The Best Keycap Profiles for Gaming
Keycap sets are the easiest mod you can do to your keyboard to make it look and sound nicer. If you are new to the custom keyboard market you might have missed that not all keycaps come in the same shapes and sizes, and depending on your preferences certain keycap sets might be better or worse for your use case.
Since I am purely interested in gaming and so are a lot of people out there, I have tried a couple of the most popular keycap profiles to see which ones are the most suited for this task, and which keycap profiles are simply a downgrade from your stock set.
The No-Go Profiles
In my experience, while gaming you want to have as few mistakes in inputs as possible, and that unfortunately is quite hard to achieve with keycap profiles taller than the ever-so-popular Cherry profile.
The OEM profile is a Cherry profile but a bit taller making it tolerable but suboptimal while something like the SA profile is quite annoying to use. I have tried using a low-profile SA keycap set and it was still way too tall (especially the Z-row and the bottom row of keys would get pressed in accidentally a lot) making it impossible to not hit random keys at times that would get me killed in games quite often. In short, the starting point of good gaming keycap profiles is the Cherry profile.
Cherry or Lower Height
Taller keycap profiles are nice for a good typing experience but as mentioned above if you want to game comfortably then you need to look at a keycap set using the Cherry profile or other lower-height profiles. These profiles used for keycaps make it easier for your fingers to move around the keyboard without having to lift them too high or without accidentally pressing keys.
XVX – XDA – Cherry
The most popular keycap profiles that are shorter than Cherry(10mm) are XDA (9mm) and DSA (7.6mm).
Sculpted or Uniform
Another important difference between Cherry, XDA, and DSA keycap profiles is that the Cherry profile is sculpted, while the XDA/DSA profiles are uniform. For gaming, I would say the sculpted keycap profiles have a minimal advantage since they push your fingers in the right position on your keys while the flatter surface of the uniform profiles might be confusing for some at the start.
In reality, this specific difference in my eyes is minuscule and does not impact your gaming performance that much, what does impact it, however, is how the curvature of the keycap is sculpted and how wide is the top of the keycap depending on their shape.
I have noticed that while Cherry profile keycaps are taller than XDA/DSA keycaps, the bottom rows might feel taller on XDA/DSA than on Cherry. The reason for this is the fact that the Cherry keycaps have a nice slope that starts at the top of the keycap making them technically lower (the first half of the keycap) than the other two mentioned profiles.
The difference is minuscule but when changing keycap profiles I did notice that the bottom rows on the Cherry keycaps felt a lot more comfortable to me.
Besides the mainstream keycap profiles, there are a lot of unique mixes out there like the XVX profile I am currently using (XDA+Cherry).
After trying the XDA and Cherry profiles separately I have realized I like the curve of the Cherry profile and the lower profile of the XDA so for me the XVX made sense. There are a lot of these profiles floating around so if you want to experiment you might want to look for some specific features you are interested in.
These are all subjective and based on my own experience so these are just suggestions regarding what I found while using different keycap profiles.
If all you care about is gaming and do not have the time or resources to spend on keycaps, get a keycap set that uses the Cherry profile. There is a reason why it is the most popular profile out there and there are a ton of keycap sets using it.
XDA is a bit too tall on the bottom rows compared to Cherry but it is an amazing profile for typing. In general, I liked uniform keycaps for typing a lot more than for gaming.
If you want a flat profile and are bored of Cherry (sculpted) keys DSA is your next best bet. While still a bit taller at the start on the bottom rows, this keycap profile is low enough for comfortable use while gaming.
If you are bored of Cherry profiles try finding mixes like the XVX (XDA+Cherry) which is a fun alternative since it has the XDA height but the Cherry curves making it quite a unique experience for both gaming and typing.
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