Just like mice, keyboards are often underestimated. Don’t be that shopper. This is how we take command of our expensive gaming boxes. Don’t settle  for sub-par boards that lack responsiveness, induce carpal tunnel and–my ultimate epic fail feature, or lack thereof–suck with a dearth of multimedia keys. Those are must-haves on a gamer’s list of keyboard essentials. These features are your baseline. What lies below is a short of list of the best gift options. All the above features are in play, plus a few more just to show you care.

MaxKeyboard Nighthawk X9

As far as mechanical keyboards are concerned, the Nighthawk X9 from MaxKeyboard has no peer. The design is your run of mill rectangular variety. Not a lot flare there. But the keys are individually lit. It also makes use or Cherry MX Red key switches. These require the least amount of force for actuation and offer no tactile bump to impede response times or key-press recognition. Plus the Nighthawk X9 enjoys NKRO so any number of keys can be depressed at the same time and all will be registered. With this, the extent to which you can record macros is quite staggering.

The Nighthawk X9 review proved the board to be one of the most comfortable. Plus the company can tailor the keys with different color LEDs and key switches for the ultimate custom fit.

 MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E. 7  Keyboard

Mad Catz have applied a no-holds barred mentality to the rugged and intimidating S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 gaming keyboard with its patented V.E.N.O.M. resistive touch screen display. The number of features reads like a grocery list for the Brady Bunch. Suffice to say the feature-frig is well stocked.

The board has learned from its older cousins in R.A.T. line of customizable mice. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 can be customized for countless comfort options. You can reposition so many aspects of the board or reconfigure the thing to be more of command center-like gamepad. Typing or fragging is done in comfort over the near mechanics key switches. They offer the responsiveness and sensitivity of a mechanical without the loud click often associated with mechanical boards.

You can use the touch screen to launch programs, stay connected audibly and visually through Teamspeak voice chat, note taking for save coordinates, clues etc., view the time, set a timer for cooldown game items and such and so much more. The programmable software is super easy to takes teh customization to new heights with more options and intuitive macro recording. If you want to give the gift of absolute gaming power, then look no further

Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition

If you’re loooking to grant that loved one no-frills power to enhance their holiday frag-fest, then the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition deserves your complete attention and probably your hard-earned coin. This is Razer’s highly portable gaming grade keyboard. It’s full-size, save for the Numpad is missing. Some gamers, especially those who travel or engage in regular LAN parties, can appreciate a board with a more conservative footprint.

This is that board. Plus it doesn’t skimp on performance or comfort options. Tack on the illuminated keyboard and you have a stellar board that is comfortable and easy to use in the dark. It features 10-key rollover, mechanical key switches with slight tactile feedback “bump”, gaming mode or deactivation of certain keys like Windows key , detachable USB cable and 20 customizable software profiles. Save those profiles and setting with ever-refined Synapse 2.0- cloud-based software. Log in from anywhere and your settings are at the ready on any computer. At less than $80 The Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition makes a handsome and high performing holiday treat.

Shawn Sanders

Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.