Welcome to the peripherals page. This is a work in progress. Some data may be missing.
We are making a peripherals guide, which will include most PC peripherals. Right now, we have five tables up:
  1. Standard screens (link). Your normal PC screens.
  2. Gaming screens (link). Screens that are aimed at hardcore gamers, with faster response times.
  3. "A- panel" screens (link). 27" 1440p monitors usually referred to as "Korean screens".
  4. Mouse (link). A wide assortment of mice, from $10 to $80.
  5. Keyboard (link). From very cheap $10 models, and all the way to $200+.
If you have any suggestions, comments or criticism, please e-mail us at: contact@logicalincrements.com

Status: Pre-load. (Please wait for 5-20 seconds for the page to load all the data)

Abbreviations and techie-terms are explained in the infoboxes at the bottom of this table, along with FAQs, sources, and in-depth information.
▲ Important
Peripherals are a subjective, personal choice; there is no peripheral that is perfect for everyone. Each choice is a compromise in either features, quality, or price. Products with near-perfect features and quality have sky-high prices, while products with reasonable prices will always have some pros and cons. Make sure you research the product you are interested in. It is ideal to select something with features you want and flaws you don't care about. This will help you choose a product that is perfect... for you.
▲ What are all these abbreviations and techie-terms?
These are some of the terms used in screens. More details below.

  • TN: Twisted Nematic. A type of panel technology.
  • IPS: In-plane switching. Also a type of panel technology.
  • OC / OCed: Overclock / overclocked. To make something operate faster.
  • ms: millisecond. A unit of time.
  • Pixel: The tiny "light crystals" that your panel is made of.
  • AFRC: Advanced Frame Rate Control. A method used for dithering. See: Dithering.
  • Dithering: A way to trick the eye into seeing more colours than the screen can actually display.
  • Ghosting: Where an image frame persists on screen for longer than it should, leading to a "ghost" effect and blurriness.
  • Backlight bleed: Excessive, non-uniform light leaking from the edges of the panel. More noticeable with dark backgrounds.
  • Other terms: Some terms are better explained in the "Criteria" section below.
▲ Criteria for choosing a monitor
What do you look for when choosing a screen?

  • Resolution: Resolution is the number of pixels in your panel. It is usually shown as width x height, e.g. 1920x1080 or 2560x1600. Higher resolution allows for a sharper image, and allows more stuff to be on screen at once. At least 1920x1080 is recommended. The tradeoff is that higher resolution screens will require a more powerful graphics card to drive all those pixels in 3D games.

    This is an image showing the differences in real estate between a few common resolutions:

  • Size: Choose a size that is comfortable. Depending on your eyesight and how far away the monitor will be from your eyes, it may or may not be worth getting a larger screen with the same resolution. 1080p has the same number of pixels, whether it is shown on a 23" or a 27" screen, or a 60" HDTV.

  • Aspect ratio: The ratio of width to height. Most modern screens are "widescreen," either 16:9 or 16:10. 16:10 is a little nicer (closer to the Golden ratio), and gives you more vertical space for getting work done, but is less common and usually significantly more expensive. You can compare them below, along with the old 4:3 ratio:

  • Colour accuracy: The more accurate the colour, the more lifelike the picture. If you do work where accurate colors are important, such as photo editing, digital illustration, or video editing, you will want a screen with good color accuracy. If you're just browsing the web, writing emails, gaming, and watching videos, then you probably don't care as much. Quality IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel screens typically have the best colour accuracy.

  • Bit-depth: How many different colors your panel can display. Typically 6-bit, 8-bit or 10-bit. 10-bit allows for 1.07 billion colours, 8-bit allows for 16.7 million colours, and 6-bit allows for 262 thousand colours, but 6-bit panels almost always use dithering to display 16m or 16.2m colours. True 10-bit is best, but your content needs to be 10-bit as well. Note that some screens are advertised as having 10-bit colour, but are actually 8-bit and use dithering (AFRC) to trick your eyes into seeing more colours. If you have good eyes and tend to be bothered by things like low refresh rates and ghosting, you may notice and be bothered by screens that use dithering.

  • Refresh rate: How many times a screen can refresh its display. In other words: The maximum FPS (frames per second) the screen can handle. Some TN panel screens are at 120Hz, and even 144Hz TN screens available. Most IPS screens can only do 60Hz. If your graphics card is rendering 100 FPS, but your screen is 60Hz, then you will only see 60 FPS, and will experience "tearing" artifacts (looks like horizontal lines on the screen) if you don't have VSYNC turned on.

  • Matte/glossy coating: Matte finish reduces glare and reflection, but makes the image slightly grainy and reduces contrast. Glossy coating allows for a brighter image with slightly better contrast and colors, but allows viewers to see reflections in bright environments, (and is worse with fingerprints). If you are putting your screen in an environment where you cannot control the lighting (office, family living room), then choose matte. If you can perfectly control the lighting, then go for glossy. If you are somewhere in between, get whichever you prefer.

  • Input lag: The time it takes for a screen to display an image after the image signal is sent. Below 32ms is good, below 16ms is great. Please note that input lag is not the same as pixel response time, which is often in the 1ms-5ms range. Pixel response time is explained below.

  • Response time: The time it takes for a pixel to change from being active (black), to being inactive (white), then to being active (black) again. If the response time is too high, you will see ghosting. Black-white-black measurement is the ISO standard, but sellers often list grey-to-grey (GTG) instead. Response time varies based on many factors, and rating a monitor with a single response time number is a little misleading. Because of this, and because most sellers do not mention exactly how they measure, response time is not a very good indicator to use when comparing screens. As a general guide, below 10ms is good, and below 5ms is great.

  • Viewing angle: TN screen colours get distorted when viewed from extreme angles, while IPS does not generally suffer from this. For more info, read TFT Central's explanation

  • Supported ports: The type of connecting cable from the graphics card to the screen.
    -DisplayPort (DP) - Digital. The most capable video interface. The only interface that can handle 4K resolution at 60 Hz. Used by Apple with mini connectors (mini-DP).
    -HDMI - Digital. A smaller connector than DVI, and with copy protection (HDCP) support. Also carries audio in the same cable, which can be handy.
    -DVI - Digital/Analog. The first popular digital video interface. Basically HDMI without audio or copy protection support, and with a bigger connector.
    -VGA - Analog. Avoid using this old interface if possible, since the analog signal is vulnerable to electronic interference from nearby appliances and your computer itself.

  • Budget: Your biggest limiting factor is your budget. Get something that fits your budget, but be reasonable and choose something that fits your needs too. Do not simply buy the most expensive item that fits your budget.

  • Dead pixel policy: It is inevitable that some screens will not be 100% perfect, but will come with a few dead pixels. Imagine trying to build 2 million tiny flashlights, hooking them all up so they can light up in sequence, and cramming them into .1 square meters. Some sellers have a zero-dead-pixel guarantee, some will only allow RMA/refund for a specific number of dead pixels (more than 5, more than 10, etc). Make sure you know your rights as a customer, before buying from a seller.
▲ TN vs IPS
What are the differences between TN and IPS?

  • TN: Twisted Nematic. Older, more mature technology. The benefits of TN are that it is usually (but not always) cheaper than comparative IPS, by roughly $50-$100. TN panels typically have faster reponse times, and some have faster refresh rates. The drawbacks are less accurate colours, and bad viewing angles.

  • IPS: In-plane switching. Used to be prohibitively expensive, but now more moderately priced. The drawbacks are that IPS panel screens are generally more expensive, have slower response times, and a refresh rate of 60Hz. The benefits are excellent colours and excellent viewing angles.
IPS screens are going down in price, and faster refresh IPS panels are slowly becoming more available. However, for now, you must make a choice between faster refresh rates or better colour/viewing angles.

The following two images, courtesy of TFT Central, highlight the difference between TN and IPS when it comes to viewing angles.

An IPS panel. Note how the colours are consistent, regardless of angle. Image source.

A TN panel. The colours can be severely distorted when viewing angle changes. Image source.

Take a look at the following videos which also highlight viewing angle differences:

IPS seems superior in most areas. Why would people still buy a TN screen?

Despite the inaccurate colours and terrible viewing angles, there are still a few potential reasons you may still want to consider purchasing a TN panel:
  • Strict, tight budget: The cheapest of the cheap screens are still TN. IPS prices have gone to the point that an IPS screen is only $20 more expensive than a comparable TN screen. If you cannot afford that extra $20, you will have no choice but to go TN.
  • Hardcore/competitive gaming: IPS response times are still in the ~5ms-8ms range, while TN is as low as 1-2ms. As of May 2014, all 120Hz and 144Hz screens are TN panels. IPS panels may improve in the future, but for now, if you want very high refresh rates and low response time, you will have to purchase a TN panel screen.
  • 4K UHD on a tight budget: 4K UHD IPS panel screens cost ~$1000, while 4K UHD TN panel screens are in the $600-$800 range. Those who insist on getting 4K but do not have $1000 to spare will have to opt for a TN panel 4K UHD screen. You can view a few "cheap" 4K UHD models below.
▲ Sub-types of IPS
There are several sub-types of IPS panels. A cursory look at some of the most common subtypes:

  • IPS: In-plane switching. This has now become a generic name, since the original IPS is no longer manufactured. Great colour, excellent viewing angles, very bad response time (~60ms)
  • S-IPS: Super IPS. An improvement over the original IPS, with better response times (~25-16ms).
  • E-IPS: Enhanced IPS. Rarely available. Similar to S-IPS, but with even better response times (as low as ~5ms).
  • H-IPS: Horizontal IPS. A minor improvement over S-IPS, with better contrast ratio.
  • e-IPS: Economic IPS. A simplified H-IPS. Not as good as H-IPS, but better than S-IPS.
  • p-IPS: Performance IPS. A marketing term. Same as H-IPS.
  • AH-IPS: Advanced High-Performance IPS. An improvement over H-IPS in colour accuracy.
  • A-TW IPS: Advanced True Wide IPS. S-IPS or H-IPS with an A-TW polarizer (a film) to improve dark image viewing.
  • PLS: Plane-to-line Switching. Samsung IPS. Roughly comparable to H-IPS.
For a fantastic look at various LCD technologies: TFTCentral: Panel technologies
An excellent look into the sub-pixel structure of many LCD technologies, including some very rare types: DigitalVersus: Screen Technology Up Close
▲ A note on 4K UHD
4K UHD is the latest and largest resolution available for consumers. Strictly speaking, "4K" refers to a resolution of 4096×2160, while "UHD" (Ultra High Definition) means 3840×2160. However, these terms are used interchangeably by most reviewers.

4K UHD gives 4 times the resolution of 1080p, making it an excellent resolution for productivity, as well as allowing for gorgeously sharp graphics when gaming. Unfortunately, 4K UHD screens have only been available for consumers at acceptable prices since Q4 2013, and this resolution is still in the "early adoption" stage. These new 4K UHD screens suffer from several problems, including:

  • High prices for IPS models: The "cheap" Dell UP2414Q costs ~$1000, while the Asus PQ321 and Dell UP3214Q are an eye-popping $2,500.
  • Cheap 4K UHD model use TN panels: The Samsung UD590, Dell P2815Q, and Asus PB287Q are 4K UHD screens that go for ~$600-$800. Unfortunately, they all use TN panels, and thus suffer from the standard issues that come with TN panels (bad viewing angles, less accurate colour, etc).
  • Bad DPI scaling: Not a fault of the screens, but a fault of the operating system. Since these screen have a much higher resolution, text will look small, unless the OS renders it at a larger size. If the text is simple zoomed in, then it will look blurry. OS X and Windows 8.1 have both taken steps to improve DPI scaling for 4K UHD displays, but you may still encounter lots of issues, particularly if using older programs.
  • Underpowered GPUs for gaming: To get high FPS on high settings in the latest titles, you will need 2 or 3 ~$700 cards ($1400-$2100 total). A single GPU card, even if it is a flagship, will not suffice to game on high settings at 4K. This will most likely remain the case, until AMD/nVidia refresh their GPU lineups, and that is expected to happen in late 2014 or early 2015.
  • Lack of HDMI 2.0 devices: At the moment, there are no commercial GPUs (and very few screens) with HDMI 2.0. HDMI 1.4 can only drive 4K UHD screens at 30Hz, so if you want the full 60Hz, you will need to switch to DP 1.2, or use 2x HDMI. 4K UHD screens that can be driven with 2x HDMI are known to have issues with GPU drivers.
These issues will get resolved in time: Powerful GPUs will be released, HDMI 2.0 will become common, DPI scaling will improve, 4K UHD screen prices will drop. If you want to enjoy a 4K screen without any trouble, you will have to wait. Those buying 4K screens now should be fully aware of the issues involved.

For a more in-depth look at the status of 4K UHD, read the following articles:
-Anandtech: Testing Improved 4K Display Support in OS X 10.9.3
-Tomshardware: Is Your PC Ready For A 4K Display?
-PCPerspective: ASUS PQ321Q - General Desktop Usage at 4K
-Tech Report: High-PPI support in Windows 8.1 - still not so great
-Extremetech: The state of 4K gaming
-Anandtech: Gaming Numbers at 4K
-PCGamer: The future of PC gaming - GPUs and 4K monitors
▲ Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not answered in the above sections or here, please take a look at some of the links in the More Information section, or email us!

  • Question: Why are some things marked "???" in the table?
    Answer: Some information about certain screens is not officially available, such as: Exact type of IPS being used, coating, exact colour bit-depth, input lag, and the exact panel model being used. This information is obtained from professional reviewers, but not all screens are professionally reviewed, and some people prefer not take a screen apart (and potentially void the warranty) just to find out what panel model is being used. If you have any data on items marked "???", please let us know.
  • Question: How much should I spend on a monitor? Does it need to match my PC build Tier?
    Answer: It is better to think of each peripheral (screen, mouse, keyboard, etc) as a separate purchase. Some people want top-tier peripherals, even when the PC is moderate, and likewise some people do not care much if the peripherals are low-end. If your main purpose is gaming, make sure your graphics card can drive your screen properly: A 2560x1600 screen is wasted if you are gaming with a $100 card.
  • Question: Which monitor type should I choose for Gaming? For Video Editing? For Programming?
    Answer: For gaming, get a faster response screen. For 2D/3D editing, get a more colour-accurate screen. For programming, anything will do, but you may be happier with a high res screen (2560x1440 or above) to have multiple windows open, or possibly two 1080p screens, for the same reason.
  • Question: I’ve read of monitors with 2ms and others with 5ms and 12ms, etc. What does this mean and does it matter in the choice of monitors?
    Answer: This is the response time: The time it takes for a screen to change pixels from one colour to another. Lower is always better, but as long as it is below 10ms, it is great. The problem is that these ratings are not usually very accurate (read Criteria for choosing a monitor above). Most modern screens have response times fast enough for most people. Read reviews if you're concerned.
  • Question: Is 1920x1200 better than 2560x1440?
    Answer: While the 16:10 ratio is closer to the Golden Ratio, 2560x1440 provides significantly more real estate, as it has more pixels vertically and horizontally. 2560x1600 is the best of both worlds, but is more expensive.
  • Question: Should I get a monitor with touch screen capability?
    Answer: Unless you have a special need for it, no. Touch screens are for phones, tablets, and maybe laptops.
  • Question: Should I get a monitor with 3D capability?
    Answer: That depends. Have you used a 3D set on a screen before, and did you like it? Is the price difference acceptable to you? Is your PC capable of producing 120 FPS at your desired resolution in your favorite game? If yes, yes, and yes, then go ahead.
  • Question: How many years should a good monitor last?
    Answer: Most screens come with 3 year warranties. Many people have screens that lasted ~10 years, so take good care of your screen, and it will last. This is one purchase where paying more for a screen that does not seem to have more features can be worth it. Quality components and robust designs are expensive.
  • Question: Do multiple monitors increase viewing satisfaction?
    Answer: Yes, but only if you are utilizing them properly. Professional gamers win tournaments on a single screen, and extra screens do not really increase your hacking skills outside of movies. For most people, a single good screen is good enough, and one high-resolution screen is better than two 1080p screens. For getting work done, two screens can be very useful: You can be working on one screen, and have email and references open on the other.
  • Question: What monitors would you recommend for multiple setups?
    Answer: For general use, most screens are fine. For gaming, we do not recommend multiple screens, since you would be better served by a larger resolution screen. If you insist, get something with slim/thin side bezels, such as the ASUS VN247H-P.
  • Question: Why don’t I just get a CRT monitor?
    Answer: While CRT screens offer higher refresh rates, better contrast, and better response time, they are considered an obsolete technology since most (if not all) CRT models are no longer being manufactured, so you will have to settle for a second-hand unit. CRTs are bulky, heavy, contain a large amount of toxic materials, have huge bezels, and can be tiring on the eyes (flicker/brightness).
  • Question: What about those "gaming" screens?
    Answer: These screens have their own table below.
  • Question: What about those cheap Korean "A- panel" screens?
    Answer: These screens also have their own table below.
▲ Advanced topics
These are some topics for those who want to delve a little deeper into screens. Be warned that some of the described activities can void your warranty, and can permanently damage your hardware. Read/apply at your own risk.


A strobe backlight technology to eliminate motion blur, making LCD screens as good as CRT for reproducing motion. "LightBoost" is a solution by nVidia, and it is found in several 120Hz monitors (list below). Samsung has a similar technology called "Zero Motion Blur" or "3D Mode" whose strobe backlight also benefits 2D. Sony has "Motionflow Impulse", but that is for TVs. It has tradeoffs, but can be worth it if you are particularly bothered by motion blur. See the "Screen tests" section below for more links.

LightBoost links:
Blurbusters website
List of screens with LightBoost or Zero Motion Blur
Enabling LightBoost
Enabling Samsung Zero Motion Blur
TFTCentral article on motion blur
Sony's Motionflow Impulse
Informative OCN thread about LightBoost/Zero Motion Blur (forum link)
Informative Anandtech forum thread (forum link)

Screen tests and demos

Some tests and demos for FPS, motion blur, and others.

Screen tests and demo links:
Bo Allen FPS comparison (15FPS, 30FPS and 60FPS)
Lagom LCD screen tests (several tests available: brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc)
PixPerAn (PRAD’s Pixel Persistence Analyzer)
Blurbusters' UFO Motion Tests (several tests available, see below)
UFO Motion Test: Motion Blur (demonstrates motion blur during panning)
UFO Motion Test: Eye tracking (motion blur not caused by LCD pixel transition but by eye tracking)
UFO Motion Test: Blur reduction (demonstrates motion blur reduction by CRT-like flicker)
UFO Motion Test: Blur trail (test for PWM, view while adjusting brightness to 0%)
UFO Motion Test: Frame skipping (test for frame skipping during overclocking)


When one screen is not enough, you get more. The majority of single cards can support 2 or 3 screens, but if you have multiple cards (or some specific high-end cards), you can drive up to 6 screens. Having multiple screens is not recommended for everyone, so make sure that you are getting them because you need them, and not for vanity.

Multi-monitor links:
AMD Eyefinity, for AMD setups
nVidia Surround, for nVidia setups
Maximum PC: Multiscreen Madness, showing what you can do with different screen setups.
Tech Radar: The complete guide to multiple monitors
Wide Screen Gaming Forum. An active community with a continually updated database of games and their various levels of widescreen and multi-monitor support.

Overclocking (Dangerous)

Like many other PC parts, your screen may be overclocked.
The advantage of overclocking is that you can run your monitor faster than 60 Hz, if 60 Hz is not fast enough for you.
By how much? Will it be stable? Is it safe? The answer is similar to OCing any other part: Depends on your luck. Some screens can be OCed significantly, some cannot. Please note that you might be voiding your warranty by OCing, and that you may break your hardware. Proceed at your own risk.

Overclocking links:
Weekend Project: Overclocking your monitor
Tech Radar: How overclocking your monitor really can work
Custom Resolution Utility (CRU) (forum link)
Linus Tech Tips: Monitor Overclocking with the GTX Titan (Youtube link)

Debezelling (Very Dangerous)

Where you remove the bezel of a screen. This is usually done to reduce the gap between panels on multi-monitor setups. This voids your warranty, and can easily lead to catastrophe. Proceed at your own risk.

Debezelling links:
Tweaktown: Monitor debezel guide
OCN Tutorial: How to Debezel Triple Screen Asus VG236H 3D Monitor (forum link)
OCN: Debezelled Monitor Club, with informative pictures and video (forum link)

Decoating (Very Dangerous)

Where you remove the panel coating of a screen. This is usually done when the coating of a screen is too bothersome (too grainy), or to improve colour or contrast slightly. This voids your warranty, and can easily lead to catastrophe, ruin, failure and humiliation. If the anti-glare coating bothers you, consider buying a glossy panel if possible. Proceed at your own risk.

Decoating links:
TFT Central: Panel coating
Removing the Anti-Glare Coating on a Dell 2001FP (blog link)
OCN: How To Remove the Anti-Glare Coating from a Dell U2312HM Monitor (forum link)

▲ More information
For some seriously in-depth explanations, as well as a few misc topics, read on.

TFT Central (an excellent resource on all screen-related things)
Prad (an excellent resource on all screen-related things)
Extrahardware Monitor Section
PC Monitor's Recommendation
TFT Central FAQ
Anandtech - Displays
Overclock.net - Displays
Displaylag Database
PCHardwarehelp: LCD List
Compreviews colour explanation
TFT Central colour explanation
TFT Central Panel Technologies
TFT Central Panel search
TFT Terms, Functions and Features
Tom’s Hardware – Monitors
Techhive: Digital Displays Explained
PCHardwarehelp: LCD Panel Technology Explained
LED VS LCD Monitor
Panel Technologies – TN Film, MVA, PVA, and IPS Explained
LCD TV and LCD Monitor Panel
Buying Your New Monitor
Overclock Your Monitor with nVidia
The 10 Best PC Monitors – (The Independent, May 2013)
The 10 Best Computer Monitors (PCMag, April 2013)
10 Top Displays Reviewed and Rated (Techradar, July 2013)
5 Best Touch-Screen Monitors (PCMag, May 2013)
Best Monitor for Photo Editing (April 2013)
Why Developers Need a Multi-Monitor Setup
How to Set Up a Multiple-Monitor Workstation
The Sweet Spot of Multiple Monitor Productivity: That Magical Third Monitor
Triple Monitor Madness
How Do I Calibrate My Computer's Monitor for the Best Picture?
How to Calibrate Your Monitor
Monitor Calibration for Photography
Care of Flat-Panel Computer Monitors
How to Clean a Flat Screen Monitor
How to Clean a Flat Screen TV
Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps for Relief

Abbreviations and techie-terms are explained in the infoboxes at the bottom of the "Standard screens" table, along with FAQs, sources, and in-depth information.
▲ Important
Peripherals are a subjective, personal choice; there is no peripheral that is perfect for everyone. Each choice is a compromise in either features, quality, or price. Products with near-perfect features and quality have sky-high prices, while products with reasonable prices will always have some pros and cons. Make sure you research the product you are interested in. It is ideal to select something with features you want and flaws you don't care about. This will help you choose a product that is perfect... for you.
▲ Why are these screens in a separate table?
These screens are designed with hardcore/competitive gamers in mind. They are aimed at gamers who play ultra-twitchy multiplayer games, such as Quake or Unreal Tournament. They have pros and cons:
  • Pros: High refresh rates (120Hz or 144Hz), low response times, low input lag.
  • Cons: More expensive that comparable IPS screens, less accurate colours, bad viewing angles (for TN models).
If you are a normal player (not in the competitive scene), or if you play normal-paced games (MMO, RTS, etc), then these screens will not benefit you that much.
▲ Should I or should I not go for these "gaming" screens?
To find out if these screens are worth buying, ask yourself the following questions:

Am I a competitive/professional gamer who plays fast-paced games?
If the answer is no, then these screens may not be for you. Normal gamers, and gamers who play non-fast-paced games will not benefit much from these screens.

Are good viewing angles unimportant to me? Is colour accuracy unimportant too?
If the answer is "no, I need accurate colours and good viewing angles", then these screens may not be for you.

Am I willing to spend $100-$200 extra to get a gaming grade screen?
If the answer is no, then these screens may not be for you.

Can my hardware actually output higher than 60FPS?
If the answer is no, then these screens are definitely not for you. You will be paying more, and getting worse colours and viewing angles, and no benefits at all.

You can consider buying a gaming screen if you answered yes to all the above questions.
▲ Frequently Asked Questions
  • Question: Will these screens improve my gaming skills?
    Answer: No.
  • Question: Will I get 120FPS or 144FPS if I buy these screens?
    Answer: That depends on your hardware. You will only benefit from the "higher-than-60" refresh rates if your hardware can produce more than 60FPS. Otherwise, if you are getting 40FPS now, it will stay at 40FPS, even if you get a gaming screen.
  • Question: This FAQ list is short. Will you add more FAQs?
    Answer: Yes. Ask away in the comment section at the bottom of the page!
▲ More information
The 10 Best Gaming Monitors, by PCMag
Best monitor: 10 top displays reviewed and rated, by TechRadar
Gaming Monitors Guide, by Scan
Best PC Gaming Monitors 2014 Guide / Review, on Squidoo
Best Gaming Monitor 2014, by T3

Abbreviations and techie-terms are explained in the infoboxes at the bottom of the "Standard screens" table, along with FAQs, sources, and in-depth information.
▲ Important
Peripherals are a subjective, personal choice; there is no peripheral that is perfect for everyone. Each choice is a compromise in either features, quality, or price. Products with near-perfect features and quality have sky-high prices, while products with reasonable prices will always have some pros and cons. Make sure you research the product you are interested in. It is ideal to select something with features you want and flaws you don't care about. This will help you choose a product that is perfect... for you.
▲ Why are these screens in a separate table?
This is a group of screens with panels that may have some slight faults, commonly referred to as "Korean panels" or "Korean screens" (because they used to be sold only in Korea) or "A- panel screens". These screens are a trade-off, with pros and cons.
  • Pros: You get a high resolution (2560x1440) screen for very cheap. These screens are typically $300-$400 cheaper than standard screens. Many of these screens can be overclocked, to get closer to ~120Hz.
  • Cons: The A- rating means there is a higher chance of dead pixels, a higher chance of backlight bleeding, possibly lower construction quality, and possibly lesser quality customer service. The screen's electronics may be able to overclock, but the panels may not be able to keep up with the higher refresh rates, leading to ghosting, artifacting, or flickering.
Many people buy these A- panel screens, and get units that are pixel-perfect and no issues. In such cases, you have saved several hundred dollars. However, there is a chance that you will get a unit with excessive backlight bleed or many dead pixels, and you may not be able to return it, or it might cost too much to get a replacement. Even if you get a replacement, there is a chance that that replacement unit will still have issues.
▲ Should I or should I not go for these "A- panel" screens?
That depends on whether you want to gamble or not!

Gamble and win: There is a good chance that you will get a nice high-res screen for cheap. You will have saved a significant amount of $$$, and gotten a high-res screen.

Gamble and lose: There is a good chance that the screen you just purchased might have flaws. It might have a few dead pixels, or bad backlight bleed. You may not be able to easily return the screen for a replacement, and if you do get a replacement, then it may ALSO be defective.

Most buyers are satisfied with these screens (and very satisfied with the prices), and it is more likely that you will be satisfied too, but you must fully know the risks before you take such a gamble. If $$$ is not an issue, you should go for standard screens that are high-res, even if they are more expensive.
▲ Frequently Asked Questions
  • Question: What does "5 dead pixel guarantee" mean?
    Answer: Most of these A- panel screens will not accept returns if there are only a few dead pixels. "5 dead pixel guarantee" means that "up to 5 dead pixels are normal", and thus your screen is not considered defective or eligible for an exchange if it has 1-5 dead pixels.
  • Question: What about 1080p "A- panel" screens?
    Answer: The point of getting 2560x1440 A- panel screens is that they are cheap. 1920x1080 screens are already cheap, so you gain nothing if you buy an A- panel 1080p screen.
  • Question: Is it true that these A- panels can OC up to 120Hz?
    Answer: Yes, some of these screens can be OCed significantly, but it is like winning the PCB lottery. You are not guaranteed that you will be able to OC if you purchase these screens. Even if you do manage to OC, the panel in the screen may not be able to keep up with the higher refresh rates, leading to ghosting, artifacting, or flickering.
▲ More information
OCN PLS Monitor club (forum link)
Techreport's review of an A- panel screen
OCN forum post, showing an A- panel screen that is unable to keep up with high refresh rates

Abbreviations and techie-terms are explained in the infoboxes at the bottom of this table, along with FAQs, sources, and in-depth information.
▲ Important
Peripherals are a subjective, personal choice; there is no peripheral that is perfect for everyone. Each choice is a compromise in either features, quality, or price. Products with near-perfect features and quality have sky-high prices, while products with reasonable prices will always have some pros and cons. Make sure you research the product you are interested in. It is ideal to select something with features you want and flaws you don't care about. This will help you choose a product that is perfect... for you.
▲ Important (mouse)
For the mouse guide, items are sorted by price. Unlike other tables where there is an approximate correlation between price and performance, this does NOT apply to this class of Peripherals. For mice, the most important criteria are comfort and accuracy - other "mouse features" such as additional buttons are usually placed third. Because "comfort" is subjective, it might be that the most comfortable mouse for you is a mid-tier mouse. Accuracy is dependent (mostly) on the sensor being used, and some of the most "perfect" sensors are found in the mid-range mice, not in the most expensive mice.

It is extremely important that you note that these mice are sorted by price, and NOT by "which is better". Look for a mouse that is comfortable and accurate enough for your needs before looking for any additional features that you want. If you simply scroll down and pick the most expensive mouse thinking that it is the best, you will likely end up with a mouse that is both unsuitable and overpriced for your needs.
▲ What are all these abbreviations and techie-terms?
These are some of the terms used in mice. More details below.

  • Precision: How precisely your mouse cursor tracks your hand movement. Non-perfect mice sensors may have jitter, acceleration or angle snapping.
  • Grip style: How you hold your mouse. Generally: Palm grip, claw grip, and fingertip grip. Explained in detail below.
  • Orientation: The mouse can be shaped to fit the contours of the hand (usually right-handed), or it can be symmetrical, and thus used ambidextrously.
  • Button layout: Explains where the buttons are on the mouse.
  • Sensor: The sensor is what allows the mouse to track your hand's movement. It can be optical or laser. The exact sensor used is added (in parenthesis). The sensor is what is responsible for the mouse's precision, explained below.
  • DPI/CPI: Dots per inch/Counts per inch. It refers to the number of "steps" your mouse can detect, per inch of movement. Thus it is a measure of mouse sensitivity, not precision or accuracy. CPI is the technically accurate term, but DPI is the better known term.
  • LOD: Lift-off distance. How high the mouse must be lifted before it stops tracking. Lower is better.
▲ Criteria for choosing a mouse
What do you look for when choosing a mouse?

  • Comfort. Comfort depends on both the mouse and the user. The mouse needs to be shaped to fit the user's hand size and grip style. The mouse should have a comfortable shape, and it must be of adequate size and comfortable weight, and have a texture or finish that feels pleasant to the user. Since hand size, grip style, and preferred texture vary between people, a mouse that is very comfortable for one person may be nearly unusable by another.

    Comfort is subjective, and impossible to quantify or describe accurately, yet it is one of the most important criteria when choosing a mouse. It is highly recommended that the buyer tests the mouse in real life before purchase. Reading reviews and descriptions (particularly when the reviewer has a similar grip style) will help, but it will not be as good as holding the mouse in your hand to see its shape, weight, and feel.

  • Precision. The purpose of a mouse is to track your hand movement in real life and translate it to cursor movement on screen. If the mouse cannot track your movement as accurately as you want, then it has failed its purpose, regardless of how comfortable it is or what features it has. Flaws which affect precision to various degrees include:
    -Mouse jitter (where the cursor randomly moves a few pixels in random directions)
    -Tracking issues on certain surfaces
    -Low malfunction speed. Malfunction speed is the fastest speed a mouse can move while tracking accurately. This criteria is important for fast-paced games.
    -Acceleration (where the mouse moves a little faster or slower than what it is supposed to)
    -Angle snapping (where the mouse tries to keep your lines straight)
    -Other forms of "prediction". Mouse prediction is any algorithm that tries to predict where you will move your mouse.
    These factors are not equal: Jitter is generally unacceptable for all users, but some users are perfectly ok with a little acceleration. The usage of the mouse also affects the importance of precision: Gamers (particularly in fast paced games) will prefer/need perfect precision, but general users may be very happy with just "good" precision. See Optical vs Laser for more info.

  • Hand grip style. Most mice are shaped by taking into consideration how the user holds the mouse. The most common grips are: Palm grip, claw grip, and fingertip grip. Credit to Razer for the following images.

    Palm grip:
    With the palm grip, the user's hand rests fully on the mouse. This is the most common and most comfortable grip, but other grips allow better control and easier clicking. For a detailed explanation, see Razer's page on palm grip.
    Claw grip:
    The claw grip is named after the shape of the hand when using this grip. Benefits the user by giving more control (and thus precision) as well as giving the ability to click easier, but it is less natural and less comfortable than the palm grip. For a detailed explanation, see Razer's page on claw grip.
    Fingertip grip:
    This grip controls the mouse with the fingertips only, and the palm does not touch the mouse. The shape of the hand is more natural than claw, and fingertip gives more control, but it is the most tiring grip. For a detailed explanation, see Razer's page on fingertip grip.

    Most manufacturers try to make mice as comfortable as possible to all grip types, but some mice will be more suited to certain grips. Make sure you test the mouse you intend to buy to see how comfortable it is using your preferred grip.

    Note: In the mouse table, some mice have the grip style designated as "Ergonomic". These mice are designed to be particularly well-fitting, and will usually work well with any grip style, though they may be preferred by those using the palm grip.

  • Size. Size of the mouse is an important aspect of comfort, and depends mostly on the user's hand size. Those with large hands may prefer larger mice, since their hands may feel cramped when holding a small mouse, while those with small hands may find large mice difficult to hold properly, and thus difficult to control. Some mice (e.g. Zowie EC 1/2 eVo) come in two differently sized versions so you can get the best "fit". As a note on how different dimensions affect usage: Some prefer very wide mice, so that they can rest the pinky finger. Height of a mouse affects comfort with different grip styles, e.g. mice that are too high may not be comfortable for palm grip. Length also affects comfort with certain grip: Claw grip needs a relatively short mouse.

  • Weight. Some prefer a light mouse, to reduce fatigue when using the mouse for extended time periods. Others feel that heavier mice feel more "solid". Many mice come with customizable weight: You can add or remove small extra weights to the mouse, so that the mouse weight feels right for you.

    A mouse with adjustable weight, showing the weights and weight cartridge. Image courtesy of tested.com

  • Buttons. Depending on your needs, you may be happy with a 3 button mouse, or you may be dissatisfied with anything less than 7. Gamers may want an extra thumb button, and on-the-fly DPI adjust can be useful in some situations. That said, if you are not using the extra buttons, you would be wasting your $$$ if you spent more on the "more buttons" mouse, so get a mouse with an adequate number of buttons. Remember: The Microsoft WMO (used by pros to win gaming tournaments) only has 3 buttons, not 20.

  • DPI/CPI. Do not pay more for a mouse with extremely high DPI/CPI. DPI/CPI measures sensitivity, not precision or accuracy. The general consensus is that 1000-2000 DPI is the "perfect" range, neither too slow or too fast, though many fast FPS gamers prefer the increased speed of the ~2400-3200 range. Above that, the sensitivity of the mouse may become an issue, making the cursor move too fast for perfect control. Thus, when you see mice advertising their 8000+ DPI settings, consider it to be a useless gimmick, as the mouse would be far too sensitive to be used for anything other than making the cursor dance to your heartbeat. The Microsoft WMO (used by pros to win gaming tournaments) only has a DPI of only 400.

  • "Extra" features. There are many "extra" features a mouse can have that are unrelated to either comfort or precision. These include: Programmable buttons, customizable LEDs, two-mode scrolling, on-the-fly DPI adjust, wireless-ness, durability, cable braiding/flexibility, etc. Some of these features can be very useful (two-mode scroll for very large documents), and some are pure gimmicks that serve little to no purpose (custom LEDs).

▲ Optical vs Laser
Optical mouse: Uses an LED. Better precision/accuracy, but does not work on glass or very shiny surfaces

Laser mouse: Uses an infrared laser. Works on glass and shiny surfaces, and is usually present in high-end mice with the most features, but suffers from imperfect tracking/accuracy.

Unfortunately, many people are deceived by the marketing that comes with laser mice:
  • There is the image associated with lasers: "Extreme precision". This is played up heavily by the marketing, which usually implies that laser mice are more accurate or have better tracking than optical mice. This is false. How accurate and precise a mouse is depends on how flawless the sensor is, and as of November 2013, all "flawless sensor" mice are optical. Laser sensors have acceleration that cannot be removed, and (as of November 2013) there are no "flawless sensor" laser mice available for purchase.
  • The DPI/CPI issue: Laser mice have DPI ranges that are typically double what is found in optical mice, and many mistakenly believe that higher DPI/CPI is better. DPI is a measure of sensitivity, not precision or accuracy, so higher DPI is more sensitive, which may or may not be better.
  • Features. Nearly all high-end mice with full sets of features are laser mice. This creates the unfortunate situation where wanting to get all the features means paying more and yet sacrificing the perfect sensor.
The above issues create the common belief that laser mice are always better. This is false. For general usage, where some minor acceleration is tolerable, laser mice are still fine. For gaming (particularly FPS), "perfect sensor" mice are always better, and perfect sensor mice are currently all optical. The situations where laser mice are better are when you need the mouse to track on glass or a shiny surface, or when you need the full set of features found in high-end laser mice. Otherwise, optical mice with perfect sensors are better and cheaper.
▲ Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not answered in the above sections or here, please take a look at some of the links in the More Information section, or email us!

  • Question: I am still unsure of what to buy. Is there a perfect mouse?
    Answer: No. Every mouse has some flaws, and there is no mouse that is perfect in everything. Some mice are very good at certain aspects though, and can be considered somewhat close to "perfect".
  • Question: Which mice are closest to "perfect", then?
    Answer: That depends on your needs, but some candidates include:

    -The Logitech G400s ($40) is considered by many to be the most balanced mouse, being comfortable, durable, reasonably priced, having a perfect sensor, having 8 buttons (as opposed to 5), and being widely available. The G400s is a small improvement over the G400 (one of the best mice in its time), which itself is a small improvement over the MX518 (also one of the best mice in its time). The drawbacks/flaws of the G400s are that it is right-handed, the mouse wheel is mediocre, and it lacks the features found in high-end mice.

    -The Razer DeathAdder 2013 ($60) is the global favourite because of how very comfortable it is and how widely available it is. The DeathAdder 2013 also comes from a pedigree of winners: There have been several versions of the DeathAdder dating all the way back to 2006, and they were all globally popular for their comfort. The flaws of the DeathAdder 2013 are that it is not ambidextrous (though a left-handed version is available), it is a little pricey, it usually does not last long, and it carries the stigma of Razer's excessive and cheesy marketing.

    -Zowie's FK ($65) is a great contender for the perfect mouse because of its simplicity, ambidexterity, comfort, and perfect sensor. The FK does not require drivers, so it is a great plug-and-play mouse, particularly when using non-Windows operating systems. The FK is an improvement over the Zowie AM, having a shape and profile that makes it easier to grip/hold and more comfortable for palm-grip. Zowie is a fairly young company when compared to the competition, so the brand is not well known, and the mouse has availability issues in many countries. Another flaw is that the FK is a bit pricey.

    A "great" mouse would have the simplicity and ambidexterity of the FK, the comfort and availability of the DeathAdder, and the balance and price of the G400s, but even then it would not be perfect: It would still need the dual-mode scroll and wireless capabilities of the G700s, as well as a pretty long list of high-end features.

    Note: The Steelseries Rival ($60) and the Mionix NAOS 7000 ($80) and AVIOR 7000 ($80) are three possible candidates for the "closest to perfect" list. However, they are all very new mice, having been released in early 2014. While being well-reviewed and recommended, these mice are still too new to be added to the "closest to perfect" list.
  • Question: What about [mouse X] that is not on the list?
    Answer: There are many mice that are not included on the list of recommendations, for various reasons. These reasons include:

    -Being EOL. A product that is at its EOL (end-of-life) is no longer being manufactured (discontinued), and thus there is a limited amount of stock left. Once stock begins to run out, prices rise, and the product becomes difficult or outright impossible to buy.

    -Did not make the cut. Due to space constraints, not every good mouse can be added to the list. Some mice are good, and decently reviewed, but have superior competing products in the same price range. When there is an 8/10-rated mouse with similarly priced 9/10-rated competitors, it will probably not be included.

    -Being overrated and/or overpriced. Some products are launched with powerful marketing campaigns, and heavily advertised as being the latest and greatest, the most superior, the ultimate in functionality and quality, etc. The price of such products is usually set to match the claims being made. Unfortunately, many such products fail to live up to the hype, despite the high price. If the price is reduced to match the quality/specs, some of these mice may be worthy of consideration.

    -Having a flawed sensor. Some high-end mice may not be included because of the notably flawed sensors being used, even if such mice are otherwise quality products with solid construction and features. If there is a "flawless sensor" alternative available, it is much more likely that this alternative is included instead.

    -Being too new. It takes several months for mice to be widely available, and widely reviewed.

    Some (potentially great) mice which are not in the list due to the reasons above include:

    -GIGABYTE GM-M6800.
    -Microsoft WMO and Intellimouse.
    -Steelseries Kana and Sensei.
    -Roccat Kone XTD, Kone Pure, Kone[+], and Kova[+].
    -Logitech G500s, G502, and G9x.
    -Corsair M45, M65, and M95.
    -Razer Abyssus, Taipan, and Ouroboros.

    If you do not find anything suitable for you in the table of mouse recommendations, then take a look at the alternatives listed above.
  • Question: What about MMO mice?
    Answer: MMO mice are mice with a huge number of extra buttons on the side. These extra buttons supposedly help in MMO games, which have lots of spells/abilities in the game. This makes these mice very niche, and definitely a bad recommendation for normal users, who are unlikely to need the ~20 buttons on these mice. If you do need an MMO mouse, the Logitech G600 ($80, 20 buttons) and Razer Naga ($70, 19 buttons), shown below, are both well reviewed and often the top two recommendations for MMO mice. Read the Kotaku's MMO Mouse article for a good comparison.
  • Logitech G600.
    Razer Naga 2014.
  • Question: What about other "very niche" mice?
    Answer: There are several categories of mice that we do not include in our list, not because they are bad, but due to the extremely specific target market. These include:
    -MMO mice.
    -Trackball mice.
    -Expensive "professional" mice: Such as the Logitech Performance MX.
    -"Sponsored" mice: Often identical to an existing mouse, but with different colours or an extra logo.
    -"Extreme" mice: Some mice have extremely fantastic features, such as adjustable length, adjustable weight, adjustable LEDs, etc. These extra features make the mouse very costly, but may not be as useful as advertised, and sometimes may negatively affect build quality.
  • Question: Will I need a mousepad?
    Answer: You will not need one, but a good mousepad will help reduce friction, and thus give a smoother glide. A mousepad will also help reduce wear and tear on both your table and your mouse's feet. Since mousepads are quite cheap, it is recommended that you get a good one. There are several mousepad links in the "More Information" section below.
  • Question: Is wireless better?
    Answer: Not really. Wireless mice improve the look of your desk by reducing clutter, since you will have one less wire. The drawback is that wireless mice (generally) suffer from lag, as well as being heavy due to having batteries. The G700s is one of the few good wireless mice, with imperceptable lag, but it is expensive.
  • Question: Can I use the reprogrammable DPI buttons for something else?
    Answer: Yes. Just like any other reprogrammable mouse button, you can bind the DPI buttons to different functions or key binds (copy, paste, refresh, F1, F2, etc)
  • Question: Is there a difference in using USB or PS/2 port for the mouse?
    Answer: Not much. USB mice can be plugged in and used immediately, while PS/2 needs a PC restart. USB ports allow for a higher data transfer rate than PS/2, but this is not an issue when it comes to mice.
  • Question: Are you willing to add more frequently asked questions?
    Answer: Yes. Ask away in the comment section at the bottom of the page!
▲ Advanced topics
These are some topics for those who want to delve a little deeper into PC mice. Be warned that some of the described activities can void your warranty, and can permanently damage your hardware. Read/apply at your own risk.


The switches (or microswitches) in a mouse are the mechanical sensors underneath each button to catch your clicking. High-end mice typically have Omron or Huano switches, while low-end (and some mid-tier) mice have TTC switches.

Omron switches - Easy click, fast reset. Suitable for everything, but particularly in situations where fast select/unselect are needed, such as RTS games.
Huano switches - Stiffer click, slightly delayed reset. Suitable for situations where it is important not to misclick, or where you need to ensure that a button is firm and does not "unclick" by mistake, such as FPS.
TTC switches - The standard buttons in all cheap mice. May be used in high-end mice for non-essential buttons.

Omron switches are generally preferred by most people, though a few prefer the stiffness of the Huano switches.

Switch links:
Could not find any :(

Tape trick

The "tape trick" is used to reduce lift-off distance in optical mice. The idea is to use tape to reduce the amount of light the sensor can read, and thus the sensor needs to be closer to the surface in order to function. Incoming light can be reduced by adding layers of transparent tape, or outgoing light can be reduced by half-blocking the LED opening. A picture speaks a thousand words:

Mouse using the tape trick. Image courtesy of ESReality.

Mouse using the tape trick. Image courtesy of OCN.

Several mice with the tape trick employed. Image courtesy of 4chan.

Tape trick links:
OCN: "Tape-Trick" for lower liftoff-distance(LOD) with optical mice (forum link)
AsiaFortress: Tape Fix for Lift Off Distances (forum link)
How to fix lift off distance (LOD) problem on Mionix Naos 3200 (Youtube link)

KinzuAdder (Dangerous)

Some people like the DeathAdder's internals and sensor, but they also like the Kinzu's shape and feel. To get the best of both worlds, you take out the DeathAdder's internals, and transplant them into a Kinzu. Get it right, and you have the mouse of your dreams. Get it wrong, and you have ruined not one, but TWO mice.

KinzuAdder links:
OCN: KinzuAdder v2Pro/3.5G build (forum link)
ESR: KinzuAdder (forum link)

Overclocking (Dangerous)

You cannot overclock the mouse itself, but you can make your computer poll the mouse more frequently. In other words: Instead of the computer getting readings from the mouse at a rate of 125 readings per second (125Hz), you can ask your computer to take 1000 readings per second (1000Hz). More readings per second translates to a smoother motion and reduced mouse lag. In many modern mice, this is a feature that can be done via the mouse's bundled software. On some mice (particularly old models) you need to increase the polling rate by tinkering with your system files instead.

Topic links:
OCN: Mouse optimization guide, section 2.2 (forum link)
Mouse Rate Checker (Software)
▲ More information
For some seriously in-depth explanations, as well as a few misc topics, read on.

Razer's guide to mousepads
Tom's guide to mousepads
Mouse-pads FAQ
GamingMouseTips guide to mousepads
Computer Mouse Reviews
LifeHacker: Choosing the perfect mouse and keyboard
OCN: An Overview of Mouse Technology (forum link, but very professional and informative)
Configuring your mouse to be left-handed
OCN: Mouse optimization guide (forum post)
OCN: Mouse Sensor List (forum post)
ESR: Mouse Sensor List (wiki link)
ESR: Flawless sensor mice (forum link)
Razer's LOD article
Arstechnica: Does DPI matter in gaming mice?
PC Gaming 101: Mouse Grip Styles
Razer's mouse grip guide (highly recommended)
HowStuffWorks: Mouse
OCN: Mouse DPI vs Windows Sensitivity (forum link)
TeamLiquid: Ultimate Mouse Thread (forum link)
TeamLiquid: Mouse Size Comparison (imgur link)

Mouse-hover on "techie" terms for a short explanation. Full explanation in the infoboxes below.
▲ Important
Peripherals are a subjective, personal choice; there is no peripheral that is perfect for everyone. Each choice is a compromise in either features, quality, or price. Products with near-perfect features and quality have sky-high prices, while products with reasonable prices will always have some pros and cons. Make sure you research the product you are interested in. It is ideal to select something with features you want and flaws you don't care about. This will help you choose a product that is perfect... for you.
▲ Important (keyboard)
The most important factor to consider when purchasing a keyboard is the type of switch being used. This is what determines what your typing experience will be like. There are other important factors, such as the construction quality, size, and extra features, but the switch type should be the main focus. If you buy an extremely high quality keyboard with perfect features, but with switches that you are not comfortable with, then you have wasted your $$$. The "feel" of a switch cannot be described with 100% accuracy using text or illustrations, and as such it is highly recommended that you try out a keyboard before you buy it. If you cannot try the exact model that you intend to buy, then try a different model with similar switches.

This guide is written in a newbie-friendly manner, and is targeted at casual readers who want to buy a standard, wired keyboard. Highly niche keyboards, keyboards with non-standard layouts, and very in-depth topics are not covered in detail.
▲ What are all these abbreviations and techie-terms?
These are some of the terms used in keyboards. More details below.

  • Tech: The technology used to make the switches for the keyboard keys, e.g. "rubber dome" or "mechanical". Most low-end keyboards are rubber dome, while high-end units are mechanical.
  • Switch: A mechanical sensor underneath each key to catch your key presses. Different switches have different feels.
  • Switch Availability: Some keyboards are available with different switch options, e.g. "Cherry blue", and "Cherry brown". Different switches have different characteristics, as explained here.
  • Connection: How to connect your keyboard to your PC. Either USB, PS/2, or both.
  • Size: Generally: Full size (all the keys), tenkeyless (no numpad), and compact (no numpad, no function-keys). See the table here.
  • Backlighting: Whether the keys have lights beneath them.
  • Key rollover: How keyboards can handle multiple keys being pressed at the same time.
  • Keycap: The material the keys are made from, and how the letters are printed on them. Often shortened to "caps".
  • Extras: Extra items, such as extra keys, a USB port, wrist rest, and so on.
▲ Criteria for choosing a keyboard
What do you look for when choosing a keyboard? Some criteria are very important, and some criteria are a bit less critical.

Important criteria:
  • The feel of the keys' press. The most important item to look for when buying a keyboard is the type of switch being used. Depending on the type of switch, the key press can be soft or hard, have an audible click or be without, have a tactile click (one that you can feel with your fingers) or be without.
  • Quality and durability. Cheap keyboards break easily. Cheap keycaps may turn shiny with use, and the printing on them may wear off after a while. Cheap keyboards have buttons that get stuck, stop working, or even fall off. Cheap keyboards feel cheap. Quality keyboards last, and they last for a long time. The letters are often laser etched into the keys, and cannot wear off. Some mechanical key switches are rated for ~50 million clicks, as opposed to 5 million clicks for rubber dome, and thus quality keyboards can be expected to last up to 10 times longer. Most importantly, quality keyboards have solid construction that gives them a satisfying and "premium" feel.
  • Size. Standard keyboards come with the full set of keys, with the function-keys, arrow keys, and numpad. Tenkeyless keyboards come without the numpad, while "compact" keyboards lack the function-keys, arrow keys, and the numpad too.

    Full size (~104 keys):
    This is the standard size everyone is used to. Has all the regular keys, and is the recommended size for people who regularly use the numpad. The drawback is that if you use the mouse and keyboard at the same time (for gaming), then your hands will be further apart.
    Tenkeyless (~87 keys):
    For those who want something smaller and do not need the numpad. This is a compromise between full size and compact: You get a more space-saving keyboard, but you do not lose the function-keys or the arrow keys. Allows you to use the mouse without having to reach too far, and thus helping with ergonomics. Usually a good choice for gamers.
    Compact (~66 keys):
    The most compact form factor, for those who want to save as much space as possible by having the smallest keyboard. You benefit from having your hands positioned ergonomically if you use the mouse and keyboard together. The drawbacks are obvious: No function keys, no arrow keys, no numpad.
  • Extra features. These vary a lot from person to person. Some people absolutely insist on having a "clean" keyboard, with no extras whatsoever. Others cannot do without media keys, programmable keys, and/or a wrist rest.
Less critical:
  • Backlighting. While backlighting give a keyboard its "cool" factor, it does not contribute to how the keyboard feels when typing. Do not dismiss a keyboard from consideration just because it lacks backlighting.
  • NKRO. "N"-key rollover. Key rollover describes how a keyboard can handle multiple keys being pressed at the same time. 6KRO means that you can press up to 6 keys, but this count usually does not include modifier keys, such as shift, ctrl, or alt. NKRO means that you can press as many keys as you want. It is very rare that you have to press more than 4 or 5 keys at the same time, so having NKRO is a plus, but it is not critical.
▲ Switch types
There are many different types of switches available. We take a look at some of the more common ones.

  • Rubber dome
    A switch made from rubber. Most cheap keyboards come with this type of switch. Feels a bit mushy, and wears out after a while. Please note that strictly speaking, this can be divided into rubber dome and rubber membrane, but the technology and the feel is identical between the two, and we use the term "rubber dome" to refer to both.

    Rubber dome. Picture courtesy of Aaron Siirila of Wikipedia.

    More info:
    Deskthority: Rubber dome
    Deskthority: Membrane vs rubber dome
  • Scissor switch
    A type of rubber dome switch, but with a "scissor" mechanism that allows the switch to be quite thin. This is the switch that is used in most laptops. It is slightly better than pure rubber dome, but does not have the feel of a mechanical switch.

    Scissor switch. Picture courtesy of Deskthority

    More info:
    Deskthority: Scissor switch
  • Cherry MX switches (mechanical)
    Some of the most popular switches available. Cherry switches are described by colours: Cherry Blue, Cherry Red, etc. The difference between various Cherry switches are that they have different stiffness, they can be "clicky" or not (make an audible "click" when pressed), and can have a tactile click (a "click" you can feel) or not.
    We take a look at the most popular of the Cherry switches. All images below courtesy of Deskthority.

    Cherry MX Blue:
    Light (50 grams), clicky (has an audible *click*), tactile (has a *click* you can feel). This is the most popular switch from Cherry.
    Cherry MX Brown:
    Light (45 grams), not clicky (no audible *click*), tactile (has a *click* you can feel), but less tactile than Blue. Recommended for those who want a switch that is quieter than Blue. A good "middle ground" switch, suitable for first-time buyers.
    Cherry MX Black:
    Medium stiffness (60 grams), not clicky (no audible *click*), not tactile (without a *click* to feel, a.k.a linear). Check Red for lighter version of this switch.
    Cherry MX Red:
    Light (45 grams), not clicky (no audible *click*), not tactile (without a *click* to feel, a.k.a linear). Very popular amongst gamers.

    Some less-popular Cherry switches include:
    -Cherry Grey: Stiffer than Black (80 grams).
    -Cherry Green: Stiffer than Blue (80 grams).
    -Cherry White: Also stiffer than Blue (80 grams).
    -Cherry Clear: Stiffer than Brown (65 grams).

    More info:
    Deskthority: Cherry MX
    OCN: Common Switch Types
  • Alps switches (mechanical)
    Mechanical switches originally made by Alps Electric, but now cloned by many other companies. The most popular of the Alps switches are:
    -Alps White: Stiff, clicky (has an audible *click*), tactile (has a *click* you can feel).
    -Alps Black: Stiff, not clicky (no audible *click*), tactile (has a *click* you can feel).

    Alps switches. Picture courtesy of Deskthority.

    More info:
    Deskthority: Alps switches
    OCN: Common Switch Types
  • Buckling spring switches (mechanical)
    A mechanical switch that uses a spring that buckles (bends very quickly) when pressed. Famous for its use in the legendary IBM Model M, and is still available in the Model M clone from Unicomp.

    Buckling spring switch. Picture courtesy of Deskthority.

    More info:
    Deskthority: Buckling spring
    OCN: Common Switch Types
  • Topre switches (pseudo-mechanical)
    A switch that is partly mechanical, partly rubber dome, and is said to give the best of both worlds. Topre switches are light, not clicky (no audible *click*), have tactile feedback, but smooth key travel (with a *bump* at the beginning, but without a *click* in the middle), and usually found in very expensive keyboards. Due to the price, it is not recommended that first-time buyers go for this switch.

    Topre switch. Picture courtesy of Elite Keyboards.

    More info:
    Deskthority: Topre switch
    OCN: Common Switch Types
▲ Frequently asked questions
If your question is not answered in the above sections or here, please take a look at some of the links in the More Information section, or email us!

  • Question: What is a mechanical keyboard?
    Answer: It is a keyboard that uses mechanical switches.
  • Question: What are good keyboards for gaming?
    Answer: All good keyboards are perfectly fine for gaming. Look for a keyboard that you find comfortable and pleasant to use, and it will serve you well, whether typing or gaming. Some gamers may find Cherry Red switches (or other soft, linear switches) to be a bit better for gaming. Extra programmable keys may also prove useful, if you use a lot of macros.
  • Question: What are keyboard macros? Are they useful in gaming?
    Answer: A macro is a series of keystrokes, assigned to a single key. For example, if you play a game where you often need to use several skills one after another, you could assign a macro instead of activating each skill every time. Usefulness depends on the game and the player.
  • Question: Are backlit keyboards better?
    Answer: Generally speaking: No. Backlighting is mostly for show, and is not a useful feature.
  • Question: What are keyboard layouts?
    Answer: A keyboard layout is the way the keys are positioned on the keyboard. This can refer to the functional layout (a.k.a key mapping), such as QWERTY, AZERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak. It can also refer to the physical layout of the keyboard, since some keyboards have different shaped keys, or extra buttons (check the difference between ANSI layout and ISO layout here). For an in-depth look at the various functional and physical layouts, visit Deskthority: Keyboard layouts and Wikipedia: Keyboard layouts.
  • Question: Can you tell me more about keycap printing?
    Answer: Keycap printing is how the letters are printed on the keys. There are many methods for this, from cheap pad-printing (stickers on keys), to laser etching, to double-shot injection molding (carving a key from two separate pieces). An extensive explanation can be found over at OCN: Keycap Printing Methods.
  • Question: I am still unsure of what to buy. Is there a perfect keyboard?
    Answer: No.
  • Question: What keyboard is closest to "perfect", then?
    Answer: None. The requirements for keyboard vary between people, to the extent that there are no "universally accepted" keyboards. Perhaps there is a better question: Which keyboards are "safe" purchases?
  • Question: Which keyboards are a safe purchase (i.e most likely to be acceptable to first-time buyers)?
    Answer: Mechanical keyboards are generally a better purchase than non-mechanical. We split our "safe" recommendations by price.

    On the cheaper side:
    For $80-$90, the Rosewill RK-9000 and CM Quickfire XT are both solid, safe purchases, if you want the numpad. For a tenkeyless keyboard in the same price range, the CM Quickfire Rapid is another safe purchase.

    On the pricier side:
    For $130-$150, the Das Model S and Ducky Shine 3 are both very well-reviewed, quality keyboards, and there is little chance that they will disappoint a first-time buyer.

    Please note that these are safe keyboards. There is still another choice to be made, if you are a first time-buyer looking for a safe purchase: Which is the safest switch to buy?
  • Question: Which mechanical switches are a safe purchase (i.e most likely to be acceptable to first-time buyers)?
    Answer: Before any answer is given, it must be stressed that the choice of switch is a personal choice, and that you should get the switch that you like best. That said, the most "well-rounded" switches are probably Cherry Brown (light, tactile, not clicky) or Cherry Red (light, linear, not clicky). Both are quite safe purchases, and can be recommended for new buyers, especially those who mostly plays games. Cherry Blue (light, tactile, clicky) are the most popular switches though, and it is recommended that you try them out as well, to get a proper appreciation for the differences in feel.
  • Question: What about [keyboard X]?
    Answer: While there are hundreds of keyboards available for sale, we cannot list all of them. Some good keyboards are not listed because: They are very new (do not have enough reviews), end-of-life (no longer in production), difficult to find, very expensive (even if they are of very high quality), overpriced, or overrated. This includes:

    -IBM Model M, Model F
    -Dell AT101
    -Compaq 11800
    -Happy Hacking Keyboards
    -Razer Blackwidow
    -SteelSeries 6GV2
    -Noppo Choc Mini
    -Keycool 84
    -Deck keyboards
    -KUL keyboards
  • Question: Why are there no recommendations for [criteria X] keyboards?
    Answer: At the moment, we are sticking with standard wired keyboards. Some keyboard types that we do not cover include:

    -Wireless keyboards. Not included due to the hassle of battery replacement and lag.
    -Ergonomic keyboards. There are claimed benefits, but no proven benefits. Price is usually too high.
    -Pricey rubber dome keyboards. If the price reaches mechanical territory, switch to mechanical.
    -Chiclet keyboards. Pretty (and can be slim), but they are rubber dome/membrane, or scissor switch.
    -Status symbol keyboards. These are good quality keyboards, but are severely overpriced. You pay a premium for the prestige, not the performance.
  • Question: How do you keep a keyboard clean?
    Answer: Do not eat, drink, or smoke near the computer. If you have already gotten it dirty, check this link for cleaning tips.
  • Question: Are wireless keyboards better than wired ones?
    Answer: Not really. You may experience lag or dropped keystrokes, and battery changes are a hassle.
  • Question: Is there an advantage of using a USB connected keyboard over a PS/2, or vice versa?
    Answer: Mostly, no advantage for either (read more details here). The main points are:

    -Some keyboards have NKRO over PS/2, but 6KRO over USB.
    -PS/2 is interrupt-based. This means that every keystroke is registered immediately. USB is polled, meaning that the computer checks for input several hundred times per second. If the system is busy, the input may get delayed. Such a delay would be quite small though (a few milliseconds), and most likely not detectable by a typical user.
    -USB is plug-and-play, while PS/2 typically needs a restart.
  • Question: Is it good to have a keyboard with a lot of add-ons and extras?
    Answer: This is a purely personal choice, and depends on your needs. Some people like very minimal/simple keyboards, and others prefer to have extra keys and USB ports.
  • Question: Do keyboards have a way to adjust their height?
    Answer: Modern keyboards come with "feet" on the underside that allows you adjust the angle and height slightly.
  • Question: Does keyboard height matter?
    Answer: Yes, somewhat. A comfortable height and angle will lessen fatigue.
  • Question: Does keyboard weight matter?
    Answer: Not really, unless you are carrying the keyboard around. A keyboard stays static on your desk when you use it, so a very light keyboard is a con.
  • Question: Do I really need a good keyboard?
    Answer: Strictly speaking, you do not need one. However, if you use your computer a lot, you may appreciate a good keyboard.
  • Question: May I ask another question?
    Answer: Yes, please go ahead.
▲ Advanced topics
These are some topics for those who want to delve a little deeper into keyboards. Be warned that some of the described activities can void your warranty, and can permanently damage your hardware. Read/apply at your own risk.

Keyboard cleaning

Do not eat, drink, or smoke near the computer. If you have already gotten it dirty, check below for cleaning tips.

Keyboard cleaning links:
OCN: Keyboard maintenance
Das Keyboards: Mechanical Keyboard Maintenance and Cleaning


Tiny rubber rings you add beneath your keys to dampen the noise, if the noise bothers you.

O-rings links:
User review (Geekhack)
O-rings from WASD

Buckling spring floss dampening

Cherry switches get dampened by O-rings, so what can you do to dampen buckling spring switches? Use dental floss, of course. For healthier gums and quieter keystrokes, check the following links.

Buckling spring floss links:
Deskthority: Dental floss mod
User review (Geekhack)

Replacing keycaps

Most good keyboards have keycaps that can be removed and replaced with different ones. This allows you to have whatever colour scheme you like, including something like the image below.

Picture courtesy of Geekhack

Keycap replacement links:
WASD Keyboards: Keycap packs
Reddit: Keycap resellers
▲ More information
For some seriously in-depth explanations, as well as a few misc topics, read on.

OCN: Mechanical Keyboard Guide (Highly recommended!)
OCN: Mechanical Keyboard Buying Guide
Reddit: Mechanical Keyboard Wiki (excellent collection of resources)
Reddit: Keyboard Buying Guide
Deskthority Wiki (excellent collection of resources)
DAS: Mechanical Keyboard Guide
WASD: Mechanical Keyboard Guide
KeyboardCo: An introduction to Cherry MX mechanical switches
Mechanical Keyboard FAQ: Pick the Right Switch
Maximum PC: Mechanical Keyboard Guide
PantheonES: Keyboards: mechanical vs rubber dome
Team Liquid: Mechanical Keyboard Guide
Geekhack (forum)
Install Gentoo: Mechanical Keyboard Wiki
Wikipedia: Keyboard Technology
CCHotspot: Mechanical Keyboard Buying Guide
MechKB: Keyboard Buying Guide
Please suggest more links!

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