usually described is that there are three kinds of switch colors, namely linear, tactile, or clicky. And those very names sum up the way the switch operates, feels or sounds. So, linear switches, for direction of movement, are usually red. Tactile switches, meaning that you need to feel the switches, are usually brown, and clicky switches, that you hear, are usually blue. 

Then there are the back lights on an RGB keyboard, meaning it has Red, Green and Blue lighting combinations, that can be pre-set or changed in the keyboard settings.  You will typically see a gamer assigning a white backlight to the movement keys, being the W A S, D keys and the arrow keys, and red light to item keys. It looks very cool but the bottom line is that, when you are able to backlight the keys in different colours, you don’t have to think about where the keys are or look for them when you’re playing. In short, you can locate the keys more quickly and you can respond and play more quickly and you can be more competitive.

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